Class of ’83 | When Gina Lombardi DH’83 first arrived in Southern California after studying dental hygiene at Penn,
she had one objective: to become a part of the entertainment industry—even if that meant probing the stars’ gums. Luckily for her, cleaning the teeth of the likes of Sean Connery and Mark Hamill was only a temporary fix. An additional job at a public-relations firm helped her get a footing on the celebrity beachhead.
While at Penn, Lombardi spent weekends working as a personal trainer in a Bryn Mawr gym, and that experience, coupled with her studies in anatomy and physiology, revealed the potential for an advantageous symbiosis with LA’s body-image culture.
At that time there were relatively few trainers in California, and a burgeoning need for their services. Noting this gap between supply and demand, Lombardi set about building a training business geared toward getting clients in shape quickly and safely. Lombardi’s celebrity clientele has included Beck, Val Kilmer, Kirstie Alley, the late Isaac Hayes, and quite a few others. Yet she also wanted to inspire healthy habits around the globe, not just in the fitness-obsessed bubble of Southern California.
Now, with thousands of hours of one-on-one training and a successful television program, FitNation, under her belt, she has produced her first book, Deadline Fitness (Wiley, 2009), making her fitness strategies available to an even wider public.
The book is geared towards weight loss, but Lombardi says that while people are reading it and following the program, “they’re learning so much about their habits and their lifestyle, and they’re seeing where they need to change things.”
Change is essential to her wellness Weltanschauung.
“If people give too many excuses about why they can’t do it,” she says, “I tell them, ‘You need to change your schedule. You need to change your lifestyle.’”
With Deadline Fitness, Lombardi set out to provide a system through which a layperson could independently calculate figures such as optimal calorie intake for each meal. (She also sells Deadline Fitness Meal Kits from her website, ginalombardi.com.)
“Everything in Deadline Fitness is based on statistics and science,” she says. “In the beginning of each chapter it says how much you can expect to lose—those numbers aren’t just random. Those are numbers based on [the results of] all of the clients I’ve ever worked with.”
Despite her clear-cut goals and boundless enthusiasm, Lombardi admits that she too sometimes struggles to stay motivated. The birth of her son, Gunner, was followed by “two months where I was just not motivated at all,” she recounts. “I was so overwhelmed with everything—I was shooting the show; I was writing for magazines; I had this new baby. It was crazy.”
But focusing on losing her last 10 pounds of baby weight, she adjusted her schedule so she could exercise each day. And it worked.
Lombardi’s ultimate goal is to improve the health of the nation’s children. “They really are the wave of the future,” she says, “so if we can get them changing their habits, and parents can stop poisoning their children and making them fat, then we might be in good shape in a few years.”
—Emily Kohlhas C’09