With winter arriving, what are the good exercise options to stay in “golf fit” shape? There are many options available: Barre, Core Power Yoga, Orange Theory Fitness, Pilates, Running, Swimming, TRX, Walking, Weight Training, etc.
While certainly not qualified as a fitness instructor or trainer, having tried all of the options over the last several years, I have developed a strong preference for one. It will surprise you.
As a background, I prefer to exercise early in the morning. On Monday I go to the gym for mat work and TRX (45 minutes). Tuesday and Thursday I do Barre at the 5:45 a.m. and Friday is Core Power II Hot Yoga at 5:30 a.m. Saturday is an 8:30 a.m. 30-minute high speed spin class then stretching with a foam roller.
We had the pleasure of playing golf during October with George Karhoff, PGA, Club at Ravenna. He played simply fabulously and commented that it was his last year’s winter commitment to the Titleist Performance Training that made all the difference in strengthening his core and flexibility. He commented his initial TPI Score at the beginning of last winter was 36 and by Spring he has improved to the low 20’s. In comparison, Adam Scott’s fitness score is 12. Note that George is in great shape!
Always wanting to “measure myself”, I went to the TPI website: Find a TPI Certified Expert | TPI (mytpi.com) and sent emails to three instructors: none responded. Upon further research, I called the locations where they conducted their training. Two of them were no longer employed there. I did the TPI Test and a series of private training sessions in 2013 preparing to play in the Bandon Dunes Solstice and found it focused more on strength than conditioning. However, if you are a TPI Instructor in the Castle Pines area and have an opening – call me. Would like to tested again and set up an exercise program for 2021-2022.
In a previous winter, I did 40 classes of Orange Theory Fitness. I am too competitive and always wanted to score 30 points for having my heart rate in the orange or red zone during the 60-minute class.
Too brutal – no weight loss and certainly no increased flexibility.
Was a winter treadmill runner for many years logging >30 miles per month consistently. It did allow me to run in the 3rd Largest U.S. 10 K Race – the Boulder Boulder (50,000 participants), in which I beat my age by 9 minutes – a sign of being in good physical shape.
The knees, hips and back are gone. The days of running have long past. Yea! I hated every step.
Skiing was always a favorite for many years. Vail is spectacular. While I struggled on Highline and Blue Ox as I never mastered the bumps, love 12 inches of powder, tree skiing on Aspen Alley, and the racecourse on Golden Peak. Truly, there are few things better in life than taking, when all of the lights have turned red, the last run of the day non-stop down Lion’s Head in Vail with your daughter and buying a hot chocolate and an oatmeal cookie to celebrate having survived.
Nowadays, I hate the cold, and skiing in Vail costs >$300 for a day if you rent the equipment as my Rossignol skis and boots are torn and tattered precluding further use. Certainly am not going to spend several thousand to ski only five days a year. My barrier now to skiing is comparable to the same barrier many face to becoming avid golfers: the initial cost of equipment. My skiing days are likely over.
Swimming is boring, Pilates is ineffective (can’t tell the difference after 10 sessions), Stretch Lab at $115 per session for 50 minutes is too expensive and Yoga going through eight consecutive sun salutations and chaturanga poses in 104-degree heat is too taxing. I lack the strength and flexibility for the frog, side crow and wild thing poses and am finding my balance in the single tree pose or eagle poses is hit or miss. When the cold scented towel placed on one’s forehead while in the final Shavasana pose became my reason for going, I realized my days were numbered.
What is left? Barre! A golfing friend, Mark Suslaski recommended it. As described from the website:
“Barre is a form of physical exercise, usually conducted in group classes in gyms or specialty studios. It is distinguished from other group fitness activities by its use of the ballet barre and its incorporation of movements derived from ballet. These classical dance movements and positions are combined with those drawn from yoga and Pilates, and other equipment is sometimes used in addition to the barre, such as resistance bands, yoga straps, exercise balls, and hand weights.
Barre classes typically focus on small, pulsing movements with emphasis on form, alignment, and core engagement. Participants hold their bodies still while contracting specific, targeted sets of muscles in isometric exercises. Repetitions tend to be high, range-of-motion small, and weights, when used, light. Barre classes focus on the lower body and core, developing strength and flexibility from the ankles up though the calves, knees, thighs, glutes and abdominals. Holding muscles in contraction for extended periods frequently leads to them shaking as they fatigue. This is particularly true of thighs, as the quadriceps tire.”
Having now attended seven classes at Barre 3, I am thrilled with the results. Playing my best golf in 50 years. Even shot my age two weeks ago which is a function of getting another stroke on September 6, a lesson from Bryson Hotchkiss, PGA Professional at the Ridge at Castle Pines and Barre.
You will enjoy that the session is equally balanced between cardio, weight training and core. Just when you think you can’t do another repetition, there is a short 10-second break as your move to a new exercise. My thighs with a 35-pound resistance band scream in pain when holding the bar in a seated position though the drill lasts less than two minutes.
The only thing I have found surprising is that I am the only male in the class. Why more men and male golfers especially haven’t incorporated this form of exercise into their routine escapes me. Perhaps we should keep it as our secret for the results on the golf course are measurable.
Be well this winter and hope our paths cross on the course next spring – all of us in better condition. 🙂