Woman At Work: Lizzie Cook and LC FITNESS NYC

Liz Cook, a young woman with a sunny disposition and a can-do attitude, trains clients from ages 22 to 72 with patience, which inspires confidence. Healthy lifestyle is her calling. She’s determined to spread the practice, one satisfied client at a time. Or, as her t-shirts say: “Love. Sweat. No tears.”

Liz has always been physically active. The desire to move sent her to ballet, jazz, modern and tap dance classes from childhood. At the tender age of 6, her father taught Liz to play tennis leading eventually to the number one spot on her varsity team. During the summers she was a member of the swim team and eventually became a swim coach and lifeguard. In the winters she skied and skated. In the autumn she hiked the Appalachian Trail, which turned out to be early preparation for ten days of scaling the Himalayas with her family when she was 23. “We trained by going up and down 19 flights of the building stairs carrying 20 pound packs.” Liz recalled.

However, a few years ago, Liz found herself confined to her bed. But for an occasional, exhausting walk to the corner, her future remained uncertain. Being constantly sick left her depleted and discouraged. When this passes, she resolved, I’m going to help people who don’t feel good toward a better and healthier lifestyle. It was her Eureka moment.

When the last in a parade of doctors diagnosed Liz with a parasite that she likely picked up working on a conservation boat in Alaska, she was back on her feet in a few months. Excited about her new career endeavor, Liz received her training at American Academy of Personal Training in New York City and then secured a position with Equinox.

Eventually, Liz struck out on her own, and formed LCFitnessNYC.

“Training with Liz over the course of the past few months has been truly transforming. Not only have I learned an insurmountable amount about fitness but I also have become stronger, more flexible and confident. I consider Liz to be a role model for courageous, independent women who are natural leaders and have the compassion to help others.” Leigh, 22

So-how does her personal training business work?

Liz first meets a prospective client for consultation without obligation. Fitness goals are discussed. “If you have a goal, then you want to better yourself and, as you reach each goal, there should be another one in its place. Some people suffer from general malaise. Others want to strengthen a particular part of the body. Most want to lose weight, improve fitness, and tone up. Older clients aim for improved balance and flexibility.” Liz said.

Sessions are programmed so that different muscle groups are exercised at regular intervals. If two or three hours are scheduled a week, each is engineered to work in a slightly different way. Incorporating Pilates, yoga and even in some cases, kick boxing, Liz demonstrates, then watches her client so that correct form is maintained. This prevents injury and assures optimal results. If someone has sustained an injury, she works around it. If a client takes medication she takes that into consideration.

“I’m constantly checking in, asking how something feels, whether it’s ok. Facial expressions offer only limited communication.” Liz said.

A difference in definition might be seen within two months. “Clothes will fit better regardless of the numbers on the scale. Strong is the new skinny. After all, you can be thin and unhealthy.”

“One of the best things I can say about training with Liz is that she mixes up the work out so that it’s never boring. Besides being an excellent trainer she has the ability to listen to the client and to adapt the work out accordingly. I asked her about doing some boxing and the next week she brought gloves. Since then we have incorporated it into my work out regularly. Boxing in the park on a nice day is a real treat in addition to making you tougher.” Brock, 60

A package of sessions ranging from a trial of 3 to a full 16 is agreed upon, as is frequency, hour and location. Training can occur from early in the morning to after work hours 7 days a week, with 24-hour notice requested for cancellation. Other than local transportation costs, Liz does not charge extra for making house calls. Each session, which includes a 10-minute stretch afterwards, is one hour. A staunch believer in stretching after a workout rather than before, Liz feels that muscles need to be loosened up beforehand.

As a rule, small equipment is provided: mats, weights, a jump rope, steps…whatever basics are needed. Resistance bands are an early gift so that clients can work at home. Apparel should be chosen for comfort, including sneakers to secure positioning.

In between workouts Liz prefers that a client do something physical on her/his own so muscles won’t be shocked. Particular exercises might be suggested. “I deal with a lot of people who work in offices. I give them little stretches they can do at their desks and recommend if possible, they get up and walk around. During work-outs, people who sit at desks all day need to do back extensions instead of crunches; sitting at your desk IS a crunch position,” said Liz.

Judicious paperwork includes information on any medications that clients are taking, influential habits (smoking and drinking), sleep, stress, job factors that might affect one’s physical state, diets, and recreational activities. Liz feels learning how her clients live is necessary to effective training. Clients also submit a Health History Questionnaire. Additionally, if a client is under care, the physician is required to sign a letter of acknowledgment that cardiovascular and resistance training will be employed and asked to express any concerns. Lastly, the client him/herself signs an informed consent form and waiver of liability.

Liz, AAPT certified, continues to accrue continuing education credits, pursuing a second course of study in Pre and Post Natal training and a third in Geriatrics. Eventually, she’ll set up her own studio.

“Liz Cook is awesome! She is a challenging, creative trainer and always has my short-term goals and long-term health in mind. I am a former varsity rower who had 25 years of low to moderate activity, including 15 years at a desk job, and since college I had not been able to stick to any sort of exercise program. Liz listened to my goals, understood my propensity to get bored and, in the twice a week sessions we’ve had for almost a year, has never presented the same workout twice. She challenges me in each session but never has asked me to do something I couldn’t do. I leave our sessions tired, elated and proud, and feel the results every time I take a walk, lift a heavy box, or reach to make a shot in tennis. Working with Liz has really transformed the way I see my future; it is filled with lots of activity that I can enjoy rather than fear. I also really appreciate her straightforward attitude: she emphasizes the basics of core strengthening, stretching, and increasing aerobic activity, and her lively sessions never feel like we are part of a fad. I wish we could clone Liz so everyone could get a chance to workout with her!” Karen, 50

This month, Boot Camp and Kick Boxing Boot Camp training in Central Park will be offered to participants of all ages, two early evenings a week. You’ll recognize Liz wearing her trademark red or black t-shirt bearing her logo: Love, Sweat, No Tears. Contact Liz at lcfitny@gmail.com to get in shape at one of her Fall Boot Camps.

“We only have only one body and we need to take excellent care of ourselves,” Liz’s enthusiasm is contagious. “What are your fitness goals? And what are you waiting for?”