Graphic Designer By Day, This GX24 Instructor Says Power Jumping With You Is Worth It
Chris Alberts might keep you guessing. More than 6 feet tall, fit, tattooed and clean-shaven (except for his silver beard), the GX24 HIIT training instructor who is featured in the 24 Hour Fitness “Worth It” campaign says one thing that surprises people is that he’s very approachable. At the very least, you might think he plays a mean game on the basketball court.
Alberts was athletic as a child, playing baseball, soccer and basketball, and he also competed in swimming and cross-country. He played high-school and college football. But it was an infomercial playing at his local 24 Hour Fitness that caught his attention. “I saw this Insanity infomercial, and these people were in amazing shape, and I wondered, What are these people doing? What is this thing?”
Alberts started doing the Insanity workouts at home, and then he found out that they would be offered at the gym. He tried the class and was hooked. “I thought, You know what? I want to get certified to do this,” he says. He did, and now he teaches Insanity at 24 Hour Fitness.
On a break at a recent photo shoot, we asked Alberts how he stays motivated to teach HIIT training twice a week, how he fits teaching in with his career, and other burning questions.
24Life: From the outside, it looks like one of the toughest classes, so what would you say to the person who’s hanging by the door?
Chris Alberts: It looks intimidating. There’s a lot of plyometric moves, a lot of strength-based moves. You’re doing what’s called reverse interval training, so you’re going hard for two minutes, and then you’re taking a break for 30 seconds. It’s a total-body exercise, so you’re doing legs, core, upper body and then cardiovascular training on top of that.
But we show modifications, and you can really have a great time with it. I really love helping people. That’s why I do it. I’ve had a lot of people who say, “Chris, you’ve really helped me this year.” Or I’ve some people who’ve had great success stories. One of my friends lost 85 pounds. She’s under 200 pounds for the first time since high school, and she’s 59 years old. Making that commitment to her health and her life—it really touches me deeply.
24Life: What do you do when you’re not leading an Insanity class? Does your professional life intersect with it?
CA: I’m the director of design and communications for the Western States Roofing Contractors Association. We put on a trade show in Las Vegas every year, and I do all the e-mail, print, web—anything visual.
I love teaching because it gets me away from the computer at night, gets me talking to people, interacting, just being athletic and enjoying myself, and letting all the day’s stress melt away. Helping people—that interaction with people—is why I like it so much.
24Life: When you stop to think about it, what makes the effort worth it?
CA: Your health, your life is worth that. It’s hard to stay consistent, especially if you’re just getting back into it after a long time, or maybe you’re not where you want to be physically with your level of fitness. To me, it’s worth it to make that effort every day. You don’t have to be extreme, but as long as you’re consistent, you’re going to see change, you’re going to see results. I always tell people, “Don’t give up. Don’t be hard on yourself. Just be patient. It’s a process. It takes a while. It’s not easy. But it’s worth it.”
24Life: What’s your secret to staying motivated?
CA: Different things motivate me at different times. I want to be there for my class, more than anything. People are relying on you to be that leader in the room, relying on you to help with their fitness. I take that very seriously. Consistency is hard for all of us, whether it’s diet or just staying in a routine. In the GX room, I’ll say, “Hey, we’re hitting our goals together. We’re in this together. You feed off me; I feed off you.” They may not realize it, but I also depend on them to stay on track.
I actually do the moves with the class while I’m teaching. A lot of people are surprised [that I’m] actually dripping in sweat, not just barking orders. I feel that power jump just as much as you. And I’m talking while we’re doing the moves. I think that’s a great tool to help motivate people. They’re [probably thinking], Wow, Chris is not the youngest of guys. I’m a little bit older, but to see that I’m still doing the moves with you, and we’re still doing it together.
24Life: To your point, what do we take for granted that we should focus on, as we get older?
CA: Maintaining flexibility. You work out and your muscles tighten, so you want to make sure you lengthen the muscles. [Don’t just focus on] … grinding out those more challenging workout moves.
24Life: What’s your current obsession?
CA: Right now, strength training is a current obsession. I’m really into lifting weights. I really like it because it slows me down a little bit. It gets me to focus on myself. And as a trainer, being trained by other trainers is really fun. It puts you in their hands and they [help you work] on [your] weaker points and make them your strong points. I’m not very good at pull-ups so we’re working on that together, and I’m loving the results.
24Life: Just like people assume Insanity is too hard to try, are there any other misconceptions about fitness that you’d like to dispel?
CA: One of the myths I would like to bust is strength training is only for guys. That’s one of the myths that bothers me, that strength training is only for men. I think that’s complete nonsense. Women are just as strong as men, and I love to see it when women are kicking butt strength training in the gym. I want to see that trend continue because it’s for everyone. You’re a human being.
Photo, video credit: Tom Casey, box24studio.com, Chris Alberts