Mikhail Prygunov is an ambassador and one of the founders of FitStars, a popular YouTube blogger, athlete and coach. «Motivator» spoke with Mikhail about the benefits of home workouts over gym classes and how to help your motivation.
In the video, you say that CrossFit is suitable for those who have little time; «30 minutes — and the whole day is free.» How often do you need to exercise to get visible results in half an hour a day?
If we are talking about full-fledged crossfit workouts, I still advise you not to do it every day; it’s very hard, you need rest days. I recommend doing two days after one day of rest or two days after two. But this applies specifically to crossfit training, in a specially equipped room.
We always talk about time, because time is important, and the smaller it is, the less barriers people will have to work out. In fact, a full crossfit workout lasts an hour: at the beginning there is a low-intensity warm-up, stretching, warming up the ligaments; the main time passes in exercises and complexes — this is about 30 minutes. And then there is already work on recovery, on a hitch, in order to calm down and relax.
But home workouts really last half an hour, while they are just as effective.
Can CrossFit be compared to Tabata? How are these techniques related?
The whole crossfit is built on training in time intervals, they are different. Tabata is one of the types of time intervals: 8 rounds, 20 seconds work, 10 seconds rest. Tabata is often used in CrossFit workouts.
Time intervals in home workouts are the basis of the technique and the guarantee that a person will receive the desired load. We don’t have feedback; we don’t know how many push-ups, sit-ups, and ab exercises anyone can do. And so we offer a single time standard. Thus, we can simultaneously introduce a large mass of people into the desired mode and set them the desired intensity. Timed circuit interval training is what you need to make your workout intense. In this case, you can individually scale; For some it is hard to do 40 seconds, and we recommend reducing the load time and increasing the rest time.
How to keep focus and 100% intensity until the very end of the interval?
During training, I constantly have a dialogue with the group, I tell them what to pay attention to; I already know where people tend to make mistakes, and I suggest how to avoid them.
Tabata is short, only four minutes long; in principle, anyone can endure. It is worth concentrating on the execution technique, and keeping the speed slightly above average in order to bring the body into a state of desired intensity, and not go into deep muscle work.
With independent studies according to the Tabata protocol, there is another danger: acidification of the muscles and, as a result, the inability to perform work further. This happens when a person focuses on one muscle group. It is necessary to combine: one exercise for one muscle group, the other for another. And with the right technique, so as not to harm.
With what goals do people come to you more often: to be stronger or to look better?
In my experience, for most people, it is more important to look good after all: lose weight, bring the body into a relatively athletic look. Almost everyone thinks that it would be nice to lose a couple of extra pounds.
Getting off the couch and starting to do something is sometimes the hardest part. And when you start, you already enter the desired state, you feel the movement of your body, and there is no turning back. And after training, you think — what a great fellow you are!
Getting stronger is a sporting goal; with such goals also come, but much less frequently.
I am 36 years old and I attract people in my age group; by the age of 40, many are overgrown with families, deeds, worries, jobs; they usually do not really want to pursue sports goals.
How to motivate yourself if you only work out at home?
People should clearly understand that home training is not worse, and even better than training in the gym.
We in Russia have such a stereotype that homework is not so effective. In the States, it’s different: they came from home fitness to the gyms. Since the beginning of the 90s, we immediately began to study in the halls, that is, we missed a whole important stage.
On the simulators in the gym, a person works out muscles; so he made an approach, and then he went to walk around the hall and sit on the phone. The intensity of such work is low, comparable to walking down the street. Yes, he loaded the muscles in a power manner, but this load will not lead him to the desired result: he will not receive either a decrease in the percentage of body fat, or an improvement in the functioning of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems.
Home workouts require only 30 minutes a day, and you don’t have to go anywhere for them. Saves a lot of time on the road and changing clothes. At home, you can achieve the desired calorie expenditure due to intensity, and work out muscles.
By the way, about the breaks in training. In the gym, I watched how weightlifters train: they squeeze 200 kilograms and sit for five minutes.
Workouts can be very different depending on the goal. When a person goes to play sports, he wants to do something with himself; this is the engine, this is his motivation. According to what he wants to do, he chooses a training plan. What you’ve been watching is training for big explosive strength. They have such a training method — short-term work with maximum power; I did it myself, there was a period in my life. And this is not at all like training for the goals that most people come with.
What role does the community play in motivation?
Defining. People are social, group, flock animals; it is important for us to come into contact with people who have similar goals and thoughts. I started studying because I started going with friends, it was boring by myself. A personal trainer is another living person who you don’t want to let down; so you go to training, even if you don’t really want to. Therefore, it is more difficult to train at home in terms of motivation: here the responsibility is only to yourself.
You can also join online. This is the meaning of marathons: people gather in a crowd, do something together, chat, support each other. We at FitStars also work with the community: we warm up with newsletters, show people who have achieved good results. When you are not alone, but part of a larger whole, it motivates.
How to gather your community in a small town, if you still want to see like-minded people live?
Complex issue. I didn’t have that experience.
But if I decided to organize some kind of activity in my residential complex, I would do so.
First, you should write to the chat at home — call the neighbors who want to practice. Write to neighbors whom you know personally: let’s go to the horizontal bars!
One is bored and lazy, the company is more fun. Come on, another person joins. Thinking about who else we can call. And it would be nice to diversify sports so that there are not only horizontal bars. There is a basketball court — great! Team sports attract people: they are competitive, spectacular, the game itself is a great workout.
What if the apartment is small, there are several other people living in it, and the doors are arranged in such a way that the TRX cannot be hung up?
Any additional equipment introduces difficulties into the training process; that is why we offer many bodyweight workouts on our website. There are hundreds of them, and you can work out all the muscles without equipment.
Another thing is that this is a matter of routine and interest. Any new thing brings variety and motivates. Therefore, you should not refuse equipment — on the contrary, introduce it into your workouts gradually.
How to increase the load in exercises with your own weight?
We do not have a weight in our hands that can be increased; so we use other methods. We increase the time under load. In the New Life program, we start with a small amount of time, and gradually increase the load time, the rest time is less. One sees progress. Or he started with three push-ups, and now he does 15.
We can change the technique: perform tempo or super-slow repetitions, isolate a muscle group. If you do lunges with a slightly modified technique, the buttocks get a greater load.
What does the New Life project mean to you? How is it going on now, what has changed?
The reality show of that name has come to an end; it was a series of videos based on the New Life training program where we illustrated human transformation. The heroes of the show lost weight in 30 days, developed new eating habits, learned to train at home.
First, the New Life training complex appeared, and the reality show became a tool for its promotion. I’m happy with the result, no matter what. It’s just that people write sometimes: he sucked his stomach in! But we see the numbers on the scales.
I am a realist, and I understand that it is impossible to lose 20 kg in a month; normal weight loss, without much stress for the body — 600-700 g per week. If you lose 5 kg in a month, that’s great.
How many people have gone through your courses in total?
More than ten thousand users.
What are their successes? Do you somehow keep track of what happens to them later (after they have lost weight / pumped up)?
We still see each other with the main participant of the show, Alexander Selivanov; the eye simply rejoices at what it was and what it has become. We also keep in touch with other users of the site: sometimes we ask to share the results, we make challenges, we raffle gifts. I do not welcome marathons where the one who threw off the most wins; this may be a temporary result that is difficult to maintain. It is important that a person does not return to their previous weight when they get off this marathon. Unfortunately, this also happens. In the old reality show «Big Change» we had such participants. Perhaps in such cases, the help of a psychologist who works with an eating disorder will be useful.
People are different: someone succeeds, someone does not immediately, I take this calmly.
Photos provided by the FitStars press service.