Victoria Beckham hates the gym!

August 28, 2007

Not that it really looks like she needs it, but David Beckham’s wife has joined The Sports Club/LA to get in shape for the Spice Girls upcoming reunion tour.  Then again, maybe she is getting a little tubby…   Posh Spice admitted “Maybe it’s the whole getting sweaty thing but it’s just not me.”  I’m sure she has done her fair share of sweating.

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Gym Review – The Gym – Covent Garden – London

July 9, 2007

The Gym at Covent Garden is one of the Jubilee Hall Clubs.  I used this club a few times when I was in London recently.  I was basically looking for a gym that would remind me of a typical US gym (I’ve been to some questionable “gyms” in other parts of the world).  I was only sort of glad that I had found this one.

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Work Out – Cycle 2 – Episode 4 – Recap – “Are we talking furniture, or are we talking sex?”

April 11, 2007

Last week, we left off with the Work Out crew at Sushi Dan. Rebecca and Jackie had just “come out” to the group, and the sh*t was hitting the fan.

We pick back up with Jackie and Rebecca making out. Jesse is commenting on how grossed out he is by the whole thing. Jesse decides to take off, as he was super upset that he didn’t know anything about this.

Erika comes to Jesse’s defense, and says that he is sensitive, while Rebecca tells the camera that he needs to suck it up, in not so many words.

Brian explains why Jesse was upset. Jackie points out that Jesse has always had a problem with Rebecca. I never picked up on that before.

Peeler comments that they aren’t judging, and they are just having a hard time absorbing it all. He compares it to coming home and finding the furniture rearranged. Jackie’s response? “Furniture, I thought we were talking about sex.” Is it just me, or does Peeler get unfair crap most of the time? He usually is on point.

Tiffany walks in to the restaurant, and plants one on Jackie. Oh snap, catfight on tap. Tiffany scoots in next to Jackie. Rebecca asks Tiffany to move so she isn’t so squished. At this point, Jackie starts ignoring Rebecca and only plays with Tiffany. Rebecca is clearly super jealous at this point, especially when Jackie tells her to stop eating off of her plate. Ouch!

Erika says its time to go because she feels that Rebecca must be uncomfortable. Nice of her, considering that she is supposed to be “the bitch.” They all get ready to go except for Jackie and Rebecca. Andre makes some comments that offend Jackie, who says it’s because he is jealous, since Rebecca and Tiffany are supposedly heterosexual, but she can get in their pants and he can’t. When they leave, Andre says to Zen, “are you gonna be next?” That is what I said last week when Zen was in her nightie.

Jackie and Tiffany are talking first about Andre and then Rebecca. We find out that Jackie and Tiffany had had a hot, torrid affair for 5 months (this was while Jackie was with Mimi). In Episode 2 they had mentioned dating, but never said it was for that long.

Jackie says that Tiffany has gotten much better at sex, (Let’s guess what’s for dessert). and that she has changed; she is more masculine, and Jackie digs that. She also claims that she is normally such a sexual aggressor and now Tiffany is stepping it up a bit more.

Yes, they go back to Jackie’s drink champagne, make out on the couch, and then Jackie suggests they go to her bed. Damn Jackie got serious game!

Commercial

Jackie is in therapy, talking about how she feels in control and over Mimi. Dr. Sheryl prompts her to talk about her current dating life. Jackie says she is dating two people right now. Dr. Sheryl points out that both people Jackie is dating should know. Jackie owns up about dating one of her trainers, and seems to not need to talk about it that much, and acts like everything she is doing is completely on the up and up.

Meanwhile, the guys are talking about Jackie and Rebecca and the sushi night. Gregg points out that probably the worst thing was how Tiffany came to meet them while Jackie and Rebecca had just started defending their “love” for each other to the gang.

Jesse and Jackie start talking in her office. Jesse says that she can’t make out in public bathrooms anymore. Jackie counters that all the guys had too many problems, especially Andre. Jesse says that lesbians can’t casually date.

We jump to Peeler and Andre talking about the situation and how it isn’t ethical for the boss to date one of the employees.

Jackie tells the camera that trainers date trainers, trainers date clients, so why can’t she date who she wants. Methinks Jackie doth protest too much.

Jackie walks in on Peeler and Andre, and starts discussing the issue with them. Andre owns up to being jealous, and they have a lighthearted conversation. Doug points out this is just “gym drama,” ending the issue, for now. Jackie says that in her pool, her fish are hotter and she will always get them more easily than Andre will. That is because Jackie is a man-eating, no, woman-eating shark, and she will prey upon all the impressionable, curious, heterosexual chicks out there. successful, attractive woman.

Peeler is working out with his client, Floyd, at Sky Lab. We then find out that Doug’s birthday is the next day, and once you hit 40, you really feel it (he’s turning 44).

Cheo, Doug’s ex-partner is back at the gym to work out with Doug. He had kidney failure and needs to get in shape before his transplant. Some sappy stuff between Doug and Cheo. Where did it go wrong, etc. Sorry, not much detail here.

Creepily and ominously, Cheo tells the camera that Doug Blasdell’s parents didn’t live past 43, and that is Doug’s age now.

Commercial

Rebecca walks in to Jackie’s office and asks about Tiffany; she says that Jackie omits details. Jackie claims that she feels bad that she might have inadvertently hurt Rebecca’s feelings. Rebecca claims that she doesn’t really feel jealous, but Jackie sees through it. They make plans to hang out on Thursday night. (Will Jackie flake on Rebecca?)

Jesse comes up to Rebecca and says that some of his clients are lesbians (he has the Sky Lab lesbian couple as clients), and that she shouldn’t casually date one of them. Rebecca finds this inappropriate, I find it hysterical. Jesse then goes to train his clients (they really are lesbians) and refers to himself as the “lesbian whisperer.”

We go to Doug’s 44th party, a joint party with Erika (don’t know how old she is). Rebecca comes dressed up, but without any underwear. Jackie calls it “understated sexiness,” and that she taught Rebecca everything she knows. Erika shows up late, to her own party, which was low key, not like their last outings. Very slow, makes me want to drink, heavily, for them.

Commercial

Andre is working out with his client Kiki. She’s doing well, but just has a problem with Jackie’s meal plan. She ate two Eggo waffles instead of Jackie’s morning protein shake. (Which is a delicious concotion of whey protein, liquid amino acids, Mega Green powder, Flax seed oil, mixed berries, and milk).

Doug is with his friend Cheo a the hospital. We get to see some medical procedure that I won’t go into detail about. Arteries, blood, needles, oh my!

Doug is sitting through the procedure, and starts looking woozy, dizzy. Cheo says he is dehydrated.

We cut back to Sky Sport and Spa, and Erika walks in to train a client, and tells Rebecca that the crack is back (Crack is Whack!!) Erika’s client is Megan, who wants to fit in a dress by the Oscars. Erika is training her and tells her that consistency is key, and that she is doing a workout (peripheral heart action) that quickly shifts the focus between the upper and lower body. Would be interesting to learn more about this type of workout. I think it keeps your heart rate consistent while working out different parts of the body.

Jackie hasn’t seen Doug since his birthday party. The trainers are standing around and realize that nobody has seen him.

Commercial

Doug hasn’t trained anyone at Sky Sport for a week, and none of the trainers have seen him since the party. Jackie gets a call from Cheo. She feels numb, wants to walk away, but she can’t because she has to stay strong for her trainers.

The trainers gather, and Jackie informs them that right around his birthday, Doug got a really bad flu. He was so dehydrated that his kidney shut down. The doctors put him into a drug induced coma, and he developed a really bad infection. However, he is out of the coma and recovering. At this point, Jackie is saying that she thinks he will be out of the hospital in a week or two.

Next week. Another team building session, with Rebecca throwing a glass of water at Jesse. I guess there really is tension between them. Drama!

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It’s all about the core!

April 9, 2007

Core training is enormously important for, well, anyone. For people who work out a lot, and for people who don’t work out at all, a strong core is essential.

In the case of athletes and exercise freaks, a strong midsection serves a functional purpose. It helps the body adapt to different levels of physical stress and stabilize itself. As an athlete growing up, I was well aware of how important a solid core was, and now as someone who continues to train in and out of the gym, it has not lost its importance. I feel that any strength gains I have seen in certain fundamental exercises such as bench pressing or squatting has only been possible because I make sure I hit my core.

In terms of people who do not do any real exercise, they don’t need a stronger core to help with their squats, obviously, but rather, for their everyday functioning. The most prevalent physical ailment among US adults is back pain. Some sources of back pain come from poor posture, and again, just everyday functioning, whether holding a bag of groceries or picking up their child. A stronger core defrays the stress placed directly on the back, which is why it is so important.

One of my favorite things for core strengthening is the Swiss ball, or exercise ball. There are so many exercises that you can do with this simple accessory. There are the standard crunches that you can do that increase your range of motion, hitting your upper abs even harder, but there are also a whole lot more things you can do.

Some simple exercises that you can do with the exercise ball for your core are bridges. These are great for people beginning, and you can do more variations as your core strengthens. For example, you put your body into a plank position, only your feet are on the of the ball, while making sure your abs and back are tight and your body is straight. Once you can do this easily, a variation would be to have your hands also on an exercise ball, so your body acts as a bridge between the two.

One of my most favorite core exercises to do with the exercise ball is the jackknife. You position your body as you would in a bridge with only your feet on the ball, then you roll the ball into your body with your feet, then you roll your feet back out. It is sick for your lower abdominals.

Another really advanced core exercise to do with the exercise ball is stand and balance on it. I haven’t been able to do more than get on all fours and balance on it, like I am a frog. Hopefully, one day I’ll be able to do this; it takes a SICK core to be able to get on the ball and balance.

These are just a few things you can do, other than the standard crunch on the exercise ball, that will really work out your core. Watch the following video, though, for some things NOT to do with it.

Enjoy!

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Overcoming obstacles and making gains

March 26, 2007

One of the things I have been working on this past winter has been getting stronger.  Week after week, day after day, I would try to make sure that I would eat properly, get the right amount of rest, and do enough cardio that made me happy, but would still not take so much out of me that I couldn’t really get stronger.

Still, the gains felt kind of minimal.  I was building, but only adding maybe a few more pounds here or a few more reps there.  Nothing really concrete.  Take the overhead bar military press, for example.  I had reached a point where adding 25lb. plates on either side of the bar was my  heaviest, and I was just trying to add reps. 

Last week, all of a sudden, I was able to pump out 3 full sets with no problem using what had been my obstacle weight.  And not just with that, but also with squats.  I overcame my obstacle weight, to the point that I wasn’t just trying to build on reps, but I actually killed all my sets.

Aside from eating well and sleeping better, I definitely had cut back on the frequency of my heavy lifting days, something that I am normally reluctant to do.  This overtraining has been sort of a stumbling block, but I think, for now, I am over it.

So how did I feel after breaking those obstacle weights? Pretty damn amazing.  Any goal you ever set and achieve, small as it may be, is worth taking note of.  The little things will add to bigger things, and so on. 

Unfortunately, right after I hit those gains, and was super pumped about them, I caught the flu.  Guess I will be starting from a lower base this week. 


Work Out – Cycle 2 – Episode 1 – Recap – “Yeah, yeah, yeah. You’re full of sh*t!”

March 21, 2007

The new season of Work Out is upon us, and opens with a surprising message: Dedicated in loving memory to Doug Blasdell.

Apparently, Doug, the oldest trainer on the show, passed away earlier this year due to a severe illness, after the filming of this season.

Jackie Warner starts talking about how her life has changed since Cycle 1. Mimi is still in her life, and they are trying to work things out. Sky Sports was a roaring success, and now she is about to open a new branch, Sky Lab.

We then get some snippets of the trainers talking about themselves and each other. Here are some of the highlights!

Gregg – The New Guy. Dated Zen.

Rebecca (was she really this hot on the Amazing Race?) – Loves to spank other chicks, has a great ass.

Erika – Walks the walk, Talks the talk. That bitchy friend you love to have.

Brian Peeler – Can create a masterpiece out of anything, like Michelangelo, only he probably doesn’t know who Michelangelo is, according to Jesse.

Jesse – The Favorite, Jackie’s bitch, and he likes to eat, and cook, and eat, and eat.

Andre -The Military Guy

Doug – The gay brother Peeler never had.

Zen – She mentions that her parents were not flower children

After we get the refresher on who these trainers are, we cut back to Jackie, who is starting a new branch, Sky Labs. Jackie doesn’t like how the trainers let the success of last season get to their heads, so to put them back in their place, she organizes a Beach Boot camp. She orders them to take their shirts off, but Jesse doesn’t want to because he is “gay fat.” (I wonder if that is different from normal fat because he sure just looked fat to me).

The trainers start whining, Jesse points out that Jackie doesn’t ever do the boot camps herself (is he still the favorite?), and Rebecca, jokingly, calls her a whore (we ain’t seen nothing yet).

Erika comes up with some crazy exercise. Peeler complains that it is too complicated.

All of the trainers, except for Zen and Erika, give up and go get water. Jackie taunts them after Zen and Erika finish the complicated exercise, saying those two girls could do it, and nobody else could. Jackie does point out that they would never let their clients just give up and walk away.

Cut to clips from last season of bickering between Jackie and Mimi, culminating with Mimi hurling glass at a bar at Jackie, Rebecca, and Mrs. Peeler.

I bet you thought it was all over then! Guess what, it’s not, as Mimi and Jackie are trying to work things out. Jackie admits that Mimi is her “personal addiction.”

After the commercial break, we get an insight into what is happening in the gym between the trainers and clients. (Sort of)

Gregg is working out client Daniel, who is trying to get bigger and eating 4,000 calories a day. He says he is eating a lot of chicken and eggs, and Gregg tells him that eggs are his best friend. Daniel started off at 141 pounds, as Gregg puts it, “your average frat boy.” Frat boys are scrawny?

We get the scoop on Zen and Gregg; she says he is too young for her at 23.

Ellie K., a radio talk show host, is training with Jesse. They seem to love each other and friends outside of the gym, partaking in fast food binges.

Jackie is giving Jesse a hard time for getting fat, because he should be a representative of Sky Sports and Sky Lab (I wondered if it really mattered in “Fat Trainer”). Ellie K. is with them and keeps telling Jackie about all the crap she sees Jesse eat.

Doug’s former partner of 14 years comes in to work out with him. He is trying to get back into shape before his kidney transplant. Eerie that his friend is very sick then Doug gets sick after the season airs.

Commercial.

Erika walks in to train client Beverly, who drives down from Vegas every weekend (an 8 hour drive) to train. (No doubt Erika is hot, but she couldn’t find anyone closer?) She can relate to Beverly because they both have had eating disorders. Beverly is happy she found someone who she can relate to, which prompts Erika to say, “they say, when the student is ready the teacher will appear.”

Doug and Jesse are talking, separately, about how they each had been interviewed after Cycle 1, and had said things about each other. Doug called him Jack from Will and Grace. Jesse said some mean things about Doug to the papers. (I smell a catfight!)

Jesse is Jackie’s best friend in the gym. They start talking about how Doug and Jesse don’t get along, then the conversation turns to Mimi and their lack of communication. They go to a hairdresser, where Jesse gets his nostrils waxed. (OMFG are you crazy?!)

High Drama Alert (HDA) The crew goes to some Gay/Lesbian function. Jackie gets a hotel room for them to chill at and knock back a few cocktails. Peeler, the mischievous little rascal, stirs the pot and asks if there is still a Jesse-Doug beef.

Doug explains to the camera he meant what he said as a compliment, that Jack was his favorite character on his favorite show, Will and Grace. (Hehe) Cut back to the room, and Jesse is a little trashed and keeps going off on Doug.

Commercial. More arguing. Jesse can’t forgive just yet. Rebecca points out that it is Jesse’s limitations that he can’t accept apologies. (Thank god that is over)

(HDA) Jackie and Mimi go to couple’s counseling. They start cracking up when therapist asks why they are at therapy. First she asks about fighting, then sex. It kind of seems like Mimi is a little tipsy. The two have it out, start yelling at each other, blaming each other. Every time Jackie tries to say something, Mimi says “Yeah, yeah, yeah. You’re full of shit.” The therapist says they have awful communication (shocker) and doesn’t know why they are together. Mimi walks out.

From the looks of the previews for the upcoming shows, it looks like Mimi won’t be back. Jackie starts hooking up with Rebecca?! and it looks like we are set for a whole heaping more of HDA alongside our HLA.

Takeaways for the FitFiends

Eggs are your best friend.

Trainers need to set an example for their clients.

Finding the right trainer for you is extremely important to achieve goals. Not all trainers necessarily can relate to you or work you out the way you need.

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No Pain, No Gain

March 15, 2007

This is an antiquated theory I wholeheartedly subscribe to. However, nowadays, if most people hear these words, especially people who are experienced in fitness, they freak out! If they do, it’s my fault and I should be more clear.

When I would come home from college for the summer, I taught at tennis academies. Part of my teaching involved leading the conditioning sessions for the kids, most of whom were 12-18 years old, competitive tournament level players. However, many of them were also lazy, and needed to be pushed; that is why they were training and also why I led the conditioning. Sure, if one of them had an injury, they wouldn’t have had to participate in conditioning, but if they were too injured for that, they wouldn’t have come in to train that day in the first place. Kids would stop, and I would do everything I could to make them keep going.

When I say “no pain, no gain,” I refer to mental toughness. This is what you need to push yourself through a marathon or even when you are lifting. Obviously, you need to discern between physical pain and mental pain. However, a lot of what you need to achieve physical results is driven by how mentally fit you are.

Now, I am not suggesting that you train through an injury. That would be stupid, er, and something I might do, like I did in early January.

If I am sore from doing squats or dead lifts one day, I still go running the next. Yeah, soreness does not feel good, but I find that the cardio actually helps to get rid of the soreness. It is a kind of physical pain that I believe can be worked through.

Still, there should be a differentiation between an actual physical injury and mental toughness when people say “no pain, no gain.” There is a huge difference between when you are super fatigued and you push yourself to keep fighting on, vs. when you are hurt.

Unfortunately, a lot of people mistake feelings of fatigue with feelings of physical pain. So much of what we feel is mental, and when people realize this they can see much more in the way of physical gains. Those kids I taught all would get tired, but it was only the ones who realized that mental toughness could make them keep fighting who actually progressed further in their tennis careers. This is a lesson that anyone can apply and this is what I mean when I say “no pain, no gain.”