SHAPE in the Media

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Special to The Globe and Mail

Saturday, July 11, 2009
By Monique Savin

POWER CRUNCH gets expert feedback on a different workout routine every week. This week, Trevor Born shares his exercise regimen.

For a man who has made a career with needles and knives sculpting the body beautiful, Trevor Born, who is in his mid-40s, credits his appearance to fitness. The Toronto cosmetic surgeon – who is a former competitive skier and a seven-time Canadian champion in Lightning-class sailing– says his workout regimen supports his sporting life. But tight muscles from his job threaten to halt his outdoor activities unless he can discover easy solutions to back pain.

My goal

“It's threefold. First, the preventive aspect for wellness: managing disease, general fitness to be active to kiteboard, cycle, ski in winter and enjoy life, and having better moods and more energy. I exercise for the anti-aging aspect. And the final aspect is for self-conscious reasons: looking fit and wearing good fashion.”

My workout

Dr. Born trains one or two days a week with the same trainer he has gone to for nine years at Totum Life Science, a gym in central Toronto.

“We start with a 15-minute cardio circuit alternating a minute of skipping with a minute of treadmill power walking.

“To tone muscle and increase core strength we use light- to medium-weight dumbbells in five sets of 20 to 30 repetitions and vary exercises involving plyometrics. We're doing exercises in combinations that use back, legs and obliques.

“I do yoga once a week in New York with my wife. We do an offshoot of Ashtanga. We hire an instructor to come to our house. It's not meditative, but at some point you let your mind go holding postures that are killing you.”

My lifestyle

“I often work six days a week. Three to four days are in Toronto, two days are in New York City. Tuesdays and Fridays are office days and I'm at the gym at 6:45 a.m. to get to work by 9 a.m.

“Breakfast is typically some fresh berries with a protein shake and a good double short Americano to get the motor running. Lunch is a salad with a light dressing [and] some fresh raw nuts. Dinner will vary. I love a good steak, veal or fish with a green salad to start. I love pasta and bread, but feel a little pain after I have this, so I limit them.”

My motivation

“When I don't exercise life doesn't feel good, the mind is not as sharp and my body is not as energized. The difference being involved in activity versus not being is your performance goes way up – in everything.

“Having so much daylight before and after work is another motivation. Who wants to work out when it's dark? I just started mountain biking this spring. My wife and I do 26 to 40 miles in New York and exercise breathes life into my days. It's a whole new feeling of renewal.”

My workout anthem

“I prefer quiet. They play music at the gym, but I can do without it.”

My challenges

“Posture is a big problem from a surgical aspect – standing a lot and from sitting doing injections. I'm using hips flexors and closing up my chest. I'm trying to be more kinesthetically proper with form. I get fatigue in my upper back and neck. With my lack of yoga classes, my back, legs and hips are as tight as all get out.”

The critique

According to Sender Deutsch, a certified strength and conditioning specialist and chiropractor at SHAPE, a fitness boutique in Toronto, Dr. Born's fitness regimen doesn't need a complete makeover – but it could use a lift in certain areas.

Add strength, lower reps

Dr. Deutsch says Dr. Born is doing extremely well by following a muscular endurance training program. However, he's working out less than the minimum requirement. “Ideally, Trevor should be strength training three times a week, especially if his goals are to be strong to remain active and look youthful.” Dr. Deutsch also advises Dr. Born to increase weight loads and drop repetitions to between five and 12. “Doing heavier compound strength training exercises uses more muscle groups and releases more testosterone and that's helpful for maintaining muscle.”

To freshen up a familiar routine, he recommends Dr. Born try a power endurance training routine. “For example, moving from squats to pull-ups followed by plyometrics. He'll end up lifting more weight, but he'll build muscle without bulk by developing explosive power – and that'll power his mountain biking, windsurfing and skiing, which requires strong legs.”

Give hips special attention

Dr. Deutsch says Dr. Born should focus on increasing flexibility in his hips. He suggests 30 walking lunges with arms reaching overhead before exercise: Dynamic stretching is effective treatment for clenched muscles and helps to open up tight hip flexors, he says. Following exercise, Mr. Deutsch prescribes “static stretching holding poses for 45 seconds in four sets to elongate muscles to full resting position.”

Warm up for yoga

Prior to yoga, Dr. Born should go on a 20-minute tempo run with his wife, Dr. Deutsch says. “A lot of people don't warm up before yoga and go right into stretching, which leads to injury.” By switching from intervals to long, slow distance training for this run, “Trevor will add in an extra cardio session that mixes up his aerobic workout and be warm enough to get a developmental stretch and it'll be easier for him to achieve those positions with less pain.”

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