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An Interview with Men’s Health editor Adam Bornstein

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09/17/2009

Adam Bornstein photo

When a writer for Men’s Health magazine recently described a college athlete as a “mensch,” I knew I had to interview him. You don’t see Yiddish often in the sports world.

The author of said article turned out to be Northbrook native, Adam Bornstein. He’s a Men’s Health fitness editor, which might be one of the coolest jobs a self described fitness fanatic, could land.

Here’s a little bit about Adam: He has an admitted love of exercise, eggs, and oatmeal. When he’s not researching resistance training, nutrition, and physiology, Adam is applying the academic knowledge to living a more active, healthy, and fit life. Adam holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Florida, and a bachelor’s in psychology from the University of Colorado. He has worked as a faculty researcher at the University of Colorado and a fitness and sports reporter. He now collaborates with the best in the fitness industry on ways to improve men’s lives.

After speaking with Adam, I totally want his job! Seriously though, it was amazing to discuss fitness with a man who spends most waking hours researching exercises, trainers, nutrition, health gadgets, health studies… This is what I learned:

To be an editor at the number one selling health magazine in the world:
You have to research. Adam spends countless hours reading studies, fact checking, researching trainers, trends, and the list continues.  He’s constantly learning, and getting a chance to do what he enjoys most— educating others. The perks of interviewing professional athletes are fun, but it’s also a lot of work.  For a recent article, Adam worked-out with perennial pro-bowler, Dwight Freeney, of the Indianapolis Colts.  Although he enjoyed rolling and dragging giant tires around, it was not an easy day in the office.

Adam’s fitness philosophy:
Adam’s philosophy on training is similar to mine, high intensity, fun, and full body. “Don’t be so competitive. A lot of people think guys go to the gym to watch women, but they really look at other guys.  Who cares what you bench, get a good workout,” Adam said.

Trends in Fitness:
Adam commented, “Right now there is a lot of misinformation out there. People jump on the bandwagon so fast. It’s all about the basics, start slow and progress. Kettlebells are hot right now and they’ll probably stay that way. People need to realize, just because something is popular now, doesn’t mean it’s the best for them.”

“Research indicates that frequency over volume shows the greatest results, so the body part per day guys, might need to mix up there routine more. Tabata training is popular now, which are short very intense workouts.”

Adam has also formed a love/hate relationship with the TRX, which is a bodyweight-based portable training tool that allows you to workout anywhere.

This might surprise many readers, “research is leading away from crunches. They may even be harmful. There are so many other ways to work your abs, something as simple as a plank is a great way to work your stomach.” (Personal note, if you want non-crunch ab exercises, shoot me a note and I’ll send you some).

Adams Personal Trainer:
Right now Adam’s training with Todd Durkin and loving it. He hooked his father and brother into working out with Todd as well.  Like a kid with a new toy, Adam boasted, “The workouts are intense, with a lot of variety, no boredom, fun and challenging.”

Common Questions:
People write in with questions about diet, nutrition, posture, injuries, you name it. Adam tries to get people to understand proper form and debunk myths, like -“Low fat, this must be good.” He is shocked how many women write in and think avoiding fat is the key. “Eating the low fat Oreo might be worse for you then eating the regular Oreo.” Not that Adam condones eating Oreo’s, his point being, the less processing the better.

Changing people’s perception is the hardest thing to do; especially when it comes to women and weight lifting. Since Adam also contributes to Women’s Health, he hears the fear “Weights will make me bulky.”  And that’s just silly. Sure some women put on muscle easier than others, but in general weight training will only help women have better shape, stronger bones and more energy.

FitSchools:
Last but not least, we discussed FitSchools. FitSchools grew out of an article about revamping physical fitness for kids and turned into a full -fledged nonprofit organization. The goal was to reassess phys ed classes for children. Schools have archaic methods of testing kids fitness levels, he said, “The sit and reach test, doesn’t do much and the presidential fitness test, is out dated.” Schools should concentrate on getting children moving, teaching them the basics, focusing on improvement over the semester not grade them on running a four minute mile. For more information on FitSchools, check out, http://www.menshealth.com/fitschools.

Finally, if you haven’t had enough of Adam, here’s some word association with the fitness fanatic:

Jewish Athletes- Do they exist? Although I hear we can lay claim to USC stud Taylor Mays.
Working out is- The best way to add balance to your life and cope with stress.
When the television is on- I’m not around or sports are on. My TV is very lonely.
Chicken- Great, now I’m hungry. Thanks, Ron.
My job- The most challenging and educational experience of my life.
Protein shakes- “Bro Dust”—Let’s credit Alan Aragon with this one, but too funny and yet so true.
Power or- Passion-dedication to any cause is the real secret to success.
Sage Rosenfels- Wishes Brett Farve would disappear.

To learn more about Adam, read his blog: http://workingout.menshealth.com/

From one fitness enthusiast to another, thanks for making the time for us Adam!

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