How was GymABstics created?

I was in my second year of medical school working out in our campus gym one day when the idea first popped into my head.  I had been working out at the gym for about a year and had begun to notice that anytime I did my ab exercises, I received a lot of curious looks and comments about them. I guess since I had always done my ab exercises in a gymnastics gym my entire life, I never thought about how strange and difficult they must look to the general public.  But now many people were regularly telling me how amazing my exercises like simple V-ups, hollow rocks, and leg raises looked (exercises many of us gymnasts have done our entire lives), and several began asking me if they could work out with me so they could get stronger abs too.  I often didn’t have the heart to tell them that they weren’t going to be able to do these exercises and would probably get a little dejected when they tried them, so I started thinking of some more basic ways to approach gymnastics-type ab exercises that could progress into more advanced ones for non-gymnastics people.

I’ve coached competitive boys in gymnastics for about seven years now, and one of my favorite parts about coaching has always been the creativity involved.  I absolutely love coming up with innovative drills, games, and exercises for the kids, particularly ones that involve strength.  As most of you coaches will probably agree, core strength is one of the key areas that separates gymnasts from all other athletes.  In no other sport is the same type of body tightness required in the midsection as in gymnastics, and we all know that a gymnast’s abdomen has a distinctly fit look that is simply unmatched by any other type of athlete.

The reason?  Gymnasts use their bodies in ways that no other athlete does, and they do countless exercises and skills that develop upper abs, lower abs, obliques, hip flexors, lower back, and gluteals – often without even realizing it.  After experiencing firsthand the incredible fascination that general fitness-minded people have for new ab exercises, I decided it was time to create something that the world has not truly seen – a fitness program geared toward BOTH gymnasts AND the general public that could be done at home without any weights or equipment, and that centers around core strength exercises done by elite gymnasts.  My brother and I also decided to add in lots of upper body and leg exercises typically done by gymnasts to make it a full-body fitness program.  The cool part was that I started creating so many unique variations of exercises we had always done and combining them into neat workout routines.  There are literally hundreds of cool exercises in the program that cater towards both gymnasts and anyone else who wants to get truly fit.  We also felt it was important to teach people how to properly warm-up the body as well as how to gain flexibility, as the general public is often a bit lost in these areas too.  In addition, we created three-minute “six-pack workouts” as a supplement to the full-body workouts, since we all know people love quick and efficient ways to stay in shape when they’re short on time.

Since I’m also finishing up medical school, I decided it would be a fantastic addition to the program if I did some extra research on the side and incorporated nutritional articles and even healthy recipes with each month of the program.  It’s been incredibly enlightening to discover so many nutritional principles and tips that I had not used as an athlete.  Although I wish so badly sometimes that I could go back and change the way I ate while I was a gymnast, it’s been so inspiring to find a way to give this knowledge to others – whether it’s to my patients in the hospital and clinic, to the kids I coach at the gym, or to our GymABstics subscribers!

It’s worked out perfectly to team up with my brother Jay in the development of GymABstics.  I really feel our skills and backgrounds blend together beautifully for a project like this.  Not only do we both have a strong competitive gymnastics background, but we’ve also both coached, judged, and analyzed the sport from practically all angles.  Then we each bring some unique things to the table; I bring the medical aspect of nutrition and exercise into the program and have access to all the latest medical research, and he brings a tremendous business background through running a successful online business for the last 10 years.  It was perfect!  Add in the fact that we’re both very motivated and goal-oriented people, and the project has been an absolute blast!

Jay’s wife Maryanna has been an awesome addition to the program as well.  She brought a completely new dimension to the program that we soon realized was absolutely essential – a way to show that non-gymnastics people can do this program.  Maryanna (who has had two children, by the way!) committed to joining us in doing the program from day 1, and we decided that including her in the videos would be tremendously effective. Not only would she help appeal to those without a gymnastics background, but she allowed us to show ways in which we could cleverly modify some of the tougher exercises that not everyone will be able to do.  I was absolutely amazed at how much she improved her strength each month of the program, and how well she handled even our toughest workouts.  Some of the workouts are very challenging for even Jay and me, and often times I remember looking over at Maryanna during the filming and wondering how in the world she was keeping up!

I included some photos below that will give you a little “behind-the-scenes” look at our filming process!  I will say that talking on camera – not to mention workout out on camera – was a bit awkward at first.  Jay and I had many moments that could easily end up in an entertaining bloopers section pretty soon, because getting our introductions just right was usually the toughest part of the filming!  Overall, it’s been an awesome experience, and we can’t wait to see how many people we can inspire with GymABstics.

And if you haven’t gotten to check out the program yet, here’s the link once again to our Discounted Holiday DVD Offer