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There’s No Rest Day in Sparta: Interview with Personal Trainer, Whitney M. Cole

February 21, 2010 4 comments

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Fitness has always been an integral part of my life. As early as 5 years old, I have been an active soccer player. During the next ten years, our soccer team traveled throughout the East Coast and won two State Championships. It wasn’t until I was in high school that I discovered the gym and started weight lifting regularly. There are few feelings on this earth that feel better than a solid gym work out, just listen to Arnold Schwarzenegger describe “The Pump” from Pumping Iron (1977) and Yes, I have experienced this:

Our sole purpose in this life is to survive long enough to reproduce (See: Abiogensis). As a result, we are naturally attracted to those individuals who exhibit characteristics that will provide for healthy offspring. Therefore, our ability to maintain a healthy lifestyle is imperative towards increasing our overall attractiveness.

In this interview, we talk about how we can improve our physical body. Whitney M. Cole came recommended through a mutual acquaintance. Her dedication towards living a healthy lifestyle astounded me and I thought it would benefit our readers if they learned from her as I have. Whitney is a certified personal trainer, Pilates practitioner and nutrition counselor. As you can see through this interview, Whitney’s approach to fitness is both practical yet humorous at the same time. In addition to maintaining a blog (www.whitneymcole.com), Facebook Site, and Twitter (http://twitter.com/fitnessandfuel) , she is the Health and Fitness Editor of Dimensions Weekly, a recognized Fitness Expert on Diet.com and Health Maven at Wellsphere.com . Currently, she trains clients locally in Los Angeles and virtually through her website, www.whitneymcole.com.

As with all interviews, I requested the members of The Unbreakable Man Laws Fan Site for questions they might have for her.

Ethan Bishop:  A sentiment I hear all the time in one form or another is: “I want to get in shape and tone up but I

Whitney M. Cole

HATE the gym!”  When you have clients who feel this way, how do you approach training for these people that wouldn’t be caught dead on a treadmill?

Whitney: I ask a lot of questions to determine why this person hates the gym and make a plan to minimize their distain given the clients’ goals and resources. I train many anxious and time-strapped clients in their home to avoid the crowd. Equipment is not necessary, but I do bring light weights, stability challenging tools, resistance bands, the Bosu, etc. When I hear this from a client who is obviously just uncomfortable and overwhelmed by the gym, I do seek to break this self-imposed limitation. There are so many tools, classes and inspiring people that you get access for the minimal cost of a gym membership, often $30! Learning proficiency with the exercises and equipment breeds comfort and confidence.

For those who feel trapped indoors, I have a blast doing outdoor individual and group training on the beach, Pacific Palisades Park in Santa Monica, along trails like Runyon Canyon in West Hollywood, in playgrounds… We do a lot more body weight only or light weight workouts with Pilates and military bootcamp inspiration, and I also like to add portions of many outdoor sports: running, biking, hiking, surfing, swimming, kayaking…when possible. One of my favorites is a land and water workout I call the “Surf & Turf.” Non gym environments provide unique elements like hills, sand, and water we can use to make the workout more challenging. If there’s a sport they currently or formerly enjoyed, I’ll incorporate moves and motivation similar to what they pull from the field to maintain focus. Clearly outdoor sports and training are weather-specific. Always have a backup plan. A weak man cancels because the weather, an unbreakable man or woman is resourceful.

Ethan Bishop:  Many guys, and probably Americans in general, take better care of their cars than their bodies. Why do you think this is happening? What can we do about it?

Whitney: If the car has significant visible damage, we take it in for repair. To fix a massive dented or splintered glass in the windshield, we know the finest shoulder maximizing, gut minimizing blazer, tailored slacks, wrinkle cream, and Just for Men hair color ain’t gonna help. We each spend thousands every year on these little cheat fixers which to our own detriment, perpetuate our ability to hide what we don’t like about our bodies. The return on most of these investments sucks. Stop. Put your money to work on the real problem. Examine your budget and determine what you can spend on a trainer who will design a customized fitness program for you, even better if they can teach you nutrition too. If you can’t afford a trainer, I still recommend you pony up for a least one session. Be honest that you can only afford one and the trainer will work on developing a program that you can do on your own and ensure you know how to execute proper form before you leave.

Ethan Bishop: Where can I go to get solid weight lifting/workout advice without being bombarded with supplement ads?

Whitney: No shit. I hate those ads. I always picture those overpumped dudes farting their way around the gym as most lab-created supplements are really tough to digest and absorb. That’s probably the hardest question, given everyone starts at such a different place. Sadly, few people even, avid gym-junkies, reading fitness mags actually know how to cue the proper muscles in basic exercises without recruiting dominant muscles, commonly quads, traps, etc. Thus, it’s hard not to write to the lowest common denominator to prevent people injuring themselves. Nail your basics (get a thumbs up from an expert) and then move onto the fancy stuff. Look at videos vs. static pictures to observe the full execution each exercise, and then practice in front of a mirror. Most stuff you find in print will be on the magazine’s web site in video. Never hurts to ask a trainer how your form looks. Assuming you’ve got the basics down, I do like some of Men’s Health and Men’s Fitness articles as they focus on one athlete and the program has been designed by his trainer. Go online to look at the video.

Ethan Bishop: Many of us have 9-5 day jobs or jobs that keep us seated for long periods of time. A problem that I run into is keeping energy levels constant until I can leave work and make it to the gym. What nutritional foods can I use instead of coffee and/or caffeine pills to get me through the day without feeling starved?

Whitney M. Cole, V-Day

Whitney: Consistent fueling throughout the day (so as not to starve or overload). Yup, it requires planning, but that planning becomes clockwork in a week or two. Keep non-perishable snacks (unsalted nuts, peelable citrus fruits, apples and bottles of water) in the car, office, or anywhere you spend time. For items requiring coolness, buy a cool pack if you don’t have access to an office fridge or plan ahead where you can get healthy brain and body fuel nearby. For additional energy and focus, I do recommend drinking unsweetened (avoid real or artificial sugar) green tea (hot or cold) throughout the day switching to decaf as it affects your sleep.

Ethan Bishop: I know you must get this question a lot – How can living healthy improve my sex life? Are there specific exercises or diets you recommend to clients to improve ::ahem:: performance outside of the gym?

Whitney: Affirmative.  A fit and fueled bod amps confidence, improves sensitivity and verbal and nonverbal communication. A natural healthy diet is key to making those workouts work for you in and out of the bedroom, I mean, gym. My clients’ diet, The Arsenal assumes that while man’s food choices have evolved, our digestive systems haven’t. So stick with what was growing or grazing in the field and swimming in the sea:  veggies and fruits, eggs, lean meat and fish, nuts…and extra pounds won’t stick to you, slowing carnal pursuits.

5-6 workouts a week of different types will keep you tightened and toned. Look good in more than just candlelight. Don’t be the meathead that just lifts. Get your butt outside or on a machine for at least three 30min cardio sessions / week. Add interval training to improve speed and recovery time. You need your heart and lungs to be working efficiently. Seriously, add some Pilates in for spice. The increased range of motion will allow you to engage more muscles, even ones you didn’t know you had, in all activities: translation increased metabolism, coordination and add brute power too.

Yes, put fitness, fuel and better sex on your To-Do list!

Vary your workouts to continually challenge your body.

Ethan Bishop: Since you’ve been in California, have you met Ahhnold?

Whitney: Nope, but Maria called yesterday when she was driving.  I hung up. We Californians can’t afford to pay another one of her tickets.

Ethan Bishop: For those of us thinking about hiring a Personal Trainer, what information should we go in there with? Is it realistic to think that we can go in there with a cover of Men’s Fitness or Women’s Health and say, “Make me look like this”?

Genetics plays a heavy role in determining how we look, including how and where we put on muscle and store fat. That being said, there’s a lot in our control and it’s your choice to work out hard (and smart), fuel properly and lead a healthy lifestyle to look and feel your best. In always ask clients to bring a goal photo: of themselves when they “had it” or of a model / celebrity  who’s bod they want. I can quickly confirm that’s realistic, sort out any head cases, or, point out any differences between the client’s and celeb’s body types, noting we’ll strive for the arms, chest, back, abs, butt in the pic and how they can expect their particular body type to respond and look. Again, YOUR BEST!

(Editorial Note: The next part of the interview consisted of questions directly posed by members of the Unbreakable Man Laws Fan site…)

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