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Cory Everson exemplifies the editorial goals of totalhealth magazine. She is an advocate of self-managed natural health, on a mission to share the precepts of productive longevity and definitely captain of her own healthcare team.

An outstanding high school and college athlete, Cory gained national prominence as one of America’s premiere female body builders. More recently she has been recognized for her career as a fitness expert on her “Gotta Sweat” show on Fox and ESPN2 networks, as well as her best-selling workout videos and books and Web site and Cory Everson’s Fitness Adventure, a health and wellness clinic.

TH: Cory, how would you describe your mission at this point in your career?

CE: To act as an enabler of facilitators through inspiration, training, support and motivation for individuals who are committed to making health and fitness a priority in their lives and as a missionary to those who haven’t yet made that decision.

TH: What would you define as the key imperatives to establishing total health?

CE: A positive self-image. Being comfortable with your body, exercise, diet, nutritional supplementation and balancing the personal and societal demands and obligations in our lives—work, play, family, kids, spirituality, sex, community.

TH: Please expand on positive self-image and being comfortable with your body.

CE: I’m really concerned that we live in a society where a great many people are punishing themselves for not living up to the images established by the media. The models you see pictured on the covers of Cosmo and Men’s Fitness are not representative. There are only a small percentage of people who can achieve that type of body. People are unhappy with their lives because they think they should pursue some goal that is unnatural or unreasonable for them in many areas of their lives and never achieve any real satisfaction because they are comparing themselves to an unrealistic model.

This is the primary reason we initiated the Fitness Adventure health and wellness clinics. These are weekends where a number of individuals join everyone from the show and about 20 counselors for a four-day experience that shapes the body, motivates the spirit, teaches health and nutrition and gives people a sense of self-empowerment and camaraderie that stays with them well beyond the camp.

Many individuals come thinking they need to lose that last 20 pounds and leave saying, “I’ve finally fallen back in love with myself. Those last 20 pounds don’t matter that much. What matters is that I’m happy and I feel good about myself. I have empowerment and control.” It is amazing because these people’s destiny is not just that last 20 pounds, which is just a superficial thing, it’s how they feel about themselves. Our motto is “If you don’t feel good about yourself on the inside, you are never going to look good or feel good on the outside.”

People need to know that fitness is not a dimension on the outside, whether your goal is 36-24-36 or whatever. Fitness really is how you feel about yourself internally and your heart space; are you happy internally.

TH: Exercise is a key factor in total health and productive longevity. What would you suggest as a good basic fitness program?

CE: In the 1980s we thought we had to exercise until we dropped. In the ’90s we still over-exercised and over-achieved. Now in the millennium we are easing up a little. The majority of exercisers are baby boomers, 78 million of us from 35–55 and a large populous of health-conscious individuals 55 plus. My goal today is to develop a program which will deliver the maximum amount of gain from the least amount of exercise.

The three factors in a good exercise program are the time you exercise, supplementation and type of exercise. If you follow the principles of each of these, it shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes a day to get into and stay in shape.

The best time to exercise is in the morning before you eat, which is explained thoroughly in my book Life Balance.

I would suggest a 20-to 30-minute meditative walk prior to your exercise program. People who walk are happier, healthier, more vibrant, smarter and have more patience throughout the day.

Now that your walk has elevated your heart rate and you are in your fat burning zone, I suggest the following 20-minute workout. The equipment you need is a set of dumbbells and a bench.

A) Circuit train—alternate five minutes of cardio with five minutes of weights—it’s enough to create muscle and boost metabolism.

B) Focus on a body part each day of the week, i.e., free weights and push ups to firm arms on Monday, crunches and stretches to tone abs on Tuesday, squats and lunges for legs on Wednesday, etc.

Also find calorie-burning ways to complete needed errands and tasks, i.e., wash the car yourself, ride your bike to the store or rake the yard.

For more information on exercise programs I invite you to either tune in to our television program or visit my Web site.

TH: What about core strengthening?

CE: Core strengthening is so important. Core strengthening, particularly using a resistaball, is the ideal exercise for all ages and fitness levels. It focuses on developing the body’s stomach and back muscles as the “core” of strengthening and toning the entire body. Core strengthening has been used for years in rehabilitation but is gaining new popularity as an overall fitness regimen. When core strengthening exercises are combined with rhythmic movement, they become an efficient calorie burner and an ideal way to stretch the entire body as well. Resistaballs (also known as power balls, gym balls, Physioballs) are those round, colored balls that you see lying around at the gym. They are inexpensive, easy to learn and use and are easy on the body.

TH: You mention nutritional supplementation as a key imperative to total health and as one of the three factors in a good exercise program.

CE: Absolutely, however as a female and an athlete I have always been concerned that all of the sports nutrition products in the world are geared toward men. Over the past 20 years, when I was competing, I used men’s products that are men’s dosages geared to men’s goals. When women use those products to get in shape it affects their hair, skin and nails because they lack the essential nutrients and supplements you need as you start to lose body fat. So I began a mission for myself, my audience and the millions of other women of all ages who are serious about body shaping, resistance training, maintaining their lean muscle mass and bone density to find a nutritional company that would consider creating a line of products expressly for women. Not just mass products with a pink label but products addressing the unique needs of women who consume sports fitness products. I approached Natrol and they agreed to create a line of products as part of their Pro Lab division. These are products that will help balance our hormones naturally, deliver antioxidants, include vitamin C and collagen for the skin, gelatin for the nails, low glucose levels and other benefits for women of all ages—and no pink label.

TH: I understand you have a 2-year-old son. How has raising a child in your early 40s affected your life?

CE: For my husband and me it was the perfect time. We have established our careers, are stable in our relationship and completely dedicated to devote the quality time necessary for raising a child in today’s complex society.

Boris is the light of our lives. We adopted him from a Russian orphanage and experience the joy of loving a baby who was already on this earth who may not have had the opportunity we can provide. I thank him everyday for coming into our lives. Our relationship with Boris has also prompted 10 other couples to adopt through international orphanages.

TH: Thank you Cory. I’m sure a number of our readers will be interested in more information on weight loss, muscle building, antiaging and sports nutrition.

For more information:

Total Health