Redefining fitness

The trainers at EXOS work from the philosophy that the needs of the athlete and the desk jockey aren’t all that different.

It’s a question that seems fairly straightforward, but answers can vary wildly depending on whom you ask. Ask a powerlifter. Then a marathon runner. Or, perhaps, an elite computer programmer. You’d get three very different answers, and all three would be right.                 It’s thinking like this that influences the team at EXOS. EXOS, a worldwide set of more
than 400 training facilities (12 of which are open to the public, the rest are military and corporate facilities), caters to everyone from pro football players looking to shave time off their 40 to businesspeople hoping to gain an edge and applies the same training and nutrition framework to each.

“Performance is different for everyone, but if you look at it from a benefits standpoint, the notion tends to click a little bit easier,”


With that in mind, EXOS takes the training principles it applies to pro athletes and pares them down for its other clients as appropriate. Pros move through a workout that consists of eight distinct phases: soft-tissue work (called pillar prep), a traditional warmup (think dynamic stretches), plyometrics, sport specific fitness development, rotary power (medicine ball work), strength and power (weightlifting), energy-systems work (conditioning), and regeneration.

Nick Winkelman, EXOS’ director of movement and education, says general population clients will run through pillar prep, movement prep, rotary power development, strength and power development, and regeneration. The three phases they skip (movement skill development, sport-specific fitness, and energy systems) more directly correlate to on-field production and won’t necessarily provide added benefit. Reinforcing healthy movement patterns, however, provides a ton of benefits. “When people go to the gym, they’re trying to lose body fat, look better, and be healthier,” Winkelman says. “Those are all valuable reasons. But one of the things we’re trying to do with our general population clients is get them to understand that movement from a value-proposition perspective does so much more than that.” Increased performance is generally easy to spot—a few more pounds on your bench, for example. If you’re trying to communicate the benefits of training and eating for performance to a group of financial analysts, the benefits might be less obvious. To illustrate the point, Totoro compares a businessperson crisscrossing the country to the life of a linebacker.

“At the end of the game, the athlete is dehydrated, has an electrolyte imbalance, his joints
hurt, and if it’s a night game, he’s amped, so sleep is a problem,”
Totoro says. “Similarly, at the end of a cross-country flight, you have a businessperson sitting in a pressurized cabin, they’ve got major electrolyte deficiencies, joint pains, and their internal clock is thrown off by time zones. They’re for different reasons, but the issues are the same—and their careers depend on their performance after they land.”

FORM AND FUNCTION EXOS trainers improve physiques by improving performance.


Below, EXOS provided a single strength workout built for the general population but designed to address the basic needs of athletes.

Strength Circuit I Do three rounds of the following circuit. Rest 90 seconds to two minutes after the final exercise.

Alternating DB Bench Press 8
Single-leg DB RDL* 8
DB Front Squat to Press 8

*Hold one DB in each hand.

Strength Superset
Do the following superset twice. Rest one minute between supersets.

Standing Cable Lift* 8
Split-stance DB Curl to Press 8

*Perform as a reverse woodchopper, going diagonally upward across your body.

Strength Circuit II
Do two rounds of the following circuit. Rest 90 seconds to two minutes after the final exercise.

Lateral Hip Bridge* 10
DB Lateral Slide Squat** 8
Single-leg One-arm DB Row*** 8
Swiss Plate Crunch (Behind Head) 1