As you eagerly await the raising of spirits on New Years’ Eve, the fact you’ve been tooting your horn for weeks on weight loss resolutions can quickly have the bottom drop out. All you’re then left with is a disappointment that lingers until “never quitting” gets its annual refrain the coming November. Mount Kisco personal trainer Shaka Taffawa certainly knows the sentiment and clearly understands how the absolute can succumb so easily. “If you’re quitting, you’re probably setting the goal too big,” says Taffawa, while his approach at Skinny Buddha defers on getting too far ahead on goals in favor of a workout and eating regimen that incrementally seeks lifestyle change.
In the gym at 128 Radio Circle, Mount Kisco, customers may opt for a six week program, and reaching benchmarks established at the beginning, sets the precedent to proceed. “When they get through it and see it isn’t so bad, they want to do it again,” says the NASM Certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Nutrition Specialist.
Mapping everything out at the outset only facilitates matters, but he also believes people must first get at why they are seeking a goal rather than the hope of simply looking better. For instance, they may get a sinking feeling when fitting into a favorite pair of jeans becomes impossible. “Then clients need to figure out what needs to change. This way they become motivated to never feel that way again,” he says.
At the same time, the former Golden Gloves boxing finalist helps clients unravel the anxiety and push them forward. “From the first hello, you see where they are mentally, and then you know how to adjust the approach beyond that,” says Taffawa.
Of course all the good intentions and preemption must pay heed to the being put off by repetition. So among his repertoire are dumbbells, resistance bands, body weight and timed workouts. On the mechanical end, clients have access to a Smith Machine for assisted squats and bench press and a cable crossover for a host of upper, lower, and core exercises. “This allows us to switch it up so many different ways, and gives me the chance to be creative,” he says.
A rapper prior to being a personal trainer, Taffawa’s musical past certainly gives him the skill set to work outside the box, but he sees no reason to rewrite the rhyme on accentuating the positive. “We try to steer away from telling people the things they need to cut out. It’s more pushing them toward healthy habits and that retrains the mind,” says the licensed massage therapist.
People can get the skinny on those habits by signing up at the beginning for a one week detox. This encompasses five Skinny Buddha prepared meals in which the first two are fruits and vegetables, then legumes, grains and proteins are added on the 3rd, 4th and 5th days. “Detoxers usually go on to lose a few pounds during this program, and it sets them up to lose even more over the next 12 weeks, he says.
Regardless of whether clients opt for the detox, the link between diet and exercise is driven home everyday in a prepared (organic) meal that is provided after each workout. “One usually keeps the other in balance,” he says. “So if you’re at a point where you’re dieting, and you want your body to look a certain way, you’re going to need strength training to firm up or shed extra body fat.”
As for adding a little weight in the form of all the little gadgets that measure things like burned calories, he says, “Anything that motivates you to be healthier, I’m all for it.”
For his efforts, he gets a read on the type of trainer each client wants. “They might want someone who really pushes, while others seek a positive reinforcement approach,” he says.
On the other hand, Taffawa knows the unspoken speaks the loudest form of motivation. “When they fit into clothes they couldn’t fit into before, they feel stronger and healthier. No one has to tell them that,” he concludes.
The Skinny Buddha Organic Kitchen is located at 159 Lexington Avenue, Mount Kisco – open from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday - Friday and 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Saturday.