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January 10, 2011 @ 7:49 am

America Won - Fattest Developed Country in the World


A.C.E. certified group fitness and personal trainer & coach Bethanne Weiss of Funiq Fitness joins the show. She discusses with Eric Michaels, host of the show how she has noticed more and more how Americans are "sitting on their assets instead of moving them!"

Note: Refer to audio player below to listen to this episode.


Note from Bethanne:
I began my journey in the fitness industry "accidentally" while attending State University of New York in New Paltz in the 1980s. I was pursuing a degree in business, and happened to take an elected class called “Strength Training for Women.”

As I struggled to keep up with the other students, the instructor shouted, “If you jiggle when you jog [referring to excess body fat], you better keep jogging!”

Fighting to keep up with the class, I realized I needed to lose weight, quit smoking, and get fit.

I was so inspired by the class and the changes I saw in myself and others that I minored in exercise science and began teaching aerobics at local gyms and for the university.

I even motivated my mother to lose 92 pounds, and now at the age of 79, she's in the best shape of her life!

In 1987 I was one of the first instructors to become an IDEA-certified dance exercise instructor (now known as ACE) and was also one of the first to be certified by Step Reebok in New York. I hold certifications in ACE Personal Training, Pilates by All American Fitness, and Kickboxing by Powerstrike.

Most people don't know that I live with a physical disability and struggle with chronic dizziness and instability.  The way I look at it, exercise has actually saved me from being in more pain. I enjoy working with people with chronic pain and injuries because given my own situation, I KNOW exercise can actually improve their condition.

Today I'm my mid 40s and in better shape than I was in my early 20s. I'm proof that anybody (and any body) can be in great matter what your age!

With 20 years of diverse background in cardio training, strength training, yoga, and Pilates, I try to make each workout unique and individualized based on my clients' needs, strengths, and weaknesses.

My philosophy for training is short and sweet: “Simply move!"  Use every possible muscle that you can while doing it!  The most important thing in an exercise program is variety. It helps to prevent boredom and also keeps your body from adapting to only one type of workout.

The key word is "fun," and when you come to one of my FUNIQ classes, you'll have so much fun, you'll forget you're working out!

Your FUNIQ Fitness coach: Bethanne Weiss


Edited Transcript of Interview with Bethanne Weiss

Eric Michaels: America just won the title, last year, of “Fattest Developed Country in the World!”  What do you see as the major cause of this?
Bethanne Weiss: 2 things: Simply (way) too much consumption of food coupled with lack of movement…period!   Americans live on high fat, processed foods and huge portion sizes and at the same time spend less than 1 hour per day on their feet!  For the most part, Americans drive everywhere: to the supermarket a half mile away (and can’t even return their shopping carts to the convenience racks,) to the drive-thru (for a 500-calorie coffee LOL) and even send emails to the adjacent cubicle in the office! Heck, kids don’t even walk to bus stops anymore like in the good old days. In my sunny, suburban neighborhood, parents drop their kids off at bus stops two blocks from their house!   And we're the only country where residents can acquire motorized scooters by being too overweight to walk and where seats have had to be widened to accommodate plus-size customers.   In September, I spent 10 wonderful days in Provence, France.  The most profound thing that I notice (or didn’t notice) that there was not one obese person in any crowd and people walked everywhere, not for exercise but for transportation!

Eric Michaels: So, based on the fact that more than 60% of Americans are considered to be overweight, what is the best advice you can give to those who want to lose weight?
Bethanne Weiss: Four simple words: “move more, eat less!”  Little changes can yield huge results.  Start adding more activities to your life that require moving rather than sitting!   Meet the girls for a 45 minute walk to catch up instead of a lunch date, deliver messages at the office instead of interoffice emails, turn seated meetings into walking meetings twice per week, skip the drive thru.  Most experts will agree that diets that deprive you of a particular food group cannot work long term.  Cut down on high fat, high calorie foods and eat more nutrient dense foods, cutting consumption and calories rather than “carbs!”  Also, my best advice: don’t make weight loss your primary goal…throw the scale out!  Make moving more and eating less your priority and I promise the weight loss will come!  (And so will increased energy and reduced stress!)

Eric Michaels: I know I need to exercise, but what is the best exercise for me? Bethanne Weiss: There is no best exercise; the best one is the one you will enjoy and do! Choosing movement that motivates you should be as personal as choosing your favorite charity, religious affiliation, political party, or art décor for your house! If you’d rather watch paint dry than walk on the treadmill, then the “dread”mill is not the best exercise for YOU!  Try everything including dancing, karate, bike riding, swimming, etc and go with what feels FUN and rewarding and makes you forget you’re exercising! Also, I am a huge believer in using as many body parts as you can and moving them in any direction they’re meant to. For example, I recommend that clients add walking sideways and backwards to their walking routines as well as well as punches and overhead presses to “wake up” the little used muscles that we sit on glutes, upper back and triceps.

Eric Michaels: What about people that tell you that they don’t have time to exercise, what advice to you give them?
Bethanne Weiss: I tell them to forget the words “workout” and “exercise” for now. You HAVE to start moving more!   I read a study recently that the average American “moves” less than 30 minutes/day…OH MY!  So, if we sleep 8, work 8 where are our “assets” for the other 8? the office chair or car, on the couch?  Make it a goal to “stand when you can sit,” walk when you can stand!  Be on your feet 2 hours per day if you want to see and feel some awesome changes.  You’ll love your new and improved self so much that you’ll be ready for more!!  And when you are ready for more, I highly recommend a “circuit” type program where you can work your entire body (including your heart) from head to toe in 30 minutes, 3X/week!!  Maximum results in minimum time!

Eric Michaels: Ok, I’ve been walking every day for an hour, I am eating a lot more healthy but I’m not longer seeing any great  change in my body or fitness level, what should I do?
Bethanne Weiss: Absolutely, hire a personal trainer even for 2 or 3 sessions!  We even make house calls and can show you exactly what to do to get in awesome shape in the privacy of your own home!  No fancy equipment or gym memberships are needed.  You can get incredible results with giant balls, thick rubber bands and pretty color hand weights!  For less than the price of 3 pedicures, you can get 3 PT sessions that will teach you how to prevent injury and achieve your life long fitness goals!  You do NOT need fancy equipment to get in shape.  You just need to move all of your body in all the directions it is meant to go, including backwards and sideways.

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