Inspired to start weight training to improve your fitness, health, physique, or confidence? Or, perhaps to lose some of the fat gained during these challenge days with the pandemic? This article will help you.
I interviewed a personal trainer, Elad Michaeli, who has his own fat-to-fit transformation story. Elad also provides us with some general advice to kickstart our fitness transformation journeys.
An Interview with Online Personal Trainer Elad Michaeli
I had the opportunity to interview through email, Elad Michaeli, a 22-year-old (birth date 22-October (Libra)) personal and online trainer from Israel.
He has had several jobs. He started as a baker (bread, muffins, and cakes) to help bring in money to help his family. I was curious to see what things he baked were his favorites. It turns out he bakes and makes other meals. “Personally, I’m like a mini cook, I like making things in the kitchen (healthy mostly),” Elad said.
He does not have a sweet tooth (unlike me–I love carbohydrates, lol), explaining, “I would say bread is my favourite baked item because I don’t really like sweets. I’m more a meat guy. “
Elad joined the army when he was 18, but he also had a computer-based job. During this time, Elad also attended Wingate Academy where he studied fitness and nutrition.
In 2019, Elad started his personal training business, Elad Michaeli Fitness. Due to the pandemic with COVID-19 in 2020, he moved his training business online.
Elad is also a fitness influencer. At the time of the post, Elad has 118,000 followers on Instagram, and he has posted numerous workout demonstrations (even two with his cats) that could be done from home.
Elad told me that his girlfriend provides vital support for the Instagram page, as she behind the camera capturing the images.
According to a comment on one of his Instagram posts, Elad’s height is 5 feet 10 inches (1.78 m) and his weight at that time was 153 pounds (69.6 kg).
Elad’s Fitness Transformation
While Elad has a detailed physique now, this was not always the case. Elad started his journey being overweight and an insecure 12-year-old, who wanted to make a change.
“Being overweight really bothered me, especially because everyone was laughing at me and made me feel even worse,” Elad explained. Due to the bullying that he endured, Elad was sad and spent time by himself. It was during this time that he decided to improve himself. Elad mentioned a motivation quote that was his inspiration “First they laugh at you, then they will ask for advice.” He admits that his journey was not always a straight path, but he was able to make progress with his brother’s support.
His brother enrolled him into a Muay Thai class, which he stated that he loved on his website. I asked more about Muay Thai, as I found out it is a full-contact combat sport. According to the Tiger Muay Thai website–
Muay Thai is referred to as “The Art of Eight Limbs”; and using eight points of contact the body mimics weapons of war. The hands become the sword and dagger; the shins and forearms were hardened in training to act as armor against blows, and the elbow to fell opponents like a heavy mace or hammer; the legs and knees became the axe and staff. The body operated as one unit. The knees and elbows constantly searching and testing for an opening while grappling and trying to spin an enemy to the ground for the kill.
With someone who is insecure, it struck me as an unusual sport with which to start. Elad told me that the gym “was quite a small place with 10-15 people and all of them were 20+ years old.” He liked going to that gym precisely because he was the youngest person there. “Being 12 years old at that kind of place was odd but that [is] what I really liked about that place. He continued, “The fact that I could go someplace after school [where there were no kids] made me feel calm, and it was the first step to progression.”
My impression is that Elad being so young would make people cautious about having to hit a 12-year-old, especially if you are a young adult. As Elad grew older and bigger, by 15 years old, the other members of the gym began to spar with him for real. “[W]hen I grew up and was kinda big, they stopped feeling sorry [for] me,” Elad explained. He continued, “When we trained together, they hit me like I was one of them. [I]t made me feel [like I was part of] a small family.”
By the time Elad was 17, the atmosphere at the Muay Thai gym changed–new people joined and the trainer moved. Elad enjoyed being with the people at the gym before all the changes. So, he decided to leave the gym.
Elad’s parents signed papers allowing him to join a small gym. Elad found that the trainers were not helpful. “I remember the trainers that were there [were] extremely lazy. [They] always tried to hide so no one would ask them questions.” Elad admitted that he did not know what he was doing. He explained to me that he constructed a “brutal” training routine and that he had terrible form. He remained without injury, fortunately. He decided to start researching workout information on YouTube and in books.
I asked Elad about the books and YouTube videos that were most helpful to him. He mentioned Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe. YouTubers that Elad idolized were Jeff Seid and Lazar Angelov. He copied their workout routines and exercise form.
Elad’s goal is to be “ripped and extremely strong.” Having followed his fitness journey for almost 10 years, Elad has had experience following different diets and training methods (for example, 5×5 and the push-pull-legs split routine). He is trying out calisthenics (see author’s note below), which he is incorporating with weight training.
Elad follows other Instagram fitness influencers that have the same goal of being lean and strong, Fraser Wilson (who was covered previously on this blog), Chris Heria, and Adi Gillespie.
Author’s noteon calisthenics
Calisthenics is a popular fitness option. Calisthenics is mostly bodyweight exercises, movements, and holds. One of the major trainers the calisthenics area is Daniel Vadnal.
“If only people understood how important it is to be consistent. Everything that has value in life is a product of consistency. Success, health, fitness, wealth, friendships, relationships, and all other aspirations are all about consistency.” (Sylvester McNutt III)
I asked for Elad’s reaction. He explained “I couldn’t agree more with Rowan’s quote, I believe [that being] consistent is the key to everything in life because you just can’t watch TV all day and wait for things to happen or get better. You gotta stick to something and work your way from there. My clients’ consistency had a huge part in their success, but I’m always trying to give my full support so they will remain consistent and achieve their goals.”
General Workout Tips from Elad for Our Workout Journeys
While interviewing Elad to learn more about his fitness transformation journey, I wanted to get his thoughts on helping people who are about to start their fitness journeys. With the challenging pandemic and its related lock-downs, people may have added some body fat that they want to lose as we look forward to a new year.
My questions are in bold and Elad’s response follows. (Edited for clarity.)
What advice do you have for a new person who is over 25 percent body fat and wants to start a training program?
“The best advice I could give to someone with over 25 percent is to start slow and progress, usually when my extremely overweight clients are telling me “I’m willing to give it all” and I build a kind of rough diet plan they just give up right away and when I’m building a diet with a low-calorie deficit, using [intermittent] fasting they seem to stick to the diet plan and they get better results.”
Would you recommend bodyweight exercises or maybe starting with elastic bands or dumbbells?
“I’d highly recommend incorporating bodyweight exercises because it all starts from there, being able to bench 200lbs and not doing 20 push-ups with the right technique is just not worth it and it’s not good for you being weak at bodyweight exercises especially on abs. Elastic bands and pair of dumbbells are more than enough. I’ve been using only bodyweight and some bands for 3 months due to the quarantine and I didn’t even lose 1 lb of muscle. A beginner would gain muscle during the process.”
Is there a good basic routine that would be good to start with as a new trainee?
A good routine to start as a beginner is the push-up, incorporating different variations, along with some squat variations and abs workouts. Definitely progress will be shown through this routine.
(Author’s note: This routine can be done at home.)
How much time should be a person work with a program to develop a healthy workout habit?
“Developing a healthy workout routine it’s in the mindset, I believe it can happen after a week, month and even longer it all depends how much it’s important to them.”
What is your advice on a cardio program?
“[M]y advice is to find the type of cardio that suits you the best and stick to that, if you don’t like running you can take your bike and if you don’t like the ground then swimming it’s. Same with cardio need to find something that you can stay consistent with.”
Any other general helpful tips you can think of?
“[E]veryone has their days that the motivation levels are down and they just want to quit but before doing that remember why you started in the first place.”
It was nice chatting with Elad over email about his fitness journey. It is an interesting story, and since Elad is 21 at the time that this post was written, there will be more success stories in the future.
I hope that general advice is helpful for readers seeking to start a fitness journey to lose lock-down fat gain.
If you have any questions for Elad, please leave them in the comments or send me an email.
Is there anything you would have asked Elad that was not asked in my interview? Did you feel inspired or encouraged by Elad’s transformation story? Please let me know your questions and reflections in the comments section.
Please like, share, and comment. It helps me know what content you, the reader, like.
Note: This story is based on observations in a pre-pandemic New York City. May we recover from this pandemic experience, so that we will be able to scale back up with deliberate care–over time–to pre-pandemic levels.
One-time fitness model and personal trainer Kyle Hynick posted some photographs from his photoshoot with New York-based Photographer Jade Young seemingly in Times Square in New York City. The backdrop had people there who appeared not to be looking at a dude posing for photographs in his Calvin Klein underwear. The people essentially appeared to be fully engaged in doing tourist things. Initially, I thought that the background of Times Square was a creation of photo editing.
My thought was not correct. A commentator on Kyle’s photos stated that the commenter viewed Kyle’s photoshoot in person. I was immediately intrigued. Of course, physique competitors seek the limelight and can pose their well-trained and dieted physiques on stage in front of an audience. Posing a physique on a public stage is just a matter of scale.
I discovered that another model, Tyson Dayley, a WBFF pro fitness model, also had a photoshoot in Times Square. In his photos and video that he posted on Instagram, however, the people in the background also were taking photos of Tyson. People were sitting close by.
Times Square, Manhattan, New York City. What draws Photographer Jade Young there? Why a male in underwear appears to be an unsurprising sight? I did a quick Internet search on the history of Times Square to find out.
Times Square: from Gritty to Upscale Tourist Destination and Corporate Location
Times Square, a tourist destination and business area, was once home to adult films and gritty culture. There is a blog post on the history and transformation of Times Square at the Times Square District Management Association website.
Times Square and Calvin Klein Underwear
In Photographer Jade Young’s photos in Times Square, at times the models wear Calvin Klein underwear. There is a connection between Calvin Klein underwear and Times Square: the billboard ads for the underwear brand made history there.
In 1982, Calvin Klein had a billboard ad with Olympic athlete Tom Hintnaus in Times Square. The photographer was Bruce Weber. According to a New York Timesarticle, the billboard ad stopped traffic.
Since then, Calvin Klein ads pushed underwear advertising forward, including the next model, Mark Wahlberg. Following Mark Wahlberg, other models became famous after being featured in a Calvin Klein underwear ad. The New York Times published another article about another former Calvin Klein model, Antonio Sabato, Jr.
Also in Times Square, is a guy who has made a lot of money walking around Times Square in cowboy boots and underwear, the “Naked Cowboy“. Freshpair’s National Underwear Day, August 5, had a runway show in Times Square.
Jade Young and Times Square Photoshoots
When the Calvin Klein ads first appeared, high-speed Internet or social media sites did not exist. But that history seems to have had some influence on fitness models and influencers, who often feature underwear or men’s clothing brands in their social media posts.
In addition, there are more underwear brands in the market. Still, Calvin Klein, now part of PVH Corporation, remains a strong market player in underwear.
Jade Young now also takes photoshoots in Times Square with men in underwear in person rather than in a billboard photograph. I think the transition also humanizes the model as you could interact with the model and the photographer and perhaps even get an autograph. Formerly, you only could look up at a huge billboard ad.
Jade Young and Kyle Hynick
Kyle Hynick, featured on this blog, posted several photos from Times Square.
Jade Young and Tyson Dayley
Tyson Dayley, a pro fitness model and fitness influencer, also posted photos and videos taken in Times Square.
When I looked at Jade Young’s photos of models in Times Square, I did not expect that it would lead to a blog post. But the notion of posing in public so openly was an attention grabber. When doing research and finding articles that traced a story, my old journalistic love for a story was reawakened. I could not resist.
How interesting that a Calvin Klein ad pushed the mainstream culture forward as well as developed many new underwear brands. Despite that, Calvin Klein remains a market force.
If you notice any Instagram posts with other fitness models in Times Square, please leave a comment with the link.
Please like, share, and comment on this blog post, as this lets me know what the reader likes.
Fitness YouTubers covered in this post:
Fraser Wilson from Melbourne, Australia
Rodrigo Romeh from Mexico
four from the United Kingdom–Tom Daley (Olympic athlete-diving), Joe Wicks (aka the Body Coach), Alex Crockford, and Rowan Row
At the time of this blog post, the world is facing the challenge of the novel COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic. The respiratory virus ranges from mild illness to critical illness, perhaps needing a ventilator. Hospital resources are limited, so the governments around the world have focused on preventing people from getting infected, from physical distancing to quarantine. Places, where people have congregated for food and entertainment, are shut down. Gyms have also been shut down.
While in quarantine or under stay-at-home orders during the pandemic, some fitness YouTubers have been adding home workout videos where people would be able to start training or continuing an exercise routine with minimal equipment or bodyweight.
Of course, home workouts on YouTube are not a new occurrence, there have been YouTubers that have many videos devoted to exercises a person could do at home or while on travel. I have been following a few of them–Fraser Wilson from Melbourne, Australia; Rodrigo Romeh from Mexico; and three from the United Kingdom–Joe Wicks (aka the Body Coach), Alex Crockford, and Rowan Row.
I found a another fitness YouTuber while preparing this blog post: Tom Daley, a well-known Olympic-level diver from the United Kingdom. These YouTubers have had exercise videos where you could follow along with them as if they were your coach. Also, you can tailor the exercises according to your personal ability.
In general, the workouts are between 10-20 minutes.
Fitness YouTubers: Follow-Along 10-to-20 Minute Home Workout Routines
Fraser Wilson, 23, is a fitness YouTuber who lives in Melbourne, Australia. (Birthday–November 12 (Scorpio).) Many of his follow-along videos focus on abs or bodyweight high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Fraser did an interview with the website, Bulk Hackers, in March 2020.
At his website, Fraser provides a bit of his background.
Hi, I’m Fraser. When I first started training in the gym, I was an insecure 17-year-old.
The gym was the perfect stress relief, no matter what was going on in my life, a 1-2 hour session was like a meditation for me. I’d come out feeling refreshed, renewed and confident.
My love of fitness grew from there. I’ve been able to build a platform through social media to share my passion with the world. I’ve also been fortunate enough to sign with one of the largest companies in the fitness industry.
In 2017, Photographer Jake O’Donnell did a quick-answer interview with Fraser to know more about him. This video was posted on YouTube.
In terms of workout gear, in recent videos, Fraser mostly wears Gymshark with Nike sneakers. He seems to be a fan of bold colors in his workout clothing (seen more in pre-Gymshark videos).
(I have been noticing that Fraser has been adding colors back in his workout gear (great plan).)
Fraser has an app that he uses with his online personal training clients. The developer of the app is MacroActive Limited. (Side note: Some of Fraser’s photos are by Jake O’Donnell, who has taken photos for UK-based Box Menswear.)
On Fraser’s YouTube channel there are a variety of videos, many fitness video logs, which feature workouts, and then follow-along workouts, which viewers can do at home. Based on the high number of views, these videos appear to be extremely popular. I have been following the HIIT cardio workouts for some time. It feels like you have a trainer with you when you do the follow-along workouts.
I typically have done one of his 10-minute home workouts. When I have more time, I challenge myself with the 20-minute workout. While I have to adapt to an easier version of some of the exercises, push-ups on the knees, for example, I feel that am improving over time.
Fraser added a video explaining how people new to training can could get lean for summer from home.
Rodrigo Romeh was a fitness YouTuber and competed in physique competitions. Rodrigo lives in Mexico. Rodrigo has had appearances on Spanish-language TV in the United States and seems to have moved on to other opportunities.
During the time that he was preparing for physique competitions, Rodrigo made home workouts. This home workout lasts 30 minutes. After long commutes (traveling 40 miles for work by commuter train and city bus), I would do this workout after I came home.
Joe Wicks, 33, from the United Kingdom, is a husband and father as well as an Instagram personality, book author and the owner of The Body Coach. His birthday is 21-September (Virgo).
On YouTube, Joe has numerous HIIT cardio routines for all levels of exercisers. While commuting for a full-time job, time was very short, but I wanted to get a workout in. It is very easy for me, after a long day at work, to feel a workout is just another layer of work. But I could not argue with 10-20 minutes for a workout.
Just bodyweight was challenging for me, but I have seen small yet encouraging improvements after sticking with the workouts consistently.
I was doing a low-impact hotel workout. Although the exercises were low-impact, the workout still was a challenge.
Tom Daley, 25, is an Olympic-level diver for the United Kingdom as well as a book author. Tom’s birthday is on 21-May (Gemini). Tom is sponsored by athletic fitness brand Adidas.
Tom, on his YouTube page, created some workouts that people could follow during stay-at-home orders because of the pandemic. (Tom has created workout videos previously as well.) In a separate, stay-at-home-related video, Tom helps his husband bake a cobbler.
Tom’s home workouts are based on HIIT cardio, where you exercise for 40 seconds and rest for 20 seconds
In the first home workout, Tom demonstrates five exercises that are repeated in two circuits:
RFE split squats
Squat jump walkouts
Sumo squat pulses
Alternating v sits
In the second home workout, Tom demonstrates five exercises, repeated in two circuits:
Plank side taps
In the third workout video, Tom demonstrated a workout focused on the abdominal muscles (aka the six-pack). In this workout, there are six exercises:
Side v sites
In a fourth workout video, Tom demonstrates five exercises, repeated in two circuits:
Alex Crockford, 29, lives in the United Kingdom and is the owner of #CrockFit, an online training business, and a fitness model.
In 2015, he gave away free hugs in Trafalgar Square in London.
At the time of this post, he is sponsored by UnderArmour. He traveled to downtown Baltimore, in the Inner Harbor area, to attend a conference at UnderArmour headquarters. (I at one time had a job in Inner Harbor East, near the waterfront.)
His birthday is on 15-June (Gemini).
Before the Coronavirus pandemic, Alex posted follow-along home-based bodyweight workouts. Some of these workouts are on his #CrockFit app on the HomeFit program.
The #CrockFitapp is a custom-made app developed by Calcey Technologies. Craig E. Ryder wrote an article about Alex and how Alex discovered Calcey Technologies in 2018.
With the global lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19, gyms were closed, raising the interest of home-based workouts that a person could do without much equipment. (Alex has prepared videos for people with kettlebells or other weights.)
While Alex is a personable guy, his bodyweight workouts are intense. I remember doing one follow-along HIIT workout and I was going through the circuits. Alex described the workout up front. What he calls a warm-up session, feels like a workout (which he admits in his exercise commentary). I was feeling tired by the end and was ready to stop. Then, Alex reminded his viewers that there was still a leg circuit (by then I forgot about the final leg workout) . I still remember feeling shocked. (lol)
I favor follow-along workout videos as it feels like you have a trainer doing the exercises with you and you get an implicit challenge to do your personal best and not to quit and turn off the video.
Alex helpfully offers alternatives to suit your current physical abilities. If you are interested in these workouts, you are interested in self-improvement. So, you will get the challenge you need.
In addition, Alex has a blog where he provides fitness tips and recipes. In one blog post, he provided tips on getting the most from home-based workouts.
I will post some of the more-recent home-workout-related posts below.
Rowan left competitive fitness modeling to do fashion and lifestyle blogging. Rowan still maintains his gym training.
Home Workouts, with Nutrition Video Logs
With the gyms being closed, Rowan also created follow-along home workouts. Rowan started with videos abdominal exercises in January 2020 and a home workout in February 2020.
An abdominal training video in April 2020 has been popular, with 2.2 million views (at the time of this blog post). This video has the most views of any video on his channel. [
Rowan has also posted other home workout videos as well as videos on nutrition.
The reason for the increased variety of home workouts comes as a result of a serious risk to public health. Nevertheless, I have found them to be useful for me to start as a beginner. My goal is to become able to handle my own bodyweight and with some weighted exercises.
Are there any favorite home workouts that you enjoy? Perhaps you found some new possibilities in this post. Let me know in the comments.
Some models that wear menswear items have interesting lives in addition to muscular physiques. Diego Sechi, a WBFF pro male fitness model from Italy is an example. Diego has a strong brain as well as a fit body.
I first saw Diego in some behind the scenes video for a photoshoot. He struck me as a guy with a good sense of humor and a great six-pack of abs.
Later, I learned that he studies choreography as well in addition to being serious with his education.
In August 2020, Diego posted a video answering questions from his subscribers, followers, and fans.
Diego’s Fitness Model Posing Routines
The choreography assists Diego in creating posing routines with a nice flow.
Diego provides his background at his website. There is also a video that provides background information at Fit Media Channel on YouTube.
According to the Greatest Physiques blog, Diego participated in Greco-Roman wrestling as a child. According to his website, he participated in other sports as well.
Sport has been with me since my childhood, especially thanks to my natural physical form, already in charge of sports. So, I had the opportunity to explore various sports: fencing, boxing, horseback,riding, hockey, skiing, athletics. Especially in the latter, I attracted the attention during the youth school championship of 100-meters without hurdles, where I recorded a time of 11:04 seconds!
According to Diego’s Instagram, he is an online fitness coach and registered nutritionist. In addition to his gym training, Diego has a bachelor’s degree, human nutrition, from King’s College London. At the time of this post (January 2020), Diego is in the MSc sports nutrition program at St. Mary’s University, Twickenham.
Fitness Modeling Competition History
Las Vegas, 2013, European Fitness Model Champion at WBFF and attainment PRO Card
Toronto, 2016, first 5 positions during the World Fitness Model at WBFF
London, 2017, first 5 positions during the World Fitness Model al WBFF
Rome, 2016, Premio Personalità Europea for Sport Merit
Diego did a challenge-type workout for the “Workout until Failure” YouTube channel. The purpose of the YouTube channel is to show physique athletes challenging themselves with exercise in a heated room. The athletes on the channel are well-trained fitness models. While the workouts would be challenging and exhausting to typical people, the featured athletes seem to be challenged but the viewer can tell that their bodies were hungry for the exercise and welcomed the challenge.
Diego did not disappoint in his video. Even with the challenging pandemic times during 2020, Diego maintained his pro-level muscular physique. Diego started with his morning cardio (featured on his Instagram) and then after that did a circuit style workout–three rounds of squats, lateral raises, and biceps curls, all with a set of dumbbells. Diego ended with planks for the abdominals.
Even with this hard workout, Diego seemed to be able to workout more.
Diego’s YouTube Channel
Diego posted a new video on April 10, 2020, announcing that he will be adding new content to his YouTube channel.
Diego and BioTechUSA
Diego is sponsored by a bodybuilding supplement company, BioTechUSA. Diego did some videos for them discussing how to start one’s own fitness journey.
Diego also was featured in a BioTech USA commercial by Visione Pro.
Diego and a Video by Visione Pro
The video below was filmed before Diego’s 2019 WBFF Pro competition in the Bahamas.
Diego on Fit Media Channel
Diego’s Stretching Routine by Fit Media Channel
Diego demonstrated his stretching routine for Fit Media Channel on YouTube while in the Bahamas for his WBFF contest.
Diego Demonstrates Best Muscle Building Exercises
Also on Fit Media Channel, Diego demonstrates the channel’s selection of muscle building exercises.
The exercises that Diego Demonstrated are below.
Fit Media Channel’s Best Exercises
Standing Cable Flyes
Pec Deck Flyes
Seated Dumbbell Press
Incline Bench Front Raise
Dumbbell Front Raise
Cable Lateral Raise with Incline
E-Z Bar Curl
Cable Concentration Curl
Kneeling High Cable Curls
Single Arm Triceps Extension
Wide Grip Pullups
Single Arm Cable Pulldown
Bent-Over Machine Row
Stiff Leg Deadlift
Lying Hamstring Curl
Abs and Core
Incline Bench Russian Twist
Hanging Knee Raises
Diego and Pietro Boselli, Ph.D
I remember seeing Diego with fellow Italian model, Pietro Boselli, who was studying for a Ph.D. at University College, London, when one of his students posted a photo of him on social media. Diego and Pietro did a workout series for Fit Media Channel on YouTube in 2016.
Diego in Wire Magazine, February 2019
Diego provided an interview with Rafa Carvajal with Wire Magazine in February 2019. Asked by Rafa to use three words to describe himself, Diego responded: “curious, dreamer, and ambitious”.
According to the interview, Diego is a frequent traveler and enjoys playing the saxophone while at home in Italy or reading when he is traveling.
For underwear, Diego stated that he was once a boxers guy. Then he became a briefs guy to show off his leg muscles.
In the article, Diego wore a variety of briefs. I could make out the brand of one of them: Danny Miami. From his social media, Diego has worn briefs from Little Rok, too.