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An interview with Equinox trainer, consultant and mom-extraordinaire Erin Phelan

Written By Elena's Club 07 Mar 2020
An interview with Equinox trainer, consultant and mom-extraordinaire Erin Phelan

Q. What’s the craziest fitness fad you’ve ever heard of?

Crazy is a difficult thing to define when talking about fitness fads.There are fads that have come and gone with pieces of equipment that you never see or hear from again. Then there are things like the Gliding Disks which, when it first came out, people said was never going to fly – frisbees for your feet? Why? Now, gliders are used extensively in programming and with PT clients. But crazy fads – like dangerous? Heated cycling studios. There is something inherently wrong with getting your body into a state of dehydration before you doing a spin class. Ridiculous. 

Q. Talk to me about binge working out or excessive and obsessive workout habits. When is enough, enough or too much, too much? 

Balance is essential. First of all, let’s talk guidelines, which all point to 150 minutes per week to gain the health benefits you need. In terms of striking a balance there is nothing wrong with working out every day so long as you are doing it for the right reasons – stress relief, weight management, athletic training and performance – and not obsessively thinking about exercise. If you find yourself stressed when you miss a workout, you should check your motivations. Your body knows when it has had too much. Recovery is essential and is the new buzzword in the industry. We have fantastic recovery articles on the Furthermore website that you can find here 

Q. There’s a lot of diets out there that people claim have been the “best”– Atkins, Keto, Paleo, Vegan… Is there one that works the best for women? What is it?

You should ask a nutritionist about diets. Within the wellness industry we recommend a largely plant-based diet with complete carbohydrates to fuel workouts, lean proteins and healthy fats. Atkins, Keto, Paleo, Vegan – they will all have followers, defenders and research to back their claims. I’ve met people who swear by Keto, and live largely gluten-free. The simple answer to a complex question about nutrition is that you should do what is right for you. However, if you are training for something like a half or full marathon you definitely need to eat carbs. After a tough workout there should be carbs and protein quickly to help build the muscles back up. 

Q. Working out can be scary. Going to a new gym and trying a new class can be intimidating. What do you recommend to break the ice for a novice gym goer?

Introduce yourself to the instructor. A good instructor will love to know that they have someone new in class and they can modify the program or keep a special eye on the newbie. Also, bring a friend with you. Guaranteed if you haven’t worked out, you know someone else who hasn’t worked out too. There are also groups on Meet Up and on social media that you can join to find others to hit classes with. Expand your social network. One of the added bonuses of being part of a gym is that you join a tribe. At Equinox, our tribe is very strong.

Q. For my #FitFam friends - what’s the trendiest exercise for 2018?

Trendiest exercises for 2018 – simple. HIIT, Barre, bodyweight training. 

Q. True or false? Big weights = big muscles.

False. Lift weights - women especially need to lift weights. You have to think ahead: as estrogen levels drop, our heart health becomes more important. Estrogen protects the heart, and as you get older it lowers. It is absolutely imperative women exercise and lift weights to build a strong cardiac system. Women also need to lift weights to offset osteoporosis and build healthy bodies. In terms of the actual weight you should be lifting, you have to challenge the muscles – when you do the sets of repetitions, you should get to the point of fatigue. But the big muscles like you see from body builders – this is something they work on. For most weight training classes offered in gyms you will build lean muscle mass which everyone wants.

Q. How important is nutrition to fitness? Can I eat junk food if I workout? Do I need to workout if I eat super healthy?

You need proper nutrition and exercise – you can’t eat all the crap you want and expect to see results. Many of us in the industry follow the 80/20 rule – eat well 80 percent of the time, and enjoy cheats and treats 20 percent of the time. But the saying “you can’t outrun a bad diet” is very true. That said, those who exercise regularly will often tell you they do it so that they can drink wine and enjoy pastries and chocolate. So, there is additional motivation for getting and staying fit – you can eat and drink more than other people! The fact is, eating well – filling your body with healthy ingredients, cooking often and leaning towards a plant-based lifestyle – makes you feel better. 

In answer to your question: “Do I need to workout if I eat super healthy?” Yes you do. Everyone needs to exercise. 

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