1. Dumbbell Floor Chest Press
1. Grab dumbbells with an overhand grip and lie flat on your back. Bend knees with feet firmly planted on floor. Extend elbows to a 90-degree position, triceps resting on floor, while holding dumbbells above your chest.
2. Exhale and brace core while simultaneously extending dumbbells toward ceiling. Pause, and retract back to staring position.
2. Decline Dumbbell Floor Press
1. Similar to a standard floor press, the decline press consists of being in a bridge position.
2. Grab dumbbells with an overhand grip and lie flat on your back. Bend knees with feet firmly planted on floor.
3. Lift your hips off the ground until your knees, hips and shoulders form a straight line. Squeeze those glutes hard and keep your abs drawn in so you don’t overextend your back during the exercise.
4. Hold that position while positioning the dumbbells to the sides of your chest, with your wrists pronated (facing away from you).
5. Exhale as you press the dumbbells upward and inward until your arms are almost fully extended and the dumbbells nearly touch.
6. Inhale as you lower the dumbbells towards the starting position until you feel a mild stretch in your shoulders or chest.
3. Dumbbell Floor Press w/ Bridges
1. Grab dumbbells with an overhand grip and lie flat on your back. Bend knees with feet firmly planted on floor.
3. Lift your hips off the ground until your knees, hips and shoulders form a straight line. Squeeze those glutes hard and keep your abs drawn in so you don’t overextend your back during the exercise.
4. Exhale as you press the dumbbells upward and inward until your arms are almost fully extended and the dumbbells nearly touch.
6. Inhale as you are lowering your hips towards the floor, followed by pressing your lower back into the floor (posterior pelvic tilt). Simultaneously, you are lowering the dumbbells towards the starting position until you feel a mild stretch in your shoulders or chest.
Welcome to my first post where I will be showing what kind of workouts you can do in the safety of your own home during this time of quarantine. What’s great about today’s workout is that it can consist of just body weight or you can incorporate weights or household items for resistance. We are going to perform all 3 exercises back to back 30-seconds each, time under tension. Then we will repeat the circuit 2 more times.
1. Reverse Lunges
2. Alternating Curtsy Lunges
1. Stand straight with your feet hip-width apart.
2. Keeping your torso upright, step your left foot back and to the right so that it touches down behind and to the right of your right foot.
3. Aim to finish with a 90-degree bend in your right knee and your left knee hovering about an inch above the floor.4. Push yourself back to the starting position. Repeat with the opposite leg.
5. Continue alternating for 30 seconds.
3. Alternating Front Lunges w/ Arm Raises
1. Stand tall.
2. Step forward with your left leg and slowly lower your body until your front knee is bent at least 90 degrees, while your rear knee is just off the floor.
3. Keep your torso upright the entire time and core right so you can raise your arms either in front of you or over your head.
4. Pause, then push off your left foot off the floor and return to the starting position while lowering your arms back to your sides.
5. On your next rep, step forward with your right leg while raises your arms.
6. Continue alternating for 30 seconds.
Body Rockin’ at home.
I consider myself fortunate during these frightening and uncertain times. Due to my medical ailments, especially chronic asthma, I really have to take extra precautions to not contract COVID-19. Even if the gyms were open for some crazy reason, I still wouldn’t go. So what does a an athlete & fitness enthusiast do during this time? Exercise intensely at home, switch up the style of workouts, and make it fun. I consider myself fortunate because while I know quite a few people still waiting for resistance bands to be shipped to them, I pretty much have a home gym. Will lots of love and thanks to loved ones for early birthday gifts, I have a TRX, resistance bands of all styles and levels of difficulty, dumbbells including a pair of 35lbs, kettlebells, plyo box, a bench, and more. That’s why I am fortunate and will not take this time for granted. I am truly grateful for all of the love and support.
A good percentage of my equipment came from a company that has workout program videos, books, and equipment known as SweatFlix/BodyRock. One of my favorite pierces of equipment that I own from then is the weighted vest. The vest is pretty comfortable and it adds extra intensity to my exercising. I especially hate/love the vest during cardio and HIIT like exercises. It also adds great resistance to my leg workouts.
Prior to the pandemic and quarantine, I hired classic bodybuilding friend, Jilani, as my trainer. I was interested in training for Men’s Aesthetic Physique and possibly compete in a few years. Now that style of training and goal is on hold but NOT shelved indefinitely. At the moment, my training consists of athleticism. I want to get that nice and lean athletic build again. With the amount of equipment at my fingertips, I do not have many excuses to not use my winter bulk to my benefit to now cut fat and sculpt definition.
One of my favorite pieces of equipment that I now own is an 8lb, 56” barbell with up to 90lbs worth of weighted plates. With this barbell set, I’ve been doing everything from squats to rows, deadlifts to chest press, and curls to overheard extensions. That set alone is owning my own personal gyms. To increase the intensity of my workouts, I include weighted wrist and ankle straps and resistance bands. Squatting with a heavy resistance band above the knees ensures a guaranteed burn. Laying flat on the ground while laying on top of a resistance band which is attached to your weighted barbell will sure create a lot of added resistance to your chest press. There are unlimited many options and I won’t take any of these pieces of equipment for granted. Fitness is such an important part of my lifestyle and I am grateful that I can continue it within my capacity.
The beauty of fitness is that it isn't definitive; we are always evolving and can make improvements. Our goals can change and we can work towards different aesthetics. One thing I've learned is that fitness looks different on everybody. No two bodies are the same, therefore comparing ourselves to others is emotionally exhausting. In a later entry, I will divulge into my battles with body dysmorphia and medical ailments that affect me and how that can impact my mental health. I realize though that body dysmorphia isn't worth the emotional stress because I wear my fitness different than others.
I always like to switch up my style of training. Whether it's powerlifting, endurance, athleticism, or bodybuilding, I like to change my goals and find new journeys maybe every other year. I've gone through many looks on my body in the past few years, faced many uphill battles, but I won't stop because I can't stop. Whether I'm on the field playing rugby, swinging a bat, climbing a rock wall, lifting a weight, or jogging on the pier...the rush is pure ecstasy for me.
To check out some of the equipment that Miguelito works out with during quarantine, click on the logo for BodyRock.
Obstacle Course Races are my favorite! Except burpees...burpees sucks.
City Challenge Virtual Race 1 & 2
At this time of the year, I would be having a blast with friends all while competing in obstacle course events such as Spartan, Tough Mudder, and City Challenge. Due to the current pandemic, I am not able to do so. However, the organization City Challenge and their team came up with a virtual challenge to keep us athletes busy and fit. I really do appreciate that during this time they chose to have their participants stay active in a healthy and cautious way.
I received an email from City Challenge in early April inviting us participants to take part in their virtual challenge. Most of it can be done in the safety of a person’s home or building. I chose to do most of it outside in my parking lot and a few of the challenges I performed in my home. It made me feel alive within a world full of chaos. I imagined myself doing these challenges in the mud with my friends and racing others around me. It kept me motivated and it kept me driven.
I accepted all of the challenges except the bike ride because I no longer own a bike. The stair climb was the hardest; I was dripping wet, inhaling my asthma pump, and taking quick breaks. There were a lot of stairs to climb! It didn't help that I decided to wear 2lb ankle weights per leg. But as I always say, I am up for the challenge. I honestly didn't think that I was able to pull it up, but I took my time and I did not rush it.
It definitely kept me busy on top of my own quarantine workouts. I posted videos of some of the challenges that I completed. In order to qualify, we had to submit our social media handle and post videos with time stamps of how long it took to complete each challenge. Once we complete everything and submit it to City Challenge, we still earn a medal and will receive it in the medal. I am really excited for it and cannot wait to hang up my medal with my other hard-earned medals.
The Spartan Race & Rugged Maniac Challenges
Spartan and Rugged Maniac are definitely my favorite events every year, aside from Super Bowl and World Series. With these obstacle challenges, I get to participate in hard working, sweat breaking, muscle burning workouts all while running a 5K. The rush of adrenaline and the feeling of being superhero strong is simply amazing and addictive. So you can only imagine how excited I became when both organizations announced their virtual races. However, different from City Challenge, both challenges are to be done and completed on the same day and submitted so you can be ranked with participants around the world. They give you several ways to show proof of participation and completion which includes using devices and trackers such as a Fitbit or Strava as well as uploading or streaming videos. These will be submitted with the online form upon completion. It’s just such an amazing feeling to be a part of these athletic communities. It surely isn’t the same but it’s fun to see others participate and have such a great time. Hopefully this time next year, I’ll be getting all sweaty and dirty in that community on a trail of obstacles and mud.
When Michelle first came to me, she had already been searching for a Specialist who can help her out with her specific problems.
Michelle had poor posture, anterior pelvic tilt, a previous meniscus tear, and scoliosis. When she would squat, her body would shift forward into her knees and because of her previous injuries and muscular dysfunctions she had displayed poor form and performance during most of her workouts causing more discomfort and muscle imbalances. We have definitely come along way since the very first day we started. Here is what she has to say:
"As a person who started from level zero, my knight in shining armor Michael, was direct with me while being respectful, he had the upmost patience and proved to be very knowledgeable. Because of certain medical conditions, I felt like I couldn't accomplish anything. But he educated me in the fundamentals of staying fit, having proper form/ balance to fix my problems from when I got hurt, and discovering routines that engage multiple muscle groups to save time on my tight work out schedule. He broke down workouts into steps, making them easier to remember and having less chance of an injury. He has served as an inspiration by motivating me to push past my comfort zone/ limits. Thanks to Michael I find myself in a much better place both physically and mentally. Now I feel unstoppable."
On this edition of Fitness Interview, I interviewed someone very dear to me. I watched this talented young man grow and become the prodigy that he is today. And he’s only just beginning. He’s an unstoppable driven force of nature. Today, we hit topics such as his music, his new album 1990, his fitness, and modeling.
Mikey: You're a triple threat mister! A model, a singer, and a fitness enthusiast. Tell us a little about what inspired you to go the route of modeling and singing.
Antonial: What got me into modeling was being broke in college. I used to shoot with photographers who would pay me to do mostly underwear or nude modeling. Every time I would get my pictures back I would also critique my physique wishing what body parts I would like to get bigger. So after weeks of complaining my friend got me in the gym and we worked out arms and, no joke, my arms was sore for 2 weeks. But I loved the pain so I kept going and made it a lifestyle that I love!!!
Singing/Music I have always loved!! My parents were part-time musicians! My mother used to sing professionally and my dad a bass player so somehow I picked up playing percussion and piano! It wasn't until college where I started investing in my art and taking classes in jazz.
M: Well that is awesome that music runs in the family. Who else would you consider your musical inspirations?
A: Prince, Chick Corea, Dave Brubeck, Miles Davis, Whitney Houston, Quincy Jones, Timbaland, Michael Jackson, Earth Wind & Fire, Journey.
M: How would you describe your music? Have you had any opportunities to perform your songs live?
A: My music is primarily Old School R&B with a little jazz and hip-hop with a hint of classical. Yes I have performed at Dallas Pride, Art & Soul Festival, Pink Elephant Festival, and etc.
M: That sounds great and very exciting. So, what do you love about modelling? Any favorite experience you would like to share?
A: Honestly I like it because I am almost acting. I get to be another person that society accepts, LOL. I love working with Calvin!! When you have a good connection with someone the pictures comes out amazing!! My favorite shot was the jumping shot which I've never done before, with compression pants on! It took me like 50 times to get it right but the shot came out amazing!!!
M: Now let's talk fitness, what do you love about it? What pushes you to be better?
A: With fitness, I love the results from it!! Your body is art and what your doing when you workout is painting your own picture. But honestly I have to workout because of diseases like Cancer, Diabetes, and High Blood Pressure runs through my family.
I critique myself to the fullest. I want to be bigger and my desires pushes me to be better and also wanting to always look better naked!!
M: Looking better naked is always a plus! What are a few of your favorite workouts and why?
M: What is current short-term fitness goal? Long-term?
A: Short Term: Get a bigger chest and calves. Long Term: To look like Todd Sanfield .
M: How would you describe your current fitness routine?
A: All of my exercises are 4x10
M: And finally, would you ever consider becoming a full time fitness model?
A: I would love to but I'm not big enough *Cries in Corner*
Follow this awesomely talented young man via his blog. Support, support, support! Check out his album, 1990, which is now available on iTunes.
In this edition of The Fitness Chronicles I had the honor to converse via email with a remarkable and determined young veteran of the US Air Force. He is an inspiration for fitness, small business owners, the Trans community, and the LGBTQ community in general.
Mikey: What inspired you to start your own online fitness coaching services?
Trey: As a transgender man, I didn't really see anyone else in my area offering services to help transgender folks achieve their health and fitness goals. I've always forced myself out of my comfort zone in order to accomplish things. Not everyone is like me though. I've worked out in what many would consider intimidating gyms with trainers who may not have been so accepting had they known my past. While this was a learning opportunity for me, I wanted to provide a comfortable and inviting environment for my trans brothers (and in some cases, sisters) in which they could work with someone who understands what they are going through.
M: How was the process of setting up your business?
T: Difficult and in some ways never-ending. In school I learned how to be a personal trainer, not how to run a business. Setting up my own business has been a series of learning from one mistake after another. Thankfully, I tend not to make the same mistakes over so things are running smoothly these days. There are so many things you don't consider at first, from things as simple as coming up with a business name and logo to setting up a website, processing payments, creating contracts, and the process of marketing to and building clientele. I see new personal trainers struggle with the business side of personal training all the time. That's why many get stuck working for corporate gyms that pay too little and expect too much.
M: In what ways do you reach out to people to get new clientele?
T: I'm highly referral-based. Being that I target a very specific clientele, I think I'm fairly easy to find within my community. There are other great transgender personal trainers out there, but I'm not aware of any other ones based in Phoenix. Overall, my clients do a great job of getting my services out there, especially when posting on their Facebook about their noodle arms or not being able to get up off the toilet. I'm still not sure if those posts get referrals or just scare the hell out of people. Either way, I'm a bit flattered.
M: You’re a well experienced and respected fitness professional. How are you able to keep your clients motivated via online?
I have a screening process I implement before accepting online clients. I set the expectation on my website. Clients MUST reach out to me weekly with updated weight, measurements, and progress photos. I don't chase clients, because honestly, I'm not interested in training people who aren't willing to put in the effort in reaching their goals. I understand that things happen and sometimes clients struggle and I WILL reach out in these instances, but I'm not the sugar-coating kind of trainer. If they want results, they have to show up to the gym to do their workouts and follow their nutrition plans. If they do, they see amazing results. If they don't, I kindly send them on their way.
M: Tell us a little more about your services and how people can get started today.
T: I offer both in-person (Phoenix, AZ) and online personal training services, both of which include nutrition services because that's such an important factor in achieving results. I offer free consults at the gym to see if clients are a good fit for the type of training I offer and to see if I'm going to be a good fit for them. I offer one-on-one training as well as buddy/small group training. I have more information on my website regarding rates and services.
Direct Link: www.transformfitness.net/owner-trey
M: As a transgender man, how has fitness been for you? Were there any challenges that you needed to overcome? What are your personal fitness goals? And finally, any words of wisdom for other members of the transgender community who want to get into fitness.
T: Fitness has been life-changing for me. The process of transition can seem long. We require therapy to "prove" we are able to transition. I mean, imagine having to prove you are the gender you feel you are. It seems a little crazy. Once we get the approval, we have to find a doctor who will prescribe testosterone if that's the route we choose. We have to save the funds for the surgeries we require, which could be different for everyone. Fortunately for many guys, some insurances now cover gender reassignment surgeries. I had to pay out of pocket and it wasn't cheap. We just have to jump through so many hoops to be ourselves, which so many people take for granted. For me, fitness made the long process a little more tolerable. It helped me to change my body to more closely match the way I saw myself, until the hormones kicked in a bit to provide additional help.
The gym can be an uncomfortable place, especially during transition. I've always had that "get shit done" mentality, so I've always been able to ignore what many others may think, but I'm a unique case. There's a lot of dysphoria around the gym for many transgender people. So many people are intimidated to go into a gym, especially if they feel they have a long way to go to look and feel fit, according to society at least. Now throw in getting mispronouned or even choosing the locker room you'll get less harassed in. It can be a devastating experience for many.
My main personal goal is to continue to improve in all areas of my life. I want to help others see their worth. It's not about how you stack up to someone else. It's about putting one foot in front of the other and being a better version of yourself every single day. I want people in my community to know that it's okay to ask for help. You don't have to hire ME, but reach out to someone who represents what you'd like to accomplish. Understand that fitness is WAY MORE than a physical transformation. It all starts when you believe you can be successful. It's hard work, but it's always worth it.
Transform Fitness' Mission:
Our Vision at Transform Fitness is to serve as a meeting ground for Personal Trainers and their clients. People choose an online format for fitness for a number of reasons. Perhaps your schedule is too hectic to schedule a one-on-one session with a local trainer. Maybe online training is easier on your wallet. It could be that your favorite trainer lives across the country. Transform Fitness allows you to find someone who can assist you in meeting your fitness goals.
As a transgender man, I didn't really see anyone else in my area offering services to help transgender folks achieve their health and fitness goals. I've always forced myself out of my comfort zone in order to accomplish things. Not everyone is like me though. I've worked out in what many would consider intimidating gyms with trainers who may not have been so accepting had they known my past. While this was a learning opportunity for me, I wanted to provide a comfortable and inviting environment for my trans brothers (and in some cases, sisters) in which they could work with someone who understands what they are going through.
Whoa! Do you have a license for open carry with those guns?! On this edition of Fitness Interview, I thought it was appropriate to Interview Eli and get some tips for bulking this season without putting on too much body fat.
Mikey: When did you become a personal trainer?
Eli: I've have been certified since 2009.
M: What institution is your certification with?
E: I have a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology from Arizona State University and my personal training certification through the National Academy of Sports Medicine aka NASM.
M: Can you explain what exactly kinesiology is?
E: It is basically the study of human movement and the mechanics of the body and how it moves. With that bachelors I studied exercise science, sports medicine, and applied movement sciences.
M: Do you have any specialty certifications?
E: Yes I sure do. I have Corrective Exercise and Weight Loss Specialist. I am also a Master trainer.
M: At what age did you start lifting?
E: 16 years old.
M: What made you want to bulk up to your current physique?
E: When I started working out, my goal was to be fit. Then I started watching bodybuilders like Kai Greene, and I was fascinated by the looks and the hard work, so I changed my fitness goals and started bulking.
M: I've known you for quite some time now so I assume that you are still on team natural?
E: Yes, many bodybuilders and competitors do use steroids and enhancements but I believe in natural building such as the legendary Reg Park and also Stuart McRobert who wrote the Brawn books.
M: What exactly is bulking?
E: A bodybuilder during bulking is going to be eating more calories than he needs. It basically provides your muscles with a strong stimulus to grow. During this time however you will undergo intense training so all of the excess calories you consume, especially protein, will aid to muscle gains. Bulking works, if it is done right. During times of overeating, the body will grow in mass. When bulking begins, fat storage won't start immediately. It's not something that starts immediately as you stuff your face. Simply put, when you over-eat, it takes a while for the body to transition to fat storage mode.
M: Since bulking season is upon us but I am aware that many go about doing it wrong. An advice you can offer?
E: It works best in two week spurts. You're also going to want to determine your calorie intake.
"Log everything that you eat, and find the calorie level that keeps your weight the same for a 2 week period.Once you know this number, bulking comes next. Then you will eat at least an additional 1,000 calories per day on a bulk. Remember, it takes time for the body to transition over to fat storage mode, so eating more then 1,000 calories over maintenance level isn't a bad thing at all. I would recommend eating more than this the first week of a bulk, and cutting back to surplus of 1,000 during the second week.
Following the first 2 weeks of the bulk, immediately cut back your calories to 500 below maintenance - and keep them there for the next 2 week period."
In this very first edition of Fitness Interview, I kick it off with a collaboration with another blog. Fitness enthusiast, model, and singer Antonial interviews me for his blog on my life in fitness. I am also featuring it here on my blog for my (3) readers to read 😜 LOL. More information on Antonial to follow at the end of the interview.
Antonial: Why did you decide to become a fitness trainer?
Mikey: To make a long story short, I have always been active and athletic. I lifted for leisure but never took it seriously. I never even had a goal in mind. At the time, I was working in music/film production I met a trainer who inspired me and helped me realized what my health and fitness goals were. She taught me the fundamentals of fitness and core stability. I was inspired. I eventually started working at LA Fitness and became certified in personal training.
A: What professional license did you earn?
M: When I first began, my eyes were open and I wanted to try everything. So, I went for Weight Management, Powerlifting Instructor, Functionality Training, and eventually Corrective Exercise Specialist. I couldn’t be a jack of all trades and a master of none. I found my passion in corrective exercise and more of the sports medicine/exercise science route. That led me to pursue exercise physiology.
A: What fitness associations are you involved in?
M: For school, it is with ASU. As far as fitness institutions go I have an abundance: NASM, ISSA, NCCPT, NFPT, & ACSM.
A: What diet and nutrition education have you received?
M: Took classes through school and CEUs in Weight Management, but to be honest my focus wasn’t on nutrition. I focused more on rehabilitation and helping those with injuries, imbalances, etc.
A: What techniques do you use to increase your clientele? What are your goals for increasing the number of clients you serve?
M: When I first started out, I would just talk to people. I conversed with them on a friendly daily basis. I was big on building rapport with people. Eventually my reputation just spoke for itself and people would refer more people to me. Now, I am given clients who are in need of a corrective exercise specialist and/or exercise physiologist. They call me Doctor Mike already 😊
A: If you were to have a client who gets discouraged about their progress, how do you keep your clients motivated?
M: It happens fairly often in the beginning when a client is dealing with medical problems, injuries, physical therapy etc. Injuries can be debilitating but my motto is don’t succumb to them, together we’ll get through it. I use my own journey of overcoming injuries and through fitness as well as other clients’ success stories as motivation and fitspiration.
A: What are your favorite exercises?
M: This is a tough one, man. But I would have to say that deadlifts are my most favorite. I love compound workouts. They feel so good to perform. I also like press and cleans, deadlift rows, and chest press.
A: What part of your body do you admire the most? Why?
M: I like my chest. An easy muscle group to grow in gains but not as easy to sculpt so I definitely love focusing on getting nicely chiseled pectorals.
A: What part of your body do you least admire? Why?
M: My hamstrings. I have so many issues on my left side from a sciatic nerve, very tight and shortened muscles, and referral pain from a herniated disc in my lower back. This happened after an unfortunate biking accident which I still am recovering from.
A: Do you have fitness goals for yourself? If so, what are they?
M: I sure do! For a while it was more bodybuilding but most recently it has switched to a strong, healthy, and athletic body. I’ve been doing more corrective exercises with myself to get back a lot of core stability and treat my muscle imbalances. The beauty of fitness is that everyone wears it differently and our journeys are all diverse from one another. It’s not a quick fix but rather a lifetime commitment, a lifestyle change.
To see the full interview on his page click the link below:
Follow this awesomely talented young man via his blog. Check out his music and modeling shots too!
My amazingly wonderful client Sherry messaged me with her testimonial...finally hehe. She and I developed a very special bond through the year and we clicked the very first day she stepped foot into my fitness office. Famous last words, "I hate working out and don't expect me to do too much on my own". Nice try my love because now you're officially a fitness machine! Such a wonderful and spirited human being. Seeing her transformation in health and fitness completely moves me. Together, we have overcome injuries and medical issues, improved core stability, and everyday functionality. I hope her story inspires you as much as it does to me.
"Finally here is my testimonial.
What can I say about Mikey? After dieting most of adult life, having total bilateral knee replacements and scoliosis being fit is challenging. And seems often impossible. So when I first met Mikey, I remember him looking me in the eye and saying we are in this together. You can do this. He has given me confidence, has inspired me, changed they way I feel out fitness and has literally changed my life. I started working with him 2 days a week and now I workout 6 days a week. The results have been staggering to say the least. I never thought I would be this person and now I share my story with others and it is because Mickey is not only amazing trainer but an amazing human being. I can't thank him enough!"