Work that Body
Gay Atlanta’s own Urban Body guru serves up tips to get would-be fitness buffs started.
By Shannon Jenkins
For some gay men, exercise can be intimidating. Longtime Atlanta fitness master Rad Slough offers words of wisdom for beefy beginners who want to get in shape.
“Start with what you’re eating,” says Slough, who owns Urban Body Fitness in Midtown’s Amsterdam Walk. “If it’s green and it was once alive, you can eat it. I don’t care whether it’s Brussels sprouts, spinach, kale, or green beans, or salad. The catch with salads is that’s a salad with dressing, not a dressing with salad. … Also, eat your proteins appropriately.”
And sorry, cocktailers: Slough considers booze to be hollow calories.
“If you’re not doing anything to burn those extra calories off, that’s just weight going to your waistline,” he says. “If you do continue to drink, it’s going to slow that progress down a lot.”
Then it’s time for exercise. Slough lays out seven basics that help put getting started in perspective.
“Don’t jump into weights,” Slough warns. “Start with cardio. Build that stamina up a little bit for at least a couple of weeks. Work out three or four times a week.”
A simple way to start burning calories is to walk as much as possible.
“Don’t go to the grocery store in the car,” Slough suggests. “If you’re within a half mile of the grocery store, get you one of those folding carts. If you eat out a lot, walk to the restaurant.”
Slough also suggests finding an active interest or hobby. Rock climbing, bicycling and hiking North Georgia’s miles of scenic trails are just a few ideas.
When you can’t get to a gym on a given day, Slough recommends online video workouts from Men’s Fitness and Men’s Health, which usually offer alternative moves based on your fitness level.
Urban Body’s head fitness guru encourages beginners to set realistic goals, accomplish them in small chunks, and reward yourself each time you meet one.
Don’t Overdo It
The best advice is sometimes the simplest: Don’t overdo it.
“Don’t start out so hard that you’re so sore that you don’t want to lift again,” Slough says. “I had never lifted before, and I did a full-body workout. I had to hold my arm up to brush my teeth. I used a hairdryer at the time, and I had to put my elbow on the wall and move my head back and forth. I was so sore.”
In the Zone
Once you’re working out with weights, ask an expert. Even if you got started off alone, or work out on the road, professionals like the 24 available at Urban Body Fitness can guide you in using the proper form to avoid injury.
Variety is the Spice
“Don’t do the same exercise routine for more than approximately a month,” Slough recommends. “Take classes along with your weight workouts to vary what you’re doing so you aren’t bored.”
Urban Body Fitness, 500 Amsterdam Avenue, offers classes including spinning, aerobics and bootcamp. Urban Body Studios does yoga, pilates and TRX, and Urban Body Spa & Salon offers a full range of services. Visit urbanbodystudios.com