Even with nostalgia so entrenched, most people are happy to bid adieu to the adage, "No pain, no gain." It used to be that if you didn't throw up after a workout, you might as well be a couch potato. Exercise devotees used to stick to one regime and never vary it. Anyone remember step aerobics? Day in, day out, hopping up and down on that little platform.
Thousands of injuries later, the sophisticated, albeit aging, population heads to a workout minus the pain. Experts are telling clients to stop before it hurts or stop when it hurts. Fitness routines are addressing specific problem areas. Trainers are teaching that holding back is more important than pushing through the pain and causing damage. Here are some teachers who value gain over pain.
Yoga and Nia technique
Sun-Haeng Yu learned yoga and Nia after she hurt her back playing golf on the Hong Kong amateur team in her 30s. She gave up golf but says she gained so much in return. At 60, Yu is muscular and svelte. Her demeanor is suffused with happiness. Her secret? "Nia and yoga," said Yu. "They are the perfect complement." Nia combines elements of nine movement principles from martial arts (taekwando, tai chi, akido), dance arts (Duncan, modern and jazz) and healing arts (Feldenkrais method, Alexander technique and yoga). Yu is a Nia black belt: She's learned more than 50 complex routines. Yoga focuses on alignment and healing. Nia focuses on fun and cardio. "Nia is all about pleasure," said Yu. "It's the joy of movement."
Yu teaches at Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes, Spectrum Club in Rolling Hills Estates and Palos Verdes Education Center. Prices range from $110 for 10 classes to $125 for a private lesson, depending on location. At Spectrum, classes are for members; at Terranea, there are various options. www.nia-sun.com
Wall kinesis training
Susan Howard is on a mission for her clients to work out in a safe environment, which she says is embodied by Studio K's wall kinesis training. Wall kinesis is a vertical system of cables and weights attached to a wall unit. Cables can extend 6 feet from the wall for maximum resistance. "It's great for older people who don't do a lot of lateral movement," Howard said. "It awakens the body to work together as one whole unit." Wall kinesis clients work toward core strength through balance, flexibility and agility without pain or re-injury. Group sessions are limited to eight people. "We want our clients to benefit in 10, 20, 30 years. We want them to live a long life without surgeries and knee pain," Howard said.
Howard teaches at Studio K, 17351 Sunset Blvd., Pacific Palisades. $35 for group sessions. studioKtraining.com
If there's anything John Scarangello hates, it's the word "punishing." As a Spin instructor and owner of the Brentwood-based Kinetic Cycling, Scarangello has spent 16 years fighting Spin's bad karma. "People come in the door and they are intimidated," Scarangello said. He preaches recreation, fun, inclusion and positivity. "Anyone can walk in, but athletes walk out," he said. Octogenarians come for a daily dose of Spin. Knee surgeons take Kinetic's classes and recommend the stationary cycling studio to patients to build up muscles around the knee and in the quads. Scarangello knows about aching muscles. He's almost 50, and he's taught 13,000 Spin classes. He's never experienced an injury from Spinning. He does his best to ensure clients stay injury-free too. "We care how many times you show up, not how intensely you work out."
Scarangello teaches at Kinetic Cycling, 11740 San Vicente Blvd., Brentwood. Classes are $15 to $19, with less expensive packages available. www.kineticcycling.com