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The Voice of the Black Community

Life and Religion

Transform your body
The mechanics of fitness and health
Published Wednesday, January 8, 2014
by Michaela L. Duckett

Former NBA athletic trainer Yusuf Boyd, founder of BIOMechaniks in South Charlotte, said having the body of your dreams is possible if you are committed and willing to do the work. 

It’s possible for anyone (within reason) to transform his or her body into being as fast, lean and strong as they wish it to be. That’s the belief of Yusuf Boyd, a former athletic trainer with the NBA Memphis Grizzlies and owner of BIOMechaniks, a health-and-wellness studio in South Charlotte.

“It just takes time,” he said. “And you have to put in the work.”

The work, he said, is just as much mental (if not more) as it is physical. His philosophy is train the mind and the body will follow.

Boyd said that when he founded BIOMechaniks in 2010, his goal was not simply to show people how to work out and lose weight; his aim was to educate his clients and help them understand how their bodies work.

Boyd opened the first BIOMechaniks studio in Memphis. Last year, he opened a second location in Charlotte.

Part of Boyd’s mission is to redefine ideals about health and wellness. He said many people approach their fitness goals by focusing on losing weight or decreasing their waist size. Instead, he said the focus should be on improving their entire wellbeing and lifestyle.

“The focus is to enjoy being active,” he said. “If you enjoy being active then you are going to lose weight. That we are not worried about.”

BIOMechaniks takes a holistic approach to health and wellness, offering an array of services including personal training, cycling, bike fit, athletic performance development for youth and adults, sports medicine, corrective exercise, injury prevention and rehabilitative services.

 “I wouldn’t categorize BIOMechaniks as just fitness,” said Boyd. "We provide the mental aspect as well as the physical aspects of supporting you… A lot of people think we are just another gym or I’m just another personal trainer, but it’s so much more than that. I’m not a personal trainer. Personal training is just one of the services that we offer… Everybody on our team has a degree… We don’t just count reps and sets.”

Boyd said his end game is not about pushing clients to get a certain number of reps in or spend a certain amount of time working out. It’s about teaching clients to adapt their lifestyles to achieve their goals. 

“We want to teach you how to properly get the weight off effectively and properly alter whatever the things are that are going on in your life that contributed to you getting to that point in the first place so that you don’t get back to that point again," he said. "That’s the biggest difference.”

Bodies in motion

The BIOMechaniks approach to fitness incorporates Functional Training, which is an integrated approach to strength training that focuses on exercising multiple muscles and joints together instead of working muscles in isolation.

Its methods are based in the science of biomechanics, which is the study of the physics of the human body – how it moves and how it should move. As Boyd explains, everything with the body is interconnected. If any one part is awry, it throws everything else out of whack.

“Each joint has a certain range of motion,” he said. “If it does not have that full range of motion available, it can throw everything else off because some other body part will have to compensate for that loss in range of motion.”

That’s when he said physical ailments like back pain tend to kick in because you may have muscles that are overexerting themselves to do three things when they are designed to only do one.

Failure is an option

Boyd said many people fail to achieve fitness goals because they attempt to take on too much at once by either pushing themselves too hard or working with trainers that push them beyond what they can handle.

“Mentally, it’s going to be so draining that you give up,” he said.

When it comes to making lifestyle changes, Boyd said moderation and balance are key.

“At some point you are going to have to get some kind of grip and control over your diet,” he said. “You don’t have to cut the ‘bad’ things out. You just have to eat them in moderation.”

He adds that people are more likely to fail when they quit things cold turkey or make drastic changes that are not sustainable long-term.

When it comes to exercise, Boyd said consider your starting point and create a plan to get you where you want to be over a period of time.

“You have to increase your activity at some point,” he said. “But if you have been sitting on the couch for the past 12 months and now want to lose weight for the New Year and think you are going to go into this boot camp and go as hard as you can for 50 minutes, you are lying to yourself. Mentally, you are not ready for that.”

As important as diet and exercise are to achieving weight loss and reaching your fitness goals, Boyd said they are not the most important factors.

“Having a support system in place is probably the most important piece of the puzzle,” he said. “Find some people who are going to support you in your journey… There are going to be times when you want to quit. You need someone to encourage you. Don’t try to take it all on by yourself.”

For more health and wellness tips, visit: www.biomechaniks.com


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