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The Fit Expo 2006
Saturday, February 18 - Dancing and Diet Theories

12:00 p.m. Before heading off to Joey Dowdy's class, I check out the action at the exhibition hall, where things are in full force — fitness fashions and fit food abounds. I see a lot of repeats from last year, including my favorite booth featuring the Vital Choice Seafood people. They're serving up yummy salmon samples all weekend. While I pick at a lot of protein bar chunks without much enthusiasm, I head for the Vital Choice booth for seconds and thirds of their fish. Nothing beats real food!
buff girls  vital choice salmon - yum

joeys world dance groove class 1:00 p.m. It's time for Joey's World Dance Groove Fitness class and I'm ready for a workout! Dowdy, I discover, is an incredibly entertaining instructor and his routine both looks great and is surprisingly easy to learn. I easily work up a sweat without tripping over myself and getting confused, which happens in far too many classes at events like this one. Don't get me wrong — I love complicated choreography, especially on a DVD, when I have time to learn and the ability to rewind the workout. But when it comes to offering up a flavor of your work — which is all an instructor can do in a setting like this — it's better to keep it simple. Dowdy does this, while still making the workout loads of fun. Everyone picks up the moves quickly and when I go back to one of his later workouts to take photos, I note that in shot after shot, nearly the whole class is in sync. Now that is a rarity!

(Article continued below.)

2:00 p.m. My version of catching my breath after Dowdy's aerobic workout? Taking the "Yogaloha" class. As you have probably guessed, it's a yoga/ hula blend and it's quite pleasant. Combining flowing Yoga moves with Hula steps results in a graceful workout. It makes for a good stretch... and then some.

joeys world dance groove class 3:00 p.m. After the workouts, I pop in to catch the end of Dr. Micheal Walczak's talk on anti-aging nutrition. Dr. Walczak is a noted expert on thyroid and metabolism and one of the first things I hear him say is that many bodybuilding pros are actually damaging their bodies over the long haul with extreme diets that contain too many calories and too much protein. He believes people need to eat more colorful fruits and veggies such as blueberries, broccoli, kale and the like — preferably organic. He is anti-dairy, pro-soy and likes green and red tea. He wants to see people eat more alkaline, less acidic and less refined foods. While I can't stay for the whole lecture, most of it sounds like good advice.

fitness women

3:45 p.m. On my way elsewhere, I check out a "women only" training session that features a panel from the female side of the fitness world. Lenda Murray, MaDonna Grimes, Laura Mak, Sherry Goggin and Pauliina Talus offer their insight into the world of pro fitness. I find out, much to my surprise, that a high percentage of women who compete in the Ms. Olympia contest are over 35, which goes to show that fitness relies more on effort and less on youth.

steve cotter kettlebell 4:15 p.m. I arrive a few minutes early for a lecture on kettlebells. I've always wondered what the deal is with those imposing-looking things — they look like cannonballs with iron handles and they're supposedly one of the best ways to get — and stay — in shape. Steve Cotter — an athlete, martial artist, fitness coach and consultant, and a very fit looking guy — is one of the foremost kettlebell experts, so I'm very interested in what he has to say. While kettlebells don't exactly offer the most girly workouts, Cotter explains something early on that just about any female wants to hear: kettlebells are more about building strength than mass. In other words, they'll help you get strong and fit but they won't give you gigantic muscles! What kettlebells will give you is functional strength and endurance. Your brain learns movement patterns as opposed to isolating just one muscle at a time, and the workouts for these heavy iron balls are created to take advantage of that. In addition, you move from your center and can get a plyometric workout without a lot of joint-jarring jumping around. By the end of Cotter's demonstration I am sold on kettlebells. Right now they are one of the biggest secrets in the world of fitness, but hopefully they won't be for too much longer.

steve cotter kettlebells

steve cotter kettlebell 5:00 p.m. I'm a little bit late for the last lecture of the day, which is from Ori Hofmeckler, who discusses his "Warrior Diet," which he claims is the way to get rid of the most stubborn fat. Some of Hofmeckler's advice is almost diametrically opposed to common beliefs. While most diet experts these days have been urging people to eat several meals a day, and to avoid night eating, Hofmeckler believes people should do just the opposite — eat lightly throughout the day and consume your heaviest meal at dinnertime. Because his advice is so different from everyone else's it's easy to discount... except for the fact that when I was at my absolute thinnest (and actually a bit underweight — it was before I began working out), I was pretty much eating just the way Hofmeckler describes. Of course, the time of day you eat is one thing, but what's even more important is the quality of food you eat. Hofmeckler is one of those who believe that in spite of all our technological advances, our bodies still have more in common with our caveman ancestors and should be nourished with organic whole foods, including plants, legumes, nuts, seeds and seafood. Chemically laden, overprocessed foods, he feels, are over-estrogenic and increase the risk of obesity and many diseases. Naturally, he is anti-soy but believes dairy is okay, which puts him at odds with Dr. Walczak in this regard. I wonder which of them is right.

Next page >> Sunday, February 19 — Competition and Sensible Advice >> Page 1, 2, 3

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