Exercise boost — keys to keeping with the program


How are those new 2014 workouts going? Need a little inspiration boost? We talked to four prominent trainers and fitness personalities in hopes of finding keys to helping you work out — successfully — for years to come.

Harley Pasternak, 39, has trained superstars including Lady Gaga and is a bestselling author whose latest title is “The Body Reset Diet.” He has a master’s in exercise physiology and nutrition sciences from the University of Toronto.

Americans are over-exercising and underactive, Pasternak says. And we’re getting mixed signals about fitness and health. “The more that science tells us that shorter, simple workouts and lower intensity daily activity are the best way for us to get healthy and stay healthy, the more we are bombarded by fitness programs and diets that delineate the exact opposite,” he says.


“It’s hard enough to go from being sedentary to being active, but asking people to hoist a barbell over their heads, hoist boat anchors and hip-hop dance till they throw up is the exact opposite of what we need to be doing.”

What we need to do is be active all day, Pasternak explains. It’s the “boring” advice we’ve been given for years: Park a couple of blocks away from the destination. Skip the escalator. Take walks.

Pasternak says he does 15 minutes of cardio and 30 minutes of weights each day, and he walks as much as possible to stay in shape. His latest book, “The Body Reset Diet,” includes a 15-day “anticleanse” with a daily regimen of three meals, two snacks, 10,000 steps or five miles, and brief amounts of resistance work.

But he warns: “Ten thousand steps is not enough to make up for a bad diet. The 10 healthiest countries all take more steps than we do. And they don’t know what a ThighMaster is.”

What two or three words best describe your approach to fitness?

Science, efficiency.

If you could have just one piece of equipment, what would it be?


My Fitbit [a wearable fitness tracker — Pasternak endorses it].

Whom do you admire in the fitness world?

Mike Mentzer, an intellectual bodybuilder from the 1970s and ‘80s. And Ira Jacobs, my graduate supervisor.

What’s the biggest mistake newcomers to fitness make, and how could they avoid it?

Too much too fast too soon. And the lack of a plan. You need a strategy that is safe and effective.

What innovations or ideas interest you?

Move all day.

Wisconsin native Lacey Stone, 33, played basketball at the University of Maine at Orono and parlayed that into becoming a sought-after trainer and fitness businesswoman, with classes in Los Angeles and New York. She specializes in athletic outdoor BootyCamp workouts and indoor cycling (in Los Angeles, at Flywheel). Oh, and fun. She runs, hikes and plays tennis.

Stone is tall, blond, fit and smiles all the time. “It oozes out of my pores that I want you to have fun,” she says, alluding to her peppy, encouraging style of teaching.

But these days she’s demonstrating that she’s not perfect. “I’ve just started to take yoga, and I’m strong, and I’m terrible at it,” she says.

And while her terrible might not be your terrible, she says she hopes that by playing to her weaknesses she will inspire the people who are good at yoga to try Spinning.

“Yoga is about flow, and I’m about force,” she says. “To be balanced, you need both.”

Actually, she adds, three aspects of life have to be in balance: professional, personal and physical. “If one of those is out of whack, you’re unhappy. And that’s really why you came to see me. We can work out forever and you’ll still eat the cupcakes because your boyfriend’s cheating on you.”

Words that describe your approach to fitness?

Happiness and energy.

One piece of equipment?

Your body’s own weight.

Whom do you admire?

Jillian Michaels for showing that fitness can be entrepreneurial. And Mike Boyle, an intelligent trainer.

Biggest mistake for newcomers?

They want results immediately and lack patience.

Interesting innovations?

We’re coming back to more organic workouts, like yoga — developing real strength in the core of the body.

Jason Wimberly, 31, a former ballet dancer, works as a trainer and fitness instructor. He’s also a model and activist, and is the director of operations for Clover Juice, a small chain of cold-pressed juice bars. As the son of a competitive bodybuilder, he has been focused on fitness since childhood. He stays in shape these days by teaching more than 10 classes a week in Spinning and other pursuits at Equinox gyms and using his “Wimberlean” body sculpting technique, which has been taught at gyms around the country. He was a finalist on the reality show “Fit or Flop.”

Wimberly often asks his students to close their eyes for a time during class.

“There’s far too much time spent looking in the mirror and critiquing ourselves,” he says at the Mansion gym in West Hollywood, one of the places where he trains clients. “People have to start with accepting themselves and not plunge in to lose-30-pounds-in-30 day programs that leave them feeling like failures if they don’t lose it all.”

People frequently work against themselves in their fitness fervor. Taking two classes back to back, for instance, can lead to burning muscle tissue rather than fat, says Wimberly, who adds that too many people fail to include stretching in their workouts.

“You have to work hard, but you have to recover.”

Wimberly, who plans to manufacture a line of circular resistance bands this year, says he prefers workouts that lead to strength and flexibility without too much competition — and “no phones, no texts, no kids. It’s like mini-therapy.”

He also suggests being mindful of posture when walking or sitting in the car or at a desk. One look at him, and it’s easy to see why.

Words that describe your approach to fitness?

Poised, precise, empowering.

One piece of equipment?

The bands [he is having manufactured].

Whom do you admire?

My father, who was at the gym at 5 and then in the office from 9 to 5. He’s never sick, doesn’t smoke and looks amazing. As a kid, I remember being so excited to go to the gym with him.

Biggest mistake for newcomers?

Improper form. We could have careers just correcting form.

Interesting innovations?

The science of high-intensity, short-duration workouts such as Tabata, based on a four-minute Japanese program for Olympians.

Amen Iseghohi, a 37-year-old father of five, spent summers on his grandmother’s farm in Benin, in West Africa, where he and other children played with the tires they found around them. The former professional rugby player came to the United States in 2003 and became a sales executive with a flooring company before he founded Amenzone Fitness, a franchise gym company that focuses on a back-to-basics approach using tires. He also founded Amenzone Foundation to help fight childhood obesity and encourage self-esteem.

All you need is some trash and some inspiration, says Iseghohi.

As a kid, he worked on his grandmother’s farm, played sports and ran. He grew up to be an executive. But then, one day, “I saw a kid considered overweight, and I thought it was a pity,” he says. “He looked like he lacked self-esteem, the way he walked.”

And thus an idea was born: Iseghoni would bring what he learned from his grandmother to the gym. As a boy, he was taught by her to use what you have. And so, improbably, recycled tires are the basis of Amenzone Fitness, Iseghohi’s growing chain of studios. “My friends and family thought I had completely lost my mind,” he says.

The first studio in the L.A. area opened last year in Manhattan Beach. There aren’t any mirrors or elaborate machines. But there are plenty of tires and inspiration, including messages on the exposed brick walls and a saying at the end of class. It’s a high-intensity workout that uses the tires as weights and steps and obstacles. (There are also classes for children.)

Words that describe your approach to fitness?

Empowering, movement.

One piece of equipment?


Whom do you admire?

Billy Blanks [a fitness professional and martial artist], who opened the doors.

Biggest mistake for newcomers?

They need to remember why they started when it gets challenging. There are going to be hard times.

Interesting innovations?

How open-minded the public is being. People are not usually accommodating to change.


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