Starting ’em young

July 18, 2007

The AP recently ran a report on one of the first gyms specifically for teenagers in the US, Overtime Fitness.   Considering that 1 out of 3 children, ages 6-19 is either overweight or at a risk of being overweight, a fitness facility targeted at a younger age group.

As the AP reports, the gym focuses on attracting teenagers and showing them how to exercise properly.

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Daddy needs a new pair of shoes!

June 14, 2007

I hate shopping. More than anything. I hate spending money. I hate pushy salespeople. I hate trying things on. I hate not finding things that I need or want.

There is one exception to the rule, though, and that’s when it comes to buying sneakers. I love sneakers. I have 11 pairs sitting in my close right now. It’s not that I necessarily buy a lot of sneakers, it’s just that whenever I replace my running shoes, I keep my old ones, because I guess that I hate getting rid of things also.

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You’re not tired, you just think you are

May 4, 2007

So says my good friend, spin instructor Joanna S. In the middle of her hour long or two hour long rides, after pummeling us with wicked hills and kick-ass sprints, when she is telling us that just because the song has ended, doesn’t mean we can sit up on our bike and break, she tells us this: “You’re not tired, you just think you are.”

These are words to live by, and it’s in the same vein as the “No Pain, No Gain” idea, in that figuratively speaking, you can push yourself harder than you think you can. Obviously, pushing yourself through an injury can be stupid, like what I’m doing now I would do.

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April 26, 2007

Okay, that is a terrible portmanteau for the words “trainer” and “therapist,” but I am sure it’s straightforward.  This idea of a trainer being a therapist has been something that I have often thought about, as someone who has used a few trainer, not to mention many, many coaches since elementary school.

The coach aspect is slightly different, because you are performing for them and they have more at stake.  For example, if it were the coach of my team, they get a W or L just like I would.  If it was a coach I was using on the side, too many L’s means I get rid of him.  With a coach, therefore, one would assume there would be an involved level of “therapy” or “mental/emotional” coaching; anything to get the W. 

With a personal trainer, though, things are a bit different.  People hire personal trainers to achieve physical goals.  Sure, getting stronger may not necessarily get you a W, but at least you got stronger, and that is why you hired the trainer.  Is the line between personal trainer and therapist one that shouldn’t be crossed? 

Training Wheels touched on this when he mentioned how some of his clients, uhm, go a little far with text messaging him.  Now, that is a line that probably shouldn’t be crossed.  I guess it depends on the people involved and the situation.

In any case, does being a therapist mean someone will be a better trainer.  On some level, yes, but in general, I really would have to say no.  Some of the best trainers, the most motivating and knowledgeable, might just not be the best listeners or “therapists.”  If anything, I would think the notion of a trainer being a therapist would be somewhat antithetical.  I use a trainer to push me, motivate me, and be tough on me, not baby me like a therapist would.  Then again, people don’t hire trainers for therapy, right?

Of course, in this season of Work Out, Jackie Warner launches the “brand extension,” Sky Lab, with the intention of having her trainers act like therapists for their clients.  Now, for sure these clients need both trainers and therapists.  It certainly helps that these trainers can serve the role of a therapist as well, since the Sky Lab clients have pretty much proved they have deep rooted issues that go beyond pure fitness and healthy eating deficiencies. 

Clearly, being a “therapist” for a client might help in your training sessions, but I wouldn’t say it is the be all, end all. It depends on your client’s needs (and some clients sure are needy!).  But, if a client really “needs” someone to listen to their problems, maybe they should find better friends or buy therapy sessions instead. 

Spring has (finally) sprung

April 24, 2007

A very, very long time ago, I had written about how I was going to be spending a whole lot less time in the gym, and a whole lot more in the gorgeous spring sunshine, riding my bicycle or running along the West Side Highway in NYC. After all, it was almost the middle of March, and I was ready to stop spending so much time inside of the gym, and a whole lot more outside. Boy, did Mother Nature totally NOT get the memo.

Wait, some might ask, “but FitFiend, we thought you liked working out, what happened?” Well, I do, but there is only so much time you can spend indoors with a bunch of machines and a bunch of other smelly, sweaty people, some of whom probably contributed to my feet issues. These are same people who wear gym clothes too many days in a row without washing, and the same ones who sometimes forget that just because you are listening to your IPOD, doesn’t mean that nobody else can hear or smell when you are baking brownies (Disclaimer: I am by no means 100% innocent of any of this).

Also, I will certainly still be hitting the gyms, but just not spending as much time in them as I had to over the colder months. While most of my cardio will be outside, there are still certain spin instructors who make life worthwhile. That’s right, a great spin class can be the highlight of my day, sometimes even week. Sure, some spin instructors revel in their classes pain, but if they are any good, I usually like it!

That said, these last 3 days in NYC have been gorgeous. I was trapped inside working on Saturday, so I couldn’t enjoy a run or a bike ride, but I have made up for it the last few days. Unfortunately, I have checked up on the weather, and I think that Mother Nature was just teasing us, because it is going to be headed back into 50s and raining later this week. This means, I will have to back inside and aside from lifting, and probably spin, I will be stuck to the treadmill or stair mill, both of which I hate. If only running on a treadmill was as much fun as this looks.

Work Out – Cycle 2 – Episode 5 – Recap – “You’re the poster girl for drama! You’re the poster girl for hooker!”

April 18, 2007

Last week, the group finds out about Doug’s illness. Rebecca has no problem with Jesse, “except he’s schizophrenic.”

We start off the show with Peeler blowing off steam as he is pretty upset about what’s happened to Doug, and how much he means to him.  Doug has helped mold him, and he’s glad that he’s getting better.

Sky Lab is Jackie’s biggest challenge and the trainers are distracted.  Peeler mentions that his client has been away 18 days.  Jackie is upset that the trainers are not training with the Sky Labbers enough.  She thinks that the trainers are lying, so she does some fact checking with the clients.  Jackie is pissed at both the trainers and the clients.

After the phone calls, she goes to cool off out of the gym.  Jackie went to do yoga with Dhyana, a yoga instructor.  She couldn’t concentrate because of all the stimuli around her.  You know, the fish, birds, fountains, and Dhyana. 

Yoga is just not for Jackie.  She couldn’t look within to find her quiet place because of Sky Lab. Jackie is still fired up after yoga, and says that there will be boot camp in the morning.

Jackie runs the boot camp and is an unforgiving hardass on the Sky Labbers.  They aren’t getting in enough of their sessions, and the trainers are 50% to blame.  Time for a weigh in. half way through the Sky Lab program. 

Rita gained 6 pounds

Kiki gained 6 pounds

Carol lost 1.5 pounds

Dina lost 1 pound

Amy lost 2 pounds

Tess gained 15 pounds – she breaks down.  This freaks Jackie out.  Guess who’s to blame!?  Her trainer, Gregg! 

 It’s just as important that the diet is as well thought out as their workouts. Jackie reads their eating diaries and doesn’t believe them. 

Tess admits to cheating over New Year’s Eve.  She asks, how many people gain 15 pounds in a month?  Gregg says that she is reshaping her body, and that she is gaining muscle and this contributed to her weight gain.  15 pounds of muscle in a month. Wow.

Gregg questions the decision for the weigh in at this point because the Sky Labbers are lifting.  Jackie says that her trainers have to do it her way or things just aren’t going to work.  She “almost fired” Peeler in Cycle 1 because of a difference in training philosophies. 


Jackie has a trainer meeting to get them back into the game and hear her message.  She explains what happened with the Sky Lab clients, and how Tess is destroyed.  Jackie explains that there are no excuses for the clients, so there will be no excuses for the trainers,

Rebecca says that they needed to hear that to kick it into gear. 

Jackie decides to organize a retreat with the Sky Lab clients and the trainers.  When she asks them to bring it to the table, they do, so Jackie is confident.

Laurie, Doug’s former trainee, is now training with Jackie, who Laurie says is tough (no doubt).  Jackie says Laurie brings a lot of “therapy” into the session. 

Rebecca and Jackie go out on a romantic date, and start talking about acronyms.  I think they are a little confused and Jackie asks, is it anachronism?  In any case, Rebecca is DFW, Down For Anything. Gee, there’s a shocker.

Rebecca starts pumping Jackie for Tiffany info.  Though she keeps maintaining that she is not possessive.  Jackie says they can go back to her place and have some dessert there. Pimp!

For some odd reason, we cut back to the gym for a 30 second scene with Zen’s client Carol, who comes 56 miles to see her.  They see each other minimum 5x a week.  Food, shopping, and snowboarding are Carol’s favorite things. 

Jackie and Rebecca are back at her place, and are actually having fondue with sugar free chocolate.  Rebecca starts talking about how things just are not that romantic.  The smoke alarm goes off, as obviously neither of them is very good at making fondue. 

They grab some champagne and move to the couch, but before they sit, they compare heights, and Jackie says, you’re almost as tall as me. Rebecca says “I can go down,” Jackie says, “those are the magic words.”  The two head to bed to “watch a movie.  Rebecca says it was time to take the relationship to the next level, since up until now, sexual attraction with Jackie has been like French Fries, compared to sexual attraction with men, which has been like steak.  French Fries, Steak, Fondue. Damn I’m hungry now.


Jackie is surprising the trainers with a retreat to Lake Arrowhead, and surprise, the Sky Lab clients are coming too.  The gang is in the van and talking about Doug and how he is doing.

Rebecca feels Jackie up.  Some mad tension between Jackie, Rebecca and Jesse in the van. Things are going to heat up!

Jackie decides to take the group ice skating.  Peeler proclaims he is the champion of falling down.  Erika, on camera, starts laughing that Jackie fell down and almost broke something.  She seemed to think that it was really funny.  Must be pent up resentment since she was Jackie’s pet two trainers ago.

Ericka, Peeler, and Jesse are at the bar and gossiping about Jackie and Rebecca when Rebecca walks in and hears.  She and Jesse exchange a few words, nothing too serious. 

We move to the dinner table, where Jesse accuses Rebecca of taking advantage of Jackie’s vulnerability, and that she is taking advantage to advance her career.  Peeler tries to tell them to calm down. There Peeler goes being all mature again.  Rebecca calls Jesse a poster girl for drama.  He calls her a poster girl for hooker, and a slut.  Rebecca throws a glass or water all over Jesse.  This has got to be one of the funniest catfights ever!

Neither of them will leave.  Jackie arrives at dinner.  Jesse and Rebecca both tattle on each other. 

After dinner, Rebecca came back up with Jackie to her room.  Jackie tells Rebecca that she won’t let Jesse get away with it. 


At breakfast the next day Tiffany calls Jackie.   Rebecca gets all bothered by the phone call. Jackie talks about how difficult it is juggling her girls. She’s a player, looks like she is doing a banging job.

The clients arrive and go for a snow walk with their trainers. . 

Next we are at the lodge and Jackie brings in a therapist to talk with the trainers and clients about eating disorders.  She wants to discuss why people use food for emotional reasons. 

The therapist says that people with eating disorders often are kind, caring people when it comes to others, but not so with themselves.  They need to start looking at themselves like they would someone else, to treat themselves better. 

Carol tells her story, cries.  Tess tells her story, cries. She lost her job and then her brother sort of disowned her. Wow that is pretty whack.


Laurie tells her story, cries.  She’s always been the fat girl. Her dad committed suicide.  All these things have contributed to her using food for emotional reasons.  Jackie confides that her dad committed suicide also.  All the trainers are moved to tears. 

Next Week

Jackie starts flipping out about her clothing line. 

Shocking the body and the 300 Workout

April 16, 2007

I think it is a pretty safe bet that following the same workout regimen for too long will limit your body’s upside over time.  The body becomes accustomed to the same workouts and needs change to shock the system. 

For about 3 months, I had a regimen of 4 day cycles for strength training.  One day back and calves, one day squats and arms, one day hams and shoulders, and one day chest.  I would throw in cardio, abs, and an occasional day off.  At the beginning of the three months, there were noticeable gains in appearance and strength.  However, by the end, I was putting in my time at the gym and just not seeing the same types of gains.

Obviously, I figured this meant it was time to change (in actuality, I was probably a month behind).  Now, I have switched things up a bit.  I take one week and alternate between 2 major muscle groups.  For example, last week was back one day, alternated with ham days.  This week, today will be chest, tomorrow squats, and Wed. back to chest. 

So far, I have been doing this for close to a month, and I definitely feel stronger and see some visible gains.  


Another thing I have incorporated into my “workout week” is the “300 workout.”  Yes, I am jumping on the bandwagon, and nearly every single fitness related site I have visited lately has something about this workout.  Let me tell you, there is a reason for this.  I haven’t seen this movie yet (partly because of the concern I have with its historical inaccuracy, which is neither he nor there), but I do know that these actors have some SICK bods.

The 300

Wow.  I have only done it a few days, but it just kicks butt.  It is extremely intense, and part of the objective is to finish it fast.  The main 300 workout that I have seen is like this:

25 pullups

50 deadlifts at 135lbs.

50 pushups

50 jumps on to a 2 ft. platform

50 floor wipers at 135lbs

50 kettlebell clean and jerk (25 with each arm)

25 pullups

I have been throwing in some extra exercises as part of this circuit, including 50 squats with 135 lbs., 50 curls with a 45 lb bar, and 50 dips. 

The best part is, the workout takes about 20 minutes, with some additional time for the extra things I throw in.  Adding in about 20 minutes of abs and a half hour of cardio, and that is a pretty great, fun workout that really changes things up.