It’s around this time of year that the gym membership that many started the year with starts to become a simple monthly deduction. These once crowded machines are suddenly readily available and there’s no waiting for an open shower after your workout. The motivation with which many entered the year to get in shape has disappeared thanks to life, cold weather, new television series or any other reason that prevents fitness from being established as a priority rather than just a moment.
Manning Sumner is no stranger to seeing this trend come to fruition year after year. Sumner is the CEO and Founder of Historic gymnasiums in Miami and trained between 9 and 5 workers with professional athletes and celebrities. He believes that feelings and emotions play a key role in the decline in fitness that occurs throughout the year.
Sumner developed a fitness system called Partner Interval Training (PIT) that focuses on accountability and motivation. Its No Days Off philosophy applies to making your fitness as non-negotiable as brushing your teeth or eating when hunger strikes. He spoke with M&F why accountability was the genesis of his fitness system, why your body should always be your priority, what the pandemic has taught him about the importance of fitness, and how you can implement adversarial training practices of Legacy on the road or in your living room.
PIT is a matter of responsibility
I identified during group training that there was a lack of accountability. I was doing these boot camp classes, and I would have between 50 and 120 people. I’ve always thought that a coach who takes care of a lot of people gets to where there isn’t a lot of responsibility. One day I started pairing people up and it went from 100 people to 50. I stood back to observe the room and everyone was counting each other’s reps, motivating each other and it just reminded me of having that workout buddy. We all thrive when we have someone we train with more than if we train alone.
You have someone to push you and there is friendly competition there. The real light bulb moment for me was when I was training and had two clients booked. One of them was (former Dallas Cowboys) Marion Barber and a woman trying to lose weight. You have this regular woman and this elite running back in the NFL and I coached them at the same time with basically the same training. The principle was that when your partner leaves, you rest and vice versa. Even with them using different weights and doing slightly different things, it was still the same workout. They clapped hands and encouraged each other. By the end, they were exhausted and they both loved it. I knew I could train anyone like that, and I started implementing these antagonistic training principles – pushing, pulling, and a cardio move.
For example, you do a push-up, then a reverse pull-up and something very intense. Whether it’s a jump rope, a punching bag or a rowing machine, something to get the heart rate up. It was flowing really well. When you do opposing muscle groups, it complements the body, so it creates symmetry and helps prevent injury.
Why does fitness drop after January?
I think the #1 reason is a simple matter of emotions, feelings, and motivations. I think people are too caught up in how they feel, and they operate on an emotional state and they wait for motivation. What happens is that in January everyone is excited because it’s a new year and they are emotionally available for
what they think will change their life. When that feeling and emotion of the new year starts to fade and life comes around, all of a sudden that motivation isn’t there because you’re relying on a feeling and not a schedule, routine or the discipline to introduce yourself. no matter how you feel. At the end of the day, you don’t think about taking a shower. We don’t think about having lunch or showing up to work.
You only get one body, so why isn’t that a priority? Why don’t you have a routine that is non-negotiable? We don’t negotiate whether we’re going to brush our teeth or shower, because those are things that are part of our lives. Why don’t fitness or health have the same value? If you operate this way, you will get results. If you operate on feelings and emotions, you will always let yourself down. Motivation comes and goes because it is a feeling. Discipline is something you will always do.
What Covid has taught us about health
I think what Covid has done for everyone is it has provided a heightened sense of health. 85% of people who got sick or died suffered metabolic damage. This means they were out of shape and some were old and already sick. It really focused on being fit. It’s not about having a six-pack or even looking your best, it’s about feeling your best and being fit. People are more aware of the importance of being fit and healthy to help fight viruses and disease. Another thing (the pandemic) brought to our attention was the community. When we lost the community, we realized it was affecting our lives in a negative way.
Nobody likes to be isolated. There are good things about solitude and very bad things about isolation. When you isolate yourself, it can actually harm your immune system and your overall sense of life. Gyms, churches, events – everyone realized that this was something positive in life and we needed to get back to it. Our community is the only reason we didn’t close and why we actually grew during the pandemic.
When the pandemic hit, I really dove into my office. I have never read so much in my life. I read almost the entire CDC website and was obsessed with knowing what was going on because something was wrong. Why would we take away something that actually increases our immune system, which strengthens us and allows us to fight disease? It was so important to me to provide a place where people could come and continue exercising to boost their immune system. Obviously, we took all the safety precautions we could. Exercise was one of the things we should have kept doing. Exercise, nutrition and all of those things are so important for your immune system. So removing that was the worst thing we could have done.
Manning Sumner Hotel Workouts
I think a lot of people do one thing, especially when they’re traveling – when they walk into a hotel gym or a gym they don’t know, they usually just focus on what’s going on. he has not rather than on what he has . I think in life, we tend to do that too. If we focused on what we have and used it to the best of our abilities, it would allow us to get more. If we focus on what we don’t have, it’s going to hold you back. I would say the first thing when you walk into a hotel gym – yes there might just be a barbell rack and a treadmill and there might not be- not be a lot of energy in there. But you will make this space what it should be.
Training at the hotel gym:
- Chest press with dumbbells (12-15 reps)
- Dumbbell Row (12-15 reps)
- 30 second sprint on the treadmill. *Substitute high knees, jumping jacks or running in place if there is no treadmill
- Rest 30 seconds
- Repeat for four sets
Training in the hotel room:
- 25 push-ups
- 25 sit-ups
- 1 minute plank.
use your body
Our servicemen probably do more bodyweight moves than anyone else and most of them are in great shape. Why is that? They literally do push-ups, sit-ups, squats, and pull-ups. Get up and walk. The one thing I feel like people don’t do enough of is walk. You can take the stairs instead of the elevator. Second, you can do bodyweight squats and pushups. These are very simple things, and anyone can do them anywhere. If you want to go deeper, you can do walking lunges or planks. Squats and push-ups can set you up for success.
Follow Manning Sumner on Instagram @manningsumner