Zero to hero
Can an out of shape executive make a commitment to take his life back with the same gusto that made a sensation out of a burger-eating filmmaker?
November 18, 2010 9:32 by Jay Akasie
Worse still was the fact that air-conditioning systems in the buildings of Dubai are so taxed by the intense heat that very little fresh air is ever taken into the building’s system and cooled. Instead, the same cool air is pushed through the same vents over and over again – not exactly the best way to breathe. So, if I ever were to exercise indoors, I’d be breathing less-than-desirable air.
But I hadn’t been exercising at all, air or no air. What I’ve come to realize is that 90 percent of getting fit is psychological. Not only does a mental barrier to getting fit exist, for me it’s considerable.
The main reason I was eager to work with the folks at Apollo Fitness was that its location down the road from my office would prevent me from coming up with excuses as to why I couldn’t go for a workout. Nonetheless, I often managed to convince myself that I should put off a session.
In my opinion, the most valuable piece of equipment in Apollo Fitness isn’t the sit-up bench or ergometers, but what’s in the Evaluation Room. This is where personal trainers take you through what they call a wellness assessment in order to get you back on the path to fitness. “You’d be surprised at how many people get worried about taking the test because they’d rather not know about their fitness level,” personal trainer Joe Hodgson says.
In order to make a complete evaluation, the trainer takes your blood pressure, height, weight, and your resting heart rate. Then you’re hooked up to something known as a Tanita machine, a gizmo that measures your body composition, body fat, and metabolic rate. These readings help the trainer figure out how much of your body weight consists of what they call ‘fat-free mass.’ In other words, it’s okay to weigh a lot if most of what you’re carrying is muscle.
Trainers can also tell you how many calories you typically burn at rest. Unfortunately for people like me, much of the day is spent sitting at a desk, where I don’t burn as many calories as I should.
At the end of the day, weight gain is all about putting into your body more food than you need. It’s why guys such as Lance Armstrong eat meals that could choke a pig when they’re cycling 25 miles a day. And why someone like me doesn’t need all that much sustenance if he’s not getting his heart rate up.