What is it like training in Eric the Trainer’s gym with a bunch of celebrities? I got to find out after the Fitness Expo a couple of weeks ago, where I met Eric Fleishman aka Eric the Trainer, who is host of “Celebrity Sweat” on the Discovery Channel. I train one of his old clients, so I went up to say hi and was more than pleasantly surprised at how cool he was. Within two minutes he gave me his number and invited me to work out with him in his gym near the Burbank airport.
I showed up Saturday morning at 8 a.m. not knowing want to expect, and fell in love with the place and the people. Eric has about eight trainers working for him in a private gym room with a lot of really cool advanced equipment and attachments that I’ve never even seen before. There also is a room with a boxing ring and tall bags, speed bags, Indian clubs, etc. There is an old school, Venice Beach-style gym outside in the back. The place is cool!
Eric himself is an extremely affable guy who knows and is passionate about everything related to fitness and body building. “I love fitness and lead with the heart,” he said.
He has studied with all of the great body builders, including Jack LaLanne and Frank Zane, so obviously he knows his stuff. But it’s his commitment to leading with the heart that sets him apart. His attitude trickles down into the whole gym. He is a fun-loving guy who loves life and people and is very generous. The atmosphere in the gym is full of camaraderie, friendship and support.
I worked out with actors and creative and regular guys from the neighborhood, and everyone talked and hung out between sets. It’s the kind of place you just want to hang out in, and getting in perfect shape while you do it feels like a bonus. Another thing about the training in this gym is that it is specifically designed to be communal.
“We don’t do specific one-on-one training,” Eric said. “Celebrities are working out with regular people. We usually train between two and five people at a time with the trainers. It’s more like a group activity, fostering positivity and friendship.”
I concur. But what sets Eric’s take on training apart?
The Science of Change
Eric talks about the science of change, which is the basis of success for any real physical change. The science of change comes down to three things: sleep, nutrition and exercise.
Eric takes a different take on the most important component… sleep. “Sleep is to the body, what an oven is to cookie dough,” he says. To repair from the tearing we do during bodybuilding and grow, the body needs proper sleep. Without proper sleep, the work we do will never give us the results we seek.
Three Techniques to Change
Thumbless Grip. In doing any push or pull exercise, Eric and his trainers have you wrap your thumb around the bar with your fingers instead of around the other side of the bar as we traditionally do. The reason behind this change in form? “You want to divorce the arm from the exercise” (for example, in doing a bench press), which puts the emphasis directly on the pectoral muscles.
Jet Reps. Here we’re talking about a limited range of motion. “All of the excitement happens in the lowering phase from midway down to the chest, so we just stay there, and pump out extra reps.”
Engorged Phase. After every set is over, squeeze the muscles as hard as you can for two seconds to bring blood flow and promote growth.