Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Cranston Patch talks to Jordan Knight

Jordan talked to the Cranston Patch about his gym and training for the upcoming tour and more.

Taking fitness ‘Step-By-Step’ with Jordan Knight

Have you ever wanted to know how Jordan Knight of New Kids On The Block stays fit and performance-ready? Fit World of Cranston, the facility owned by the singer-songwriter, is now offering a program based off of the routine Knight has been using to prepare for New Kids On The Block’s upcoming tour.

Knight was at the Cranston facility Monday to demonstrate some aspects of Mike Boyle’s Strength and Conditioning program, which is now being integrated into Fit World’s group training classes.

While preparing for “The Package Tour,” which will feature New Kids On The Block, 98 Degrees and Boyz II Men, Knight began working with celebrity trainer Mike Boyle. Considered an expert in sports performance training, Boyle has worked with professional athletes from the Boston Bruins, New England Revolution and the Boston Red Sox, among others.

Knight began Boyle’s Strength and Conditioning program about a month ago in preparation for the start of the 50-city tour. Knight will perform with his fellow New Kids five nights a week for two hours each night.

He says Boyle’s program is improving his physical strength and endurance, adding that he can feel a difference in everyday activities and says he has more energy.

Knight was impressed with the program and asked if Boyle would help him bring it to Fit World, a facility Knight has owned for years. The New England native opened his first health club in Cranston in 1995 but moved the facility in 2008 and renamed it.

“I found this building and figured I could make a nice gym here,” he said.
With the help of his brother, Knight researched different areas and determined that the demographics and need for a good gym were present in Cranston.

“At the time, there weren’t many gyms in the area; there weren’t many good gyms,” said Knight.

Back on the gym floor this week, Knight was hard at work performing some of the program’s drills with the help of Fit World Trainer Brandon Burton.

To accommodate the new program, cardio and strength machines have been moved to create an open area where participants can perform some of the grueling drills. A small area of AstroTurf has been laid down to accommodate a large weight sled that needs to be pushed along the mat. Knight joked that the area looked like a fitness playground.

During the demonstration, Knight utilized mini-hurdles, a floor ladder, medicine balls, resistance bands and ropes, and pushed the 130-pound sled with weights.

Although he has been training for some time, Knight can still work up a sweat with some of the drills. After performing one exercise that required Knight to continuously move two large ropes that were secured on one end to a stationary object, the performer was visibly winded.

“That is hard,” he said. “That works muscles you didn’t even know you had.”

Knight said that being fit is not only about looking lean or “looking fit,” but also about feeling better and having endurance, especially for someone like him who dances on stage regularly. Knight said this workout program is not a boring routine that becomes easier over time.

“These types of trainers like to spring things on you,” said Jordan, explaining that just when a person may get used to a certain set of exercises in the program, the routine will change. “They throw you a curve ball.”

While it follows the recent fad of functional training, Knight says the program at Fit World is unique because it is based on the program from Boyle, who has been working with some of the best athletes for 20-plus years.

“Our thing is the real deal,” said Knight.

Knight also says Fit World benefits by being an independently owned facility. He feels they have the independence to implement unique programs such as Boyle’s.

“You can do what is best for your members,” he said.

The program at Fit World has been integrated into functional training classes and all Fit World trainers have been instructed by Boyle to better understand the program.

While the idea of performing the same workout as professional athletes and performers may be overwhelming, Knight and the trainers at Fit World insist the program is for all ages and ability levels.

“We go through an evaluation process,” said Burton, who explained that individuals come in, sign up for the program and go through a process with a trainer to evaluate their current fitness levels and goals they have. The trainer will then adapt the program to the individual’s ability.
Training can occur in groups of four or five people, as well as larger group classes of 10. There is also an option for semi-private training, which consists of one trainer and two clients. The session will have each client performing a different exercise while the trainer monitors and works with both.

“It’s been really popular. People have seen a lot of results,” said Fit World Manager George Sweeney, who estimates between 110 and 115 members are part of the program. The program costs $198 a month for two hour-long sessions each week. “It comes out to roughly $25 a session,” said Sweeney.

In addition to the adult program, Fit World will be implementing a version of the program for kids and teens for the summer.

“It’s more like a kids activity program,” said Burton of the program designed for 8- to 11-year-olds. “For the little ones, it is about being active.”

Burton explained that the kids in the younger group would be working on movement as opposed to strength training; they would not be pushing the 130-pound sled Knight does.

The second youth program will be for ages 12 to 18 and be more sports-focused. The goal of that program is to keep teens in shape for fall sports during the summer months.

“It is more specific to their sport,” said Burton.

Knight says the children’s program is important because it encourages kids to be active in a time when child obesity is on the rise. A father of two boys, Knight says he always encourages his kids to go outside, and they play sports year-round. Plus, Knight jokes that having active kids can benefit parents.

“When you keep your kids active, they tend to go to sleep,” he said.

To individuals who feel they are not up for the challenge of a workout mirroring famous pop stars and pro athletes, Knight says not to worry.

“Just jump in. We take all shapes and sizes here. We aren’t trying to make body builders; we aren’t that kind of gym,” said Knight.

He says Fit World is a positive and welcoming environment, no matter one’s fitness level.

“Everyone feels a little intimidated at times, even I feel intimidated sometimes,” said Knight, saying he is nervous when trying new things on stage. The key, he says, is to try new things and work through the nerves.

For more information about Fit World and functional training classes, stop by the facility at 30 Kenney Drive in Cranston or call the gym at 464-4055.

“The Package Tour” will kick off on May 28; New Kids On The Block is expected to perform all of their hits, as well as new material from their latest album “10.”

Shows in the area are at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn. (May 28 to May 30) and TD Garden in Boston, Mass. (June 2 and June 3). Check out for details; more dates may be added.

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