In just 12 days, my kids begin their Spring Break vacation, which means between now and then, I must face my worst fear: digging out last season’s bathing suit and admitting how bad a winter it really was.
I’m not talking barometric pressure or precipitation; we know it’s been one of the mildest winters on record. I’m talking about my cyclone of eating and the flash floods of food I’ve put down, causing the visibility of even more jiggles brought on by the SWEAT Index I never made time for.
A friend recently told me about the website STAB Fitness, created by Evanston resident Tony Bordo. And, while I wish I’d learned about STAB long ago, I’ve gotten to know Tony (and his site) a little better:
Patch: What's your story? Why did you create this website?
The constant throughout my life has been exercise and fitness, so when I left the Board of Trade in 2002, I started a personal training business. My original concept was to go to people’s homes and work with them. I began to develop and refine the concept at that time.
My approach to exercise is efficiency, sustainability and variety. Becoming and staying fit is a long-term proposition that requires multiple weekly workouts throughout your life. It’s important that you vary your workouts often, both to keep you interested and to increase strength.
Workouts need to be compact because if you have a full life, two hours a day is not real. It won't happen. I constructed this over a number of years with my private clients and refined the concept to the point where we can fit a multi-faceted workout (strength, agility, endurance, flexibility) into time frames ranging from 20 to 40 minutes.
STAB—(Strength Training Agility Builder) brings this to the web in a straightforward manner. I design and perform the workouts and my partner Mark Bernardini, whom I’ve known since college (we were in the University of Michigan Marching Band together) does the video editing and website work. We launched our site, www.stabfitness.com, over a year ago. He lives in California but we talk almost every day and collaborate over the web.
Patch: What's your connection to Evanston?
My wife Julie and I have lived here since 1993. We moved up from the city before our sons' arrived on the scene. Evanston reminded us of our home town of Ann Arbor. MI. The urban/suburban feel of Evanston made it an easy transition from living in Chicago. Other downtown friends were heading to suburbs way out but I start to sweat when I pass O'Hare with real estate listings in the car. We found Evanston to be a great community to live, work, and raise a family.
Patch: Who do you envision using the site most?
It can really fit anyone’s needs, but our target user is anyone who wants to stay fit for life. STAB is efficient, effective, and convenient. There are different difficulty levels that you can choose as your conditioning and athleticism improve. This type of exercise is where it is at now. Sitting on machines isolating one muscle group after another is a waste of time. STAB packs all the exercise you need into a compact circuit.
As you progress, you should choose different circuits and increase your weights to challenge yourself and maintain your interest. And you can do this anywhere. As you can see from the STAB site you don't need to go to a gym. In the time it takes you to drive to the gym, park and drive home you can complete a STAB workout. No more waiting for machines. No more seeing people shave or pull hairs out of their nose in the locker room. STAB has a plan and lots of variety and we are adding more circuits all the time. You just grab your weights, log on and Boom, off to the races.
Patch: Any advice for the panicked folks like me? The 40-somethings who wonder why they ever stopped exercising? My "stoppage" has to do with spraining my ankle last summer jumping off a boat ... and now I'm discouraged to jump back into exercising. How can people jump back on the horse when they've fallen off?
Here is my advice on how to restart your exercise:
Set goals that are realistic and attainable. An exercise program that is too ambitious is a recipe for disaster. An example would be lift weights twice weekly for 20-30 minutes (STAB express workouts are a great for this) and then do two cardio sessions for 30-40 minutes. Bike, run, walk or swim. Choose one. Do it for two months. You can then begin to increase the time a bit after you are in the groove.
The next part is a little more challenging. To maintain this discipline for a long period of time you need to disconnect negative emotions from the task. You also need to carve out time in your day. Exercise must be done like eating or sleeping. One foot in front of the other, you do it. No excuses about I feel this or that. I find it critical to crowd out the negativity. It weighs you down. If you indulge in dread, you will likely find it hard to get over the hump.
As we have not met I don't know if weight is a part of the equation. But I will say this: A lean physique is born in the kitchen. Control your intake. Critical to the process. Binging on exercise as part of a resolution is a perennial favorite. Set up a situation that you can maintain.
To all of you who’ve been working out nonstop in preparation for Spring Break and beyond, allow me to put down this salted caramel and congratulate you. And to the rest of us, all I can say is, “Thank you, Tony Bordo, for your creative approach to fitness.”
I've asked Tony if he'd answer readers' fitness questions at the end of this article in the COMMENTS section. This is your chance to ask a trained fitness professional your most pressing questions. Take advantage!