Saturday, February 24, 2018

Keeping fit


BASIC SQUAT: Certified instructor, Mikhail Williams assists Nicole Taylor with a basic squat.

Mark Fraser

It’s that time again.

The stirring sounds of soca music blasted by ‘pirates’ from boom boxes as they peddle their goods along the roadside remind you that Carnival approaches. The pressure is on. Whether you are a “gym-buff” or the words exercise and you in the same sentence — sounds like a foreign language to your ears, keep in mind that it is never too late to try and move towards a more active and healthier you, says Aaron Mohammed, general manager of Xtreme Fitness at the corner of O’Meara Road and O’Connor Street, Arima.

A certified instructor for the past seven years, Mohammed’s personal interest in fitness extended to helping others with disabilities and those who struggle with weight problems. His passion for exercise and maintaining a healthy lifestyle makes the gym one of his favourite places to be.

He said, “Many people come to the gym for all sorts of reasons. However the main one is to lose weight or to lose their ‘belly’ as most Trinidadians would say.”

Hoping and wishing your body was ripped like Vin Diesel or svelte like Keira Knightley does not have to be out of reach says Mohammed but it does not happen overnight, he said.

“Some people only come to the gym when Carnival comes around. Honestly, if you are looking for that defined, chiseled look, it is not going to happen in a matter of months especially if you are not accustomed to exercise. It takes around two to three years of work, dedication and maintaining a healthy lifestyle for that,” he said.

“What we provide for new and existing members is a 20-minute consultation. This helps to build a relationship with our members, whereby we show them how they can maximise their membership,” he said.

“Our gym is not a place where you come to do just one thing, we more or less try to help you make a lifestyle change,” Mohammed said.

He noted that understanding and knowing members’ health concerns, injuries or restrictions, help their team of certified instructors, tailor exercise routines that suit the needs of each individual.

Xtreme Fitness first started in the Chaguanas area more than nine years ago. Since then it has grown and opened a second branch in Arima. They provide their clientele a wide range of services which include: aerobics, spin, zumba, yoga, body pump, TRX and bosu.

Mohammed said, “body pump is basically exercise routines that incorporate dumbbells or resistance bands. TRX use resistance bands suspended from the ceiling while bosu incorporates half an exercise ball that works on core movements.

“What makes us a little different from other gyms; is our online profiles,” he added.

Mohammed noted that online profiles assist members to track their own fitness progress.

“We have two new programmes, Synergy 360 and Jungle Gym that would be incorporated very soon in our existing programmes,” he said.

“People come to us around Carnival but what happens after Carnival? Your health is important. It is not something seasonal but a lifestyle change,” he said.

Mohammed and his team provided some basic moves for those who really want to take a step in the New Year towards a healthier lifestyle. For the next few weeks they would show various exercises that you can try at the gym or in the comfort of your home to help you with overall toning, flexibility and strength.

Basic squat

1. Place feet shoulder width apart.

2. Hands out in front of you or crossed over your shoulders to maintain stability.

3. Go down 90 degrees and then back up.

4. Do three sets of 10.

Basic plank

1. Support your body on your forearms and toes.

2. Maintaining a flat back, keep abdominal flat or tight and hold position for approximately 20 seconds.

3. Do three sets of 10 for 20 secs each.


1. Support your body