All in a Day’s Work
Ivan Blazquez puts the “personal” in personal training by giving his undivided attention to clients.
Ivan Blazquez knows fitness. As a personal trainer at the New Orleans Jewish Community Center, he is also certified with the American College of Sports Medicine as an exercise physiologist; he is a National Gym Association pro physique athlete and a USA Triathlon athlete. Born and raised in New Orleans, Blazquez first started his career in fitness after playing football at MidAmerica Nazarene University in Olathe, Kan. “I became fascinated by the science of exercise and sport training; like every aspect from performance to health,” he says. “I started working as a student personal trainer at the University of New Orleans back in 2001.”
An integral part of developing his passion and love for fitness came from his background in sports. “I actually loved all of the strength and conditioning training when I played football,” Blazquez says. “I also just loved the feeling of giving it my all and knowing there was nothing left to give. My passion simply grew over time by how exercise and eating right made me feel.”
Blazquez eventually got into personal training when he had to choose between going into physical therapy or cardiac rehab. “I decided I wanted to work with generally healthy populations since I would have the opportunity to make a positive impact in their lives,” he says.
He started working at the New Orleans JCC in 2006 after relocating to New Orleans from Baton Rouge following Hurricane Katrina. As a personal trainer, he invests 100 percent of his efforts into helping clients reach their goals safely and intelligently. “I set standards for all my clients, such as having above average everything (fitness, flexibility, strength, body composition, balance, etc.). I first sit down with them and get background information (health history and goals). Then I [perform tests based on] those target goals. As all of this is going on, I’m getting to know my client’s fitness capacity, motivation level and limitations.”
His personal fitness routine is multi-faceted, comprehensive and continually evolving. Currently, he is focusing on functional/stabilization training and optimizing heart health. “I currently train every day for 20 to 60 minutes,” he says.
Blazquez and his friend Evan Posey have developed the concept of Tribodybuilding, which involves concurrent training (strength training and cardio together). “Studies have shown that concurrent training is the best method for fat loss,” Blazquez says. “I also do a lot of stretching and yoga along with balance training.” nojcc.org, facebook.com/groups/tribodybuilding
ON STAYING MOTIVATED
“Personally, what motivates me is simply the way I feel and function,” Blazquez says. “To get a taste of fitness excellence is not enough. Why not, if possible, experience this feeling everyday? My goals that keep me accountable are simple: Keep my waist under 32 inches; keep my body fat in single digits; have a high aerobic fitness level; have above average muscle strength; have excellent one-leg standing balance with eyes closed; have overall adequate mobility in all joints and muscles; keep my resting heart rate in the mid to low 50s; and continue improving in whatever needs improving.”
“I follow a nutritarian-vegan diet,” Blazquez says. “It is a combination of unprocessed plant-based food that gets the most nutrient bang for the calorie buck. I attribute my cardiovascular stamina to my consumption of high-chlorophyll foods such as dark leafy greens. For me, my one power panacea-like food would be raw garlic. I also absolutely love frozen blueberries topped with flax meal, a pinch of turmeric, 100 percent unsweetened dark chocolate and nuts/seeds. I also like eating at many of the local plant-based restaurants like Seed, Carmo, Good Karma Cafe, Green To Go, Superfood Bar and Green Fork.”
“One of my best success stories is Jesse Weisman,” Blazquez says. “He is a CEO and owns his own transport company. Yet with such a hectic schedule, he has been able to achieve health and fitness excellence. That said, he came to me at around 190 pounds, and he is now down to 165 pounds. His waist girth was over 36 inches when we started, and it is now under 32 inches. His body fat when we started was around 25 percent and now he is at 10 percent. The best part is he has been at this new normal for over 3 years now.”
“Start walking daily for 10 to 30 minutes continuously or accumulated,” Blazquez says. “I have done the research and am still doing research, but studies have shown that walking is more effective than the recent popularity of stand-up desks. So do little things like walk and talk on the phone, or walk and text in the safety of your own office. Or take the stairs to your office. Walking can also be done around meals, and, in fact, research has shown that post-meal walking helps facilitate better digestion and absorption of food, causes the body to store less as body fat and also lowers our risk of diabetes.”