Australian Luke Milton, 33, started his fitness career as a professional rugby player while playing for Sydney and the West Tigers. After 10 years of playing rugby professionally, he gained a valuable outlook on what it means to have a healthy lifestyle, and how working out and staying fit can be fun.
“We definitely work hard in a sporting environment for each other and harder than we would have for a stranger,” Milton told FoxNews.com. “You can still enjoy all of the fun times, but it was really great to work that extra bit harder so that everyone did well and won the game.”
Post-retirement, Milton said he missed the feeling of community he once shared with his teammates and wasn’t used to working out in a traditional gym.
“When I finished up with professional sport, I really struggled to find that camaraderie and find that mate ship outside of the sport itself,” he said. “I still get intimidated when I walk into some gym environments. They can be really intimidating places."
Looking for a way to bring a positive and team-oriented experience into the fitness industry, Milton founded Training Mate, a fitness studio with an ‘Aussie’ flair in West Hollywood, California.
“When I created Training Mate, I really wanted to concentrate on community and fun, and I wanted to take that intimidation out,” Milton said. “I think when you have a family and a very supportive environment, it makes it a lot easier to show up and get through the workout.”
To bring his Aussie approach to a workout atmosphere, he hired all former Australian professional athletes to lead the classes at Training Mate.
“We all know how to work in a team environment, and that’s what we’re doing there— we’re creating a team, we’re creating a family that really works together for a common good, and that’s to get a healthy lifestyle,” he said.
Each of the studio’s 45-minute classes is divided into four stations of high intensity interval training (HITT), which makes for a full-body workout. The exercises focus on the principle of blood shunting, the shunting of blood from one muscle group to another to work the cardiovascular system.
“Basically we’re moving the body, moving the blood up and down, and really engaging that circulatory system and providing working muscles with oxygenated blood cells,” Milton explained. “It’s a really great way to get that heart rate up and continue to burn calories well after the workout.”
While some fitness trainers yell and scream to motivate you to move faster or push harder, Milton encourages you to laugh with your mates as you sweat— and he will even throw in a few bad jokes to get you started.
“We put in the great jokes like, ‘You two look like you’re from Tennessee because you’re the only 10s I see.’”
To really get your heart rate going, Milton suggests some fun outside exercises you can do without any additional equipment:
Begin standing straight. Squat down and kick your feet out into a burpee. Lower your chest for a pushup and then quickly hop your legs back into a squat. Stand up and move right into a split lunge jump on the right leg, and then switch for another split lunge jump on the left leg.
“[What] we want to do is engage the major muscles of the upper body, and then work the plyometric and get all of that blood rushing down to those legs to engage in a lower body workout as well. Try to do as many as you can for 45 seconds,” Milton said.
Start standing up, and then squat down, and place one hand on the ground and then the other until you walk yourself out into a plank position with your weight over your wrists and shoulders. Then as you drop down to a push up, lift your left knee to your left elbow and back to a plank. Repeat on the other side, and then crawl yourself back up on your heels until you are back in a squat and standing up straight.
“It engages the abs and gets the heart rate up a little bit. We’re moving through different planes, so we’re getting that blood really transporting around the body a lot more than some traditional exercises do.”
For more workout moves and information on Training Mate, visit TrainingmateLA.com.