Fit For Life: Back to Basics – Core Strength

Saturday, November 29, 2014


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I heard one of my mentors give this great analogy:  if you lift weights or strength train with a weak core, it’s like firing a cannon from a canoe.  Think about it!  Or, I say, it’s like building a fortress on sandbags.  

I see it daily:  Guys in the gym killing themselves for an hour, then get on some “ab” machine, or do a few minutes of crunches and then go home.  Sure, they can look great, from a distance.  But when you look closer you notice the forward head tilt, the weight belts, the rounded shoulders, etc.  These guys are guaranteed to acquire back pain due to the lack of core strength and stability.  

If you are a golfer or waiter with lower back pain, it’s usually due to instability of the core.  Having a strong core requires two things - 1) proper nutrition, and 2) proper training technique.  When your mid-section is properly conditioned, you not only look better - you stand taller, lift heavier weights (if that is part of your goal), and perform your daily activities better and with less injury.  All core routines should consist of abdominal and lower back training using movements in a multi plainer range of motion.

When you’re out shopping this holiday season note how many companies have their workers wearing belts to protect their backs – from the UPS driver to the warehouse people at Home Depot.  Wouldn’t it be better if they had a proven employee fitness program in place?  If we lived as they do in Eastern cultures, there would be many companies starting their day with stretches and exercise to strengthen the core – and improve productivity and health – not to mention attitude and demeanor – all at the same time.

Again, set your goals – and regardless of what they are – bulking up, having less injuries and strain, looking great, or being in your best condition, but remember, it’s all about THE CORE – regardless of what else you do. 

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Matt Espeut has worked as a personal trainer for almost 20 years with clients ranging in age from 14 to 86. His focus is on overall health, strength, and functional conditioning. Holistic health and nutrition is the cornerstone of all his programs. Matt works in private and small group training available at your home or office location or at gym facilities. Matt offers his services to everyone wanting to be more fit and healthy, overweight young people, youth/collegiate athletes, and seniors. Matt has worked and trained at several facilities in the Providence area. Email Matt: [email protected]; check out his website  or find him on Facebook at Matt Espeut or on Twitter @MattEspeut. Call 401-453-3200 for pre-opening information.


Related Slideshow: Great Ways for RI Moms to Stay Fit this Winter

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PVD Fit Body Boot Camp

1284 North Main St., Providence, RI

Moms can enjoy early bird classes at Providence Fit Body Boot Camp.

Owner Matt Espeut, GoLocalProv's Fitness Expert offers workouts that are designed to suit all levels of fitness and banish the intimidation factor.

Sessions are held as early as 6 a.m. 

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Raffa Yoga

19 Sharpe Dr., Cranston, RI

Raffa Yoga in Cranston offers many classes for beginning yogis and women trying to get back into shape. 

"We offer stretch classes, power classes, and beginner classes everyday - stretch classes go at a very slow pace to get started [into yoga]" says Stephanie Baker of Raffa Yoga.

Raffa also offers "Urban Sweat" a relaxation area with saunas and steam rooms - a great way to unwind after a workout. 

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Boston Sports Clubs

131 Pitman St., Riverview Place West, Providence, RI

Boston Sports Clubs in Fox Point offer unique "VBarre" course which fuses both Pilates and ballet techniques for a fun, fat burning class!

They also offer unlimited babysitting for up to 2 children for only $9 a month - much cheaper than your neighborhood babysitter. 

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Sneaky Exercising Tips

"There are many ways to incorporate exercise into your lifestyle as a mom," says Dr. Barbara Roberts, MD Clinical Associate Professor Brown Medical School.

"Park far away from a mall and walk to the building as quickly as you can, take the stairs when indoors, and if you have toddlers take them out in a stroller and alternate between jogging and walking."

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3 Davol Sq., Providence, RI

Synrgy offers classes for expecting and new moms who want to stay healthy for baby. 

"We offer prenatal and postnatal classes along with strength training" says Jerome Collins of Synrgy.  

Sign up for their personal training session to get your pre-baby body back!

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The Maxx Fitness

622 George Washington Hwy., Lincoln, RI

The Maxx Fitness offers low-impact TRX Suspension Training a technique was born out of training for Navy SEALs.

But don't fret - you use your own body weight - and will help you sculpt and tone your core, improve your flexibility with their low-impact TRX Suspension Training. 

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Full Range CrossFit

859 N Main St., Providence, RI

Full Range CrossFit welcomes women and men of all levels of fitness to join. 

You get to control how difficult each class is because the moves are scaled to suit your body's abilities. 

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Method Fitness Studio

19 S Angell St., Providence, RI

Looking to get some guidance while you get back in shape? 

Method Fitness Studio is a personal training gym will help you get the results you want, help you do what's best for your body, and meet personal fitness goals. 

They even have an indoor rock climbing wall - who says getting in shape can't be fun?

Photo: Method Fitness Studio

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208 Governor St., Providence, RI

Core Center of Real Energy will help you get your body and mind back on track with classes like Pilates Reformer - a blend of low impact cardio and Jumpboard training.

There is even sports training for kids - allowing you both to stay healthy this winter. 

Photo: Core Center of Real Energy


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