Trainer and TV personality Jessie Pavelka crafts a journey to fitness that has a lot to do with who you’re on the road with.
You’re most likely to have met Jessie Pavelka via television, chatting amiably with Kelly Rippa or Meredith Viera on their eponymous talk shows or dispensing life-changing health advice on shows such as The Biggest Loser or Fat: The Fight of My Life. Now you can bring home what he’s learned in his fitness-focused career in his book The Program: 21 Days to a Stronger, Slimmer, Sexier You ($26, Hachette).
Pavelka says that the genesis of the book came as he realized that people who start training for different reasons require different strategies to meet their goals. In other words: He wouldn’t give the same advice to a fit client looking to take their training to the next level as he would to someone who was recovering from an injury or bouncing back from years of obesity. His solution was to design a program flexible enough for people of different fitness levels to utilize its principles. The result is a practical guide for living well that is based on four essential tenets: movement, food, mind power, and connecting.
In regards to MOVEMENT, Pavelka lays out over 100 inspired ways to sweat. Some have more straight forward names (The Resistance Band Chest Fly, The 180-Degree Jump), while others are somewhat more picturesquely named (The Mountain Climber, The Dumbbell Goblet Squat). But they are all mapped out with detailed instructions and illustrations that make them easy to follow. He makes a point of including many that you can do in the comfort of home and using your own body weight for resistance for those days when you just can’t fit in a trip to the gym. The first four days are all about gradually incorporating aspects of strength training, metabolic training, athletic training, cardiovascular endurance training and flexibility training into one’s routine.
When it comes to FOOD, Pavelka pays careful attention to helping us eat consciously and take charge of what we put in our bodies. The book offers more than sixty recipes simple enough for even kitchen-phobes to tackle. They also incorporate valuable lessons about the value of lean proteins, good carbohydrates and healthy fats. “The standard American diet has more saturated fat, salt, added sugar and refined grains than experts tell us are healthy,” he points out. “And less than the recommended vegetables, fruit, whole grains and dairy.” But this is not an endless parade of privation. The Program presents four different types of eating days: Cleanse, Burn, Build, and Relax. The Program is not trying to be an extreme detox.
As for the MIND POWER aspect, Pavelka is a clear champion of the power of positive thought. His mindfulness practices are a mix of affirmation, focus, and relaxation that will be familiar to those who have studied meditation but seem particularly purposeful when incorporated into a diet and exercise strategy.
The fourth component, CONNECTING, encourages us to cultivate key relationships in order to inspire us to be our best selves. It makes common sense: we’re all more likely to show up rather than let down our gym buddy or to resist temptation rather disappoint our diet buddy. But how often do we seek out and build those relationships? And if we’re not, are we really doing our best to reach our goals? Pavelka’s message seems to be that, ultimately, success in achieving fitness goals depends on paying attention to the key relationships in life: the ones we have with ourselves, with our friends, with our community, and with our higher power (whatever that may be). Cultivating these relationships can help us get to the places we’ve always wanted to go. It’s by connecting to our fellow travelers that we can finally reach our destinations.
With The Program, Pavelka takes the whole person into account, offering a plan for not only working out but also for activities like rest and recovery, stretching, sleeping, planning ahead, setting intentions to “focus on the why” and even the often-overlooked “what to wear.” Surely Pavelka knows many people will buy this book because they saw his handome mug on TV and thought, “Wouldn’t it be nice to look more like him?” But he’s clearly more than just a pretty face peddling another disposable fad diet.
Last modified: July 12, 2017