It’s about that time of the year when the gym membership many started the year with is in the beginning stages of just becoming just a monthly deduction. Those once-crowded machines are suddenly readily available and there isn’t a wait for an open shower after your workout. The motivation that many entered the year with to get in shape is gone thanks to life, cold weather, new TV series, or any of the other reasons that take away from fitness being established as a priority rather than just a moment.

Manning Sumner is no stranger to seeing this trend play out year after year. Sumner is the CEO and Founder of Legacy gyms in Miami and has trained the likes of 9 to 5 workers to professional athletes and celebrities. He believes feelings and emotions play a critical part in the fitness falloff that comes as the year progresses.

Sumner has developed a fitness system called Partner Interval Training (P.I.T.) that is all about accountability and motivation. His philosophy of No Days Off applies to making your fitness as non-negotiable as brushing your teeth or eating when hunger hits. He spoke with M&F on why accountability was the genesis of his fitness system, why your body should always be your priority, what the pandemic taught him about the importance of fitness, and how you can implement Legacy’s antagonistic training practices while traveling or while in your living room.

P.I.T. Is All About Accountability

No Days Off a the PIT

I identified during group training that there was a lack of accountability. I was doing these boot camp classes, and I would have anywhere from 50 to 120 people. I always thought that one coach handling a lot of people just makes it to where there’s not a lot of accountability. One day, I started to pair people up and that made 100 people turn to 50. I took a step back to observe the room and everyone was counting the other’s reps, motivating one another and it just reminded me of having that workout buddy. We all thrive when we have someone we workout with more so than if we workout by ourselves.

You have someone to push you and there’s a friendly competition there. The real lightbulb moment for me was when I was training, and I had double-booked two clients. One of them was (former Dallas Cowboys) Marion Barber and a woman who was trying to lose weight. You have this regular woman and this elite NFL running back and I trained them at the same time with basically the exact same workout. The principle was when your partner goes, you rest and vice versa. Even with them using different weights and doing things a little different, it was still the same workout. They were high fiving each other and motivating one another. At the end, they were exhausted, and they both loved it. I knew I could train anyone like that, and I started implement these principles of antagonistic training — push, pull, and a cardio movement.

For example, you do a push up, then an inverted pull up, and something high intensity. Whether that be jump rope, punching bag, or a row machine — something to jack the heart rate up. It just flowed really well. When you’re doing opposing muscle groups, it complements the body, so it creates symmetry, and helps prevent injuries.

Why The Fitness Fall Off After January?

I think the No. 1 reason is a simple thing of emotions, feelings, and motivations. I think people are too consumed by how they feel, and they operate based on an emotional state and they’re waiting on motivation. What happens is in January, everyone is excited because it’s a new year and they are emotionally available for

what they think is going to change their life. When that feeling and emotion of the new year start to fade, and life happens, all of a sudden, that motivation isn’t there—because you’re relying on a feeling and not a schedule, routine, or the discipline of showing up regardless of how you feel. At the end of the day, we don’t think about taking a shower. We don’t think about eating lunch or showing up to work.

You only get one body, so why isn’t that a priority? Why don’t you have a routine that is non-negotiable? We don’t negotiate whether we’re going to brush or teeth, or shower because those are things that are a part of our lives. Why is fitness or health not valued the same? If you operate in that manner, you will get results. If you operate based on feelings and emotions, you will always let yourself down. Motivation will come and go because it’s a feeling. Discipline is something you’re always going to do.

What Covid Taught Us About Health

I think what Covid did for everyone is it provided a heightened sense of health. 85 percent of people that got sick or died were metabolically damaged. That means that they were out of shape, and some were elderly and already ill. It really put some emphasis on actually being in shape. This isn’t having a six-pack or even looking your best but feeling your best and being in shape. People are more aware of the importance of being in shape and their health to help combat viruses and illnesses. Another thing (the pandemic) brought to our attention was community. When we lost community, we realized that affected our lives in a negative way.

No one likes to be isolated. There are good things about solitude and really bad things about isolation. When you isolate yourself, it can actually hurt your immune system and your general feeling of life. Gyms, churches, events — everyone realized that this is something that is a positive about life and that we have to get back to it. Our community is the one reason we didn’t close and why we actually grew during the pandemic.

When the pandemic happened, I really dove into my office. I never read so much in my life. I read almost the entire CDC website and I was obsessed with finding out what was going on because something seemed off. Why would we take away something that actually increases our immune system, that build us up, and enables us to fight off diseases? It was so important for me to provide someplace where people could come and still get their workout in to boost their immune systems. Obviously, we took every safety precaution we could. Exercise was one of the things we should’ve kept doing. Exercise, nutrition, and all of these things are so important for your immune system. So, taking that away was the worst thing we could’ve done.

People working out at the PIT

Manning Sumner Hotel Workouts

One thing I think a lot of people do, especially when they travel — when they walk into that hotel gym or a gym they’re not familiar with, they typically only focus is on what it doesn’t have rather than what it does have. I think in life, we tend to do that also. If we would focus on what we have and use it to the best of our ability, that opens us up to get more. If we focus on what we don’t have, it’s going to hold you back. I would say the first thing when you step into a hotel gym — yeah, there might only be a dumbbell rack, and one treadmill and there might not be a whole lot of energy in there. But you are going to make that space what it needs to be.

Hotel Gym Workout:

  • Dumbbell Chest Press (12-15 reps)
  • Dumbbell Row (12-15 reps)
  • 30-second sprint on the treadmill. *Substitute high knees, jumping jacks, or running in place if no treadmill
  • Rest 30 seconds
  • Repeat for four sets

Hotel Room Workout:

  • 25 Pushups
  • 25 Sit-ups
  • 1-minute plank.

Use Your Body

Our military probably does more bodyweight movements than anyone and most of them are in great shape. Why is that? They’re literally doing pushups, sit-ups, squats, and pull-ups. Get up and walk. The one thing I feel like people don’t do enough is walk. You can take the stairs instead of the elevator. Second, you can do bodyweight squats and pushups. These are things that are very simple, and anyone can do them anywhere. If you want to go more advance, you can do walking lunges, or planks. Squats and pushups can set you up for success.

Follow Manning Sumner on Instagram @manningsumner