Bodybuilding for Triathletes? Team Awesome says YES!

by Edward Gemdjian and Paer Gustafsson

Former 3 distance Swedish record holder in swimming and current Equinox Tier 3 trainer, Paer Gustafsson, found a new challenge in 2010. When Equinox Fitness hosted an “indoor” triathlon, using spin class cycles a pool and a treadmill, Paer decided to take on the challenge. His top performance earned him free entry into the Escape From Alcatraz triathlon in San Francisco. “I have always been fascinated by endurance sports and athletes. It’s amazing to see the human body adapt to and overcome the extreme stress it is being put through.”
After finishing in the top quarter of Alcatraz and the Montauk Mighty Man Half Triathlon, Paer found that his 6’1″ 160lb. frame had lost much of the hard earned muscle he had before beginning his serious training. This side effect of high impact endurance training was cause for concern about Paer’s future as a triathlete. Since the competitive season was over at least until the new year, a question was posed. How could a Strength and Hypertrophy program help take Paer’s triathlon performance to the next level?
Based on a 6 week hypertrophy cycle, “My body will become stronger and can generate a higher force output in following training cycles. By adding mass around joints in a balanced way, I will prevent injuries. This is not possible if I only do the endurance type of weight lifting. With proper maintenance consisting of endurance and power workouts later in the season I will be able to keep the strength directly applicable to my races.”

Here are Paer’s beginning measurements on October 16th:
Body Fat % 10.2%
Height 6’1″
Weight 163.5

He is on a 4 day split of weight lifting, with an increased caloric intake. The goal is to start at a range of 8 repetitions per set and increase by 2 each week for the first 3 weeks. If Paer responds extremely well to the program, he should be able to lift as much if not more weight each week even though the repetitions increase. Either way, when he returns to 8 repetitions per set in the 4th week he will be able to lift more weight than he was able to in week 1.
Because of the increase in calories and decrease in caloric expenditure, the re assessment in week 4 should show an increase in lean body mass. At this point in his training, we are not worried about an increase in body fat, as this will come back to normal when he resumes his triathlon training. What we will probably see in the end is a leaner physique because his extra muscle mass will require more calories to operate.
Stay tuned for updates on Paer’s training and final measurements and results.

Edward Gemdjian is a NASM certified Personal Trainer and Holistic Lifestyle Coach. Team Awesome is his response to the myriads of misinformation about health and fitness in the media. He currently sees clients exclusively at Equinox Fitness in Chelsea, New York.

Look out Worlds… Here Comes Rookie Mark Correa

by Edward Gemdjian

Rookie WNBF Pro Bodybuilder and Team Awesome! contributor, Mark Correa, burst onto the scene by winning

WNBF Nancy Andrews Pro

the Amateur World Lightweight championship last november. At 5’10” Mark knew his 157 lb. of muscle would not be enough to challenge the top natural pros, so the challenge brought to us this January was simple, pack on as much mass as possible and shock everyone by this year’s worlds.

Mark and I immediately began heavy weight training 5-6 times per week, while almost doubling his caloric intake. His off season weight jumped to 185 lb. and by the time he stepped onto his first pro stage in June Mark was a shredded 167lb. a full 10 pound increase in muscle, most notably in his striated Quadriceps and Glutes. An impressive 5th place finish opened some eyes, but Mark and I were not satisfied. We began planning our next training split in the bleachers between the prejudging and night shows.

Now, 4 weeks away from the biggest competition in his young career, Mark and I are putting the final touches on a most unbelievable one year transformation. Enjoy the workout video, and stay tuned for more updates in the coming weeks!

Edward Gemdjian is a NASM certified Personal Trainer and Holistic Lifestyle Coach.  Team Awesome is his response to the myriads of misinformation about health and fitness in the media.  He currently sees clients exclusively at Equinox Fitness in Chelsea, New York.

Energy Kitchen vs Simple Kitchen

Simple Kitchen

by Edward Gemdjian

Those of you familiar with Chelsea know of these two take out restaurants, located on opposite ends of 17th Street between 8th and 9th Avenues.  Both promise a vision of health, fitness and wellness, but the similarities pretty much end there.

Energy Kitchen is a New York City chain, recently re inventing it’s brand under the banner “Go Healthy”.  Their process is, quite frankly, simple: controlled caloric intake and a balance of proteins carbohydrates and healthy fats.  No single meal exceeds 540 calories even though the menu boasts cheeseburgers, creamy spinach and even Meatloaf.  This is done by using leaner meats such as chicken breast, turkey, bison, and ostrich, low fat dairy, and little or no added salt, herbs and spices.  The end result is very clean, and sometimes bland, product which will definitely decrease your daily caloric intake.  I suggest Energy Kitchen as a substitute to meals that would otherwise be tragically bad for you.  If you’re jonesing for a bacon cheeseburger, Energy will gladly supply you with a bison burger, low fat cheese and canadian bacon for less than half the calories.  There is, however, no information as to the sources of Energy Kitchen’s ingredients, which pretty much guarantees that we are not talking about organic, natural, farm raised or sustainable product.

Simple Kitchen, on the other hand, has no caloric information on their menu or anywhere on their website.  Instead, their focus is on using natural and organic ingredients from local and sustainable farms to make tasty “feel good” meals.  Ingredients like quinoa, glass noodles, tofu, kale and “vegan cranberry oatmeal cookies” are common place on the seasonal menu.  In comparison the food definitely tastes better, and if you believe that organic farming practices yield better product then there is only one obstacle left before visiting Simple Kitchen.  Unlike Energy, Simple kitchen definitely has high calorie dishes, the least of which are their muffins and deserts.  Although they do not provide the information, I would not be surprised if their best selling “Chicken and Broccoli Macaroni & Cheese” exceeds 800 calories per plate.

In the end, just like the rest of us, neither of these restaurants is perfect, but I would recommend both as healthy eating options.  If you are a self aware eater that can control your portions, Simple Kitchen is the tastier and higher quality choice.  If you have not yet mastered the difference between healthy and unhealthy dishes, Energy Kitchen is your “can’t miss” fall back.

Happy Eating!

Edward Gemdjian is a NASM certified Personal Trainer and Holistic Lifestyle Coach.  Team Awesome is his response to the myriads of misinformation about health and fitness in the media.  He currently sees clients exclusively at Equinox Fitness in Chelsea, New York.

Meet Prince.Cathy

by Cathy Prince

Writing a column scares me to death.

I think to myself every time I sit down to write anything, what do I have to say?  And why would anyone care to read it?

There are lots of things I am passionate about from singing and acting, to working out and baking (the latter motivating the former).  But what about any of this would be decent material for a “Lifestyles” column?  I’m only 23, what do I know about life?

To my credit, I decided at a very young age that I was going to be a famous actress.  I used to tell everyone at church that they could all come visit me in “my mansion in Hollywood”.  I followed that dream.  I was in chorus from 3rd grade through all of my college education, I did my first play in 2nd grade (James and the Giant Peach, playing a brilliant Aunt Spiker), became vice-president of my Show Choir in high school and, of course, an active member of Drama Club.  I continued on my chosen path to the Conservatory of Music at Baldwin Wallace College right outside of Cleveland, Ohio.  I constantly strove to be better, I spent hours at the gym a week working on my “marketability”, hours practicing singing, dancing, all the while being cast in every show I could be.  I was thrilled to establish a professional career before even graduating college thanks to my director, and the wonderful people who run Playhouse Square in Cleveland.  I considered myself to be the best “me” I could be.

I then moved to New York City.  I moved to a tiny room for which I paid way too much money, with my twin bed and suitcases full of dreams and expectations.

Since I’m not writing this from my mansion in Hollywood, I feel like I’m falling short.

But how many of us “fall short” when on the course we thought was so right?  I spent years “perfecting” myself for this career path, but no one wants perfect, they want “you”.  I have set about trying to find out who “you” is for me.  I hope you’ll come along with me, maybe because there’s something in you that you lost touch with.  Or maybe my journey, that is no where near over, can somehow inspire you to continue your journey, whether it be a fitness journey, a self-discovery journey, or a change-in-career journey.  Mine may apply to all three!

This column is meant to be about anything I feel like writing, eek!  I hope you bear with me as I try to find out what that is.  Isn’t this what blogging is for? Experimentation?  Self-expression? Human connection? Motivation? If you let me, I’ll dabble in it all.

Cathy Prince is a classically trained Music Theater actress, hailing from Solon, Ohio with a severe love of fitness, fashion, food and entertainment.  All of these things congregate in New York City, the greatest place on earth, where she is so happy to be currently residing.

Setting Goals Today Ensures a Better Tomorrow

I have always said that fitness is a microcosm of life, that the same rules apply.  In order to find positive results we all must first set positive goals.  At my home base gym in Chelsea, I deal with many successful and often self made professionals.  They are deserving of the income they make and the perks it affords them(personal training being one of these).  Every last one of them has said that the key to their current success is largely due to a goal they set in the past, and a decision to pursue that goal fully.

Yet so often, I find myself reminding these same clients to set fitness goals, to plan with me their next course of action, to finally decide to make a change.

Think back to your college days.  The first decision a student has to make is to chose a major.  Every available major then has a specific formula of classes, internships and theses required to reach the end goal, your chosen major.  Working towards a goal at the gym is no different.  Just like in college, your trainer can not, or at least should not tell you what your goals are.  They are here to give you the information at hand, and help you make a decision.  You should never work for someone else’s vision for you, such action never ends in true happiness and satisfaction.

With this decision comes responsibility.  You now owe it to yourself to reach the healthy and happy destiny you have set.  Every day you wake up with a goal in mind and action to back it up is a success.  This day will not be wasted, you will take a step towards your future victory.

Edward Gemdjian is a NASM certified Personal Trainer and Holistic Lifestyle Coach.  Team Awesome is his response to the myriads of misinformation about health and fitness in the media.  He currently sees clients exclusively at Equinox Fitness in Chelsea, New York.

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Hey All,

We appreciate your patience as we put the finishing touches on TEAM AWESOME!

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