"My Reality-TV Workout"
Pages in this Story:
- My Workout with Harvey Walden of Celebrity Fit Club
- My Workout with Jackie Warner of Thintervention
- My Workout with Brett Hoebel of The Biggest Loser
My Workout with Jackie Warner of Thintervention
When we meet at Tao Athletic Club (formerly the Sky Sport & Spa of Bravo's Work Out fame) in downtown Beverly Hills, celebrity trainer Jackie Warner commands attention the second she exits the elevator. Tall, willowy, and superhumanly ripped in a trademark sports bra top and what she calls baseball pants, Warner strides into the gym, greets me, and then hustles me onto a treadmill for a warm-up. We dive right in.
How did those mouthy contestants on her hit show Thintervention with Jackie Warner give this woman lip? Walking when they should have jogged, faking hyperventilation, phoning in their reps. (That's right, Jeana from Real Housewives of Orange County, I'm talking to you.)
"We're going to work out exactly like I do with all my clients on TV and off," she says, and my mind flashes to the episode in which chubby twentysomething Stacey nearly needed an oxygen mask to continue her routine. "We are going to start with ladder sets. This is where you combine two exercises and increase the number of reps per set from one to 10." Translation: You do one push-up and one shoulder press, for example, and then move up to two push-ups and two shoulder presses and so on, until you reach 10. "Then you do heavy biceps curls for 15 reps."
Jackie hands me my weights: 15-pound dumbbells.
I start off strong, but by the seven-rep tier my shoulder presses are as slow as molasses and my push-ups are getting sloppy. Jackie steps in to spot me and "force [me] to failure," increasing the burn tenfold. Finally I get to the 10-rep tier, the so-called top of the ladder. (In case you're not doing the math in your head, that's 55 push-ups and 55 presses.) Then I have to do 15 heavy biceps curls. Did Jeana from Orange County really do that? Maybe I'd cheat with fried shrimp after six weeks of this, too.
My arms are quivering.
After that I do a giant superset that combines six exercises and finish on the treadmill, running at five miles per hour on an 8 percent incline for two minutes. Then suddenly it dawns on me: For all my treadmill time at the gym, I have not been working out intensely on my own -- not at all. I try to recall the last time I achieved failure (baking a souffle maybe?) and can't come up with anything. I grit my teeth in determination and finish my cardio with gusto. Then we go through two more giant sets. As I leave, I am already looking forward to a rematch.
Our next workout is also composed of the giant sets, but today Jackie has brought out the big guns: a truck tire and a sledgehammer, a loose heavy bag and a huge medicine ball. Instead of being scared, I'm excited to use these fun toys. Really, how often do you get to hit anything with a sledgehammer?
I wield it like some kind of Angelina Jolie action heroine as Jackie eggs me on, telling me to hit the tire harder and laughing when I hit it off-kilter, propelling the sledgehammer sideways and sending myself backward onto my butt.
When I nail the rest of the workout -- pull-ups, plyometrics, assisted handstand push-ups, heaving the heavy bag, jogging backward, and tossing the medicine ball -- I mentally give myself a fist pump. I'm not in this to score 15 minutes of reality-TV fame or prize money or a new, non-obese lease on life. I've become a sweaty mess just to impress Jackie Warner. Maybe those TV contestants aren't turning to mush in front of the cameras for anything more than that high-five feeling. As I limp out of the gym afterward, I know that I'll be sore for days.
This makes me smile.
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