There’s nothing like shooting a bunch of highly trained athletes working out to make me feel like an enormous slug! But this shoot was SO FUN despite my ego damage. I met a few of the Ultrafit EvoSport athletes this week at Gold’s Gym in Awahtukee.
My task was to capture the athletes in motion, with an emphasis on strength and movement, for EvoSport to use on their website and other forums. Of course, we also had to get some shots of them with their brilliant trainer Charles Maka, below.
Charles works with EvoSport founder Jay Schroeder, who developed his training model following a motorcycle accident that left him paralyzed. Jay’s docs said he’d never walk again, but he decided to ignore them, and he walked out of the hospital a year after his accident – and he actually ended up being a better-performing athlete than he was before his injuries!
Basically, the UltraFit model teaches athletes to connect their nervous system with their muscular system, and train their brains to sequence movements in order to maximize performance.
The model is predicated upon the belief that you don’t have to be “born with it” to succeed athletically, but rather, than any regular person can become an elite athlete with the right training.
Meet one of those people, Helene Neville. Helene did a little jog this summer, across the entire country. In the SUMMER. Ummm? In 2011, she is planning to run from, oh, just Canada to Mexico. You can read about Helene Neville’s story at One On The Run.
It was such an honor to meet Helene. Her Forest Gump-ness is even more amazing in light of the fact that she is a Hodgkins survivor, and underwent three brain surgeries a decade ago. Despite her enormous challenges in recovery, today she’s breaking records and inspiring people all over the world.
Helene trains with Charles alongside other normal people; they might want to be great athletes, or maybe just get in shape or stay in shape. Other EvoSport athletes include pros recovering from injuries, or former pros trying to maintain their fitness for coaching jobs – and so on. The training involves lots of calisthenics and weight lifting, at all levels, beginning with simple dumbbells…
…moving on to bench presses with more weight…
…and at the highest level, THROWING the loaded bars into the air. !! Hello?
One of the reasons this assignment was so fun was because I got to be so creative (and use my new D700, 24-70mm f/2.8, and 70-200 f/2.8). Charles wanted the images to show movement, and not necessarily be full-body shots. So, in other words, I got to do the type of photography I love anyway, no boring cookie-cutter commercial blah-ness!
It helped that these guys loved being in front of the camera…there were a few moments of, um, showing off? 🙂
This stuff is wayyyyy harder than it looks…
One of the unique products offered by EvoSport is the machine below…which sends electric signals to targeted muscle groups. It kinda reminded me of the torture machine with suction cups in The Princess Bride. Remember? The one that Humperdink used to suck the life outta Wesley?
But, it’s not quite as painful; I can vouch for that! 🙂 I like to go above and beyond in my field research, so I volunteered to be hooked up to the machine before leaving. (That’s me, above, lower right.) I had actually kinda torqued my back that morning, so when Charles slapped those puppies on, and the electric signal started, the pulled muscle contracted so far that my shoulder shot up to my ear! Seems like maybe there’s something to that little machine. It felt amazing, kinda tingly.
Thanks all for being such good sports! (Pun intended.) I had SO much fun!