Published July 30, 2016

FHITspiration: Ian Lerner

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Frequent FHIXer, Ian Lerner, recently crushed his second New York City Triathlon. In the sweltering summer heat, it was a challenge for his body and mind. Ian was more prepared than ever, thanks to cross training at The Fhitting Room! We caught up with Ian before his race to learn how he was training and what inspires him to keep livin’ FHIT.

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How long have you been coming to Fhitting Room?
My first FHIX was after my first Triathlon last year. It’s been about one year.

How did you hear about Fhitting Room?
I was at a wedding in Austin, Texas; my best friend’s fiancé was there, and she looked amazing. I asked her what she was doing and she said she was getting ready for her wedding by going to Fhitting Room two or three times a week. I thought, “Alright I need to try that.”

What are your favorite exercises that you’ve learned at The Fhitting Room?
I’m a big fan of box jumps. I play a lot of basketball, so I really like them. I try to max out and do the depth box jumps. One time in class I saw Mark jump over the boxes instead of jumping on them, so I tried doing that and really liked it.

Who are your favorite instructors?
As far as instructors go, Ben is my guy. I like his classes and I go to them a lot, especially since he teaches FHIXtreme (my favorite class) on Thursday mornings; it’s a great way to start my day.

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Tell me about your background in athletics and sports.
I’ve always liked to work out and be active. I’ve played softball and basketball recreationally ever since I moved to New York City. I used to lift weights a lot, but I never really liked it and found it very boring. About five years ago I got injured and found out I had a herniated disc in my neck. I ended up needing surgery. All I did for a while after that was yoga and basketball. Then I started looking into things that would make me a better basketball player. I started working out with a personal trainer, boxing and interval-training. A few years later I found The Fhitting Room.

What made you interested in doing a Triathlon?
I never had an interest in doing a Triathlon, but a co-worker came up to me one day at work and said “I just signed up for a Triathlon, you should do it with me.” I said “sure,” not realizing how much training was required. It was a spur of the moment decision.

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How many races or competitions have you done?
This was my second triathlon and I’ve done two half marathons before. Before my injury, I was never a runner. I used to hate running. A few years ago I started working out with a personal trainer and he would force me to run. Eventually, he turned me into a runner. I remember going for a run the first time on my own; I ran three miles in the summer heat and I was so excited to accomplish that. Again, a buddy of mine suggested we run a half marathon together and that’s how it all started. I’m very spontaneous that way. Of course I didn’t realize we would only sign up for the race together; we wouldn’t exactly run next to each other the whole time since we run at different paces.

What are your general health or athletic goals?
My general goals are to be healthy and to constantly get better. Having an injury and going through surgery made me realize how much I really enjoy exercising. The time I was not able to play basketball or work out after my injury was a dark period. As soon as I could get back into the gym, I did. Now I constantly strive to be better and more FHIT. Those are my general goals. Even in areas unrelated to fitness, I am always looking to be better and improve.

So would you say you are a competitive person?
I am absolutely competitive. That’s just my nature. I work in a sales role, so I always try to be the best at my job. That’s why I play basketball - I love that competitive spirit. I hate losing. I guess that’s what I love about group fitness classes, there’s always that group mentality and friendly competition. The competition is not necessarily with the person next to you, instead everyone is competing against themselves to better themselves; that’s what I like about it. Especially in the FHIXtreme classes, the workouts are always timed and you want to be faster than you were before. You want to get better and use heavier weights. I did the Survival of the FHITtest challenge earlier this year, and that destroyed me in the best way possible. It was so much fun. It was my first experience doing a competition outside of races, and I had an amazing time. It challenged me in a great way; I loved every second of it.

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So what was your training like for your previous Triathlon?
Last year was a mix of only swimming, biking and running. They gave a race workout and then one day a week I worked out with a trainer. But the workout that was given to us was very standard; it only consisted of swimming, biking and running with no real weight training (which is so important in these type of races). What’s different this year is that I added in getting my FHIX. I’ve been doing FHIXtreme classes for about a month now, I still see my trainer once a week and I swim, bike and run regularly.

How do you feel The Fhitting Room has helped you prepare for this year’s triathlon?
I feel my biking has gotten stronger because there’s a huge difference in the strength of my legs; between the squats, thrusters and lunges and everything in between. Getting my FHIX has absolutely helped my cardio and endurance. I attribute that to the intervals and the intensity of a TFR class.

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What inspires you?
I always try to have a positive impact on people. I recently became interested in educating other people on nutrition and fitness. If money wasn’t an issue and I could do any job, I would teach children about nutrition and fitness. I have a nephew now and I want to teach him the importance of eating healthy and working out. He’s not very confident; he’s pretty shy. I think if he became interested in exercise or sports that would help his confidence.

I will say that my trainer is very inspiring. He teaches boxing to troubled youth, and what he does for these kids is very inspiring. Even his personal level of fitness inspires me to always be better. I would like to be on his level some day.

How would you describe The Fhitting Room?
I love how the instructors always make an attempt to learn everyone’s names. They do a great job of tailoring the workout to each specific person and they always modify the moves if anyone is recovering from an injury. Like I said before, the group fitness setting is so inspiring to be around. You’re surrounded by people who are always striving to push themselves harder. It’s a great community of people and awesome workouts.

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Do you train with anyone?
Most of my workouts I do by myself. I have one friend that I convince to go on runs with me, which is great because I’ll wake up at six in the morning. We like to go up to Central Park and run the Central Park loop together. I met him through basketball. We forged our relationship over our love of playing basketball and fitness. We motivate each other to be better in life and fitness. Besides that and my classes at The Fhitting Room, I do most of my training alone.

What do you have planned after this triathlon?
Nothing yet. To be honest, most of my summer has been spent training, so after this I’m going to focus on enjoying the rest of my summer while I can. I want to go to the beach and travel. I just completed a twelve-week training program so I’m looking forward to enjoying the rest of the summer!

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