Survival of the Fittest

You know they help you stay in shape, but ever wonder what trainers do to keep their own physiques in optimum condition? We asked six local personal trainers to give us the goods—the equipment, the routines, the reps—on how they stay perfectly toned.

53, 5’5”, 135 lbs

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Marla Past

Owner, Underground Fitness
Scarsdale (914) 725-8200

Calories burned per workout: 1,400
Calories consumed per day: 2,000-3,000

Workout: Marla Past does one hour of cardio on the treadmill or elliptical trainer every day and weight-trains three days on, one day off. Her warm-up includes 15 minutes of abdominal work. “For my abs, I do a lot of leg lifts and side bends with free weights for my obliques, as well as leg pull-ups on a free bar, where I hang and do my pull-ups with weight. As a glute-buster, I extend my leg with a free weight to build muscle.” Afterwards, “I work my back and biceps on Mondays with pull-ups and free weights.” She works her chest and shoulders on Tuesdays; Wednesdays are for legs and triceps. “For legs, I start with twenty-pound dumbbells in each hand and fifteen squats. As I progress in weight, I lessen the reps until I get to four squats with seventy-five-pound dumbbells.” She leg-presses up to 250 pounds, four reps, on the final set, with leg-extension and hamstring work that varies. “I do squats with free weights because it not only works the legs but also brings fresh blood to the heart and lungs. I always rest after legs because it’s very intense.”

Diet: Past’s 2,000- to 3,000-calories-a-day diet consists mostly of lean, organic protein—seafood, chicken, turkey, egg whites, and whey protein—and a lot of “good carbs,” especially fruits and whole grains. “The only way people can build muscle after thirty is if they’re on a sound diet.” She credits the soundness of her diet to Alan Massrour, a holistic physician who specializes in nutrition. A typical dinner consists of 12 ounces of broiled fish and a huge tossed salad with olive oil.


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30, 6’3”, 240 lbs

Darren Owens

Master Trainer, formerly with New York Sports Club
White Plains, (914) 428-2020

Calories burned per workout: N/A
Calories consumed per day: 1,500-2,000

Workout: “I work out at least five days a week for about ninety minutes each day,” says Darren Owens. His regimen includes 30 to 45 minutes of cardio—boxing, hip-hop dancing, or using the elliptical, and 45 minutes of weight training using free weights, functional training, and stability bands. He stretches for 10 minutes. “I sit down and do active stretching, which is using your own body to stretch your muscles, as opposed to a machine.”

Diet: Owens eats lots of vegetables and protein and goes easy on the carbs. “Salads and vegetables are my thing. I put chicken and salmon in my salads, into wraps, and I make salmon, turkey, and chicken burgers.”

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27, 5’2”, 125 lbs Hendricks

Personal Trainer, Saw Mill Club
Mount Kisco (914) 241-0797

Calories burned per workout: 400-600
Calories consumed per day: 1,600-2,000

Workout: “I work out six days a week for an hour to an hour and a half, doing a split routine that works different body parts. I warm up with cardio for five to ten minutes, changing up between jogging, biking, elliptical, and treadmill.” She also does “classic free-weight lifting with dumbbells and barbells” for thirty minutes to an hour. She stretches after every routine. “I sometimes have someone assist me on a mat with different stretches.”

Diet: “I eat whatever I want in moderation. Any diet that’s too extreme leads to failure, unless you have a specific goal to achieve a certain weight or body type.”


28, 5’6”, 150 lbs

Aaron Morton

Personal Trainer, Premier Athletic Club, Montrose (914) 739-7755

Calories burned per workout: 300-500
Calories consumed per day: 2,000-2,200

Workout: Morton works out three to five days a week, with a cardio warm-up for up to 30 minutes, and an all-body workout (biking, soccer, swimming, break dancing, and Pilates) of “priority muscles—the big muscles you use every day: legs, back, and abs/core”—for a half-hour to 45 minutes. He stretches for 30 seconds to a minute in-between each exercise to relax his muscles and “keep a good balance of lactic acid to build them.”

Diet: “I eat fish, meats, and vegetables and drink plenty of fluids. I love sweet potatoes—they’re full of vitamins and other nutrients.”


33, 5’9”, 185 lbs

Rahsaan E. Robinson

Personal Training Manager, Equinox Fitness Club, Mamaroneck (914) 777-1919

Calories burned per workout: 500
Calories consumed per day: 2,600

Workout: Robinson does alternate workouts, four days a week, for 45 to 60 minutes, plus a 15-minute warm-up. On Mondays and Thursdays, he focuses on multi-joint movements, core stabilization, corrective exercises, and strength endurance. After his warm-up, which includes stretching and running on an elliptical for 10 minutes at a moderate pace, Robinson completes three sets of 12 to 15 reps of various exercises, including Smith machine squats (135- to 200-lbs), pull-ups, and hanging leg-raises. Robinson then does a 20-minute run on the treadmill at six speed and repeats his warm-up to cool down. On Tuesdays and Saturdays, he works on speed, agility, and core development. His warm-up includes walking straight-leg raises (“I walk like a toy soldier and touch the toe of the extended leg with each step,” says Robinson); walking knee-raise grabs (“As I walk, I raise my knee, grab it with both hands, and pull it into my chest”); and jogging butt kicks. His program includes three sets with four reps each of in-out ladder drills and hopscotch ladder drills (stepping or hopping in and out of a flat ladder placed on the floor at different speeds to improve agility); plus T-stabilization push-ups (done by pushing up then twisting the body sideways while stretching out one arm to create a “T” shape); jumping jacks; kettle-bell swings and more.

Diet: Robinson eats a moderate- to high-protein, low-carb diet (i.e., a breakfast of three egg whites, a cup of oatmeal, and a banana; lightyogurt for a snack; grilled chicken [6 ounces], broccoli [1 cup], and a sweet potato for lunch; an afternoon snack of a handful of almonds, and a dinner of salmon and mixed vegetables).


71, 5’8”, 152 lbs

Donald Bunch

Personal Trainer/Instructor,
Family Court Sports, Elmsford
(914) 592-3005

Calories burned per workout: 700-800
Calories consumed per day: 2,000-3,000

Workout: “I work out seven days a week, two hours a day, including cardio, switching between brisk walking, elliptical, and spinning.” Bunch’s workouts also include 20 minutes of crunches for core training every day and he stretches afterward for a few minutes. “I like to stand up straight and bend all the way forward, which stretches the back muscles, then come up slowly and bend backwards a bit to relax my body after the activity.”

Diet: “I eat broccoli or spinach five to six times a week and don’t have salt in my diet. I also don’t drink coffee, but I drink lots of water and decaf green tea.”


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