It's officially the New Year, which means it's time to put those New Year's resolutions into action. Losing weight and getting in shape is the no. 1 resolution made each year and while it's one thing to be motivated in January, often by March, gym crowds start to thin out with fitness goals falling to the wayside.
But this year is going to be different! Having helped sculpt the bodies of celebs such as supermodels Rachel Hunter and Beverly Johnson, actressesIsabella Rossellini, Susan Lucci, Jennifer Beals and Ricki Lake, singerCrystal Waters, Olympic figure skater and gold medalist Kristi Yamaguchiand rapper B-Plus of The Wu-Tang Clan (just to name a few), we chatted with veteran group exercise instructor and celebrity trainer Anthony Truly to help jump start your new fitness routine for the new year. Wearing a red and silver superhero suit to become his alter-ego FITNESS MAN, Truly's innovative approach, mixing grueling exercise routines with entertainment, has made his classes a popular fitness destination in New York City.
We caught up with FITNESS MAN after his Power Jam Cardio Class and Super Shred weight training class at New York Sports Club In Manhattan, where talked motivation tips, healthy eating habits and why walking the catwalk is just as important as doing crunches.
How did you get into the fitness industry?
I was a principle dancer in The Tennessee Ballet and The Beale St. Dance Company in my hometown of Memphis. I came to New York in 1987 to be a dancer, so instead of waiting tables in between gigs I became an aerobics instructor at Living Well Fitness Center. I was an instant hit and fitness became my new craft as an artist.
The number one New Year resolution is losing weight and getting in shape. What are some tips you have for sticking with a new fitness routine in the new year?
First thing, start slow and ease into a new routine. You don't have to kill yourself to get thin. Hit the gym or workout just twice a week your first two weeks. On your third week add another day. As you start to feel stronger and see results add a fourth day. Never, I repeat never workout seven days a week. Remember rest is an important part of being healthy. You don't want to injure yourself or burn yourself out in the first month.
For someone who may have never worked out before, what are some simple starter exercises they can ease into?
Walking is the best starter for beginners. Whatever you age, walking is safe and easy. You can walk outside, on the treadmill or on the catwalk. Just walk honey!
Your classes are known for being high-energy and fun. What is your secret that keeps your clients coming back?
I push my clients to the max with hot music, fresh dance routines and comedy (celebrity gossip). The trick is to challenge them but not defeat them. It is a scientific fact that exercise is good mood insurance. If I can get them to laugh they will work hard and get results. Since I'm in the music industry I also give them an education in music. Every week we review a new CD like the new Lady GaGa "Artpop" and Britney Spears' "Britney Jean." I have the group rate new music on a scale from 1 to 5 dumdbells. This week we'll exercise and rate the new Beyoncé.
What are some of the biggest mistakes you see people make in regards to working out?
I keep an eagle eye out for hyper extension of the joints, locking the knees and elbows while working out. Not breathing, arching the back or doing abs without pull in the tummy. Beware.
Any at home workout tips for someone on a time crunch?
Yes, use your favorite workout videos, any home workout equipment, sit-up and push-ups are old favorites. It's best to use home workout routines as a transition to working out outside the home because sooner or later you will get distracted, particularly in New York City apartments.
Bad eating habits can be one of the hardest things to change. What advice do you have for eating healthier?
Diet is the number one obstacle for not achieving desired fitness goals. Start with small changes like not using salt on foods. Avoid lots of salad dressing. If you're eating a salad with lots of dressing, it's not low cal anymore. Try giving up something you think you can't live without. You will be surprise to know once you stop eating your favorite comfort food, you wont it crave anymore after the first three weeks and you'll see unexpected results. When Mayor Bloomberg started his war against soda in the city I said "How dare he? I like his nerves." BUT, when I gave up drinking soda, I got definition in my upper body I have never seen before and I never went back. Don't judge yourself too harshly. If you fall off your diet, so what, just start again. Loving your body where you are right now will make that much easier to go to the next level.
Any last piece of advice?
My final word is the best way to stick to a workout routine is to find a workout you enjoy. Yes, you're going to make it after all!
Want to work out with FITNESS MAN? To see his teaching schedule at NYSC and read his latest online comic adventure, check out Anthony's blog thefitandthefab.com