Septemeber 30, 2020 by Gabrielle Martin; photos courtesy of Jenny Gusella.
It seems fall is "back-to-routine" season, and fitness is no exception to this rule. Over the next few weeks, we will be introducing you to a few local fitness gurus who have a variety of workout tips and options for you to explore.
First up is Jenny Gusella of JKG Training and Orangetheory Fitness.
HINGHAM, MEET JENNY:
“My name is Jenny Gusella. I run a personal and small group training business called JKG Training out of my home in Hingham, where I train both adults and youth athletes. I’m also a coach at Orangetheory Fitness in the Hingham Shipyard. Additionally, I am an ACE (American Council on Exercise) certified personal trainer and a Level 2 Certified Functional Strength Coach.”
Gusella grew up in Foxboro, Massachusetts. When describing her childhood, she says she was always involved in sports: “I played field hockey and ran track in high school. Honestly, I was always just an OK athlete, but my track coaches really took the time to develop not only my skills, but my knowledge about the intricacies of running and strength training. I then continued to run track as a sprinter at Bates College in Maine,” Gusella shares. She graduated from Bates in 2011 after majoring in Philosophy and minoring in Rhetoric. After telling me this, she adds, “I basically have a college degree in arguing!”
After graduating, Gusella got a corporate job at a PR agency; during this time, she describes herself as “a regular old gym-goer.” She shares that she would often program her own workouts, which led to her creating workouts for her friends. This inspired Gusella to become a personal trainer, which she did in 2017, while she and her husband Dave were still living in Boston.
It was later that year, in June, when the couple relocated to Hingham: “At the time, we both had jobs in the Financial District, so we were drawn to Hingham because we could commute in on the ferry.” Jenny confesses. “Coincidentally, during college I had met Jenny Golic, the owner of Orangetheory Fitness Hingham, and she and I had stayed in touch. I interviewed and got a coaching job there in September 2017. I coached part-time while I still worked in PR.”
About a year later, Gusella decided to leave PR for good. She began coaching more at Orangetheory while simultaneously launching her own personal training business, JKG Training, out of a gym she built at her home. “And here we are today!” She says.
GUSELLA’S ADVICE: “I REALLY RECOMMEND YOUR WORKOUTS BE A MIX OF CARDIO AND STRENGTH TRAINING.”
“Specifically, when we’re talking about fat loss, cardio seems to be the ‘go-to,’ and while cardio of course burns calories and is an important tool for heart health, strength training is a sometimes overlooked-but-critical tool to build muscle and lose fat,” Jenny explains.
FOR THOSE JUST STARTING OUT: “BODYWEIGHT EXERCISES AND RESISTANCE BANDS CAN GO A LONG WAY!”
“Aim for four to six exercises to complete in a circuit of three rounds,” Jenny says encouragingly. She adds, “One of my favorite circuits is to do each exercise for one minute in round one, then each exercise for 45 seconds in round two, then each exercise for 30 seconds in round three; I also like to end with a good ‘finisher’ that aims to burn out one muscle group.”
She then specifically suggests this 4-pack of mini bands from Perform Better, saying, “These are great ones to get!”
“Ultimately, the best workout routine is the one that you can commit to.”
HER FAVORITE WAY TO BE FIT: “TO STRENGTH TRAIN.”
“I love feeling powerful, and honestly I see the best results–more defined muscle and fat loss–when I ramp up strength workouts over more cardio-based workouts.”
She adds enthusiastically, “I’m also obsessed with the Orangetheory style of workout, which is HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). It gives you just the right dose of cardio and strength all wrapped into 60 minutes, so it’s just really great bang for your buck.
WHAT’S JKG’S FAVORITE WAY TO BE FIT IN THE FALL?
Jenny says she “typically works out indoors whether it’s 100 degrees, 0 degrees, or 65 degrees.” Gusella explains, “I’m more of an indoor cat. I also tend to think that it’s easier to maintain a routine if your routine is weather proof; the less excuses, the better! But I do tend to go on more walks in the fall. For me, it’s really hard to exercise in the heat, so cooler temperatures are welcomed.”
GUSELLA’S GO-TO SPOT TO WALK AROUND TOWN: TURKEY HILL.
“It's a great place to feel like you're ‘off the grid,’ and my dogs love it there, too; My second favorite place to walk is to Nona's,” Jenny says with a laugh. She then adds, “My dogs like that, too!”
“These are some common fitness mistakes I see people make.”
DOING TOO MUCH, TOO SOON: “We’ve all had that realization while we’re sitting on our couch that we need to start working out again, And when we have that realization, we want to fix it immediately. But oftentimes, throwing ourselves right into an intense routine can lead to soreness and discomfort; it also can lead to injury. Start modestly, even if you feel like you want to crank up the intensity. A little bit of patience will bring you further in the long run.”
NEGLECTING STRENGTH TRAINING TO FOCUS ON CARDIO: ”I don’t think I know anyone who has gotten the fitness results they wanted by just doing an hour on the elliptical every time they go to the gym; to really see changes in your body, you’RE going to need a combination of cardio and strength.”
NOT PROGRESSING THEIR ROUTINE: “Our bodies are great at adapting, which is good news for survival, but bad news for your stale workout routine. ‘Progressive overload,’ or the idea that every time you exercise, you do a little bit more, or work a little harder, is key to make sure your body isn’t on cruise control while you workout.”
Still, Jenny says that there’s tons of ways to achieve progressive overload no matter what activity you’re doing. A few examples include:
WHEN LIFTING, DO: Pick up heavier weights, complete a few extra reps, and take less recovery time between sets.
WHEN WALKING OR RUNNING, DO: Go a little faster and go a little further each time.
TWO THINGS EVERY ADULT SHOULD BE THINKING ABOUT ADDING TO THEIR WEEKLY WORKOUT: “SINGLE-LEG TRAINING AND ‘POWER’ TRAINING.”
SINGLE LEG TRAINING: “At JKG Training we do conventional squats and deadlifts, but the vast majority of strength exercises we do are single leg exercises such as lunges, single leg squats, single leg deadlifts, etc. Why? Because when we move through life, we are pretty much always on one leg! I believe the best type of fitness is the type that can be relevant in your day-to-day life. What’s more relevant than making sure each leg is strong enough to support your whole body as you walk, run, stand up or bend over?”
“POWER” TRAINING: “You can work on power development by doing bodyweight exercises at an increased velocity in the concentric phase, which is just a fancy way of saying ‘move faster on your way up’; for example, stand up from your squat more explosively, or do jump squats.”
Gusella adds that few of her other favorite power exercises that don’t involve jumping include ball slams, kettlebell swings, and dumbbell snatches.
JENNY x ORANGETHEORY: “LOOK FOR ME, JENNY KG, ON THE SCHEDULE!”
“You can catch me at Orangetheory on Tuesday evenings, Wednesday mornings, and occasional weekends. You can also follow me on instagram @JKG_Training for at-home workout tips and other workout content!” Jenny says.
SIGN OF THE TIMES: “THIS HAS BEEN A REALLY CHALLENGING YEAR, AND IT MAY FEEL OVERWHELMING TO BE TRYING TO GET FIT OR INCORPORATE A FITNESS ROUTINE WITH EVERYTHING ELSE GOING ON.”
“A saying I’ve been using a lot lately is, ‘Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.’” Gusella tells me. She then says, “Luckily, fitness isn’t a zero sum game... Being ‘fit’ isn’t something that you are or are not: think of it as more of a sliding scale. What can you do each day to move the needle?” Food for thought.