Saturday, April 5, 2014

Interview: Q&A Session with Fitness Instructor Angie Gorr (8-16-2011)

Belles: Thank you for taking the time to take our questions. For our readers, what can you tell us about yourself and your background in the fitness industry?
Angie: As a child I was involved in gymnastics. I was a cheerleader in high school and a member of the dance team at the University of Nebraska in college.  About two years into college, I was diagnosed with three degenerative discs in my upper back, a herniated disc in my upper back, mild scoliosis in my lower back and a bulging disc in my lower back. I was in a lot of pain, and was told by doctors to never work out again. They wanted to perform surgery. I was scared of going under the knife, so I started trying everything from chiropractic to acupuncture and massage.
At age 23 I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. I was really sick, and had gained a lot of weight. I had a desk job, and had to take 1-2 naps a day while at work because I was so tired. I was determined to turn my life around. I saw a Naturopath who helped me with my thyroid, and also nutrition. I started eating non-processed foods and more protein. I hired a personal trainer and learned how to lift weights and exercise with the proper technique. I realized I could exercise; I just had to do it properly.  I was so happy with the transformation that I trained to become certified as a group fitness instructor. I fell in love with teaching. I was able to pass on the knowledge I’ve learned to my students. Every spare second I had, I found myself reading any exercise/nutrition related articles or books I could get my hands on. I finally lost the weight, no longer had to take naps at work, and had so much energy! Better yet, I have been off my thyroid medication for over three years, and I feel great!
I still work full time at a desk job, but in every spare moment, I am teaching, living, reading and breathing nutrition and exercise. It has become more than just a hobby; it has become a part of who I am. Helping my students and seeing their transformations has been the most rewarding thing I could ever ask for.
Belles: What is the best piece of fitness advice you have ever received or given to your clients?
Angie: I find that the biggest obstacle standing in someone’s way of exercise is excuses. EVERYONE has them, and people can think of 100 things they could do with their busy schedules before exercise. As a child, I had an incident on the vault, and I was scared of it. My gymnastic coach brought me into her office and held a piece of paper between her fingers. She told me to try to take it away from her. I tried, and couldn’t do it, she was holding too tight. She yelled at me “try again”, so I did… and failed, and she kept yelling and I kept failing. Finally she screamed “don’t try, JUST DO IT”, and sure enough the paper came flying out of her hands when I pulled on it. I think that so much of diet and nutrition starts in the mind, and it is so hard to teach people drive and willpower. My advice to all my students is to not try, just do! It is amazing what someone can do when they put their mind to it.
There is ALWAYS time to exercise. Working out is cumulative, and studies have shown that 10 min in the morning, and 10 min at night is just as effective as 20 min straight. My parents living out of state were able to follow my nutrition advice, but early along in the program, every time I asked them how their workouts were going, they had an excuse. What better motivation for doing a workout DVD when your own daughter is on the DVD! They still weren’t working out as much as they should.  My DVD is broken into 5 min segments. ANYONE can do 5-10 min. I told them to start with 10 min of cardio in the morning every day. Then, I added 10 min at night and told them before they were allowed to eat dinner they had to do 10 min of weights at night. Somehow giving my parents a specific schedule worked! My parents are now working out twice/day and have both lost over 25 lbs in a 5 month time-frame. My suggestion is to follow these three steps:
  1. Throw all your excuses out the window (there are none).
  2. Come up with a schedule, and write it down.  Don’t stray from this schedule, and if you do, pencil in a make-up session
  3. Break up the workouts into manageable sessions (2-3 times per day if needed)
Belles: You recently came out with your first workout on DVD, Custom3 Fit 50/50. What motivated you to produce an exercise DVD?
Angie: I have always been super busy, so workout DVDs have been a great way for me to fit my workout in on my schedule without the transit time it takes to get to and from the gym. I have analyzed over 100 fitness DVD’s, and I couldn’t find a lot that met all the criteria I was looking for. There were definitely some great ones, but the majority fell short in at least one of my personal top criteria. I started to survey my students, and other customers buying workout DVDs. Here were their complaints:
  1. They had an injury and didn’t know if the workout would work for them
  2. They weren’t coordinated and didn’t know if they could do the moves
  3. They didn’t want to buy a ton of equipment
  4. They didn’t have a ton of time

Therefore, the DVD that I produced had to address these all the above criteria, plus a few more criteria from my own to the list.  Some have told me I have the attention span of a 2-yr old. I needed a DVD that had easy choreography, yet moves that changed frequently enough to hold the attention of people like me. I also added the three distinct levels, which I haven’t seen in any other video. The three different levels are highly effective.  As a group fitness instructor, we are taught that one of the criteria in a class is for the participant to feel success. The most common way people feel success in by completing something. Most DVDs I tried were too easy (don’t get me wrong, there are some tough ones out there!) but a lot of them were way too easy for someone very advanced, and I could do all the moves on the first try. That leaves no room for improvement. The type of video I wanted to produce was one that pushed someone to their next level. When I teach a class, my goal is for my students is for them to not be able to do all the reps, or entirely level 3. If they can, then they are not pushing themselves to the next level.  I tell them that I define success differently.  People immediately think if they can’t do the entire thing on the first try, then they failed. Success is not being able to complete all the reps, but rather hanging in there and not walking out of the class. Stick through it all. Success is pre-determining a set time you are going to work out, and doing as much as you can whether it is level 1, 2 or 3, and not quitting. If you can do that, and you can challenge yourself in your workout, then you are successful.
Belles: We love you 50/50 workout! We also love to combo C+S. Why do you find these types of workouts so effective?
Angie: Thanks! I designed the DVD to have 30 min of straight cardio and 30 min of straight weights.  If strength training is involved, then there is a risk over over-working certain muscle groups if you do the entire video every day. Therefore, the ‘select exercise’ menu allows someone do cardio and strength, but they may choose to do arms and chest one day, and legs and abs another day. Cardio has so many benefits, but so does strength training. The combination of the two has been shown to be very beneficial. Strength training is important for keeping and/or building muscle, and cardio helps burn calories, and helps your overall cardiovascular health. Bottom line is that you need to constantly mix up the workouts, and the order in which you do them, combining cardio and strength is a great way to help overcome a plateau that you may have hit.
Belles: Rumor has it you have a new workout underway. What can you share with us about your upcoming DVD release?
Angie: Yes! I am hoping to release my 2nd DVD yet this summer. The DVD has three circuits that consist of cardio, weights and abs. Each circuit is 18-20 min long. The weight section will hit every major muscle group. The exercises are slightly more difficult than the ones in 50/50 cardio and weights, but still offer the three levels of intensity for every move. The DVD will also offer the exercises broken out so that the user can still perform only cardio, or only certain weights depending on their training schedule. This is an interval training DVD where your heart rate is really high, then take it down to medium, then to low and then back up again. Interval training has so many benefits and I’ve found that personally it has helped me with my overall cardiovascular abilities.
Belles: Congratulations on your pregnancy! How has your workout routine changed, if at all, since becoming pregnant? What recommendations can you give to pregnant women looking to continue their exercise regimen?
Angie: Thank you! I am super excited. I have never felt more ready than now to bring a child into this world. I have a wonderful husband, a great job, and most importantly a WAY healthier “me” compared to 10 years ago. I had really bad morning sickness the first three months, and the only thing that helped the nausea was exercise! It just made me feel so good. I know that last thing you want to do when you feel tired and nauseous is to exercise, but it takes that nausea away (or at least helps it!). Everyone should check with their doctor before exercising once they find out they are pregnant. The guideline I was told by my dr. was that if you exercised before pregnancy, you should continue, but if you didn’t exercise regularly before, pregnancy is not the time to start. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends that you should go by the RPE (rate of perceived exertion) instead of relying on heart monitors. If you exercised before, and your doctor has approved you to keep exercising, then my advice is to continue what you’ve been doing while making some modifications. Even for those that exercised before pregnancy, there may be complications or restrictions that your doctor wants you to follow because every pregnancy is different. We all tend to ignore the disclaimer “talk to your dr. before starting an exercise routine”, but in this case it is not something you want to ignore.
Belles: What are your plans post-partum? Any other workout DVDs planned?
Angie: Yes, there are plans for more DVDs after the baby is born. I’ve been thinking of doing a video with the workout band. I teach some really tough classes with the band that involve both cardio and toning. Most videos I’ve seen with the tubing are more toning, and not a lot of cardio, so I wanted to combine the two. I have some other ideas as well, but nothing is set in stone. If anyone reading this interview has ideas on what they would like to have in a workout DVD, I am always open to suggestions. Please email me with your thoughts/ideas.

For more information about Angie Gorr and her popular workout series visit:
The Custom3 Fit website
Custom3 Fit on Facebook

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