Jahn Westbrook

by jahn westbrook

Grow up and grow a pair -er, oh, my…I didn’t…uh boy…I meant…ah, screw it; No More Excuses, exercise girls and boys, face it, we all need to take care of our bodies.

Baggy clothes can hide our neglect, and look oh, so flowy. Body slimmers can shift around our neglect. Surgery is for sissies -no offense. If you want something bad enough, you have to do the time. It’s time we all have Fun!… at the Gym!

Kinesiology, the science of human movement, is the foundation for determining what is proper and improper form. Dr. Michael Yessis wrote a book entitled The Kinesiology of Exercise for those interested in further understanding of human movement.

Let’s face it. There are fitness experts everywhere. I even think there is a cable channel devoted solely to fitness experts. Each expert has the program designed just for your fitness regimen. However, there is one fitness expert you must listen to. YOU. You must listen to your body. How you want it to look and feel will guide the gym appointed fitness trainers to help you reach your fitness goals.


The best exercise programs target multiple muscle groups. Programs like BodyShred, Crossfit, hiit, Zumba, pilates all work multiple muscle groups. The former three incorporate intense exercise for short bursts of time. These also tend to be shorter 30 – 45 minute classes. Zumba uses the power of latin-style dance music to “Move Your Body.” Pilates works muscles and the mind in a unique balance of the full self.

Whether you’ve not exercised since 12th grade gym, or whether you occasionally do physical activity, or whether you are a conditioned athlete, your programs will differ greatly. Physical fitness “is a marathon, not a sprint.” A negative start will successfully inhibit you keeping your commitment. It is important to have long term goals and short term goals, like interstate mile markers. Each time you reach one of your markers, the closer you are to reaching your goal and the more confidence you will gain.

When do you start? Curtly, when you’re ready. Sensitively, when you are ready. Cliché times like New Years Day or your birthday are typically destined for failure. I have personally seen my exercise classes get packed after New Years and after about 6 weeks, the classes thin out retaining virtually no new members.

Make your commitment to exercise for you. It can be planned in advance, or spontaneously decided upon when you find that perfect outfit, or even that morning. Point is, starting when you are ready greatly increases your commitment to continuing when you feel like not going(and believe me, it will happen).

Now that we’ve committed to exercising, we need to ask ourselves some important questions:

  • am I healthy enough to exercise?

If you are in any of the high risk categories, such as suffering from ANY heart related disease, any degenerative muscle or bone disease, or smoke or drink heavily, consult your medical professional BEFORE committing to exercise. Jumping in to a rigorous exercise campaign can quite literally be detrimental to your health. The goal here is to improve your physical fitness and improve your overall health.

If you are not in any health risk category, then join a gym that works for your short and long term goals, works around your schedule, and has a variety of equipment, classes, et cetera. Start out with realistic goals. Most gyms have a physical trainer. Meet with her a couple of times to get you started on the right track.

  • why are you exercising? What are you goals?

Do you want to lose weight? Are you looking for overall physical fitness? Training for a marathon, triathalon, olympics? Just want to get your body toned?

Each reason has its own discipline to maximize your results and rewards you for your sacrifice. Again, it is best to talk to someone knowledgeable in guiding you to meet your exercise goals. If you are training for an event, there typically is a guideline available for you to follow in preparation to your race day. That is the optimum regimen to follow. There are additional exercises you can do to further sculpt your body, if that is your desire.

  • what is your commitment level?

We are transgender, we know commitment….but do we have what it takes to go to the gym in the rain, snow, when it’s 101 degrees? Do you have children? They will curtail gym days -expect that. You make time to shower and to binge watch a television show, so also must you make time to exercise. If you cannot realistically get to the gym on a regular basis, try including fitness dvds.

It is important to be honest with yourself. Skipping a class or a gym day will happen, but when excuses sabotage your efforts, you’ll become frustrated and quit.

  • do you have proper, even good nutrition practices?

It is important to be responsible for your nutritional intake. You cannot expect to spend time at the gym, then eat fast food or other poly-saturated, fatty foods and expect to see results. If you need help planning a proper nutritional plan, seek out a nutritionist. Proper balance of healthy fats and proteins and carbohydrates is important for good nutrition. Avoid saturated fats and be aware of sodium levels(especially if you suffer from hypertension).

  • are you a solo artist or a party-girl(guy)?

Are you more motivated to exercise with your friends or in a group? Prefer to go it alone and at your own pace? Then committing to start outside your comfort zone will doom you to failure. Start where you feel comfortable. The goal here is to have fun and reach your desired goals. As you exercise, and feel better about yourself, you will be motivated to try something new or join a group exercise class.


No matter what exercise routine fits your needs, it is important to have proper form when exercising. Improper form at worst will not get you the results intended and at worst can lead to minor to severe bodily injury. If it hurts, not a good hurt, ask your fitness trainer or exercise instructor if you are in proper form. They are more than happy to field these questions, it shows you are engaged and they will offer additional advice and tips. I know from personal experience.

Now that we have all that straight, lets determine which program types are right for you:

HIIT(High Intensity Interval Training)

HIIT training is a total fitness workout, featuring high bursts of intense energy, followed by brief periods of rest. This type of training can be modified to fit all fitness levels and ages and health ranges. Aerobics and strength training combine for one of the most rewarding routines. HIIT has even been shown to improve blood pressure, cholesterol profiles, cardiovascular health and affect insulin sensitivity.


Developed by Alberto “Beto” Pérez, Zumba combines Latin-style music and dance for total workout combining cardio, muscle condtioning, and balance and flexibility. There are currently 12 different energetic dance party workouts from the Zumba juggernaut.


Developed by Joseph Pilates, he drew from Eastern self-improvement practices and Zen Buddhism. He was inspired by the Greek philosophy of the ideal man being perfected in mind and body. This workout strengthens your core; your abs. It also improves balance and posture. It is a low-impact workout that tones your whole body.


Jillian Michaels BodyShred is an intense interval training program designed to maximize calorie burn and increase metabolism. Using a 3-2-1 approach(3 minutes of strength, 2 minutes of cardio, 1 minute of abs), there are no breaks for the full 30 minute exercise routine.


This furiously paced cardio workout really gives your cardiovascular system a workout. Adjusting tension on the wheel simulates hills, inclines and declines. Mixing sitting and standing and adding hand weights makes spin a total body workout experience.


Crossfit is unique in that is not a purposefully defined exercise program. It is designed to target core strength and conditioning, optimizing 10 fitness principles, including stamina, agility, cardiovascular and speed. Classes will vary from gym to gym. The best of them alternate session to session, keying in on different target areas for a balanced workout.


An aesthetic and spiritual discipline developed from the Hindu, there are a plethora of yoga variations, each varying in intensity. There are presently 12 popular types practiced, ranging from the most demanding, Jivamikuti, to the least intense, focusing on breathing and alignment, Hatha.


Founders Kirsten Potenza and Cristina Peerenboom developed this workout routine from their drumming background. This cardio exercise system uses weighted “ripstix” to add the right amount of weight for this intense 45 minute exercise routine. Muscle toning and ab definition, strength training result in hundreds of calories burned “Pound”ing.

If fitness classes are not for you, there are myriad machines at your gym to choose from. Swimming is a fantastic, low-impact form of exercise for anyone with joint or muscle limitations.

While it is true that muscles are damaged during exercise, this is actually a positive thing. What happens is that during intense exercising, muscle tissue breaks down. This is what you feel when you feel sore, achy, stiff. Tenderness and swelling are also symptoms of this muscle damage. As the body heals, muscle tissue is repaired and added to. In time, this will increase muscle mass(if that is your long term goal), and periods of soreness, aching, stiffness will decrease. Exercising for tone works in similar fashion, however you can plateau and maintain at that level.

Exercising also releases behavior enhancing chemicals; Serotonin, BDNF, and Endorphins. Serotonin is the great mood enhancer and decreases the feelings of depression. BDNF(Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor) has also been linked to decreased feelings of depression. Endorphins are linked to reducing stress, decreased appetite, and immune booster, and are released in response painful stimuli. This allows you to exercise longer and at higher intensity levels.

It is important is to have fun exercising. It is the most positive you can do for your physical and mental self there is. One of my instructors always starts out class saying, “let’s play.” And do we play. And smile. And move. And sweat. We enjoy the companionship. It is not a competition. So…

No More Excuses, Exercise! Go have Fun at the Gym!

Disclaimer: TransgenderUniverse does not endorse any specific exercise program, nor should this article be viewed as an exercise regimen.

mir, irini, peace, amn,



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