Betting on exercise at Sweat A.C. convention

Shaun T (left), a Deptford native, puts a packed ballroom through his "Insanity" workout.
Shaun T (left), a Deptford native, puts a packed ballroom through his "Insanity" workout. (MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff)
Posted: September 24, 2013

Two thousand people came to Atlantic City over the weekend promising to push it to the limit and leave it all on the floor - not with gambling, but with exercise.

Headlining the Sweat A.C. convention were celebrity trainers Jillian Michaels of NBC's The Biggest Loser and Shaun T, a Deptford native who hit it big with his "Insanity" workout videos. The convention also included several lesser-known trainers, vendors, and new trademarked workouts like "Piloxing" and "Kerboomka."

"We can't feel our bodies right now, but . . ." Danielle Goble, 23, didn't have time to finish the sentence before running onstage for a hip-hop workout at Caesars.

Goble went with her mother, Denise Maccini, 50, and her mother's coworker Sarah Cole. The hip-hop session was their fourth workout Sunday, but they were still having a great time.

"It's a good excuse to go out for the weekend," said Maccini, of Brick, Ocean County.

"We worked our butts off, got dressed up, worked our butts off again," said Cole, who claims to have lost 51 pounds using Michaels' workout videos.

Most of the people who paid a minimum of $30 to attend the sweat fest were East Coast exercisers just looking to try some fresh workouts. But some professional trainers also attended.

Lamar Gordon, 28, a trainer from New York City, did Michaels' $100 workout Saturday and said he was feeling the burn. "I'm 205 [pounds], so just using a water bottle and my body weight it was enough," he said.

On Sunday, Gordon was in a classroom at Harrah's to get certified in Michaels' BodyShred program. He said he appreciated the scientific design of Michaels' workouts and was gratified to see that he was already putting most of those principles to use.

"Now I have a big name to back up the knowledge that I already had," he said.

Trainer Adriana Martin brought a group of clients up from Florida to "get them inspired."

"A lot of people feel like exercise is a drag," she said. But these types of events can keep the fire alive and introduce new activities, from "resistance training to hard-core dancing to boxing. If they enjoy themselves, they'll keep doing it," Martin said.

Martin and her clients were in the first week of filming for a weight-loss reality show that will appear on Lifetime in February.

Tati Perez, 26, of Miami, said meeting Shaun T was one of the highlights of the trip. "I'm Tati, and I love you so much!" she told him.

After meeting all the women, Shaun T gave a piece of advice that would echo through his speeches, videos, and workouts: "I want you to look in the mirror, look at who you are right now, and say, 'I am already pretty. I'm going to enhance who I am.' "

Angela Wint, 39, of Brooklyn, loved that message so much she did two one-hour Insanity workouts on Saturday - and paid $65 apiece for the privilege. "I love Shaun T! He's my boo in my head," she joked.

Wint was glowing with motivation and energy from the convention and already promising to come back next year. "You don't get it all unless you're here. My friends are like, 'Bring me back some info packets,' and I'm like, 'Nah, you don't get it.' "

Her friend Sharail Jordan, 34, also of Brooklyn, said the workouts were great but she wasn't impressed with the expo hall. "Pole dancing? Why are they there?" she asked, making a sour face.

Indeed, the "pole fitness" booth was not popular among Sunday's exercise enthusiasts. But another stand at the expo was even less busy - the one selling beer, wine, and cocktails.

"It's good for after a workout! Helps relax the muscles," the bartender pitched. But the athletes weren't buying it.



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