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Ask the Pace Expert: Fitness

News Story

Pace’s Strength and Conditioning Coordinator Michael Bohlander shares his expertise and advice in this new Q&A that will shed some light on shedding the pounds.

In addition to being a Pace alumnus and having set the Pace homerun record (17) during his junior year playing on the baseball team, Pace’s Strength and Conditioning Coordinator Michael Bohlander ’02, ’09 has spent nearly 10 years working with Pace’s student athletes. If you aren’t familiar with his work within the Athletics Department, then perhaps you know him from his work with current Pace student Robert “Bo” Jones, a cancer survivor and Make-a-Wish recipient, who wanted to train with Bohlander and go on to attend Pace. In this Q&A, Bohlander shares his expertise and advice for getting fit, getting healthy, and doing it safely.

So, how important is stretching, really?
Stretching is very important to help increase flexibility, reduce soreness, prevent injury, and to increase range of motion. Just as important however, is the timing of your stretching routine. Imagine your muscle is a rubber band. What happens when you stretch a cold rubber band? Chances are that rubber band is going to snap. Your muscles are the same way in that you never want to stretch a cold muscle. Most traditional stretching should be done post-workout when your muscles are nice and warm. Stretching after exercise is a great way to reduce soreness and speed recovery.

What's the best way to burn the most calories at the gym if we're in a crunch for time?
Most people are crunched for time these days. This doesn’t mean you can’t exercise effectively. There is a direct correlation between the intensity of exercise and the amount of calories burned. By increasing the tempo/intensity of cardiovascular exercise and reducing the time spent between sets of lifting weights you can greater maximize calories burned. By including weight training with cardiovascular exercise you can gradually improve your body’s ability to burn calories.

What’s the best and safest way to go from a  to working out regularly?
The safest way to introduce exercise into your lifestyle would be to start slowly and gradually increase the intensity as your body begins to adapt. The process of improving fitness levels, muscle tone, body composition, etc. is a slow and gradual process. I’ve seen countless times people dive head first back into an exercise routine only to wind up breaking down and getting injured a week later. Another good way to start an exercise routine would be to enlist the services of a fitness professional to help guide you through the process.

What can you use at home if you don’t have a gym membership?
You really don’t need fancy weights or cardiovascular machines to improve fitness levels. Everyday activities such as cleaning, yardwork, walking, etc. done at a brisk pace will burn calories and improve fitness levels. There are also numerous bodyweight exercises which can improve strength and muscle tone.

What's the number one food or habit you recommend people cut out of their diet?
Probably the biggest culprit in sabotaging a diet and fitness routine is the over consumption of refined sugars and carbohydrates. In our efforts to reduce the dietary fat levels in just about all of our foods, we see levels of refined carbohydrates and sugars sky-rocket. Dietary fat is not our enemy. On the contrary, dietary fat is essential in a balanced and healthy diet. Dietary fat also provides flavor, and in “low fat” foods, massive amounts of refined sugar are added to help improve flavor. Refined sugars are the prime culprit in weight gain, and can lead to many other serious health problems including diabetes.

What services are available to faculty and staff at the University?
Both the Pleasantville and New York City campuses have gyms with weights and cardiovascular equipment for faculty and staff to utilize. In Pleasantville, personal training sessions are offered at the Goldstein Fitness and Recreation Center. For inquiries, please call (914) 522-5279 or e-mail me at