Trainer preaches achievable steps, then runs 1,576


By Judith Stiles

A kettlebell, also known as a giryra in Russian, is a cast-iron weight that looks more like a medieval weapon than a popular workout tool. It has been used to build muscle mass and battle bulging waistlines since the porcine days of tsarist Russia. Shaped like a cannonball with a handle, it predates treadmills and other workout contraptions and is relatively inexpensive at about $100 for a 13-pound kettlebell. Today, the kettlebell has renewed popularity and is considered very effective in increasing strength, endurance, agility and balance.

As a teenager, New York fitness expert Jonathan Angelilli started out using a kettlebell when he immersed himself in a conditioning program, all because of a secret crush on a girl. But soon he forgot about impressing the girl and found himself thoroughly engaged in a fitness-development program that gave him strength, confidence and an overall sense of well-being.

“Most parents don’t realize that when a kid does not get enough exercise, it is like a fish not being allowed to swim,” explains Angelilli over a bowl of fresh fruit that fuels his body for a morning training session with the hunk of iron. He adds with a smile, “And even adults that regularly exercise, well, if injuries occur and there is no significant adjustment in the exercise routine, the body adapts in a negative way and the result is like not rotating the tires on a car.” Exercise programs should be carefully tailored to the needs of the individual or the “car” might continually break down, he notes.

According to Angelilli, finding a balance when exercising, coupled with making a commitment to a fitness program, are the keys to achieving a healthy lifestyle. Often the glitch is that people feel overwhelmed by giant goals, such as a New Year’s resolution to get in shape. And for many people, taking control of a fitness problem can be an uphill battle. When Angelilli counsels individuals or corporate groups, he designs a specific fitness program with short-term, achievable goals. He is proud of his unique ability to “unlock the motivation inside of you, so that you are empowered to stay accountable and stick to the program,” he notes on his Web site, getdynamicresults.com. Not only does he give a day-to-day blueprint on how to stick to a workout regime, he engages the client in an ongoing dialogue that emphasizes patience and the psychology of commitment.

Helping other people comes naturally to Angelilli, but what does this fitness guru do for himself to stay in shape? This winter, unlike many of his fellow members of the New York Road Runners Club, he opted out of training for a long marathon. Instead, he preferred to train for the unorthodox race called The Empire State Building Run Up, where athletes hustled straight up 1,576 stairs, which equals 86 flights.

Describing the grueling event, Angelilli says, “I didn’t focus on how far I was going. Instead, I just thought, ‘Left leg, right leg, inhale, exhale.’ But I have to admit, by the 70th flight it was pretty painful.”

The New York Road Runners Club hosted the 31st Annual Empire State Building Run Up that not only attracted Angelilli, but runners of all ages from all over the world, including 69-year-old Nina Kuscik, who won the race in 1979, 1980 and 1981.

This year, the race’s oldest person was Ginette Bedard of Howard Beach, Queens, who at age 73 finished in 22:12, compared to the women’s group winner, Suzy Walsham, of Australia, who finished in 12:44.

Although the youngest runner in the men’s category might have seemed to have an advantage at a spry 18 years of age, it was Thomas Dold of Stuttgart, Germany, age 23, who took first place with a time of 10:08.

Soho’s own Angelilli finished in a formidable 15:33, and the very next day sprinted out the door of his Soho apartment to meet a new client and spread the gospel on how to achieve a healthier lifestyle. With a relaxed and friendly approach, Angelilli carefully assessed the new client’s individual goals, and together they designed a custom program that covers exercise and diet.

Along with workout routines, Angelilli is quick to give innovative suggestions, such as cooking with Himalayan crystal salt and other special ingredients, like pure coconut oil, purple-defense grape seed and a touch of Antarctic omega-3 pure krill oil.

And, of course, Angelilli promises that a daily dose of swinging the kettlebell will go a long way toward a healthier lifestyle; just don’t swing to hard and drop it in the soup.