Today’s Feature, April 7-8, 2007: Ian Duda- Gung Ho Fitness

January 18, 2008 at 5:49 pm (Today's Feature)

April 7th and 8th, 2007: Ian Duda Ian Duda of Gung Ho immediately thought of Ian Duda as a unique feature for our site. He’s a former U.S. Marine, has a great personality, a huge following of clients and a new form of outdoor fitness camps, called Gung Ho Fitness that is shaping up America. Ian thought it would be a good idea to “visit” one of the camps…sure, I’ll take pictures. That isn’t quite how it went. Ian thought it would be a good idea if I actually took one of the camps…sure, it’ll be fun…for him! Five minutes in, I realized I was way over my head. He had exercises I have never seen or heard of. I pulled a tire attached to twenty yards of rope, ran like my life depended on it (more then once, I thought it did), used “kettle bells” (never heard of them), carried forty pound ammo cans (never heard of those either) and performed exercises like “Renegade Rows”, “Blurpies”, “Dead-Man Drops” (I found that one suitable) and had enough sweat dripping off my body, you would have thought I just went swimming fully dressed. “Ok, that’s the first set,” he tells me. The rest was a blur. However, I went back, again and again. I have played sports my whole life, but never worked this hard. He is determined to make you sweat, work and most of all get into shape. Is there a book in his future or even a television show? Maybe. There should be. Read his XXQs to find out more about Gung Ho Fitness and how you will be hearing a lot more about Ian Duda.

XXQs: Ian Duda (PEV): How did you first get interested in Fitness?

Ian Duda (ID): I believe I’d have to go back to when I was in fifth grade. My mom had moved my sister and I from Maryland to North Carolina. I knew no one, it was a new town, my mom worked a lot to support us, and I stayed inside most of the day. I started gaining weight and my mother noticed quickly. One weekend she challenged me to a race from one end of the trailer park to the other, and she said, “if she beat me that I would have to start exercising.” Well, let me tell you she beat me by a mile. Needless to say I started exercising with her and she made me go out for little league baseball, just to keep me active. From that point on I stayed pretty active and my competitive nature started to grow. I never was a really big kid and having the last name that I have, I got picked on quite often. My football coach would let a few of us skip are study hall classes to stay in the gym for an extra hour each day. During my junior and senior years in high school I really started to get into weight training. I started gaining weight and got pretty strong for my size. The size and strength gave me great confidence and I started to stand out a little bit more and got picked on less. It wasn’t until I was in the Marine Corps that I decided to use my GI bill to go to college and pursue an education in Exercise Physiology. All those events have led me to where I am today.

PEV: What is your philosophy on fitness?

ID: I’d have to say consistency. Consistency is the key to any workout program and /or healthy lifestyle. Remember the old saying practice makes perfect. If you want to be healthy, lose weight, or whatever you goal is, you have to be consistent.

PEV: You were in the marines, how has your military background helped shape your philosophy on fitness?

ID: The Marines gave me the never quit attitude and the discipline needed to succeed. They embody you with that persona and that through my personality I project onto others. If you ask anyone that has ever worked out with me, they will tell you that I’m not a in your face hard a$$ but I do expect your best, and that, sometimes comes out as intimidation factor. People involved in my programs have a sense that they need to push themselves harder because they know I’m watching, and they don’t want to let me down.

PEV: What are the main steps in writing a fitness plan for someone?

ID: Not in any particular order: You talk to the individual about there goals, health history, any injuries that would prohibit them from completing any exercises, how much time they want to dedicate to there program, how many days a week they plan on working out and you go over there diet. Then we go and perform some functional exercises to see what they can do. That way I have an understanding of what areas need the most work and see what loading parameters we can work with.

PEV: When you put the pen to paper, are you drawing up exercise? Writing them down? Mapping out courses? Explain.

ID: When I plan any exercise routine, I usually write everything down in advance. Writing everything down allows the workout to take shape. It’s easier to make adjustments once you have everything down and see how the workout is going to turn out. Not every workout goes as planned. So having a plan on paper helps when adjustments need to be made.

PEV: You opened your own company called “Gung Ho Fitness”. Why did you decide to use “Gung Ho”?

ID: The term Gung Ho was originally “kung go” adopted by the Marines from the Chinese in 1942. The Marines adopted it and pronounced it Gung Ho meaning ‘spirit of teamwork’-overzealous or enthusiastic. Now it’s used through out the military as a motivational phase. Being from the Marines and wanting my outdoor fitness program to embody teamwork and an enthusiastic approach I choose Gung Ho Fitness. I want everyone that partakes in my classes to feel like they our apart of a team or family and that exercise can be fun and enthusiastic.

PEV: Does EVERY trainer love when a person is working out so hard they can’t even stand?

ID: I can’t speak for every trainer, but I do like my clients to work hard. You have to come out of your comfort zone once and a while in order to see results. If that particular client is so exhausted that he/she can’t stand. My answer would be keep training at that intensity level and your body will adapt and you’ll thank me later.

PEV: What is the most frustrating aspect of writing fitness plans for people?

ID: The writing part I love. It’s when you spend countless hours working with someone and then they never show up to do the workouts. If you really want something, there are no excuses.

PEV: What is the most rewarding part of your job?

ID: I love when someone consistently stays with his or her program and then start seeing results. When a client starts seeing the benefits of all the hard work they have endured.

PEV: What’s your take on all the reality shows now based on physical fitness?

ID: I like the fact that they are finally showing the American people that we need more education and that our society as a whole needs lots of help. Hopefully the people at home can learn something from the programs and then apply it to themselves in their daily lifestyles. Everyone watching will not have the all the resources or the time that the people at these farms have to exercise, but they can apply the principles to their daily lifestyles.

PEV: Celebrities have been known to shed pounds in a day, which makes the average person feel like they can to. Explain this myth for us.

ID: I’m not a big fan of the so-called “Hollywood Diets”. For one, most of the methods they use are very drastic, and unhealthy. It’s a quick “lypo” before the red carpet or six months 3 hours a day for my next movie, and then after the film, its back to the clubs, late nights and eating at McDonalds just like before or until they get another role in a film. Like I said before, it takes consistency, hard work, and dedication to maintain a healthy lifestyle. It’s not easy and there is no magic pill. You have to find out what works for you. What LL Cool J did to get ready for his last movie is not going to work for someone else necessarily.

PEV: But they make it look so easy.

ID: They also have millions of dollars to spend on a personal trainer 5-6 days a week, an in house chef to cook their meals and the extra time and cash to do the nips and tucks. The average person doesn’t have all the amenities or the time to do everything.

PEV: In your opinion, what athlete/celebrity has what you would call the “perfect body”?

ID: Back in the day Arnold was the man with it all. Now. Don’t laugh but I’m going to justify this a little before I say his name. I look at who was in shape before they got famous and is still in shape today. I look at Mark Wahlberg I just saw “Invincible” and he is in his mid 30’s and still has a good work ethic. For the ladies I’d have to say it’s a toss up between Jennifer Garner and Jessica Biel.

PEV: What do you do when you feel like what you have written for a person just isn’t working? Do you go back to the drawing board? Throw in the towel?

ID: Never throw in the towel. Workouts need to be changed every 6-8 weeks anyway, so usually some minor tweak is all you need. Plus 99% of the time the client isn’t being consistent in some aspect of the workout or the diet for it not to work.

PEV: How much does the mental part play into keeping a person healthy?

ID: It’s the most important part. The mental aspect of your health is everything. It tells you when to eat, what to eat, how much to eat, do I workout, how hard, how intense; do I try another rep, do I run another mile. If you are not mental ready to be healthy then trying to be healthy just will not work.

PEV: Going to the gym for the first time can be intimidating. What do you say to someone who has to face all those gym rats?

ID: Come out to my fitness camps!!!! No Gym Rats at the fitness camps. (Laugh) Really you have to shop around for a place (gym) that you will feel comfortable in. Some gyms cater to first timers or those that feel intimidated. Curves, YMCA, Camps like mine and others that are just for women or just for men come to mind.

PEV: Which magazine or site do you think has the best writing on health and fitness?

ID: For women I like “Her Athlete” it’s still a small magazine and doesn’t have a lot of fluff. The internet has grown so much that there are tons of good sites. A couple that I enjoy:,, and anything you can find on Alwyn Cosgrove.

PEV: How many times have you heard, “I am going the beach this weekend, I need to lose 10 lbs…hook me up”.

ID: To may times to count. Most of the time this comes from someone that looks good already and is self-conscious about themselves, I just try to reiterate that they look good and that they will be among friends and just have a good time. Next time come see me earlier.

PEV: What are the hardest thing people have a problem with giving up to get healthy?

ID: Food!!!! It’s usually a toss up between something sweet and/or something salty.

PEV: What’s next for Ian Duda and Gung Ho Fitness?

ID: Come out and have fun with a great group of people and get in shape at the same time Gung Ho Style! For more information on Ian Duda check out his MySpace page


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