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SUMMER TUNE-UP By Michael Nelson


Coach Marc Montemerlo is known across the pond as the first out fitness expert on daytime television.  Each week, he helps out-of-shape heteros meet their fitness goals on Lifechangers.  We thought, why not use his expertise to help some our out-of-shape gay readers tune up for summer? You can trust Marc.  Before joining the television program, he was a celebrity trainer, shaping the bodies and minds of stars like Reese Witherspoon, Chris O’Donnell, and Marcia Cross.  So you know he’s good. Coach Marc answers some reader’s questions.

Dear Coach Marc,

Summer’s coming and I know I need to get off my blackberry and hit the gym but I’m busier than ever and just don’t have the time.  Any suggestions?

“I just don’t have the time…” I hear this time and time again. One of the most important things to do is to schedule workouts into your day like any other appointment. There will always be another important meeting or event – make fitness a priority.  Plan shorter and harder workouts that will get you in and out of the gym in no time.  You might also try attending a boot camp or an indoor cycling class to create momentum.

Dear Coach Marc,

I want to lose weight. Is cardio enough or do I need to lift weights too?

Losing weight not only requires cardio and weight training, you need a good eating plan too. Cardio strengthens your heart muscle, speeds up your metabolism and burns fat. Weight training protects bone and muscle mass.  It makes you stronger and fitter and develops better body mechanics. It also boosts energy levels and improves your mood.  And really, who doesn’t want a tighter, harder body

Dear Coach Marc,

I lift weights a lot but I seem to have hit a plateau with my results.  What can I do to get stronger and bigger?

Strength is not related to size. The reason we hit training plateaus is because we have been doing the same training over and over.  We need to shock our bodies to get results. If it is size you are looking for, consider your eating plan. Are you getting enough calories to support growth? Also, are you getting enough rest? As far as your training, are you lifting heavy weights, focusing on large muscle groups, and isolating muscle

Dear Coach Marc,

I was told that I do push-ups incorrectly; that my hands are too close together and that I’m putting too much stress on my elbows.  Is there really a wrong way to do push-ups?  

One of the most important things to remember when executing a push up is posture and alignment. The tailbone must be slightly tucked under to activate the lower abdominals and support the lower back and shoulders down and away from your ears. If you cannot hold a good starting position, drop to your knees to make it easier. When lowering your chest to the floor maintain a neutral spine and keep your core engaged. If you bring the hands closer together, you will focus more on the triceps and front of your shoulders; the wider the position the more chest you will recruit. Play with the different positions to get optimal results.

What am I suppose to do with the giant inflatable balls I see at the gym?

They are stability balls. There are two types, a weighted ball called the Ballast and the regular un-weighted ball. The perfect ab crunch can be done using a stability ball because it allows you to work in extension in a safe range, recruiting more abdominals. You can also use the ball as a bench to do chest presses on and even up against a wall to help you in assisted squats. You can use it for athletic drills in a standing position doing lateral chops, figure eights and even explosive jumps holding it. The variations are endless, just get onto a ball and have fun with it.