Get Fit: The Magic of Muscle Confusion

Averill Kessee

Averill Kessee

If you’re like us, you’ve no doubt made a New Year’s resolution (for the millionth time) to get into better shape. It seems like we’re all gung ho in January; then we fall off around February or March with plans to do it all over again next year . . .

But this time it’s different. And to make sure we actually stick to our goals, we enlisted the help of Personal Trainer and Massage Therapist Averill Kessee. He says the key to a better body is a lot simpler than you think.

Interviewed by Shahada Karim
Responses by Averill Kessee

What is the key to getting your body in top condition over the shortest amount of time?

A journal. When I began my fitness journey, a journal kept me organized and dedicated to my progress. I did more than just keep track of workouts. I also kept track of what “kind” of workouts I did, including how much weight I used and how much I concentrated on any given body part.

It’s also a good idea to keep the body “confused.” It’s key to really getting the most out of your workouts. Don’t do the same thing for too long. Mix it up, even your cardio.

And the most important thing is to rest. Your body needs time to recover. If you work it too hard for too long without giving it a chance to rest, you run the risk of injury. You’ll also start seeing [fewer] results with each workout. So get your rest!

How important is cardio in any given workout?

Cardio does a lot more than just make you sweat and potentially lose weight. It gets your heart going and your blood pumping, and that goes a long way to help fight heart disease. It can also help prevent colon, breast, and prostate cancer; not to mention it makes you “feel” good. Walking, running, jumping, or any other activity that really gets your heart pumping can help alleviate feelings of anxiety or depression.

How important is stretching?

Stretching is the most important part of recovering after a workout. Stretching not only eases pressure on your joints, it also helps to tone your body. It can help prevent injuries by lengthening and strengthening muscles.

How long should you work out in a single setting, to get maximum results?

Your shortest workout should be half an hour. Your longest workout should be an hour and a half. Anything beyond that is considered “over training” and can delay recovery, and increase the risk of injury.

We know that working out is only half of the equation. What about nutrition?

It’s a good idea to eliminate fried foods . . . period. I also eliminated pork, dairy, and wheat from my diet. I eat foods that help to fuel my body and help it to recover from working out, like protein. These choices have helped improve my overall nutrition and helped me get maximum results from every workout.

What if we don’t have time to dedicate full workouts at a gym? How do we put all of this into practice and still maintain our hectic day-to-day schedule?

Get your workouts any way you can. Walk around your office, walk the dog, take the stairs instead of the elevator, ride a bike to work. Just organizing “physical activity” into your regular routine can make a huge difference. And make sure you keep that journal. It can make the difference between mindlessly reaching for that doughnut in the morning meeting and choosing an apple instead.

One excuse we hear a lot (sometimes coming from ourselves) is that we’re too “old” to be so extreme with diet and exercise choices. What do you say when you hear that?

Age is just a number. I’m 45 years old, and I’ve guided clients in their 90s. You are only as old as you feel, and it’s never too late to start taking care of yourself with diet and exercise. We’re all busy, and we can come up with any number of excuses to avoid that workout. Break the cycle. Think about it this way: you’re born, and then you die. So live your BEST life in between. Fit that fitness in any way you can. Just don’t stop moving!

*Averill Kessee has 12 years experience as a massage therapist. He is certified with ISSA (International Sports Science Association) and NESTA (Natl. Exercise & Sports Trainer Association). He is a personal trainer for 24 Hour Fitness, and instructor for DDP Yoga ( at 24 Hour Fitness.

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