Tackle These 5 Problem Areas With Help From to Bergen’s Fitness Experts

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Abs, Arms, Legs, Butt and Endurance: Perhaps you have a love/hate relationship with these so-called problem areas when it comes to fitness, but it’s time to show them nothing but love. The good news is you don’t need to push yourself to the limit to achieve your desired results you’re looking. We chatted with five of Bergen County’s fitness pros who shared their secrets to toning and shaping your abs, arms, legs, glutes and increasing endurance.


Arms with Darlene Bellarmino, founder of Rise Fitness Training and the Girl Up App

“The tricep area (back of the upper part of the arm) is the part I hear about from my clients most often.” However, Bellarmino suggests going beyond such a specific focus. “’Spot training’ or ‘spot reduction’ is impossible. The majority of us grew up learning that we can spot reduce fat loss or gain muscle just by working one part of the body, but that is a myth. Give yourself a full body workout no matter what your goals are. On day one, you can work biceps and triceps, on day two work back and chest. Incorporate some HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts to get your heart rate up. I incorporate arms in every workout. If possible, you should workout five days a week for 30 minutes or 150 minutes a week, spread out as you can.”

Bellarmino’s Arms Workout:

Overhead Tricep Extensions. Use a single hand weight or a resistance band. (If you have shoulder issues, work triceps in a kickback form).

Bicep Curl. I like both a regular curl with palms up and a hammer curl where thumbs face up, “neutral position.” Choose a weight that is a challenge, but doesn't hurt you.

Tricep Push Up. Put your hands together to make a diamond shape. These can be done in full plank or by dropping to your knees. Keep your hips tucked, squeezing your glutes. If the diamond is too difficult, bring your hands further apart, but not as far as the shoulders and keep hands even with chest.

Lateral Raise. Although this is intended for shoulders, you will feel this in other muscles.  Keep your elbows slightly bent, palms facing down and remember to always bend at the knees and waist to support your back while lifting weights. Again, choose the weight accordingly. Since this focuses on shoulders, I tend to go lower in weight than what I would use for a bicep curl.


Glutes with Colleen Brace, founder of Fitness With Friends

“Saggy butt is the number one complaint from women about their behind. As we get older, the butt tends to fall unless we work it to keep a nice shape. As a rule of thumb, I try to hit every body part at least once or twice a week, and each week I’ll choose a body part to hit multiple times. A lot of exercises incorporate this area, but try to ‘burn your butt’ and focus just on the rear for 20 minutes once a week to see results, such as with Fitness With Friends’ 20 Minute Glute Class. If you do three exercises, three sets each that focus on the rear, it usually takes about four to six weeks to start seeing results.”

Brace’s Butt Workout:

Glute Kick Back. Start on your mat on your hands and knees. Put a weight on the back of your knee, flex your foot and press your leg up into the air. Repeat 10 times, then switch sides.

Glute Bridges. This one is simple but really makes you feel the burn. Start off by laying on your back with your knees bent, palms to the floor. Raise your hips to the air as high as they can go, hold and lower to the ground. Repeat this 10 times.


Legs with Josh Grinstead, owner of GYMGUYZ of Bergen Co., & Northern Hudson Co., NJ

“When it comes to toning and fat burning, most female clients want to define their thighs followed by glutes. There are great workouts that allow you to build toned, shapely legs while burning fat on them as well. As a rule of thumb, it is definitely a good idea to have a leg day. If you have healthy joints, integrate leg workouts as frequently as you can. There are different strategies such as hypertrophy training, time under tension, working opposing muscle groups and target toning. For clients without any limitations, work your legs three to four times a week with at least one of those sessions exclusively focusing on the lower body. Strong, stable legs help overall fitness performance, balance, stability, delay some of the impacts of aging, and help to just be your best, healthiest self.”

Grinstead’s Legs Workout:

Squats and Lunges. These are staples of most workouts for a reason: they impact the body’s largest muscle groups – the quads, hamstrings and glutes – very thoroughly. They help with core and lower back strength, and improve balance. These can be done with body weight, or involve bands, free weights, machines or heavier weights.

Pulses. For those not quite ready to dip into a full squat, pulses or wall sits are effective. Use support devices as needed. You can even get up and down from a chair or bench if you need additional support.

No Weight Exercises. Most people don’t realize what they can do with just body weight. On a mat, you can do bridges, leg raises, clam openers, fire hydrants and donkey kicks. We start many clients from the very basics of no weight on their joints.



Abs with Thomas-Anthony Jimenez, owner of TA Bodyshop

“There is a saying "Abs are made in the kitchen" and it means that although you may train them and have them, it doesn't mean you will see them until your nutrition is on point and body fat is under about 20 percent. What should also be taken into account is that certain things we eat, like wheat, gluten and dairy, can cause a temporary protrusion of the stomach (aka bloating). Also, women who have given birth may experience diastasis recti, which is when the abs essentially split. I recommend oblique and plank workouts versus sit-ups, which force the stomach to push forward without that wall of abs to keep the stomach tight. Aim to train abs consistently throughout the week, such as a few sets of one to two ab exercises with every workout. This will give the abs a proper workout without overdoing it.”

Jimenez’s Abs Workout:

Planks/Side Planks and Crunches. The goal is to have great form and to hold yourself up for at least 1 minute. One-minute planks with very good form for 3 to 5 sets, sprinkled in with a few sets of crunches will have the abs working. Planks are a low-impact and safe exercise for people who suffer from back injuries.

Side Bends. Take a dumbbell, kettlebell or plate and hold in one hand at your side. With legs shoulder width apart, lean over toward one knee with that weight, and then with your opposite hand, lean over toward the other side reaching toward the other knee. Then switch. Do three to five sets of 10-20 reps.


Endurance with Marisa Kochnover, a CycleBar CycleStar and Owner

“With any fitness regimen that pushes you outside your comfort level, it takes motivation, consistency and a certain drive. We need something to grab and hold our attention, in an environment that you connect to and can commit to, and a community that makes you feel welcome and supported. For beginners looking to build endurance, the goal should be to get through a class or workout and come back again. If you take each step one moment at a time, all of a sudden you are building endurance, strength and power. For people who are more advanced in fitness, think about what is your point of differentiation today – how do you want to feel today and how will you up your game. I always say to people nothing changes if nothing changes. A gym like CycleBar will bring you from beginner to superstar through support and coaching.”


Kochnover’s Endurance Workout Tips:

Move Every Day. This could mean different things to different people, but there should be a commitment to move every day. Success comes with consistency. Strive for three to four times a week, and combine endurance exercise like indoor cycling with weight training, barre or Pilates to improve strength.

Hop on a Bike. CycleBar classes have different formats, with the Empower class focusing on building endurance through a seated ride rather than speed or choreography. Finding an inclusive place like CycleBar will help coach you to be the best version of yourself.

Incorporate Nutrition. Fueling your body with good food to maximize endurance and give your engine the gas it needs is much more important than limiting your intake. Everything I eat is with intention and purpose -- no mindless snacking. Make your diet full of good fats, fiber and protein to feel full and satisfied with less calories. This will give you energy for higher intensity exercises.

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