It's around that time of year when the gym membership that many started the year with is just beginning to become a monthly deduction. These once-crowded machines are suddenly readily available and there's no waiting for an open post-workout shower. The motivation many have started the year with to get in shape is thanks to life, cold weather, new TV series or other reasons that keep fitness from being established as a priority, and not just for a moment, disappeared.
Manning Sumner is no stranger to seeing this trend year after year. Sumner is the CEO and Founder of Legacy Gyms in Miami and has trained approximately 9 to 5 workers for professional athletes and celebrities. He believes that feelings and emotions play a crucial role in the decline in fitness that occurs throughout the year.
Sumner created a fitness system called Partner Interval Training (PIT) that is all about accountability and motivation. His Days Off philosophy is about making fitness as natural as brushing your teeth or eating when hunger strikes. He spoke to M&F about why accountability was the genesis of his fitness system, why your body should always be your priority, what the pandemic has taught him about the importance of fitness, and how you can implement Legacy's antagonistic training practices when you travel or while you're there Living room.
PIT is all about accountability
During the group training I realized that there was a lack of responsibility. I did these boot camp classes and had between 50 and 120 people. I always thought that a coach who deals with a lot of people just makes it where there isn't much responsibility. One day I started pairing people and that turned 100 people into 50. I stepped back to watch the room and everyone was counting each other's reps, motivating each other and it just reminded me, that training partner to have. We all thrive when we have someone to train with more than when we train alone.
You have someone pushing you and there is friendly competition. The real aha moment for me was when I was training and double-booked two clients. One of them was (former Dallas Cowboys) Marion Barber and a woman trying to lose weight. You have this regular woman and this elite NFL running back, and I was coaching them at the same time with basically the exact same workout. The principle was, when your partner leaves, you rest and vice versa. Even though they used different weights and did things a little differently, it was still the same workout. They fired each other and motivated each other. In the end they were exhausted and they both loved it. I knew I could train anyone this way, and I began to implement these principles of antagonistic training—push, pull, and one cardio movement.
For example, you do a push-up, then a reverse pull-up, and then do something high-intensity. Whether it's a skipping rope, a punching bag, or a rowing machine, anything that gets your heart rate up. It just flowed really well. When you're training opposing muscle groups, it complements the body, creating symmetry and helping prevent injury.
Why does fitness drop after January?
I think reason #1 is simply a matter of emotions, feelings and motivations. I think people get too caught up in how they feel and act based on an emotional state and wait for motivation. What's happening is in January, everyone's excited because it's a new year and they're emotionally available
what you think will change your life. When that feeling and New Year's emotion starts to fade and life suddenly happens, that motivation isn't there - because you're relying on a feeling and not a schedule, routine, or the discipline of showing up no matter how you feel . After all, we don't think about showering. We don't remember to eat lunch or show up for work.
You only get one body, so why isn't that a priority? Why don't you have a routine that's non-negotiable? We don't negotiate whether we brush our teeth or take a shower because those are things that are part of our lives. Why is fitness and health not rated equally? If you do it this way, you will get results. If you act on the basis of feelings and emotions, you will always let yourself down. Motivation will come and go because it's a feeling. Discipline is something you will always do.
What Covid has taught us about health
I think what Covid has done for everyone is that it has brought a heightened sense of health. 85 percent of people who got sick or died were metabolically damaged. This means they were out of shape and some were old and already ill. There was really a lot of emphasis on actually being in shape. That doesn't mean having a six pack or looking good, it means feeling good and being in shape. People are more aware of the importance of being in shape and their health to fight viruses and diseases. Another thing (the pandemic) that caught our attention was community. When we lost fellowship, we realized that it affected our lives negatively.
body likes to be isolated. There are good things about solitude and really bad things about isolation. Isolating yourself can damage your immune system and your overall attitude towards life. Gyms, churches, events - everyone has realized that there is something positive about life and that we need to get back to it. Our community is the only reason we haven't closed and why we've actually grown during the pandemic.
When the pandemic happened, I really dove into my office. I've never read so much in my life. I read almost the entire CDC website and became obsessed with trying to figure out what was going on because something was wrong. Why would we take away something that actually boosts our immune system, energizes us, and empowers us to fight off disease? It was so important to me to provide a place where people can come and still get their training to boost their immune systems. Of course we have taken all possible safety precautions. Exercise was one of the things we should have done. Exercise, diet and all those things are so important for your immune system. Taking that away was the worst thing we could do.
Manning Sumner Hotel Workouts
I think a lot of people do something, especially when they travel - when they go to that hotel gym or a gym that they're unfamiliar with, they usually just focus on what it doesn't have and not that what it has . I think in life we tend to do that too. Focusing on what we have and using it to the best of our ability opens us up to more. If we focus on what we don't have, it will hold you back. I'd say the first thing when you walk into a hotel gym - yes, there might just be a weight rack and treadmill, and there might not be a lot of energy in there. But you will make this space what it needs to be.
Fitness training in the hotel:
- Dumbbell Chest Press (12-15 reps)
- Dumbbell Rows (12-15 reps)
- 30 second sprint on the treadmill. * Replace high knees, jumping jacks, or running in place when a treadmill isn't available
- Rest 30 seconds
- Repeat for four sets
Training in the hotel room:
- 25 push-ups
- 25 sit ups
- 1 minute plank.
Use your body
Our military probably does more bodyweight movements than anyone else and most of them are in great shape. Why this? They literally do push-ups, sit-ups, squats, and pull-ups. Get up and walk. The only thing I feel like people aren't doing enough is walking. You can also take the stairs instead of the elevator. Second, you can do bodyweight squats and push-ups. These are things that are very simple and anyone can do them anywhere. If you want to go further forward, you can do lunges or planks. Squats and push-ups can set you up for success.
Follow Manning Sumner on Instagram @manningsumner