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Fitness Pro Jaime Brenkus Teaches Boomers and Beginners How to Live Healthier Longer

January 19, 20248 min read

Widely known as the creator of the incredibly successful “8-Minute Abs” workout in the 1990s, Jaime has easily sold over one million exercise videos. 

An American College of Sports Medicine-certified Exercise Physiologist, Jaime has made over 50 television appearances and worked with both celebrities and “regular” folks to develop health and fitness programs.

In recent years, he’s made a concerted effort to reach “baby boomers,” which makes sense since Jaime, 62, belongs to that segment of the population, people born from 1946 to 1964.

Jaime discussed that and much more during a recent visit that left us inspired about healthier ways to tackle each day.

Fit for life

Jaime, an Ohio native, and his wife Teri live in Cleveland, but recently bought a condo in Bradenton, Florida. He’s happy to reconnect with the Sunshine State having lived here for 12 years earlier.

Jaime studied Mass Communications/Broadcasting at USF in Tampa. After moving to Los Angeles in 1985, he earned his personal training certification at UCLA and started his fitness business.

He and Teri have been married since 1995 and have one daughter, Lauren.

After all this time, Jaime and Teri still work out together three times a week.

“Teri’s a chief financial officer, so she’s a CFO and keeps people fiscally fit, and I’m a CEO (chief exercise officer) and keep them physically fit,” he laughs.

Times have certainly changed since Jaime got into the fitness industry.

“Back then we didn’t have the Internet. It was all VHS, then morphed into DVDs, then streaming, and now we can do live programming from our phones,” he says. “It’s evolved and I’m taking advantage of modern technology and helping more people.”

Not surprisingly, 8-minute exercise routines continue to be part of Jaime’s approach to fitness. He’s developed 8-minute body workouts that can be accessed through his app, YouTube videos, and his website www.8minutebody.com.

His personal and professional motto is “Getting Fit Never Gets Old.” Jaime’s latest workouts are all about “putting the BOOM back into BOOMERS, 8 Minutes at a Time.”

“There are 1,440 minutes in each day, so you have 8 minutes!” he explains. “You can’t use time as an excuse anymore. Give me 8 minutes and then you’ll probably do a little more.”

Most programs are available for a one-time fee. His “30-Day Shape Up and Slim Down” is probably the easiest to start with.

Jaime’s target audience is boomers and beginners.

His programs focus on low intensity interval training (LIIT), an approach that allows people who aren’t accustomed to exercising regularly to get in the routine without putting stress on their joints and tendons.

“This is how people get excited and empowered with fitness,” he says. “What drives me is knowing I’m changing lives, and in a way, saving lives.”

He relates the story of a 77-year-old man who’d been doing Jaime’s workouts regularly and contacted him after surviving a “widow-maker” heart attack. “His cardiologist told him if he hadn’t been exercising, he wouldn’t have survived,” says Jaime.

Tried and true

Many of Jaime’s workout videos include a “blast from the past” with the original exercise guru, Jack LaLanne. 

“No one else was doing this in the ‘50s and ‘60s, but the reason people today are in the fitness business was Jack. He was a visionary and a pioneer. People like me wouldn’t be around today if not for Jack,” says Jaime.

“He was literally a ‘jack of all trades.’ Some of the things he was doing 70 years ago are still around. He was certainly a mentor. I still like to take a lot of his programming and make it more modern. He did it with such passion and integrity.”

Jaime is grateful he met Jack in 2002. The fitness legend was 97 when he passed away in January 2011.

“I’m still in touch with Jack’s widow Elaine,” says Jaime. “She’s 97 and has a lot of energy.” 

In fact, Jaime and Elaine LaLanne wrote a book together, which was released in 2019. If You Want to Live, Move! Putting the Boom Back into Boomers is geared specifically towards the Baby Boomer generation. The fitness and nutrition information packed into this reader-friendly paperback is a practical wellness prescription for people of all ages.

2021 saw the launch of “Fit n Delicious” on PBS, featuring Jaime and Dani Spies, a popular YouTube chef. The TV show has been syndicated on numerous networks in more than 30 states and 167 countries.

Get inspired

Jaime points out two of the biggest health problems Americans face today: 

• Inactivity; not moving enough

• Eating unhealthy food daily

“We’ve seen a rapid increase in what I call ‘diabesity,’ which is a combination of obesity and diabetes,” he observes. “This is based on our lifestyles. Sixty-six percent of the U.S. population is overweight.”

Changing those statistics begins with a daily decision to move more and eat healthier.

Okay, Jaime, talk us through that. 

“The mindset you have to have is that you’re worth it. You can do this!” he says with his trademark enthusiasm.

“If you rest, you rust. The key is getting up and moving,” says Jaime. “Moving doesn’t need to be ‘formal exercise’ on a treadmill. It can be walking to your mailbox, house cleaning, washing your vehicle, doing some gardening. Incorporate movement into your life. Start with just walking more. It’s an energy equation — you’re either storing calories or burning them.”

Start with 8 minutes a day and work up. Aim to accumulate at least 30 minutes a day. 

You can also find an activity or sport you enjoy and make that part of your exercise routine. It’s a way to stay active, have some fun, and also build social relationships. For example, Jaime plays in an over-60 baseball league. 

As you start exercising more, remember that cardio alone won’t cut it. You need to add some resistance (strength training) to that movement. Jaime promotes the fusion of cardiovascular and resistance together. 

“As we age, resistance is more important than cardiovascular. We all have sarcopenia (muscle “leaking”) as we get older, and our metabolism lowers. Resistance training is one thing that staves this off. And once you have muscle, you get the calorie burn of muscle,” he explains.

He recommends doing some form of cardiovascular exercise as many days of the week as possible and incorporating strength training at least two days per week.

How can you determine if your cardio workout is rigorous enough? Give it the “talk test.”

“If you’re gasping and can’t hold a conversation, you’re working too hard. If you can repeat a complete sentence without any type of exertion in your voice, pick up the pace,” advises Jaime. “You don’t have to work too hard, but you have to work a little.” 

Lean, clean, green

As you start moving more, be mindful of how you’re eating.

In just three words, Jaime describes the best way to eat: Lean. Clean. Green. Build your diet around:

• Lean protein

• Clean (whole foods, not processed) 

• Green (lots of veggies)

He likes to say, “You can’t go wrong eating green, unless it’s green M&Ms!”

Always start your day with protein, which provides a feeling of fullness and satisfaction.

What about sweets? Jaime will never ban dessert because deprivation is a sure way to fail. Instead, he suggests the “three bite rule.”

“You can still have dessert, but you don’t have to eat the whole piece. Just have a few bites,” he advises. 

Can you have a snack between meals? Sure, just make smart choices that combine protein and healthy fats, such as:

• Yogurt

• Tablespoon of peanut butter on an apple slice

• Handful of nuts

• Healthy protein shake

• Nutrition bar

And stay hydrated. First and foremost, drink water.

Jaime urges everyone — especially seniors — to make water their primary beverage. “Fall in love with water,” he emphasizes.

Start moving

Live healthier longer

“As we age, health becomes a little more important than aesthetics. You want to feel better in the morning, to be able to get up and move, to be strong and empowered,” says Jaime. “Most people just want to feel better and be healthier, not be body builders.”

The idea is living your best life at any age.

Jaime urges everyone to focus on progress not perfection.

And don’t beat yourself up if you fall off the wagon and eat that whole slice of cake.

“There will be days you won’t be as healthy as you want,” he admits. “Just pick it up the next meal or the next day. Go by daily victories. Start slow and focus on progress.”

Forget the sprint. Life-long health is really a marathon. It’s about what you do each day.

“Fitness is cumulative. It all adds up,” says Jaime. “The goal is to live healthier longer.”

Now that you’re inspired, take the next step and dive into some 8-minute workouts featuring “fusion,” the perfect combination of cardio meets strength training. 

Jaime provided this link especially for Healthy Living readers: 

https://vimeo.com/showcase/10622448

Catch Jaime live in The Villages at Rohan Recreation at 6pm on April 18, 2024.

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