Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Fitness Profile: Ellen Stein

I'm so excited to introduce you to Ellen Stein, 7 time masters world champion powerlifter, versatile personal trainer, activist and advocate for animal rights and my surrogate mom/ business manager/ publicist. Ellen and I met a few weeks after I was crowned Miss Brooklyn 2009. I was vetting candidates for our personal training sponsor and Ellen was the first on the list. Prior to meeting her I had lost about 35lbs on my own doing mostly cardio and a little strength training, so I was slim, but definitely not fit. I can honestly say that I had NO IDEA what I was getting myself into by teaming up with Ellen, but two years later, I fully credit her with igniting my current passion for all things fitness, movement and strength. She's helped me transform both my body and my mentality about fitness and exercise, and I couldn't be more grateful to have her in my life!

What's your fitness background? 

For starters my Dad owned a small health club in Brooklyn so I was exposed early on to the gym lifestyle. I was also a tomboy growing up so I was always a physically active kid. I ran for 15 years -4 NYC Marathons and everything else from the mile to the half marathon-my favorite distance was the 5k. I began pumping iron in 1993 when I joined a local Gold's gym. I started powerlifting and competing a year later.

Describe a typical week of workouts when prepping for a contest.  

I only train 2 days a week-Wednesday & Saturday-Wednesday is my light squat and bench days and heavy deadlifts and Saturday is my heavy squat and bench days. I train RAW on the light days and equipped on the heavy days. I don't do much in the way of assistance work-just pullups, some ab work, and bench assistance work e.g. rack lockouts & board presses...

You have HOW MANY world championship titles?
 7 Masters World titles.

How has your diet evolved since you started lifting? 

I went from being a heavy carbohydrate eater when I was more of a cardio/endurance athlete to a heavy fat and protein diet when I became a lifter. I am a recent vegan and only eat fish and greek yogurt.

What's your current eating plan like?

Lots of veggies, fish, nuts, Greek yogurt, salads, sushi, sweet potatoes.
 What do most people NOT know about Ellen Stein? 
I am not the social butterfly I appear to be-I am actually a loner.

Describe yourself in five words. 

Raw, outspoken, generous, funny, politically-incorrect.

What inspires/ motivates  you? 

People who dedicate their lives to helping animals, my coach Matt Gary & his wife Sioux-z Hartwig-Gary.

What are some common misconceptions you hear about fitness that frustrate you as a personal trainer (from clients, other trainers, the media...etc)?

That crunches give you a 6 pack (my favorite), that you shouldn't squat below parallel, thinking that lifting heavy weights will make you bulky (that one is from female trainees), doing excessive cardio for fat loss.

I only have time to workout 30 mins a day, 4 days a week. What do you recommend I do for general fitness/ wellbeing?

As you have guessed by now, I am a big fan of kettlebells because they provide a completely integrated body workout that doesn't rely on muscle isolation and/or single joint movements. I feel you can get the most bang for your buck when your time is limited and you don't feel like traveling to and from the gym. You can train at home or outdoors with just 1 or 2 kettlebells.

What type of exercises do you do with your clients?
In the beginning I use bodyweight exercises e.g. pushups, pull-ups, all types of lunges, squats and then I add external resistance such as kettlebells, dumbbells, sandbags, medicine balls. I also use the TRX and the ropes. We also bench and deadlift of course!

Ellen does in-home training, outdoor bootcamps, group and semi-private sessions in NYC. She currently trains at Reebok/ Sports Club LA on NYC's Upper East Side. Her current certifications include NASM, ACE, NSCA-CPT, RKC Kettlebell, IKFF Kettlebell, TRX, L.I.F.T. Sandbag and CPR/AED. She's a life-long Brooklynite and lives with her two cats, Leo and Luna. Since 2009, Ellen has been the fitness sponsor and personal trainer of the Miss Brooklyn Organization. She can be contacted at: w8lifter222@aol.com.