January 12, 2012 at 10:07 am EST | by Staff reports
New year new you

Daniel Phoenix Singh says keeping your workout gear handy helps you squeeze in quick exercise breaks when windows of time open up unexpectedly. (Blade photo by Pete Exis; special thanks to the Maryland Youth Ballet))

Lean locals share fitness tips

After the inevitable holiday excess, many among us are bemoaning the ab definition we lost after the eggnog and peanut butter balls. But fitness topics are not esoteric — we pretty much know what to do. It’s a matter of finding the motivation to do it. That’s where little tips and tricks can come in handy.

Maintaining Herculean abs and guns can take over your life but what about all those local LGBT folks who always look fit and trim no matter when you see them? We asked a few of them to share their favorite workout and diet tips in the hope that something will click for you.

“I am not a good example for eating,” says Scott Beard, a concert pianist. “Breakfast is usually coffee. I would say the best thing is to be in a regular workout routine. Make time for it. And mix up your workouts so your body is ‘surprised’ by new exercises. Also watch the alcohol intake. A beer is like drinking a loaf of bread.”

Brian Watson of Transgender Health Empowerment was one of those lucky few who managed to stay naturally thin without working out. But he just turned 30 and decided he could use some ab definition.

“Something I think helps is that I drink a lot of water,” he says. “Whenever I eat, I have a glass of water. I think that not only has that helped keep me thin, but healthy. It eliminates a lot of the sugar, caffeine, etc., that a lot of people put in their bodies everyday. I’m also one of those people who don’t mind taking the stairs instead of the elevator.”

Clark Ray of the Greater Washington Sports Alliance believes in moderation, structure and maintenance.

“Eat what you want but be sensible,” he says. “For structure, make a schedule and stick to it. And with maintenance, you have to be persistent. Work to maintain the personal achievement you’ve made and set goals for new desires and results.”

Realtor Evan Johnson is an avid runner. He runs 3.5 miles six days per week and augments it with 30-minute weight training exercises five-to-six days per week. He says working out very early — before the sun is up — works well for him.

Ebone Bell (Capital Queer Prom) lost 42 pounds over the past six months. She was going for a “slim and healthy look,” and achieved it by sticking to a low-calorie diet (less than 2,000 calories per day), going to the gym three-to-four times per week and balancing cardio and strength training.

“And don’t sleep on Zumba,” she says. “It’s a fun way to burn a lot of calories in just an hour.”

Lesbian Anya Maleknasri is a trainer at Gold’s Gym in Manassas and has several tips. She says finding a gym near work is better than home.

“If you’re driving toward the house, you’re more likely to pass it up for the couch,” she says. “But if it’s near your work, you’ll consider it still work time.”

She also suggests organic, grass-fed meats, healthy fats, nuts, vegetables and fruit.

“Our bodies were intended to eat,” she says. “Fat does not make you fat. Processed food and sugar makes you fat.”

Also, “workouts should be short and intense,” she says. “If it’s easy, it’s probably not going to create any change. But three-to-four days of 20-30 minutes of hard work with a clean diet and you will see change in only a few days. Staying fit and healthy is not a resolution. There are no quick fixes or special pills you can take. But everyday is a new start and there is no end point. Stay realistic and change your lifestyle and your health will turn into a life-long reality.”

Josh Bennett, a singer and dancer with the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington — he’s the one they always put in the scantily clad attire since he’s so buff, says getting into a healthy routine is “an entire lifestyle change.”

“You have to be ready to change your diet and to push your body to new limits,” he says. “It’s never easy but the health rewards are great. The single biggest hurdle is motivation. It’s never easy to get off the couch and put down the chips but think of an event or person whom you want to look good for and post pictures of them on your phone/TV/computer or mirror. Use that motivator as a constant reminder to clear the junk food out of your kitchen and get on your feet.”

Kevin Platte, founder and director of the eternally shirtless D.C. Cowboys, advises healthful foods in smaller amounts.

“It’s all about portion sizes,” he says. “As we get older, we don’t need to eat like we did when we were teenagers. And remember — drinking a cocktail is like eating a dessert.”

He advises a solid exercise program with a special focus on abs.

Jerry Zremski, a gay D.C.-based reporter for the Buffalo News, finds it helpful to make fitness part of a daily routine. Working out at the same time each day helps him stick to a plan. He also eats meals at regular times and doesn’t snack.

“Consider hiring a trainer if you want to add muscle,” he says. “I did and it worked, even at my advanced age, which I am not revealing.”

His other favorite tip, which works great for D.C., is — “if your destination is less than a mile away, walk.”

Gay dancer Daniel Phoenix Singh (he has his own eponymous dance company), maintains his trim physique by augmenting the workout he gets from dancing with yoga, cardio and weight training. He’s also a vegetarian.

“I watch what I put in my mouth,” he says with a sly chuckle.

“Also be ready to work out any time,” he says. “I always keep my yoga mat, workout clothes and sneakers in my car so there is never an excuse. Because believe you me, I’m just like everyone else — I’d rather spend the evening watching YouTube videos if I could find an excuse to skip working out.”


Freezing the fat

Achieve your New Year’s goal with safe, new procedure


The New Year brings many resolutions. Looking good is the first and most important one. Exercising and dieting can help, but there are some areas that won’t change, no matter how many Pilates classes you attend. The desire to look perfect can be frustrating, because you can only change so much on your own.

CoolSculpting by ZELTIQ is one of the non-invasive ways to reduce fat in targeted areas of the body that results in a natural-looking fat reduction in the areas treated. This method uses a cooling technology that targets fat cells through a process that does not harm the surrounding tissue. This procedure can reduce unwanted abdominal fat, love handles and back fat. It is performed in a dermatology office with a topical applicator that cools targeted fat cells under the skin. Only those areas targeted get fat reduction. All individuals can resume normal daily routines after the procedure. Patients may start to see changes as quickly as three weeks after their treatment, and will experience the most dramatic results after two months. The body continues to flush fat cells and will continue doing so for up to four months.

Some areas are not necessarily best suited for this freezing technique and are better handled with more immediate micro lipo-contouring procedures to remove bulges quickly. Identifying your specific needs is the most important thing, and can only be done after an evaluation. In many places, you can have a complimentary consultation with a cosmetic team. Some areas not suited for the Coolsculpting method are best treated using a tumescent lipo-contouring method.  Many of these procedures can be performed with you awake and pain free in office, with minimal to no down time. Certain areas of the chest, neck and the abdomen respond best with this treatment and offer results within the first week.

Using the newer modalities in reduction of swelling and bruising has made outpatient body contouring popular and achievable for anyone with the challenges of unwanted body fat.  Establishing a regimen best suited for your lifestyle needs with a board certified plastic surgeon is the first step toward succeeding in getting through the New Year’s resolution list. With all the newer innovative technology available, treat yourself to a procedure that can help you in your efforts to look as good as you can, quickly, effectively, and today.

In addition to getting the body you want this year, getting your skin in picture perfect condition is always right up there on the list. Smoother, softer, more even, unblemished and younger-looking skin are what people seek. There are so many things that can be done now to achieve the skin you want.

Lasers, combined with a good skin care regimen, can often solve almost any problem, or get you close to the desired result you’re looking for. Lasers can even out pigmentation, reduce redness, brighten, tighten, reduce and smooth out scarring, reduce or eliminate age spots, and much more. The most important thing when it comes to lasers it to go a dermatologist’s office, with board-certified dermatologists. Many states differ in their regulations on who can perform lasers, but you want to go to a dermatology practice if there is going to be someone performing lasers on your skin. Dermatologists see the skin differently than anyone else, and it is important for you to get someone who can look at your skin comprehensively, with an expert eye.

Dr. Khalique Zahir is with the Dermatology Center and Rockledge MedSpa with three Locations: Northwest D.C., Bethesda and Germantown. Visit dermskin.com or call 301-968-1200 for more information.


1 Comment
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