Q&A With Joy Bauer
Most people recognize Joy Bauer as the nutrition and health expert for “The Today Show,” where she shares fitness and health tips that help millions of Americans live healthier and happier lives. As one of the nation’s leading health authorities, Joy has always valued fitness and found a way to incorporate it in her daily routine. She shared with Bowflex Insider how she manages to work out on her Bowflex® TreadClimber®, watch her favorite ABC show “Scandal” and still enjoy a glass of red wine!
What does fitness mean to you?
Everything. I've been obsessed with sports and fitness my entire life – in fact, I'm pretty sure I was doing back flips in my mother's womb. I discovered gymnastics in middle school, was on an AAU team by 7th grade, and eventually went on to compete in college. Exercise has always been – and will remain – a huge part of my life. Aside from revving your metabolism, toning your muscles, improving your overall health and reducing your risk for serious medical conditions, exercise makes you feel GOOD. I regularly rely on it to boost my energy, self-esteem and confidence, and to put me in a positive mindset to conquer the day.
What sparked your interest in fitness and nutrition?
Growing up as an athlete, I was drawn to all things health. I can remember researching foods to optimize sports performance in 9th grade and whipping up new recipes in my mom's kitchen throughout high school (some were edible, others, well, not so much). I majored in kinesiology in college and then went on to get a graduate degree at NYU in nutrition. It was a perfect combo – a true match made in heaven!
How have you made fitness a part of your family's life?
We have always been a super-active family. Ever since my kids were little, our vacations included things like biking, hiking, swimming, skiing… even surfing. Plus, my kids grew up watching me make exercise (and eating smart) a top priority. Because of this exposure, my kids have gravitated to various sports and activities. My younger daughter is a terrific soccer player and is on a dance team. My son is one of our high school track stars (he's an amazing hurdler). My oldest daughter is a freshman in college and really enjoys spinning and yoga. And my husband looooooves to hike.
You often feature success stories on www.joybauer.com. Do you have a favorite story or one that particularly had an impact on you?
I've worked with tens of thousands of people who have completely transformed their lives – people who have literally gone from slouchy couch potatoes to super-fit triathletes. And really, every single one is my all-time favorite. There is nothing more rewarding than watching someone go from feeling insecure, unattractive and unhealthy… to feeling like they can climb mountains, run marathons, and get married on a Caribbean beach. I have the greatest job in the world!
One of my most recent success stories is a woman in her 30s named Sandra. Sandra struggled with weight for most of her life, but after a tough breakup she started to use food as a way to soothe her sadness… and she hit 320 pounds. Sandra also had dangerously high blood pressure, barely exercised, ate out almost every meal (fast food overload), and rarely cooked at home. I started working with Sandra 8 months ago, and immediately showed her how to plan strategic, satisfying meals, slim down her favorite comfort foods, and find activities she enjoys doing. Now, she is a fitness fanatic; she can now do fun tricks on a trampoline and doesn't miss a dance class. She also seamlessly whips up lean and tasty meals like UNfried chicken parm, turkey sausage with sautéed peppers and onions… even thin crust cheesy pizza! She recently threw a dinner party for her friends and family and wowed them with a delicious skinny spread. So far, Sandra has lost more than 130 pounds and is still going strong… she is truly a FORCE and a new addition to my all-time favorites. :-)
Do you have a favorite workout plan or exercise?
Hands down, walking. I can do it just about anywhere and get to multi-task while I exercise (can't beat that). Typically , I hop on my Bowflex TreadClimber for an hour and read nutrition articles, scientific journals or take conference calls (admittedly, I sometimes catch up on favorite shows like “Scandal” and “House of Cards” too. I desperately miss “Friday Night Lights” and “Homeland”!). And whenever I can take advantage of a beautiful sunny day, I'll “wog” outside – that's what I call my combo of walking and jogging. Even when I'm out of town for a shoot or lecture, I'll hit the gym or the pavement.
Are there any specific areas of your body that you are more focused on during workouts?
I'm definitely a cardio queen, but know the importance of strength training, so I throw in “total body” exercises 3 days per week. This includes planks, lunges, crunches, glute lifts, push-ups and light weightlifting.
What motivates you on those days you just don't feel like working out?
I think about how much better I'll feel when it's done. Also on days when I'm dragging, I'll dial up a good friend or my mom at the very start of my workout. We gab and gab and before I know it 30+ minutes have flown by. At that point I'm energized and fully motivated to finish.
Do you have a go-to healthy ingredient that you use often or as a substitute for healthy recipes?
Greek yogurt! Not only is it a great source of protein (twice as much as traditional yogurt), but it's incredibly versatile as well. I like to use it as a creamy low-cal substitute for sour cream or mayonnaise in dips and sauces – it is a simple swap that helps to drive down calories without changing the taste. And of course, it makes the perfect foundation for a substantial morning meal or snack. I often pair a tub of plain Greek yogurt with a banana for a quick breakfast. Thanks to the protein, a 5 oz. container is also a great recovery food for after a workout.
What do you enjoy most about the Bowflex TreadClimber?
Because I love walking, this allows me to d just that, but with a much bigger challenge. It's tough… in a good way! I know my legs and butt get a much better workout using the TreadClimber versus a standard treadmill.
What's your favorite healthy snack?
Nuts! I keep a stash in the freezer at all times. I'm a self-diagnosed nut-a-holic and love them all – almonds, peanuts, pistachios, pecans, walnuts, etc.
What's your guilty pleasure food?
Vanilla ice cream & dark chocolate! Love a glass of red wine too. :-)