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NORTH COUNTRY AT WORK: Working out with personal trainer Seth Lang

November 22, 2019
By ANDY FLYNN - Editor (aflynn@lakeplacidnews.com) , Lake Placid News

LAKE PLACID - A mix of '80s music played over the speakers at Fitness Revolution as personal trainer Seth Lang led one of his clients through a circuit of exercises.

"All right, here we go!" Lang said.

His booming voice drowned out the Pointer Sisters' 1984 hit "I'm So Excited" as Sarah Rogers of Lake Placid lined up to grab two black, oversized ropes on the floor in the weight room. It was time for battle ropes.

Article Photos

Certified personal trainer Seth Lang poses at the Fitness Revolution gym in Lake Placid, where he works.
(Provided photo — Andy Flynn)

"OK. Feet out wide," Lang said. "Chest forward. Tight core. And go!"

Rogers swung the ropes - attached to a weight rack at the other end - like wet noodles, alternating her arms in a way that simulated the Monkey (dance) from 1963.

"There you go! Keep that core engaged. That's it. That's it. Very good!"

Lang clapped for encouragement, then began a countdown.

"You've got 20 more seconds. Here we go. Nice! Keep it going. Keep it moving. Get those ropes to wave. Six, five, four, three, two and one. Nice job!"

Lang and Rogers moved on to kettle bell swings, the rower, floor taps with a medicine ball, assisted dips, V-sit curls on a weight bench and a leg workout on the Arc Trainer machine.

With a building full of equipment and dozens of exercises to choose from, the gym has its own language. Some exercises are easy to figure out: squats, curls, push-ups. Others are not so obvious: mountain climbers, cherry pickers, burpees.

"A burpee is basically a squat thrust and jump with a push-up involved with it," Lang said. "It's something that can be nasty if you're doing a bunch of them."

In Lang's experience, the burpee is among his clients' least favorite exercises, along with the tire flip, which is exactly what it sounds like. Walk up to a large tractor tire on the floor, "Squat down, reach underneath, lift a lot with your legs and drive forward with the shoulders."

Then flip the tire, and slam! It's loud as it slaps down on the floor.

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Getting started

Lang grew up downstate in New York City and Long Island. He was active in sports during high school, including basketball and baseball, but he's always been drawn to the weight bench.

"I had my own gym set since I was 12 years old in the basement like some people do," he said. "I've been loving this work forever, and I finally decided to go ahead and do something like this about eight years ago."

That's when current Fitness Revolution owner Jason McComber took a chance on him. Now Lang is a certified personal trainer and certified class instructor.

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In his element

Lang is in his 40s, and he looks like he's in a heavy metal band, with a long goatee, brown hair down to his elbows, wearing a black Rogue Fitness International cap backwards on his head.

There are four exercise rooms at the gym: one for cardio equipment, one for strength-training equipment, a studio and a main weight room. Some floors are padded for protection. Motivational sayings are painted on the cinder-block walls. "To give anything less is to sacrifice the gift." "Oh, dry heaves. Hang on." Music plays nonstop.

This is Lang's office. It's where he works with individuals as a personal trainer and with groups as a class instructor. He currently teaches two classes: a chair class for older people called "Tone to the Bone" and a class that combines boot camp and CrossFit-inspired exercises called Boomfit. He typically keeps his classes and one-on-one appointments to one hour.

"I love helping out people, helping them reach their realistic goals, helping them feel good about themselves and especially helping them get in overall great shape and in good health," Lang said.

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The workouts

Lang designs new workouts before each appointment and class. He tries to keep a balance between strength training and cardio, and he draws from a seemingly endless list of exercises to create circuits for the legs, arms and core.

"I design the workout to try and hit the whole body, to try and challenge you the best you can within that hour," he said. "I try and make it a little different every time to make it fun for everybody to keep on coming back. ... It's a little bit of a challenge sometimes, but you've just got to get a little creative. And sometimes people don't really like it too much when it's over with because they got a little butt kicking."

In the Boomfit class, for example, students walk into the weight room and find Lang's workout printed on a sheet of paper. Sometimes it's one circuit of exercises, and you do as many circuits as you can within the hour. Sometimes there are three mini-workouts, and the class is divided into three groups, each working on a different mini-workout before switching to the next and then the final one - completing as many circuits as possible within the hour.

Lang said everybody is on a different fitness level, and that affects how many circuits they can finish.

"So if you come in and you only get that round, one-and-a-half rounds, two rounds, don't worry about it because you come in a couple of more times and you're going to build yourself up and you'll eventually get to that three rounds or more."

While tire flips and burpees are among his clients' least favorite exercises, Lang had a hard time listing any of their favorite ones.

"The combination of them all makes it challenging, so I don't know if they would really be like, 'Ooh, we get to do that!' I think they just want to come and get it done because they realize how beneficial it is for you."

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Importance of training

Lang is a stickler for form. He's always checking to make sure participants are doing the exercises correctly.

"People don't realize that you could be doing more harm than good if you're doing an exercise incorrectly," he said. "That's the benefits of coming to see a trainer like myself, too, is to make sure you have correct form in all the exercises that you're doing. Because it's doing no justice for you, and it's going to actually hurt you in the long run."

People don't have to work with Lang one-on-one to learn the correct form. They can take a class, which is included in the membership, and work alongside others.

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Success stories

Lang said his goal is that people leave the gym in a good mood.

"They might be exhausted, but they're like, 'This was awesome. Thank you so much.' That's what I love about that. When they leave the door with a smile on their face and they know they worked hard, and they feel good, and the rest of the day they're going to have all that energy from the workout."

Lang's clients all have different needs. Some are athletes who want to reach their sports goals. Some simply want to get stronger or reduce their pain. Others want to do more outside activities.

"They're able to do a hike that they haven't done in 20 years, and they come back and they tell me about it. A mountain climber that comes back to me and he says, 'Wow, man, I'm glad I've been training with you because I had a close call the other day. And if it wasn't for the grip strength workout I was doing with you the past six months, I don't know if I'd been able to hang on.'"

Lang himself is a success story - for the simple reason that he loves his job.

"If you do what you love, you're gonna enjoy it," he said. "You're gonna enjoy life, and if you're not doing what you love, you should get out of it."

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Tough trainer?

Does Lang consider himself a tough trainer?

"I absolutely can be at times. It depends on the individual," he said. "Somebody could come in here and see me literally being a tough trainer to somebody and pushing them through because of what they're training for, or they could come in a see me working with an older adult that has a lot of issues and we're going very slow and we're doing a lot of kind of PT work. So I've got a very wide range."

Lang ended his session with Rogers by challenging her on the Arc Trainer to work her legs. It looks like an elliptical machine, but the motion is slightly different.

"Three minutes on here. Get that heart rate back up," he said.

Lang pressed a button on the machine to increase the resistance.

"I'm going to challenge you a little more now. ... You're going to feel like those legs are going a little higher, like climbing a nice, steep mountain. All right?"

"Yup," Rogers said.

He ended the 12-minute circuit like he does with all the exercises - with another countdown.

"Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two and one."

And always encouragement with a little bit of clapping.

"Nice! Very good. Good job. That's a first round. Very good."

 
 
 

 

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