I had put the inevitability of exercise off for long enough, so I headed to fitness and nutrition guru Adam Zickerman. Adam, owner of New York City's Inform Fitness studio and author of the best-selling book "The Power of Ten," has been inflicting well-intentioned pain on me for the past seven years with impressive and noticeable results. However, I have recently fallen off the workout wagon and was in need of serious help.
Everything about Adam and his method of madness is different from the stereotypical trainer. Adam is not a muscle head, nor does he dress like one. He wears Brioni dress shirts and tailored trousers. He doesn't bark commands, opting to quietly talk you through the most excruciating and rewarding of workouts. His workouts don't include cardio, dripping sweat or bass-pumping music. Instead, one-on-one weight-training sessions are in a small, quiet studio. They last for about 20 minutes, and you can actually work out in your street clothes. Oh, and you only have to work out once a week.
But don't be fooled -- those 20 minutes are some of the most physically intense you can imagine. How does it work? According to www.informfitness.com:
"The 'Power of 10' exercise program focuses on a deliberately slow and controlled repetition. Since each repetition is one up-down cycle, a complete 'rep' takes 20 seconds. Moving at this speed eliminates any chance of cheating by using the weight's own momentum. During this time we focus on correct body/motion form. Therefore, your muscles do 100 percent of the work. You spend about 90 to 120 straight seconds working into the deepest layers of muscle fibers to achieve total muscle failure. Your work is finished for that specific muscle group in one set! Five to six more sets gives you a total body workout ? and then you're ready to go home and REST!"
As you can see, Adam isn't into quick fixes, but he agreed to put me on a special event plan that he does not recommend for anything other than a short period of time… such as a two-week Oscar boot camp.
So, here's my plan from Adam: Inform Fitness sessions three times per week and moderate cardio sessions at least twice a week, in conjunction with a low-calorie (no more than 1,200 calories per day) diet. I inquire about the Master Cleanse (of which he also does not approve), but he grudgingly admits that it's OK to stick to it for 10 to 12 days in preparation for an event as big as the Oscars. If you stay on such a fast for an extended period of time, you risk damaging your organs. Enough said.
I can barely walk because my muscles are so sore (thanks, Adam), but I manage to make it to the Mete Turkmen salon on the Upper East Side for a double dose of beauty.
First, it's brow time. So, I settle into Koray's chair. He seems to get a charming yet demonic glow every time he rips a hair from a follicle. Besides being a bit of a sadist, Koray is also a former principal international ballet dancer. Before that he was a makeup artist with Max Factor in Paris, and his client list includes a bevy of beautiful celebs. Koray's eyebrow "torture" is based on the ancient art of "threading," which also happens to be the current trendiest eyebrow-shaping method.