About Kelvin Gary

Florida native and NYC based Personal Trainer Kelvin Gary looks to help motivate, inspire and inform those looking to better their lives through fitness and healthy living.

Ramp Up Your Fat Loss With this Fitness Gadget?


To all of my followers… I know it’s been along time since I’ve blogged and for that I’m #sorrynotsorry :-) Things have been busy but great and now I’m back so all is well.

I’m checking in today to share one of the tools that I’m using with our clients at Body Space Fitness, NYC which I feel will make a big difference in helping them hit their goals. For the majority of our clients their primary goal is, as you might have guessed, FAT LOSS. We know that when fat loss is the goal proper nutrition is number one on the list of most important things. However, we also know that the intensity of the workout, especially when doing a Metabolic Resistance Training workout, is also important. The intensity of the workout not only impacts how many calories you burn during the workout, but it also impacts the calories you burn after the workout (a little something known as E.P.O.C or excess post-exercise oxygen consumption or “the after burn effect”).

Polar beat 1


Enter the Polar H7 Bluetooh strap. After picking up one of these puppies for myself and playing around with it, I thought, “this is great. I would put the strap on and move freely around the gym doing my workout and it would record the whole thing without missing a beat.” Then I thought to myself, “how can I use this to help our clients?” The answer was simple, I could use this tool to monitor rest intervals in between circuits and exercises. In each of our client programs we have a prescribed rest interval depending on their phase of progress. I often think to myself, “this might be a little too much rest”. To put it another way, one person may need 60 seconds of rest while another person would need only 30 seconds of rest.

So what I’ve started doing is having my training clients wear an H7 Monitor and track their training workout using the “Polar Beat” App on their smart phone. We’ve transitioned from using timed rest intervals to rest intervals during sessions based on percentage of max heart rate (i.e, rest until you drop to 70% of max). What I have found is that clients, on average, are at least burning 25% more calories during the workout. I’m not quite sure of the post workout impact but I’m sure it’s a good news story.

Polar Beat 2

Bottom line, if you’re looking for a good, simple tool to help you amp up your workouts, I highly recommend checking out the Polar H7 Bluetooth strap and pair it up with the Polar Beat App on your smart phone or tablet.  The monitor retails for about $79.95.

Train Hard, Train Smart, Train Right.

Skip the Machines For a Great workout: Check Out My interview on StyleList.com

The following is a Repost from Stylelist.com (http://www.stylelist.com/read/personal-trainer-kelvin-gary-on-why-you-should-skip-the-workout/)

Kelvin Gary is the personal trainer behind Body Space Fitness, a newly-renovated boutique gym in NYC offering a unique, time-efficient, and affordable approach to working out. With a background in business, Kelvin knows the physical constraints of an office job, and works with clients (pssst..we hear Rebecca Minkoff is one of them!) of all different fitness levels to help their bodies function at their best capacity. We worked out with Kelvin before our interview, and we have to say — he’s the real deal. Read our Q&A with him below to find out why you should be avoiding workout machines, why “ab days” and “arm days” don’t always make sense, and how you can stay fit at the office.

StyleList: You started out your career in the corporate world. What pushed you to make the jump to personal training?
Kelvin Gary: I was in corporate finance, and before that I was a manufacturing engineer. Long story short, I got to the point in my life where I was like, “You know what, I’m 26 and I’m overweight, and my knees are hurting. It’s not just my diet or that I have a stressful job, it’s that I’m stuck behind a desk.” So, I got my personal trainer certification. I did it more for me in the beginning. I wanted to figure out what was going on with my own body as the result of being stuck behind a desk most of the day. Next thing you know some of my friends from business school found out i was a personal trainer, and they said “OK, you gotta start training us!”.

SL: And then you opened Body Space Fitness?
KG: I started to think that maybe I’d missed my calling when I realized I enjoyed training and helping people get results — whether they want to lose weight, run faster, or move around pain-free when they run around with their grandkids. I decided this was what I’m meant to be doing, not sitting behind a desk running numbers. With that in mind, I left my full-time job and went into training.

SL: What makes Body Space different than other gyms?
KG: I think more people should have access to good trainers. I knew that doing it in the fashion we do it, it would allow people to get a customized, individualized program, and lower the price point — that makes it more accessible. I want the gym to be a place people like to go, where they can be comfortable and not feel judged, and know that the people there are going to guide them to do the right thing for them. We definitely wanted to create a different environment, a positive mental space. Change is as much a mental thing as it is a physical.

SL: What’s the training style like at Body Space?
KG: We say full-body training style is the way to go, meaning your body is one unit and needs to be trained as one. If you do a squat, you do it holding something. If you do a lunge, you do it holding something. Find ways to get your upper body and lower body integrated into one move — training the body the way it was designed. Athletes train that way, and a lot of times people don’t realize that they have an inner athlete. I have clients who may say, “Well, I’m not an athlet, I’m a mom!”, and I’ll say, “Well, you’re a mom, but at one point in time you’re going to reach down to grab a grocery bag while you’re holding a kid, and you’ll throw a diaper bag over your shoulder at the same time.” You gotta use your whole body. You gotta use your core. That’s not much different than a linebacker trying to tackle somebody. People don’t realize that life calls for certain things you need to train for. You can train this way for all kinds of different goals. That’s our training methodology — train everything, all the time.

SL: A lot of trainers we know are proponents of segmenting body parts — doing “ab days” or “leg days”. But you do things differently.
KG: When people have a goal to lose weight or tone up, getting everything working together in that integrated fashion is going to help you get to your goal. It’ll burn more calories. But, it depends. If someone’s goal is to get bigger arms, do segmented days. But otherwise, we can be more efficient with our time. Work everything all together. Unless your goal is to focus on one area, integrate everything.

SL: What do you take into account when you’re making a training plan for a client?
KG: How well do they move? Do they have any restrictions? People who sit at a desk all day long, they usually have what we call Upper Cross Syndrome, and they have really tight shoulders and a lack of shoulder mobility. Their hips are really tight, and their glutes are shut down. If I injure one of your muscles that was already strained, that’s the equivalent of a doctor doing a bad surgery. If someone has really bad shoulders, I’m going to take that opportunity to open up their shoulders. If I know they have tight hips, I’m going to give them a lot of hip mobility drills in their program.

SL: When this editor trained with you at Body Space, she noticed there weren’t many machines other than the treadmills. What’s up with that?
KG: Here’s my thought about most machines — they’re trying to make things more efficient by making things easier but in doing so, they’re taking the easy way out, and not allowing you to work as hard. They don’t let you integrate things the way you would in real life. Take the leg extension machine, for example. When I kick a soccer ball, I don’t just extend my leg. Everything above and below it works too.

SL: That Upper Cross Syndrome you mentioned is totally us, by the way. What are your tips for getting physical activity in during a work day?
KG: First and foremost, set an alarm on your calendar or phone to get up and stretch, or at a very minimum, move around. At my last job, my nickname was “the mayor”, because instead of emailing or calling people, I’d walk over and talk to them. So, every two hours, no matter what, set an alarm on your phone to stretch and get a drink of water. That’s the best piece of advice I can give people. Set an alarm! You will almost always forget on your own.

Adding Variety to Your Workout Will Make All The Difference

Laying the Foundation for a Great Workout Program – Compound Movements

Recently, I teamed up with our friend Julia Dalton-Brush, noted blogger and Founder of “Fit-Journey” (http://fit-journey.com/) to bring knowledge to the masses. In her “Foundations” series, Julia looks to explain the basic concepts and the how’s and why’s behind what you need to do in the gym. Check out this piece we did explaining compound movements and why you should make them a part of your routine.

Want To Do More Pull-Ups In Less Time? Scrap the Assisted Pull-up Machine For This Move

With recent articles coming out proclaiming why a certain sex (women) were less likely to be able to do a pull-up, I’ve gotten a lot of questions about pull-ups and how to train to do one.  Over a year ago I worked on an article with Greatist.com team member Laura Schwecherl where I developed a program to help her do just that.  Our plan worked and Laura increased her pull-up reps from 3 to 7 in just a few short weeks.

The first thing that came to my mind as the critical exercise in any “pull-up specific program” is you guessed it, the pull-up!  You can work your lats, your biceps and your core all separately but at the end of the day you need to be able to put it all together.  So how the hell do you do a pull-up if you can’t do a pull-up? There are a few ways. The first way is to use the assisted pull-up machine that you see in most gyms (see pic). This machine (sometimes being hogged up by people doing dips) is great but has several flaws.  A better training method is to do a band assisted pull-up.  With this method you would take a heavy or light band and wrap it around whatever device you’re using to do your pull-up (make sure it’s safely secured).  You would then either place your foot or knee into the band.

Why is the band assisted pull-up superior?  There are two big reasons:

  1.  A pull-up is a big time core stabilization exercise.  In a machine assisted pull-up, it’s almost impossible to swing therefore stability is added in for you. With a band assisted pull-up you have to stabilize on your own as you have more freedom to swing and thus have to control more to keep your body from swinging.
  2. With a machine assisted pull-up the magnitude of assistance is constant throughout the entire movement.  I’m not saying that is a bad thing.  With the band assisted pull-up, however, the assistance is greatest at the bottom of the movement, at your “sticking point” where you need it most.  As the band shortens when you begin your pull-up, the assistance becomes less and less and you do more of the work.  This is the inherent nature of how bands work. (look up accommodative resistance for more details)

So if you’re trying to add reps to your pull-ups and looking for a way to mix things up, I highly suggest giving band assisted pull-ups a try.  I’m sure you’ll see quicker results.

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram and Twitter (@kelvingary)!!!!!

Keep Lifting

Preparing to Workout – The Pre workout. Are You Ready to Go?

Last week I started with a new client who, in addition to being a gym rat, just so happened to be a multisport athlete. As I was explaining the results of her movement assessment, I started to describe to her how her sessions would flow. I explained that the first 5 minutes would be spent foam rolling. “If you get to the studio early, go for a little longer”, I told her. “Next we might hit a few static stretches for our lats, pecs and hip flexors, but we’ll usually move to more of a dynamic stretch; walking knee grabs, leg cradles, butt kicks, toy soldiers, knee drives for ankle mobility, things like that”. I then said, “We’ll follow that up with activation exercises for both upper and lower body.” “Last we’ll do some bodyweight moves; lunges, squats, push-ups, etc.” “Then,”  I said, “We’ll get to the resistance training portion of our workout.”

She looked at me and said, “Wait a minute, we’ve pretty much done a workout by the time I’ve done that much.” “I’m only actually ‘working out’ for 30-40 minutes by the time we’re done with all that”. “That’s right,” I said. I’m pretty she’ll thank me for it later.

Some people might look at my method and say that I’m wasting my client’s time. To that I say, “It depends.” If they can get to the studio early, know their routine, and can knock-it-out before their session, then yes, we can spend more time putting in work during the session. However, if a client shows-up to a session ice cold from a day of sitting behind a desk, the last thing that I’m going to do is let them grab a kettlebell as soon as they walk in the door.

Think about it this way; consider that your body was a finely tuned race car. Prior to running the car in a race, you would expect that the pit crew would check under the hood to make sure that all of the bolts and belts were tight. Then the driver would take the car for a couple of laps around the track before coming back to the pit to confirm that all systems were a go.

My client is that race car and all we’re doing is making sure that all systems are good to go before we put them out there to race. Luckily, I didn’t come up with all of this myself. This is the norm now-a-days in the strength and conditioning world with gyms like MBSC (Mike Boyle – Mass.), Train 4 The Game (Todd Wright –Austin Texas) and Results Fitness (Alwyn and Rachel Cosgrove – Calif.) leading the way in showing people how to workout, before the workout. They’ve shown that doing so not only helps reduce the risk of injury, but it also may lead to quicker results as they are able to perform better during their sessions.

So the next time you hit the gym and head straight for the squat rack, I want you to stop and ask yourself, “Are all of my systems good to go.” If not, take the time to really get fired-up before you put your body out on that race track.

Good Luck!


Trying to Trim Down? Are You Eating for Your Body Type?

After taking some time off to open my personal training studio, Body Space Fitness-NYC, I’m finally back to writing about the things that I love.  Feels good to be back!    In this post I wanted to answer a question that I’m being asked more and more:  “What should I be eating and how much should I be eating?”  This of course, is a question that could take a whole book to answer.  However, there are starting points to help you on your way.

The first thing, regarding the “What” to eat, I usually tell people to “Just Eat Real Food” (thanks Sean Croxton).  The second step is for people who are working out, eating “right” and seeing some progress but want to see more progress.  For you guys I ask the question, “Are you eating the right amount for your body type?”  It’s at this point that you can usually cue the blank stare and the 10-15 seconds of silence.  What I mean is that we know that there are three main body types (or Somatotypes):  Ectomorphic, Mesomorphic and Endomorphic.  Without going into too much detail and making this post too long I’ll refer to the graphic below.  I’ll also refer to the following article from Precision Nutrition that does a good job of detailing the differences.(http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-body-type-eating)


In a nut shell the 3 body types have different characteristics and macronutrient needs.

Ectomorphic – Usually endurance athletes:  Suggested Macronutrient Percentages (25% Protein, 55% Carbs, 20% Fat)

Mesomorphic – Bodybuilding and relative strength athletes:  Suggested Macronutrient Percentages (30% Protein, 40% Carbs, 30% Fat)

Endomorphic – Absolute strength athletes: Suggested Macronutrient Percentages (35% Protein, 25% Carbs, 40% Fat)

I know you’re probably thinking, “holy crap 30% of my calories from fat.”  That’s what I thought too until I tried it and it worked.  Luckily I didn’t make this stuff up, it all came from Dr. John Berardi of Precision Nutrition, who I received my Nutrition Certification for Fitness Professionals from.

So let’s do an example.  First thing we want to do is figure out how many calories we should have by multiplying our body weight in pounds by the appropriate multiplier.  A basic calorie estimator table would show the following multipliers:

Weight Loss        Weight Maintenance     Weight Gain

Sedentary (Minimal Exercise)                             10-12                                 12-14                         16-18

Moderately Active (3-4 times/wk)                    12-14                                  14-16                         18-20

Very Active (5-7 times/wk)                                 14-16                                  16-18                         20-22


Once we know our activity level, our goal and our body type we can then figure out how many calories of protein, carbs and fat we should be having.

Let’s say I have a 130 pound female client, who is a moderately active mesomorph.  Her goal is to lose weight while maintaining muscle mass.  With that in mind we’ll use a multiplier of 12-14 times bodyweight to determine the calorie range and a macronutrient split of 30%/40%/30% for protein, carbs and fat.  For her this means she’s looking at 1560-1820 calories per day (or an average 1690 calories per day).  This would translate to 507 calories from protein, 676 calories from carbs and 507 calories from fat.

Wait…don’t freak out on me yet.  You have to remember that we don’t really eat in calories… we eat in weight so let’s convert these to grams (4 calories per gram of carb and protein and 9 calories per gram of fat).  Knowing that, we can break it down to 127 grams of protein, 169 grams of carbs and 56 grams of fat.  To put it into perspective, one cup of avocado (150 grams) has 22grams of fat.  One ounce of walnuts (or 14 halves) has 18 grams of fatOne cup of egg whites has 26 grams of protein.  So when you get down to it you’ll see that it’s doesn’t take a lot of good, nutrient dense food to reach your goal.

It’s not easy, but if this sounds like you give this method of figuring out what to eat a try.

Disclaimer:  I am not a Registered Dietitian

What Should I Do For Cardio?

One of the most common questions that I get from new clients and people in general is, “what should I do for cardio”. With the New Year’s resolution kick in full affect I think it’s the right time to finally post on this topic. (I’ve actually had this post for a while but have been just haven’t gotten around to putting it up).

So I know you’re asking, “What’s the answer already?” My answer is usually, it depends on your limitations, your needs (if you’re training for something) and your likes and dislikes. Here are my cardio rules to live by:

1. Find something that you like to do. If you hate running then guess what don’t run, don’t force yourself to run and don’t let other people make you run…(unless a dog is chasing you, then run). You want to pick a form of cardio that you enjoy and will be sustainable. That is of course assuming that it’s challenging enough to be considered cardio.

2. Use your resistance training (your weight training as an opportunity to do cardio. It’s pretty well know that circuit/interval training (also known as metabolic conditioning) is a great way to combine both weight training and cardio training. Research has shown that you not only burn more calories on average during circuit/interval training sessions, but your burn calories at a much higher rate for longer after you’re done with your workout, relative to steady state cardio. (FYI: steady-state cardio is when you get on a treadmill, bike, etc and go at the same pace for a set period of time). Fitness expert Alwyn Cosgrove points this out in most of his work on fat loss. In Alywn’s “Hierarchy of Fat Loss” he ranks “Metabolic Conditioning (he actually called it Metabolic acceleration training) number one followed by high intensity aerobic interval training second, high intensity aerobic training third and low intensity aerobic training last. Two very good books to read more about this type of training, is “Cardio Strength Training” by Coach Robert Dos Remedios.

This brings me to my third point.

3. Use interval training as much as possible. Research has shown that interval training helps increase cardiovascular performance and VO2Max (very important if you’re an endurance athlete) faster than steady state cardio training along. And again the “after-burn” effects of interval training helps increase caloric expenditure even after you’re done working out.

4. Last but not least, I tell people always use the right dose. At the Perform Better summit in December, fitness expert and world renowned strength coach Martin Rooney spoke are about provided the “right does” of cardio work to get better results. It’s easy for someone to overdo it, but that’s not necessary, all you need to do is find your current threshold and push yourself to and slightly over that threshold….not way past it. For example you don’t go out and run a marathon during your first month of running and you don’t try to bench press 225 lbs when you’ve never benched more than 145. Let your body adapt to a stress that hard but not too much. That not only helps you see sustainable improvements but will also keep you from potentially hurting yourself.
Have fun, work hard and keep and pushing!

Have Tight Muscles? Pick Up This Foam Roller for Better Results

Earlier this year I wrote a post titled “To Foam Roll or Not to Foam Roll” (http://kelvingary.com/?p=97 ). I wanted come back to that post and add to it. Yes, I still highly recommend that everyone foam roll, before and after workouts and on rest days. Nothing has changed there.

Over the past few weeks if been trying out “The Grid”“The Grid” foam roller and I have to say it really does make a huge difference. The Grid is touted as a trigger point massager and foam roller in one. After using it both on myself and with my clients, we’ve all noticed a big difference.

It’s firm yet forgiving and it seems to relax tight areas faster than a traditional foam roller. So if you’re looking for a good foam roller to replace your old one or if you need to start foam rolling, I highly recommend picking ”The Grid” up.

4 Quick Tips to Make Those New Years Fitness Goals a Reality

As with every year, today is the day that we make those New Year’s resolutions that we somehow always find a way to NOT stick to.  If you want to stick to those healthy resolutions this year here are a few helpful tips that I want you to keep in mind:

  1. Set goals and give those goals a set timeline.  Goals without a set timeline usually fall through the cracks.  Write them down on a 3X5 index card and review them 3 times a day.
  2. Have a plan…. and a backup plan to help you stay on track and move towards your goals. (We’ll talk more about what should go into this plan in later posts but let’s just assume that proper nutrition and exercise will be a big part of that plan.)
  3. Follow through.  A plan is only as good as the paper it is written on.  You have to make the time and be committed to make your goals a reality.  Find a way to hold yourself accountable.  Get an accountability partner or someone to help you stick with your plan.
  4. See yourself succeeding!  So often we start our fitness related New Year’s resolutions with the thought in the back of our minds of how we “have never been able to do it and we probably won’t succeed this year.”  As I explained to a good friend and client the other day, this is almost like conceding to failure before you even start.  I then said to her, “you know it’s funny, we usually don’t quit college before the first day of class, or our job on the first day and we usually don’t walk out on first dates within the first few minutes even if it’s a horrible date.”  “So why do we bring doubt into something that matters so much to us?”  Spend a few minutes everyday envisioning what it would be like to hit your New Years fitness resolution goals.

If you keep that picture of successfully reaching your goal in mind, have a plan and follow through then you’ll be in great shape before you know it.

Happy New Year and I look forward to helping many of you reach to your fitness goals!