Interviews / August 16, 2012

Amy Dixon

By Charles Platkin, PhD

Name: Amy Dixon

Birthday: June 27, 1976

Location: Ogden, Utah

Diet Detective: Hey Amy, thanks for answering our questions. We know you’re an exercise physiologist and personal trainer — how did you get started?

Amy: Fitness has been a major part of my life since the age of four. I grew up loving athletics, and participated in many different types of sports. At the age of twelve, I competed at the World Level in Power Tumbling. Participating in sports allowed me to connect with my inner athlete and I wanted to help others do the same. When I started college, my goal was to become a history/health teacher and possibly coach cheerleading as well as other sports. However, when I started the teaching program, I felt like there was something else out there for me. I changed my major to Exercise Physiology and started teaching group fitness classes at the local gym in Ogden, Utah. I now live in Los Angeles doing what I love day–in and day–out. My world comes together when I’m teaching a class or working one–on–one with a client.

Diet Detective: Can you tell us a bit about your DVDs — what makes them different from all the other fitness DVDs on the market? Which one is your favorite?

Amy: Currently, I have three DVDs on the market, Ultimate Fat Burn, Total Workout in Ten and The Perfect Body Workout. All of my DVDs incorporate many different fitness formats such as cardio, strength conditioning, and flexibility training. All of my strength exercises are dynamic and work the entire body, so as you transition from strength to cardio, you will notice that your intensity stays up. I am a firm believer that intensity is the key when it comes to exercise and changing the body. My DVDs will really push you. If I had to pick a favorite so far it would be Total Workout in Ten.

Diet Detective: What makes what you so different from other fitness experts and trainers?

Amy: I truly believe that I have a unique ability to coach my classes and clients. My motto is, “If you don’t know what to expect, you don’t know what to give.” I always let my classes and clients know my expectations, and then provide the journey.

Diet Detective: What do you do when you “fall off the wagon”?

Amy: I try not to beat myself up about it. If I have a weekend of excess, I just try to go a little harder with my workouts at the first of the week and eat clean to make up for it. I am learning that all or nothing doesn’t work for me, so I am more about moving toward moderation. I personally don’t want to give up Mexican food, and I’ve learned that I don’t have to!

Diet Detective: Tell us the biggest secret that trainers typically don’t tell their clients, but should?

Amy: Spot training doesn’t work. Everyone is given one body with a specific genetic makeup that is never going to change. The most you can do is work towards the best body possible with what you have been given. Don’t promise yourself something that you know is unrealistic.

Diet Detective: How do you get a body by Amy Dixon? What do you need to do each day?

Amy: Every day is different. However, I can tell you that I try to incorporate physical activity every single day. It takes good old–fashioned hard work. Variety is what works for me, especially at different levels of intensity. If you stopped by my club you would see me teaching indoor cycling, treadmill, strength training, core strength, stretch classes, and even a little yoga. When I’m not teaching, I like to do interval treadmill workouts, kettle bells or the elliptical trainer. I am truly a gym rat. I spend at least 3–4 hours a week working at a high level of intensity, and the rest of my workouts at an intensity that is comfortable, but challenging. As far as diet is concerned, I try to eat as clean as possible. I eat lean proteins, fresh fruits and vegetables, and complex carbohydrates.

Diet Detective: Out of all the celebrities you’ve trained — who is the hardest working and why? What can we learn from her/ him?

Amy: I’ve had the pleasure of having many different celebrities in my classes over the years. Out of all of them I respect and admire Jodie Foster the most. She is dedicated and works hard. She has an amazing body and truly puts in the time and effort to look the way she does. She is real, and that is something that I respect when it comes to living in Los Angeles. You have to learn how to sift through the ego.

Diet Detective: Do you think that women need to exercise and train differently than men? If so, how?

Amy: I don’t! A lunge and a push–up is the same whether you are a man or a woman. I love total body training, and the surrounding principles and philosophies are consistent for both men and women — it might just be that women lift a little lighter than men.

Diet Detective: In all your years of training what do you consider the three best non–weight related exercises (e.g. lunge)? Can you also explain how to do the exercise?

Amy: A squat, a lunge and a push–up.

Squat — Stand with feet hips distance apart. Sit down until knees are in a 90–degree angle. Weight should be primarily on the heels. Press up through the heels and repeat.

Lunge — Stand with feet together. Step forward with right foot leading with heel. Bring right knee to a 90–degree angle and keep hips square. Bend the left knee slightly. Push off of right foot and return to standing. Repeat the sequence with the left leg leading.

Push–up — Come into a high plank position with legs extended long and wrists and hands directly below your shoulders. Back should be level with shoulders and heels. Hands are wider than shoulder width apart. Bend elbows and lower chest down toward the floor. Get as close to the floor as possible and push up through the hands to high plank position. Neck should be a natural extension of the spine throughout the exercise.

Diet Detective: If you could only do one strength training exercise (using weights) what would it be?

Amy: Clean and Press — it incorporates strength and power in the lower body for the squat and strength in the upper body for the overhead press. Total body yields excellent returns!

Diet Detective: What is the worst strength training exercise for women? Or one that is the most frequently done incorrectly?

Amy: Arm circles. These exercises burn, yet they won’t change your body. (P.S.– Men, please don’t let me see you doing arm circles).

Also, the chest fly standing with dumbbells. Gravity must oppose the muscle group that you are working. So a chest fly done standing with dumbbells is really working your shoulders. If you do a chest fly lying down on a bench or stability ball with dumbbells you will be able to feel the difference immediately. Say hello to your chest and not your shoulders.

Diet Detective: What’s your favorite “junk food?”

Amy: Can I only list one? Chocolate and anything you can find it in.

Diet Detective: What’s your favorite healthy breakfast?

Amy: Egg white omelet with mushrooms, feta cheese, sun–dried tomatoes and grilled chicken breast.

Diet Detective: Who do you respect most, or who motivates you?

Amy: My two young daughters Bella and Ava motivate me every single day to be the best person I can possibly be.

Diet Detective: If you had to choose a specific song or band to get you excited for your workout, what would it be? What other songs are on your iPod?

Amy: Don’t hate me, but Bon Jovi’s classic “Livin’ on a Prayer”. While it might seem silly, to me, it is a classic. I also love listening to a large variety of music. I love Justin Timberlake, Journey, Timbaland, The Foo Fighters, Muse, Beyonce, Madonna, and The Beatles — when it comes to music the sky is the limit with me!

Diet Detective: What do you do to reduce stress/relax/center your mind? Do you participate in an organized relaxation activity such as yoga, meditation or tai chi?

Amy: I spend the day at the spa — when I have time for a massage, I will do it. I also try to do a yoga class as often as possible.

Diet Detective: What was your worst summer job?

Amy: Mowing lawns and washing walls — not good times.

Diet Detective: What’s your motto?

Amy: Capture your moment.

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