Feel Great

In the Gym: Justin Placitella

by Lauren Teng, blogger

Welcome back all you In The Gym’ers! It’s been five long weeks since our last installment- I hope they have treated you well.

If you’ve been on your game like law student Justin Placitella from Jersey, coming back means you’re hitting the gym five days a week as opposed to the six or seven glorious times you’d work out in seven days at home.

If, however, you’re like the vast majority of us who took a nice leisurely week to catch up on sleep—and then three more to fill up on home cookin’ and whatever type of oven-baked pizza lays claim to your part of the nation—there’s some not so pleasant catching back up to do.

But be kind to yourself.  Don’t go all out and risk overworking yourself by trying to jump straight back into the routine you had going before.  Give yourself some credit for the toll traveling and readapting to school takes and go easy for a week before kicking it into high gear.

Get your heart going with a challenging but not killer cardio set, and be sure to stretch it out extra well before and after.  Then take a cue from Placitella and start working specific areas of your body again.

Take the triceps—they shouldn’t be too traumatizing after all of those weeks off, and you’ll be able to show off your reclaimed tone quickly (which is more than perhaps one can say for those abs that thankfully have some months before warm weather hits to shake of grandma’s desserts).

Placitella is a fan of tricep rope extensions, but he takes extra measures to make sure he’s hitting the real belly of the muscle.  Working the extension rope from his knees, he avoids the common mistake of carrying the weight in his back instead of his arms.  This position forces him to keep his back straight and his chin up while he pulls his fists from a candle holding position in front of his chest to an inverted V near his hips.  Since you’re rotating your forearms from a position that is perpendicular to the floor to one that is parallel, with your fingernails in line with the ground, you’ll work the full rotation of the tricep muscle which will give you that nice definition that cuts diagonally across the back of your upper arm.

Breathe in through your nose at the starting position, exhale through your mouth while extending.  Work your breath in conjunction with your body, advises Placitella, to achieve a full range of motion and strength.

This Jersey boy does three sets of 10, but adjust accordingly to your ability level.

The most important thing is starting out, not the weight you’re carrying. And if reuniting with the gym proves to be a little more trying than you feel you have the energy for at the moment, keep in mind once you create the habit of working out well again. Your body will  learn to adapt and appreciate it.

Soon enough the gym won’t be as tiring as it is energizing, and as Placitella points out, it is the ultimate outlet for school.  Form the habit of taking a break from working the books to work out your body- and you’ll be back in no time.