4 Game-Changing New Features of the Pritikin Exercise Plan

Here’s why they’re going to reshape the way you approach fitness forever

An indispensable part of the Pritikin experience, the Exercise Plan has continually been regarded as one of the best in class. Fitness Director Jamie Costello, MS, and his team of exercise physiologists, integrate the latest advancements in exercise science into their programming, a blend of cardiovascular, strength, flexibility, stability and balance work. But like any good teacher knows, there’s always room to learn and grow.

Updates to the Pritikin Exercise Program

Pritikin Fitness Director Jamie Costello, who's been involved in gym design for 25 years, handpicked the versatile new equipment in the Pritikin fitness studio.

In an effort to bring Pritikin guests a more tailor-made experience in the gym, Costello plans to roll out a series of enhancements within his program. “My goal is to help guests develop a routine that’s best suited to where they are on their fitness journey,” he says. “Not every exercise is for every body—I say that in my every lecture. Part of the journey is to help them discover what the appropriate movement patterns are, not just based on movement, but also based on their goals.”

Although working out is important for weight loss, health gains and stress reduction while at the Center, Costello says his ultimate goal is to arm guests with the tools to work out in the real world. “I try to not only create a safe and effective workout here,” he explains, “but to give guests practical applications they can take home with them. I don’t want their time spent exercising at Pritikin to be just a snapshot of their life, I want to give them a program they’ll be equipped to perform.”

Exactly what are these changes—and how will they further your fitness goals? Here are four ways the Exercise Plan at Pritikin will help you reach new heights during your workout and beyond.

#1 New Equipment

To change things up for the better, Costello, who’s been involved in gym design for the better part of 25 years, knew he needed to add some new equipment to the mix. After scouring the market, Costello decided to outfit the gym with 14 Tuff Stuff Six-Pak Functional Trainer units. Here’s why this apparatus will up the ante on your workout, according to Costello:

– The Sleek Design. “I knew I wanted to add a functional trainer, but my biggest challenge was the space constraint; I needed to pick one that would fit in our infrastructure. I looked at a lot of options, and ultimately decided on this model, recommended by Gym Source, our distribution company. I also knew it was a great option for people to have in their home gym.”

Upgraded Exercise Equipment

Pritikin’s new functional trainers are easier to use than traditional dumbbells and make for a more efficient, total-body workout.

– The Ease of Use. “In a group dynamic, people will be able to easily—and quickly—transition with this machine. It has six handles (a high, midpoint and low), and by having those handles preset, it eliminates the guest having to make an adjustment between exercises. You can simply select the weight, grab the handles and get moving. If you’re feeling intimidated, don’t be; most of the exercises are actually easier to do because the exercise position is more comfortable.”

– The Increased Range of Exercises. “It provides me with a bigger variety of exercises to offer guests. It’s next-generation support equipment that can help us safely incorporate more functional exercises, which are movements that translate to real-world activities. For example, a bent-over tricep kickback isn’t a functional movement that we need to do in everyday life, whereas, a squat is.”

– The Efficiency. “We’re able to hit multiple systems of the body and goals within one exercise.”

– It’s Complementary to Everything Else. “We’re adding this piece of equipment, we’re not changing anything out. We’ll still have exercises that utilize body weight and dumbbells, but dumbbells can be limited. For example, using dumbbells for the overhead triceps extension exercise is a compromise, since you need to have good shoulder range of motion, which can be contraindicated if you have a shoulder injury.”

– It Can Be Safer. “With the Tuff Stuff cable machine, the worst case is, you drop the handle and it makes a loud noise—nothing will happen and you won’t hurt the steel plates. Whereas, with a dumbbell, you can drop it on your toes. Ouch!”

#2 Video Demonstrations

To go along with the new equipment, the gym’s getting another upgrade: 55-inch flat-screen monitors that will showcase video demonstration of the exercises in real time. This cutting-edge technology will help exercisers in group classes in the following ways, per Costello:

– More Individualized Cueing. “The equipment allows for a closed loop of movement, and so the screens will allow you to see the range of motion, tempo, muscles that should be stabilized and which handles you should be using. You’re able to quickly copy what you see, which frees up the lead instructor to assist with specific, more personalized cueing and form.”

– A Smarter New Focus. “Instructors can’t count reps and spot and assist people at the same time. These videos allow us to implement a time-under-tension model, which means that each set will last for a specific amount of time, and guests will be instructed to achieve a specific level of intensity, not a specific number of reps. The focus will be on how your muscles are feeling, and how your body is moving, versus just hitting 10 or so reps, where the tendency is to break form and risk injury just to get there. Or you stop at 10 because you listened to the teacher and did 10—even though your body is capable of more. People become disconnected with their bodies, and I want to make sure our exercise program creates a healthy, happy relationship instead.”

#3 An Added Afternoon Class Time

“Along with this change in program,” Costello shares, “we’re going to open up an afternoon time slot exclusively for exercise that will not compete with any other luncheon, lecture or time slot. This will prevent people from sitting around too much; you can exercise in the morning, have a break, followed by an early lecture, lunch, an afternoon lecture, more exercise and finally dinner.”

#4 More Refined Groups

Costello has developed a system that will now place guests in groups better suited to their individual needs, that target the areas they choose to focus on. “It’s to provide guests with a better experience, with exercises that are better suited to them,” he explains. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or advanced, it shouldn’t be a one-sized-fits-all program. Instead of having all our guests do the same intro strength, flexibility and cardio classes, we’re taking it to the next level of sophistication by tailoring things to better suit their needs.”

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