Olympians at the Office

Photo Credit: PhotoshopScaresMe.com via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: PhotoshopScaresMe.com via Compfight cc

Olympians at the Office
By Lauren Cohen, NYU Nutrition Student and the Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services Team

Walking through a hall of chiseled, marble statues in various athletic positions can make you wonder who that discus thrower’s trainer was and if his 450 BC workout is still available. This renaissance Photoshop, and very real Photoshop of the 2014 Sochi Athletes, may even elicit a google search for an “Olympic fitness routine.” But before you embark on your new training, consider this; “Olympian” is not a workout regiment—it’s a career.

If you have a job, go to school, are a full-time parent, or do all of the above, you already understand what kind of intense commitment goes into your profession. Being an Olympic Athlete isn’t just doing the workout, it’s doing the work. Let’s deconstruct this idea by taking a closer look at the United States ice dancing gold-medalists, Meryl Davis and Charlie White.

Davis, 27, and White, 26, have been ice dancing together for 17 years, training roughly 1.5-2 hours everyday—when they were young teens. These part-time students at The University of Michigan are now full-time Olympic Athletes. Davis and White are on the ice every Monday through Friday starting at 7am at the International Skating Academy in Canton, Michigan. They typically go through techniques, watch old performance tape, and develop new routines on and off the ice. They stay in their skates for about 6 hours. After work, they hit the gym.

A typical after work-workout consists of cardio, three days a week, and then strength training. They do agility, balance, and weight training and, on occasion, ballet. While it is not their favorite, it is essential to help with their balance practice. White often steadies a kettle bell on his shoulders during ballet practice in preparation for the lifts and carries during their skating routines. Davis and White enjoy their weekends off.

Despite the more offbeat nature of their professional life, their workday is very similar to your average adult. The main different is that their body is their office. It’s where they spend their business days and where they put in overtime; it’s their trade and their skill and it’s what pays their bills.

Training like an Olympic Athlete is taking on an entirely new profession; one where the most skilled are constantly subjected to injury. During the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver, over 11% of the athletes injured themselves. More than half of those injuries occurred during training. These figures do not even include the athletes who were injured prior to the Games. Canadian ice-dancer Tessa Virtue famously skated through compartment syndrome in both her legs during the 2010 Games and went on to endure two painful surgeries and over a year of recovery. She and her partner, Scott Moir, withdrew from a series of 2012 competitions due to a faulty landing on Moir’s neck. Luckily, they were able to compete in the 2014 Games and took home the silver medal.

The very same attention and devotion you put into your work, they put into theirs. So, in a way, we are all Olympians in our field! You would never ask an athlete—or more importantly, any untrained individual—to take over your job. Maybe, from now on, we can just meet Davis and White at the gym when we all get off work.



  1. Longman, J. “Behind Meryl Davis and Charlie White, U.S. Is Close to Its First Ice Dance Gold.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 16 Feb. 2014. Web. 24 Feb. 2014. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/17/sports/olympics/behind-meryl-davis-and-charlie-white-us-is-close-to-its-first-ice-dance-gold.html?_r=0
  2. Junge, A., L. Engebretsen, J. M. Alonso, P. Renström, M. Mountjoy, M. Aubry, and J. Dvorak. “Result Filters.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 07 Apr. 2008. Web. 24 Feb. 2014. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18390916
  3. “Meryl Davis & Charlie White.” Classroom Champions. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2014. http://www.classroomchampions.org/person/37/Meryl-Davis-Charlie-White
  4. “Meryl Davis & Charlie White.” Shape Magazine. American Media, INC, n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2014. http://www.shape.com/topics/meryl-davis-charlie-white
  5. Cardarelli, L. “Ice Dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White Shape Up for the Olympics | The Fit Stop.” The Fit Stop. Fitness Magazine, 30 Nov. 2012. Web. 24 Feb. 2014. http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/blogs/fitstop/2012/11/30/fitness/ice-dancers-meryl-davis-and-charlie-white-shape-up-for-the-olympics/
  6. “Canadian Pair Scott Moir, Tessa Virtue Continue to Deal with Injuries – CBC Sports – Figure Skating.” CBCnews. CBC/Radio Canada, 18 Oct. 2012. Web. 24 Feb. 2014. http://www.cbc.ca/sports/figureskating/canadian-pair-scott-moir-tessa-virtue-continue-to-deal-with-injuries-1.1284273
  7. Seidel, Jeff. “Jeff Seidel: Michigan Ice Dancers Meryl Davis, Charlie White Make Perfect Pair.” Detroit Free Press. N.p., 02 Feb. 2014. Web. 24 Feb. 2014. http://www.freep.com/article/20140202/SPORTS/302020058/Jeff-Seidel-Michigan-ice-dancers-Meryl-Davis-Charlie-White-make-perfect-pair


Workout from Within

Before you reach for a bottle of vitamins, look for a more holistic approach with nutrition expert, Registered Dietitian Laura Cipullo.  Along with Jeff Halevy, Laura reveals a few key foods that are high in fiber, heart healthy, and offer a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. And if you’re confused about omega-3 or omega-6 fatty acids, Laura will also clarify the confusion. From olives to collard greens, tune in to find out which foods will help your start living a happy, healthy lifestyle!

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If you have trouble viewing Workout from Within – Girl’s Night In, click here.

3 New Moves

I am a person who absolutely loves to try to new things. I am always up for the excitement of a fresh adventure. That’s why I immediately said yes when my friend Jaime asked me to join her at a new class. Thinking I would be attending a different kind of spin class, I quickly grabbed my spin shoes and headed out. Well…perhaps I should have given some thought to the name of the place I was going! “Chaise 23” is definitely not a new place to spin. Rather, think Pilates chair (aka “chaise”) meets aerobics on 23rd Street in New York City.  Well, needless to say, I am totally hooked. I’ve taken four of their classes…and just purchased a ten pack! Three of the four classes incorporate the Pilates chair plus bungees. Honestly, working my arms with bungees is the very best part. I must admit that my arms are not my most favorite part of my body! And I can’t stand working them because I always end up clenching my neck. And then I go home suffering with a stiff, painful neck. The bungees have provided me with an exactly opposite outcome. We work with bungee cords throughout the entire class—and they help me to painlessly access and exercise many more muscles under my arms.

The most humorous and challenging of the classes is “ballet bungee.” There is no chair; you just move like a ballet dancer with bungees. Nonstop! Um…I thought I was quite fit until I participated in this class. Thank goodness I arrived late to class; I honestly don’t know if I could have made it through the entire session. The cardio workout was positively incredible. I plan to wear my heart rate monitor (a recent birthday gift from friends) next time! These classes are such great fun—very different and much cheaper than regular Pilates classes.

When we asked Chaise 23 if they would agree to share a free class with one of our readers, they enthusiastically said “Yes!” So get moving! Comment here for a chance to win a free class at Chaise 23! And don’t forget to say “hi” if you see me there! Click here for more details about the giveaway.

The following weekend we headed out to Eastern Long Island to spend some time with friends. Previously, I had introduced my friends to Soul Cycle; this time they asked me if I was up for something new. So… I joined them at their favorite spin place—Fly Wheel. If you are competitive, need to be pushed or just want to be accountable, spin at Fly Wheel. Men and women are ranked individually by torque (speed and resistance) on a monitor for all to see! This class was definitely not about losing yourself in the movement; rather, it was a breath-stealing race from beginning to end. It definitely made me work harder than I usually do. I earned a 230 torque though I don’t think my performance served as a stress reliever. This class is a totally competitive race to the finish line. And it really gets your heart pumping. I promise that I will be back, but I’ll save it for East End weekends rather than making it part of my weekly movement routine.

Last but not least is my absolute new favorite—paddleboard yoga. Talk about core work, stress relief and chirping birds! Let me explain. For Fathers’ Day Weekend, we headed out to the Tides Inn in Irvington, VA. When my husband said he had signed us up for paddleboard yoga, I was downright excited. I have wanted to try this type of yoga for the past two years. We enthusiastically arrived at the marina—promptly at 10 o’clock Saturday morning—and went looking for our instructor. As I sat by the water watching a father and son come in off their boards, I started to get nervous. I knew swimming was not my strong suit, but even more important, I wondered how I could do yoga in a life jacket? And then I thought: It’s so extremely hot, perhaps falling into the water may be a refreshing outcome! Well, I started off on my board kneeling and practicing my paddling. The paddling was quite easy for me because I can paddle a canoe. After a few minutes, the instructor joined us and told me I could stand. And yes, I could stand up… very easily. My husband, the instructor and I paddled over to a part of the bay that was a bit calmer, set anchor (literally) and then our yoga movements began.

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Our instructor was phenomenal; neither one of us fell in. We were both able to end our practice with the wheel pose and then finally rest in shavasana—the corpse pose. While quietly lying there, I just listened to the birds chirping and felt more at ease than I ever have…even after any yoga class. Something about being on the water—just you and your board—getting little splashes of water while the sun beats down on you is absolutely beautiful. My yoga practice was 100% about the practice.


My mind never wandered; I was intent on focusing in my core for balance and, of course, not falling in the water. But it wasn’t fear-based; rather, it made me work from the inside out. If I was sloppy or tried to move without intention, I would fall in. Looking within yourself to find the movement was awe-inspiring and humbling…and very easy to do on this board. After we’d finished and paddled back to the marina, I just let myself enjoy a sheer sense of happiness. I had finally gotten to perform paddleboard yoga and I can’t wait to do it again. I highly recommend that you try it too. By the way, this extraordinary activity was free to overnight guests at the inn.

What are your new favorite moves? Any classes I should try? Where is your favorite place to do yoga?


Healthy in the Mind and the Body

You want to be healthy in the mind as well as the body, right? So do you think a gym is a place of healthy attitudes and positive role models? Unfortunately, it’s not always the best place for our mind or bodies especially when we are moving for the wrong reasons. Many times, I encourage my clients to move but fear they will get caught up in over-working their bodies, or triggered when their trainer or instructor give unsolicited diet advice or encourages more than one spin class a day. Well my colleague had the brilliant idea to create a training program to educate fitness specialists/trainers at the gym how to work with health seekers in a way that honors both the mind and body. This amazing training helps the gym employees to identify individuals with eating disorders and gives them tools to work with clients in a healthy way rather than encouraging the disorder. Read on to learn about Jodi’s Destructively Fit and perhaps think about whether or not your health club needs a little bit of Jodi’s energy.

By Guest Blogger, Jodi Rubin

Eating disorders have always been my passion. They have been my specialty since I began my LCSW private practice more than a decade ago. Over the years, I’ve directed a program for eating disorders, currently teach a curriculum I created on eating disorders at NYU’s Graduate School of Social Work, and have done a few other things. Yet, I have not found a way to connect my love of healthy fitness and honoring one’s body with my passion for helping those struggling with eating disorders.

The issue of eating disorders within fitness centers is a ubiquitous one. I’ve seen people spending hours on the treadmill, heard countless patients recounting their obsessiveness with the gym, and others seeming as though their self-esteem became immediately deflated if they couldn’t work out hard enough, fast enough or long enough. The research I have done has revealed that the presence of eating disorders within fitness centers is “sticky” and “complicated” and gets very little attention. Through no fault of anyone in particular, if people aren’t given the education and tools, then how can anyone feel knowledgable and confident enough to address this sensitive issue?

I went directly to fitness professionals to see what they thought about eating disorders within the fitness industry. As I suspected, it was clear that there was not a lack of interest in this issue. Quite the contrary. Most, if not all, of those with whom I spoke were eager and excited to finally have a forum in which they could learn about eating disorders and how to approach the issue. That’s when DESTRUCTIVELY FIT™: demystifying eating disorders for fitness professionals™ was born. I created this 3-hour training with the goal of educating those within the fitness industry about what eating disorders are and what to do if they notice that someone may be struggling. It has since been endorsed for continuing education by both the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) and The American Council on Exercise (ACE) and has sparked the interest of variety of fitness clubs. Check out Destructively Fit™ in the news here!

Some stats for you…
• 25 million American women are struggling with eating disorders
• 7 million American men are struggling with eating disorders
• 81% of 10 year old girls are afraid of being fat
• 51% of 9-10 year old girls feel better about themselves when they are dieting
• 45% of boys are unhappy with their bodies
• 67% of women 15-64 withdraw from life-engaging activities, like giving an opinion and going to the doctor, because they feel badly about their looks
• An estimated 90-95% of those diagnosed with eating disorders are members of fitness centers


Read more about Destructively Fit™ on destructivelyfit.com. You can also follow Destructively Fit™ on Facebook and Twitter. Help spread the word and be a part of affecting change!