Archive for Contributors
Gabe Valencia is co-founder of FitnessMASH, FocusNYC and the Focus Personal Training Institute. In addition to attending numerous continuing education courses, mentorships and clinics throughout the country, Valencia has received certifications from the National Strength and Conditioning Association, the American Council on Exercise, the National Academy of Sports Medicine and The American Academy of Health and Fitness Rehabilitation Professionals. As well as being a driven fitness entrepreneur, his specialties include corrective exercise, performance enhancement, conditioning, postural assessment and strength training.
Fads and celebrity hype are truly taboo for Valencia: he personifies that rare breed of trainer who approaches his profession as a science. This distinction has earned Gabe the respect of his clients, peers and the media; he has also been a fitness consultant for CBS-TV, WB 11; In-Style, Shape and Marie Claire magazines; Forbes.com, the Daily News, and I-Village Online.
A graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Gabe’s eclectic aesthetic and passion for excellence is a driving force in the growth and success of Focus Integrated Fitness
Joe Masiello is co-founder of FitnessMASH, FocusNYC and the Focus Personal Training Institute. He has studied and implemented innovative programs ranging from weight loss strategies to strength and conditioning. Masiello first acquired a clientele as a personal trainer while studying at the University of Miami. He currently holds certifications from The National Strength and Conditioning Association, The National Academy of Sports Medicine and The American Academy of Health and Fitness Rehabilitation Professionals.
An avid proponent of continuing education for trainers, Masiello has completed over 50 specialty programs, including core training, pre/post natal, heart rate training and athletic training. As a Medical Exercise Specialist, he actively collaborates with rehabilitation therapists, designing and implementing post-rehabilitation programs.
Masiello has been featured on CBS News and in The Daily News, I-Village Online, Our Town East Side, WB-11 News, Star Magazine, Fitness Magazine and Fox 5. As a renowned celebrity trainer, he was chosen as a contributor to Dr.Jana Klauer’s New York Times bestsellers “How the Rich Get Thin” and “The Park Avenue Nutritionist’s Plan”.
Joe brings a heartfelt commitment to FitnessMASH and intensive expertise in every facet of fitness.
Q. I have worked out regularly for several years and know the importance of warming up before my lifting session. I usually do about 10 minutes of light jogging or biking to elevate my heart rate and get the blood flowing, but I’m not sure this is correct. I hear the terms “dynamic warm-up” and “activation” tossed around a lot lately, but I don’t really know what they mean. Should I be warming up differently before I lift? – Alice Crowley, London, England
A. Good question, Alice. You are right in that you should warm up to increase circulation, but there’s a lot more to it than that. Properly preparing your body for a workout also involves taking your joints through a full range motion and waking up your central nervous system. A dynamic warm-up is a better choice than low-intensity cardio because it gets blood to the working muscles while also enhancing the movement quality of your subsequent lifts by improving mobility and motor patterns beforehand. For example, if your primary lift for the day is a squat, your warm-up might include leg swings (to increase mobility in the hip and allow for greater depth) and bodyweight squats (to wake up the CNS and groove the movement pattern before adding load). Activation is simply a technique used during a dynamic warm-up to “turn on” certain muscles so that they fire appropriately. In keeping with the squat example, you might include a set of hip bridges in your warm-up to activate your glutes so that you use them properly when you squat. Hope this helps!
Q. A trainer recently told me I should stop doing crunches because they are bad for the low back. I’ve heard this before, but is it actually true? - Andrew James, Los Angeles, CA
A. Unfortunately, Andrew, it is. The problem, however, lies not with the exercise itself, but with the issue of lumbar flexion. Low back specialist Dr. Stuart McGill has shown through his laboratory research that a sit-up places approximately 3500 Newtons (386 lbs.) of pressure on the lumbar spine, and that repeated cycles of lumbar flexion and extension cause damage to intervertebral discs. Over time, the disc breaks down until you have a full blown herniation. The act of crunching also shortens the rectus abdominis and reinforces bad posture, while EMG studies show more muscle activation occurs with core stabilization exercises than crunches anyway. So, why not get the most bang for your buck while minimizing risk?