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Interview: Jackie Warner of 'Work Out'

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Jackie Warner is one of the most well-recognized trainers and fitness professionals in the country. Her hit reality show on Bravo, "Work Out," has made her famous amongst fitness buffs and those who are fascinated by her lifestyle. Her workout DVD is a runaway hit, and she's got a new show, a book, and a new DVD in the works. Feeling lazy yet? Well, that's why we're here. Ms. Warner chatted with us about getting and staying fit, her upcoming projects, and how you (yes, you!) can take advantage of what her gym has to offer, so that your firmly-held resolutions don't wind up in the same place as your wilted, dying Christmas tree.

What would you say is the most important change for people who are looking to get in better shape, who have new years resolutions? For people who already work out, and also for people who are new to working out?

If you're new to working out, you need to get on a reasonable plan that will work with your lifestyle. So don't force yourself into submission. Don't get a book and try to adhere to their program. What do you enjoy doing? If you're somebody that hates resistance training, don't put yourself on a program of three to four times [a week of] resistance training. You're not going to stick with it. If you like boxing or Pilates, start with that. If you're someone who likes to run, just start a running program. Don't go against your will and your grain, if you're just starting a program.

For people that already have an existing program and they want to amp it up, that means they're gonna have to start doing different things. If they're going to the gym three times a week, you better change up your routine, and start lifting with different weights as well as different muscle groups. Try something like kickboxing once a week.

And would you recommend the same thing for people like me, who have been going to the gym for like 15 years and are getting bored?

Yes, your body reaches a plateau, and gets used to a certain exercise. So you have to change pretty frequently. I like to change every three months, and what I like to do is plug in spinning, kickboxing, or fighting style of boxing, and you have to increase that intensity once or twice a week.

Are short, intense workouts as productive as longer, less intense workouts?

Yes. I always have all my clients take 20 minute of intense cardio. When they walk in, I'm like, "OK, you're doing 45 minutes of intense cardio? We're knocking it down to 20, but it's my kind of cardio." So yes. The most effective is a full hour of intensity resistance training. Working upper body, lower body, upper body, lower body getting your heart rate up and then resting.

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You offer a drop-in rate at Sky Sport. How much is that, and what does it give people access to?

It gives people access to the gym for about an hour and a half. We try to keep it to an hour and a half so people don't just stay in here (laughs) and look around, because we do have fans coming in. But it's really for people in the neighborhood and our neighbors. We just thought it would be great for them to use a neighborhood gym. It's a $10 rate, you can come in and use the gym for an hour and a half.

It's a $10 rate?

Yup. [And because] we have a physical therapist and a chiropractor on staff, we're able to bill for training. So you can work out with any one of our trainers for just a small co-pay. If you have a PPO, it's pretty much covered.

So, you have a Sky Lab coming up in March.

I know, I'm so excited. I love doing my Sky Labs. It's very, very fulfilling for me on a personal level. Just to see this group of people go through this tremendous transition, and I mean emotional, chemical, break their food addiction, sugar addiction, lose 10-15 pounds, 10-15 inches, in total, in 6 days. It's pretty tremendous.

What is it that you do up there?

Well, basically you eat and live our program completely. What I've learned pretty fast in dealing with people is that you have to really have to hit a client on every level. Meaning, deal with the body, deal with the nutrition, but also deal with the mind.

So a typical day looks like this. You wake up at 6 a.m., you drink my shake. We feed you meals that consist of 1500 calories per day. So you get up, you drink the shake, you workout for two hours, hard core outdoor training. Usually we do a seminar, then we have lunch, and then you work out for two more hours. And then we have group therapy with a licensed therapist, and that's where a lot of the emotional changes happen.

What would you suggest for people who can't afford something like that* but are looking for that kind of intensity?

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Well, the only way to get that kind of intensity truly is to hire a trainer, or to get yourself a group fitness class - either really good circuit training, or boot camp style, aggressive high-intensity class. And they run anywhere from depending on where you are in the country $15-$25 per session. You're not going to reach that kind of intensity on your own.

I prefer someone invest in a trainer two times a week than go to the gym on their own five times a week. A good trainer will really, really push you, and you burn a tremendous amount of calories that you continue burning throughout the day, whereas I think when people go to the gym and they don't have the ability to push themselves, or the know-how to get the most effective workout in that hour.

It sounds like, for somebody who really wants to make a change it has to be sort of a mental and emotional and physical commitment.

Absolutely it does. We deal with spiritual, emotional, physical, we deal with chemistry, how to change your brain chemistry and what you're actually going through, and make lasting changes. My book is going to be dealing with brain chemistry quite a bit. Because you can't put a band-aid on part of the problem.

When is your book coming out?

It's not coming out till January 2010.

OK, let's talk about the show. I saw that a new season is airing in May, is that right?

I've got a new show coming out. It's different from "Work Out." I'm very excited about it, it will be filming at the end of this month.

Will "Work Out" be coming back?

We're not sure yet.

Are you coming out with any more DVD's?

I'm actually working on a DVD, it looks like we're going to start filming that possibly mid-February. And that turnaround time is very fast. If we film in mid-February, it'll come out in the spring.

Do you have any suggestions for people who use the DVD while they're waiting for your next one?

Sure. You need to make sure that your form is perfect on that DVD, and then increase your weights. Add at least add three to five pounds. So if you're used to doing 8 pounds in those one-minute segments, take it up to like 10-12 pounds. That's gonna make a change right there.

Photo courtesy of Jackie Warner