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Mind + Body Fitness

August 4, 2014

Physical workouts aren’t beneficial only to the body — they also boost brainpower and mood, reduce stress and anxiety, and can even enhance creativity. For a fitness routine that’s both challenging and calming, look no further than Newport Beach’s pristine sands. “Beach workouts are great for the mind and body,” says Shawn Ryan, owner of Newport Beach-based Shawn Ryan Fitness and beach boot camp trainer. “The mind enjoys looking at the beautiful scenery and enjoying the fresh ocean air, and it is more rewarding for the body working out at the beach because you have more open space to maximize your workout.” Here, Shawn shares his best boot camp moves — and other inside secrets for staying in top shape.

How is the beach environment — aside from the epic view — the ideal place to work out?

The sand presents a challenge. Since you need to use more muscles to complete the exercises, so it’s an overall conditioning of the body.

What are some “drills” you dish out at your beach boot camps?

There are so many things you can do — we do it all. A few you can expect: speed ladder (focuses on footwork and overall agility); cones (running in and out of cones to build speed and cardiovascular strength); boxing moves (keeps hand-eye coordination sharp while providing a cardio workout and toning upper and lower body); and high-knee drills (cardio and leg conditioning). You can also run the beach stairs and swim — if you can handle it!

How often should someone attend a beach boot camp to climb to rock-solid shape?

You need to treat your body like a car; in order for your car to function, you need to do the proper maintenance. I recommend three to four, 60-minute sessions per week for someone to stay fairly fit and healthy. For someone who wants to be in rock-solid shape — five or six days per week.

What percentage does diet contribute to overall health, and what sort of plan to do you advocate for staying in optimal shape?

Diet is 70 percent of staying healthy. What plan you follow depends on what you want to achieve with your fitness program. For example, I recommend a high protein diet for someone who wants to gain muscle. If you want to lose weight, avoid sugar and fat. I provide individual meal plans to my clients based on where they are health-wise and what they hope to achieve. Also, a daily multivitamin will get in extra nutrition and help keep your organs healthy.

What at-home exercises are essential for those who can’t make it to a beach boot camp several times per week?

—Pushups for the upper body (three sets of 25)

—Chair dips, squats, and lunges for the lower body (three sets of 25)

—Planks or crunches for the mid-section (plank for one minute; three sets of 25 crunches)

Keep it simple — you don’t want to hurt yourself without a trainer nearby. That’s where a personal trainer comes in — to make sure you’re doing your exercises correctly. Even if you don’t have time for regular classes or boot camps, meeting with a trainer to learn proper form and technique is key.

Which problem area do your female clients complain about most, and what’s RX? Male clients?

Most women complain about their lower body area. My fix for this squats, doggie kicks, band work, and lunges. Men usually want to strengthen and tone their upper body. They often hurt themselves trying to lift more weight than they should, so I work with them on this using less weight and doing my reps.

What is the essential equipment for an at-home gym?

A treadmill, TRX, medicine balls, a few dumbbells, flat bench press, and a pull-up bar are the best.

What are some activities you enjoy outside of training that help keep you in shape?

I enjoy tennis, basketball, swimming, and boxing. By doing all of these activities I burn fat and build muscle.

Visit  for consultation and complimentary training session with Shawn.

Written by Visit Newport Beach

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