Willspace in Vanity Fair: Work Out Like An Olympian NYC Personal Trainer

Work Out Like an Olympian NYC Personal Trainer

It seems to me that everything these last couple of months has had something to do with the Olympics: from ship windows to billboards, to bars and even nightclubs. Last month on Fire Island I saw a sassy troop of drag queens re-enact the entire 1996 U.S.-women’s-gymnastics-team floor exercise. (You haven’t seen true drag until you’ve seen a fortysomething man do vintage Kerri Strug.) Naturally, after my trip to the Super Bowl earlier this year, I just assumed I’d soon be wining my way to London to see the games of the XXX Olympiad. But, to my shock and disappointed, Vanity Fair told me they’d rather spend the money on making a magazine. So I decided to take things into my own hands. I had the Olympic bug and I had it bad. I wasn’t about to miss out on all the fun and frenzy. I decided to do my own Olympics, here in New York. Since I’m workout-obsessed, I’d take every exercise class I could find that was Olympic-themed. A chance to humiliate myself in front of my friends and peers? Check. An opportunity to throw on a bathing cap and synchronize swim with a bunch of sassy gals? Hell yeah, game on! Oh, and you would like me to wear the actual uniform fort the purpose of the pictures? O.K., what could possibly go wrong.

So I tackled the sports head on had some great workouts, some good laughs, and little agony along the way. What I take away from this experience? That at 37 I am little long in the tooth for every sport and that I wasn’t so comfortable being photographed in a Speedo (but I like it now).

Boxing Classes

Of all the workouts I tried, this one was my favorite, and the one I am going to continue. And it was the one I was most reluctant to try in the first place! I went to Willspace Boxing gymoff of West 10th Street one of Manhattan’s West Village Gyms, where they specialize in Mui Tai, a combination of boxing and kicking, or as we call it in america, kickboxing. Boxing classes are one of the few sports that I actually don’t watch, and even though I was really good at Mortal Kombat 2 when I was 12, actual fighting was also never one of my strengths. So I was intimated to start this workout. My teacher was named Little Mike. (Twist: he is not little. At all.) He set right out making me feel comfortable - despite his giant frame, he was actually a total teddy bear. A teddy bear that could kick the living shit out of anyone. (By the way “little” Mike Medrano will be headlining in Atlantic City on September 12). We started off with a series of moves named after animals: the scorpion, the bear, the bullfrog, and the seated gorilla. Don’t know the animals yet? Trust me, they are bitches and you will be exhausted before you even start your boxing/kicking combos. For the seated gorilla, for example, you must crab-walk across the floor using only your fists and you ass - you’re feet can’t touch the ground. Sound hard? the floor is harder. Once those were done, I learned how to perform some offensive and defensive moves, with Little Mike reminding me to protect my face and shuffle my feet all the way through-as though I would ever use these for actual fighting. Kickboxing is a great workout because it keeps your heart rate elevated while boosting your endurance and the strength in your fast-twitch muscle. (Think the ones that help you sprint, not run muscle.) I left feeling tired, with my back and arms completely worn out. Though these skills probably won’t frequently translate to real life, the next time a shitty fashion-P.R. person thinks about not giving me look #27, he might want to think about this story. 

By Michael Carl