January 25th, 2022
Working Out in 2022? Check Out These Exercise Tips from a Celebrity Trainer & Dancer
Anna sat down with long-time client Alina Cho, catch up on their conversation:
ALINA CHO: What would you suggest for someone like me, who needs to get my butt in gear and get back to it?
ANNA KAISER: Whether you want to start in-studio or virtually, I always recommend starting with a personal training session. You need to connect with an expert who can assess your goals, assess your level, strengths and weaknesses, and set you up on a program.
ALINA CHO: What if you can't afford that?
ANNA KAISER: Then I would say, find the workout or community that you love and put a very consistent schedule together. Start with three days a week and you have to show up. I did this with Shakira when she was recovering from her second pregnancy.
We put a calendar on the wall, and she got to put a star on the calendar every time she did a workout. And having it in a place where you see it really helps with accountability. But commit to three days a week. It doesn't have to be a full class. It can be 30 minutes. Just show up.
ALINA CHO: Get moving.
ANNA KAISER: Get moving, because you're going to release endorphins, you're going to have more energy, be more focused, and start to crave it. But you have to commit to [three days a week] for at least 40 days. So, a month and a half.
ALINA CHO: And you say 40 days because?
ANNA KAISER: It takes 40 days to create a new habit.
ALINA CHO: And when can you expect to see results?
ANNA KAISER: It depends on the person. Because you have to think about the science here. It takes a deficit of 3,500 calories to burn one pound of fat.
ALINA CHO: Exactly.
ANNA KAISER: And it's not about the number on the scale, because you can have someone who's a size eight and someone who's a size 12 and they can weigh exactly the same amount. It's about their muscle-to-fat [ratio].
ALINA CHO: And muscle weighs more than fat.
ANNA KAISER: It does weigh more than fat. And so, we don't ever direct clients to the scale. We have a machine called an InBody, and that allows us to properly assess that body composition.
ALINA CHO: For the average woman, what percentage of fat should you have on your body? Because I think that's what a lot of people measure, right?
ANNA KAISER: Yeah. 20 to 22 percent is realistic. That is fit and something that is attainable, and a great goal.
ALINA CHO: What do you not want to go above?
ANNA KAISER: You really don't want to go above 25 percent.
ALINA CHO: Let's talk about Anna Kaiser Studios and your technique, which is the most fun I've ever had working out.
ANNA KAISER: So, in 2007, I discovered interval training. That was kind-of when it became really big as a new form of exercise in the market. And I realized the majority of HIIT training catered to men's bodies.
ALINA CHO: Didn’t realize that.
ANNA KAISER: I wanted to create a version of HIIT training that was catered to a woman's body. And so instead of heavy plyometrics that are very repetitive on your lower body and put a lot of weight on your upper body, I integrated dance as the form of high-intensity cardio within that HIIT training model.
ALINA CHO: When you say HIIT, what do you mean?
ANNA KAISER: High-intensity interval training.
ALINA CHO: Got it.
ANNA KAISER: So, what you're doing is, your heart rate is spiking and recovering, spiking, recovering, spiking, recovering. You're going to burn more fat. You're going to elevate your post-workout oxygen consumption, which keeps you burning fat after the workout. And so, you're doing short bouts of intense movement and exercise.
ALINA CHO: And why does that work?
ANNA KAISER: It’s pushing your heart rate, pushing your stamina and your muscles. And it's getting you to work more intensely, but for a shorter period of time. So, it's just challenging you across the board, and you get better results in a shorter period of time than [you would with] long, sustained cardio or just strength work.
ALINA CHO: For me, it really comes down to your choreography. Your dance routines are just so fun.
ANNA KAISER: The other thing is the New England Journal of Medicine did a ten-year study with people over the age of 75, around dementia and cognitive health and function. And they realized that physical fitness helps zero percent with increased cognitive function, except for dance. Dance increased cognitive function by 75 percent.
ALINA CHO: Why is that?
ANNA KAISER: It’s that true mind-body connection, where you see it, and then you have to ask your body to do it in the moment. That keeps your brain young.
ALINA CHO: Let's say you're afraid to go to the gym right now because of everything that's going on with COVID. What should you have in your house and what should you be doing?
ANNA KAISER: So, I would always recommend a heavy set of weights and a light set of weights. And that's different for everyone. Usually, it's a three-pound set and an eight- or ten-pound set. But a heavy weight, light weight, a mat, and a foam roller. Or a Theragun or Hypervolt, super important. We're not focusing enough on recovery.
ALINA CHO: Got it.
ANNA KAISER: And also, sitting is the new smoking and a lot of us are spending hours in our chairs, not focused on form. So, even if you only get a chance to foam roll and make sure you open up your body and have proper posture when you're seated, that's huge, huge. But it is an important tool, just as much as the workout equipment.
ALINA CHO: Good to know.
ANNA KAISER: You can pretty much do anything with just that. Heavy set, light set, mat, and a recovery tool. And then I always recommend HIIT training. It does not actually need to be high intensity. It can be low intensity and low impact, but you're alternating between something that elevates your heart rate, a cardio move, like a jumping jack or a moving squat, with a strength exercise, like a lunge or a pushup.
ALINA CHO: Easy enough.
ANNA KAISER: There are many ways to get interval workouts. You can find them online; you can find them on Instagram. I post them all the time. But that’s going to give you the most bang for your buck. Just start with 15 minutes. And try to commit to three days a week. You're going to feel your muscles start to engage again. It's going to remind you to sit up straight in your chair. Sit up straight and stand up straight with proper posture because that's going to develop more muscle.
ALINA CHO: And people forget to do that.
ANNA KAISER: And then if you love to run or love cardio, just get on a machine, or go outside three times a week. And then anything outside of that is extra credit. But if you can commit to 15 minutes a day, three times a week, that'll get you going. And even better, do it with a friend. You can call each other before, you can call each other after, you can meet up and do it. Just to keep each other accountable. Otherwise, no one's watching, we'll just eat potato chips and drink wine!
Read more on Alina's blog, Cho & Tell.
Written by Alina Cho