In this series of five posts, normal people with naturally active lifestyles will inject a fitness boost into their routine using the Fitbit, complete with exercises anyone can do to make every day a workout. To keep up, start here for the basics, then check back here in the coming weeks as more posts with custom, gym-free workouts are added. This week: DJ Robert Lux.
Some people have jobs where the most action they get in a day comes from spinning in their swivel chairs and strolling to the coffee machine. But Robert Lux does his on-the-job chair-dancing sans chair, behind a DJ booth. For Lux, staying fit during the workday is less about keeping himself moving and more about maximizing the benefits of the activity he already gets.
Robert's a hard target to hit — he regularly spins at venues across New York City and on national stages at events like Lollapalooza, Summer Camp and Rombello Cruise. On any given week you can find him pumping up crowds well into the wee hours with mixes that incorporate house, bass, disco and funk. Even on supposedly-off days, you'll find him in the studio producing electronica and dance music.
Clearly, he doesn't spend much time sitting still. Even so, Lux tries to to get in more formal exercise when he can, running two or three times a week, and tacking on bodyweight exercises at a local park. Unfortunately, with all those late nights, his exercise routine sometimes takes a back seat to sleep. What's more, long hours hunched over a turntable have resulted in chronic lower-back pain — and afternoons lugging a large backpack with a laptop and other heavy equipment don't help. So how to make the leap from active to actually in shape?
Hoping to find new, better, and smarter ways to work fitness into his everyday schedule — even on days when he doesn't have time to head to the track — Robert asked certified personal trainer Chris Hale, of Awakened Nutrition and Training, to build him a customized workout, using a Fitbit Charge™ to get him started and to track his progress along the way.
No surprise: whether you chalk it up to the dancing, the running, or both, Robert's Fitbit revealed that, in the course of a regular day, he was already operating at well above the recommended minimum.
Put it this way: this isn't someone who needs to worry about taking the long route to the bathroom to get his 10,000 daily steps. (Come on. After 40 floors climbed, you're just showing off.) But Lux wanted to take this data and use it to make his workout smarter, as well as hitting a few nagging areas.
If you're going to spend your nights slaving to the groove, there's no room for tight muscles — and staying limber isn't as simple as flinging yourself around the dance floor a couple times a week.
Hale loosening leg and shoulder muscles is essential to prepare for a heavier-duty cardio and strength-training regimen. To do this, try holding the following stretches for 30-60 seconds throughout the day to keep muscles primed for activity:
Abs of steel aren't just for showing off. According to Hale, a weak abdominal area is largely responsible for the lower-back aches Lux experiences daily. Strengthen these muscles, and other muscles won't overcompensate when you're hunched over a turntable or lugging a heavy backpack.
To build up core strength, Hale suggests a circuit of three sets of the following moves:
- Row/rotate/overhead press — 20 reps; slow tempo
- Glute bridge — 1 minute or 20-30 reps
- Plank on forearms with one leg raised — 30 seconds per leg
- Forward lunge to single leg balance — 20 reps per leg; hold balance for 3 seconds
- Power steps, alternating legs — 20 as fast as possible
While Lux's twice-weekly workouts were a good start, his schedule made it difficult to maintain a routine — plus, he wanted to up his intensity.
When you've got the room for it, start with a 50-yard sprint followed by a slow return jog performed 10 times in a row. Stuck inside? Swap in several sets of 30-stair runs. (Bonus: the Fitbit doesn't just count steps taken; it also keeps tracks of floors climbed and calories burned.)
When you've gotten your heart rate soaring, move on to the following exercises. Your Fitbit working overtime to keep up with you:
- Push-ups – To failure but no fewer than 15
- Jump Squats – Hold 3-5 second at the bottom of each
- Negative underhand sternum pull-ups – Hold the squeeze for 2-3 seconds and then lower yourself all the way down for 8 seconds
- Body tricep press –Resting on your forearms in plank position, press through your palms to bring yourself up on your hands and then slowly lower yourself down.
Lucy Maher is a digital media executive with 15 years reporting, writing and content strategy experience. Her work has appeared on SELF.com, MensJournal.com, Details.com, CNBC.com, and in The New York Post and the New York Daily News.
Photographed by Justin Steele.