‘American Idol’ Fitness

This week I made my debut on American Idol. Since I possess very little vocal talent, I suppose I should clarify. My awesome pal, Stephanie, called earlier this week with tickets to the American Idol screening in Hollywood, and although my first instinct was to pass (as I have kids to shuttle, homework to supervise, classes to teach and clients to train), I chose to drop everything and drive those hundred miles up the coast to Hollywood in search of one of my all-time idols—Season 10 judge and Aerosmith front man, Steven Tyler.

Four of us 40-something mommies giggled and chatted on the ride up as we played hookie from the minutia of our daily lives. We somehow also managed to create a sign made with bright poster board, colored Sharpies and a funny caricature cut-out of Mr. Tyler’s prominent lips and rockin’ hair. The final product was a work of multi-tasking genius. Colorful and to the point, it read: “Steven Baby…Walk This Way and just Gimme a Kiss!” with a thick arrow pointing down toward the sign holder. We elected our cute blond friend, Maureen, to wield the sign! Needless to say, our plan worked. After waiting outside the studio for hours and making friends with other Idol fans, we were assigned our seats. When the studio usher looked us up and down with her discriminating eye to assess how we’d “read” on camera if it happened to pan over us, she also read our sign. We were clearly not here to see any particular “idol,” we had a higher calling: Steven Tyler!

She placed the four of us directly behind the judges’ pedestal—possibly moved out of pity for us and our desperate request, but we didn’t give a damn, we were within reach of legendary talent. With hearts pounding and adrenaline rushing through Ryan Seacrest’s introductions, the judges finally strutted across the stage and took their seats. Randy wasn’t as hefty as I’d expected. He’s definitely not svelte by any means but he’s also rather average in size since his gastric bypass surgery. J. Lo was flawless in her Louis Vuitton stilettos, mini-dress and café latte skin as she stepped on beat to the Idol theme music. Finally, Steven slithered toward us in his 2 ½ -inch rocker boots, skinny jeans, feathers, leather and lace—still gritty, raw and unpredictable at 62 (yes, 62!). After reveling in the roaring applause and leaning into his chair, Randy called Steven’s attention to our sign; and, as he rose with a smirk to shake our hands and “oblige” my friend, I realized I was peering down at him slightly (my 4-inch platform boots put me just over 5’9”). He hugged and kissed Maureen and the cameraman rushed in for a shot. I swear, from behind, I could have been looking at a Jonas Brother. My 13-year-old daughter could fit into those size 1 jeans!

It got me thinking about aging and fitness (of course I constantly think about aging and fitness, who am I kidding?!). Surprisingly, the fitness regimens for the American Idol judges collectively offer a complete plan of attack. Maybe nothing new here, per se, but simply general wellness reminders that are obviously working with our three judges who span two decades in age and 100 pounds in weight.

J.Lo (41): So let’s face it, she’s a diva, employs a chef, a trainer, a nanny, and earns millions. I ran into J.Lo and Ben Affleck in Vegas about eight years ago and she looked fantastic then, but at 41, I can honestly say she looks better today. Maybe it’s motherhood (we all know how that makes us glow…Ha!), or Botox, or a little nipping and tucking, but no one can deny that her clean living and fit lifestyle is apparent. She claims that she rarely drinks, never smokes, never restricts any food she loves, and she’s “never been on a diet” (which I love!). However, she is vigilant about controlling sugar intake, portion size and nutrition. Also, the ultimate fly-girl works out AT LEAST THREE TIMES PER WEEK. Her secret is mixing it up: dance, yoga, Pilates, weights. Even cardio workouts include a circuit of machines (i.e. 5-10 minute intervals of Elliptical, Spin bike, treadmill, Stairmaster, etc.). I teach outdoor boot camp three days per week, and my students who were stuck in a rut of JUST running or JUST spinning or JUST weights experienced immediate CHANGE because of the resistance circuits, plyometrics, and cardio bursts.

Randy Jackson (54): Yo Yo Yo…Yes, Randy underwent gastric bypass surgery several years ago, so his weight loss is predominantly due to that procedure (he lost over 100 pounds). However, in order to keep the weight off, this Louisiana born and bred “emotional eater” needed to re-program his habits. Randy was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2001, which challenged the self-proclaimed chocoholic to find a satisfying and low-sugar alternative in the form of a tasty protein shake (my choice is Arbonne’s vegan shake with CQ10 and flax seeds, check it out: (http://suzystein.myarbonne.com/, click Shop Online then Health and Wellness Fit Essentials). Also, Randy positioned his treadmill next to his bed so he had “to step over it every morning.” Now, instead of using it as a landing strip for dirty laundry, he actually GETS ON IT at least 30-45 minutes five days per week. And, believe it or not, the “Dawg” does a few yoga postures daily, including his favorite, downward dog (of course).

Steven Tyler (62): When Aerosmith’s hit “Dream On” dropped in 1970, Steven weighed 144 pounds and stood (this is debatable) 5’9”.  I was 2-years-old. As we jammed at our senior proms to Aerosmith’s (and Run DMC’s) “Walk This Way” in 1986, Steven weighed 145 pounds. Today? Still 145 pounds. How does he do it? Years of drug addiction and vanity are part of the answer. (Steven once said in a Rolling Stone interview that he still wants to “fit into those pants I wore on the last tour!”). But, Steven claims his full-proof strategy is to eat small, frequent snacks all day and then enjoy a healthy evening meal—usually fish and veggies. I did witness his make-up artist slip him a protein bar to munch at a commercial break at Tuesday’s taping. As a trainer, however, I would suggest a few more calories and some weightlifting.

Also, he credits his slim abs to a “religious” commitment to 250 sit ups per day. But seriously, let’s face it…when it comes to Steven Tyler, his “fitness” is a result of his lightning-fast metabolism, his unadulterated resilience, and, most importantly, his pure Rock-Godliness!


21 Responses to ‘American Idol’ Fitness

  1. Vanessa Cortes says:

    I loved this blog!

    • Lu Antonelli says:

      This blog fulfills the “groupie” in me. You (in your shrimp colored dress) and your friends sure know how to enjoy life!! Idol judges fitness info was entertaining but not surprising except for Randy’s gastric bypass. How did that get by me?

    • Julie Manriquez says:

      LOVED writing it…thanks Vanessa!

  2. Tex says:

    Girl…I love, love, love your blogs. I feel like I am with you as I hang on each word…especially this entry. Even in my crazy life (In Oklahoma City tonight) I carve out the time and look forward to your writings.

    Miss you lots!! XO

  3. Celeste Trudeau says:

    Julie, you are my American Idol!!!!!

  4. Kathy J. says:

    Hi Julie!

    Love your blogs!

  5. Stacey says:

    Damn Jules…I just loved your pi-ece. Honestly…outstanding. You are one talented writer girlfriend-and ‘reading-your-stuff’ makes me miss you tons!

    Loved seeing (with multiple pauses) your sexy face during Jenny FTB comments. You rule Juicy!

    Hugs to your gorgeous kids and husband for me.


  6. Tammy Collins says:

    Ju YOU ROCK!

  7. Mio Hood says:

    Great article Jules! Link and I saw Steven at the airport in January and he really is very thin with his long leather jacket and boots and looked great! Who knew he is 62…DAMN!

  8. Gina Anaya says:

    Loved it! I especially like when JLo says she’s never been on a diet…but she controls sugar intake, portion size and nutrition. I call that a diet! Or …a lifestyle choice…of a healthy diet!! haha

    • Julie Manriquez says:

      Gina, I know….definitely a “life style” which is by some definitions a diet. But, in J.Lo’s defense, it goes back to the 80/20 rule of doing the good stuff 80% of the time and the not so good stuff 20% of the time. Bobby took this 80/20 theory and examined it further in an earlier post which I found very cool: https://bobbybluford.com/2011/02/20/the-audacity-of-success-2/

      • bbluford says:

        Yes. The more I think about that original 80/20 rule (officially called the Pareto Principle, named after Vilfredo Pareto, an Italian Economist in the early 1900’s), the more I realize how true it is. In everything. 20% of your friends provide 80% of your pleasure. 20% of your activities make up 80% of your expenses, 20% of the sales calls you make produce 80% of your sales…and on and on.

        But my spin on it (The Bluford Principle, if you will) is that as we move up the continuum from novice/beginner to advanced/expert we forget how good we are because we inevitably compare ourselves to the ever-shrinking percentage of the population.

        Part of being successful, in my opinion (and believe me, it’s my OPINION because I’m far from rich and famous), is the ability to quiet that inherent voicer that is doing this comparing. When you are a CEO, don’t focus on being the 32 best on that list you saw of the top 50. Think about all of those who start and fail at business or don’t have the guts to start one at all. When you are a mom who is struggling to balance work, life, and staying fit and end up depressed because you look on television and see the ‘perfect moms’ that can balance it all. HELLO. Take a deeper look at society and the men and women that abandon their children, that can’t or don’t provide for them. You are doing more than alright. And if you are driving an Audi or BMW or heck, a new Honda or VW, please don’t waste too much time feeling bad when the person in the nicer and newer car drives up next to you. Remember that not everyone in this world has a home to leave or a job to drive to, let alone a new, shiny car.

        Just perspective.

        I know that’s a little off of the beaten path, but let me bring it back a little. Julie’s right in saying that J.Lo probably understands which parts of her diet are doing the most damage. So while she might still enjoy wine or pasta or whatever she DOES eat, she’s recognized that 80% of the damage comes back to sugah!

  9. jennifer Roach says:

    Had a blast with my “hot” mama friends!!!

  10. kayt hathaway says:

    Jules, I simply love the fact that you can turn a thoroughly debaucherous girls day out into a tutorial on lifestyle and fitness – got to love that!!

    • bbluford says:

      Hey Kayt-

      First, I love it when someone challenges me to look up a word (debaucherous).
      Second, Julie perfectly shows us how any moment and any person we encounter contains lessons- if we just look for them.

  11. Gretchen says:

    Very fun to read Julie!

  12. Carrie says:

    Great piece Julie! Ryan and I had such fun seeing you on TV!!!

  13. Stephanie says:

    And I’ve never had better tasting “water” in Fuze bottles on Beverly Blvd :O So fortunate to have you as a friend Julie!!!!

  14. Alec Manriquez says:

    Wow mom. It was good but you know.

  15. julie says:

    such a fun piece. sounds like a great time

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