Several fitness enthusiasts, rivulets of sweat flowing down their faces, “felt the burn” last week as they worked out to Farley-cise.
Farley Brashear, certified fitness trainer, put the group through the first part of his program composed of four areas – strength training, cardio workout, proper nutrition, and rest.
“Imagine those four things as wheels and your body as the car,” said Brashear, a trainer for 13 years. “If any one of those wheels fell off, the car wouldn’t run. The same holds true for your body.”
Brashear has trained LaRue County’s high school football team this summer and also works with LaRue’s middle school athletes as well as Elizabethtown’s volleyball team.
A former pitcher and cross country runner at Elizabethtown High School, the 48-year-old arises at 4 a.m., leads an hour-long 5 a.m. workout in Elizabethtown, works eight hours at Akebono, then conducts fitness sessions each week, plus has speaking engagements that take him to various places throughout the area.
“Your body, your gym” is what he tells those he instructs, noting that a person doesn’t have to use any apparatus other than his own body in order to gain fitness.
Much of his strength training pits muscle against muscle, with participants contracting those muscles tightly for several seconds, then resting them before calling on them again.
“You do what you can do,” he said. “I often take a fire extinguisher to class as a prop as I tell them to put out the fire if the burn gets too hot.”
Brashear moves among those he is training, encouraging them and praising them as he observes them exerting maximum effort.
A nephew of the late military hero, Carl Brashear, he used nautical terms to describe how he wants those in his class to approach better fitness.
“You can’t be afraid of the storm,” he said. “Instead, you must learn how to set your sails.”
He said that many chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, and conditions such as high cholesterol can be delayed or even prevented if people will follow the regimen he promotes.
He also said that a person’s being overweight isn’t as important to him as is his percentage of body fat.
“The body needs to oxidize that fat, and a person does that by moving,” he said. When someone enrolls in his class, Brashear gives him a report card in which the person’s Body Mass Index (BMI), a measure of body fat based on weight and height, can be calculated.
“Multiply your weight by 705; multiply your height in inches by itself (square it); then divide the first six-digit figure by the second four-digit figure,” he explained. By comparing the results to a table - underweight = <18.5 ; normal weight = 18.5-24.9 ; overweight = 25-29.9; obesity = BMI of 30 or greater—the person knows where he stands.
David Dawson, the high school’s athletic director, has lost more than 40 pounds since he began workouts. He arises at 4 a.m. to travel to Brashear’s 5 a.m. Elizabethtown class.
“That seems to best fit my schedule,” Dawson said. “Farley doesn’t care what you can’t do; he wants you to do what you can, and he encourages you to keep moving.”
Rodney Armes, LCHS assistant principal, who is taking the weeknight classes, agreed.
“I seem to be more motivated when Farley is talking and encouraging us,” Armes said. “I also like the fact that it’s at a set time of the day. If I have to work out a time on my own to train, I sometimes find excuses not to do it.”
Armes, who also is the Hawks’ head football coach, said Brashear’s instruction definitely has helped his players.
“I think my football team is in the best shape it has ever been in,” he said. “We still condition in practice like normal, but Farley gave us a great foundation for the full body to be in shape, not just the cardiovascular aspect but the core muscle groups as well.”
Brashear holds the classes, which are open to the public for $2 per session, Monday through Thursday at 7 p.m. at the indoor practice facility between the high school baseball and football fields.
“I hope to continue teaching there as long as people show an interest,” he said.