Top of the Turf: Innovative Strength & Conditioning

By Chelsea Irvine

I don’t know how it happened, but suddenly our weekends are hitting 90 degrees. We barely had time to tuck away our scarves and dust off our warm weather clothes before spring (and what is beginning to feel like summer) sprung upon us.

This means many things:

1. Longer days with more hours outside to enjoy the weather

2. Sunny weekends filled with trips to our lakes and rivers – and perfect days for lounging poolside

3. Summer wardrobe, featuring the latest in teeny bikinis, shorts (when did they get so short?!), sundresses and other warm-weather fashions

What this means for a lot of gals on the grid (and everywhere for that matter) is time to kick that workout routine into gear. Nobody wants to be caught on Instagram looking like a perfectly vintage-ized bear that just woke from winter hibernation.

Not to panic, ladies. We’ve still got time, and undoubtedly you already look better than you think you do.  (When will we ever get rid of that ingrained feeling of ‘if I only lost that last ten pounds?’)

For those of you stuck in a workout rut, sick of dawning your yoga best only to be stuck next to the well-meaning-but-drippingly-sweaty yoga goer in his speedo, or simply ready to kick your workout into gear, boy do I have a place for you.

For the last year I’ve been training at arguably one of the best gyms in town. This isn’t a place you go to if you’re looking for a ”drop ten pounds in a week” fad weight loss. This is the place you go when you are committed to whipping your butt into shape and challenging yourself to reach a new level of fitness.

It’s called Innovative Strength and Conditioning and is run by the awesomely tough Coach Toraino Singleton (Coach T), along with Coach Austin Gwaltney.  Located at 3rd and T Streets in Midtown, our team shares a gym with a few other fantastic trainers, including the two that founded the gym nearly five years ago, Camilo Gutierrez and Tara Getty.

Coach T also has an awesome deal for any GOTG’ers that want to join us for great workouts this summer: $100.00 a month for unlimited classes for the summer (til sept 21st). Just “like” our team page and comment “Blue 42!” on it in order to get this deal! Be sure to follow us on Twitter as well!

Along with our ISC team, these trainers have created a warm, welcoming environment where you feel comfortable getting your sweat on, while not having to worry about being oogled at by ‘roided gym rats or silently judged by the person next to you.

A mix of strength, agility, conditioning and the occasional “Jane Fonda” moments, these workouts keep you challenged and on your toes.  Workouts change daily, but during an average workout you will find:

  • Kettle bell exercises: Swings, snatches, push-ups (I was introduced to the kettle bell at ISC and we have since become close friends.  I’ve even had my moments of out-of-body 35 pound double kettle bell cleans…  Trust me, I made sure that move was remembered in photograph so I could look back on it on those days I feel like a weakling.)
  • Squats: With barbells, with chains (When I started at ISC, I had some tragically weak squats, but Coach T and Coach Austin have been extra patient and come up with exercises to get my squats close to where I need them to be.  Finally.)
  • Lunges: On the TRX, with weight overhead ( I can’t say enough about single leg TRX lunges. Strap one foot in and lunge down with the other leg… You can’t get a burn like that with any ordinary lunge.)
  • Resistance exercises: Running with a resistance band around your waist being held by your partner, side squats with a rubber band around your feet (If you’re trying to rid yourself of those office worker saddle bags, here are your exercises!)
  • Sandbags: Burpies, broad jumps, cleans (Who would have thought you could take something as tropical and beachy as sand and turn it into a torture mechanism.  Just kidding.  Sort of.)
  • Core moves: Reverse crunches, wheel rollouts, plank exercises (A month of these bad boys and you’ll be more than bikini ready.)

These moves, along with a quick warm-up and some cardio, an hour later and BAM, you’re done! After that hour you’ll feel strong, energized and ready to rock ‘n roll.

The best part about our ISC team, however, is the team. We not only have two awesome coaches pushing us past our limits, we’re like a family.  I started at ISC because my work (and now workout) BFF had been going for a while and I figured at least I’d feel comfortable when we could workout together. Soon I realized everyone we workout with was coming for the same reasons we were…  to get fit, to get strong and to reach the next level of training.

We cheer each other on, help each other (thank goodness for a great spotter during those barbell back squats!) and motivate each other to push past where we think we can go and achieve what we never thought we could.  We are at all different fitness levels, but no matter if you’re the strongest one or the new guy, everyone is there to support you and help you get better.

These aren’t workouts you dread going to. (Ok, maybe those few times when you inadvertently had one – or two – too many glasses of wine the night before your 8:00am Saturday workout.)  These are workouts you’re pumped to go to. These are workouts where, when you miss a week because you’re sipping Guaro Sours in Costa Rica, you get the you’ve been missing something.

As I said before, this isn’t a gimmicky “get slim quick” gym. But after training at ISC for the last year, I’m in better shape than I’ve been in since the years of six-days-per-week competitive-level soccer. I donned a swimsuit for the first time this year and didn’t cringe at what I saw. And I know that if I push myself harder (read: drink less wine), I can get stronger, look better and feel even more awesome. You can too.

So, if you’re looking for a great place to get your fit on, check out ISC.  Coach T and Coach Austin are ready to help you achieve their goals and beyond.  And our team will welcome you with open arms.


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