Heads up, Fairfield. There’s a new trainer in town who’s ready to give you the biggest shock of your life.
“Shocking the body is about not knowing what’s next, about the element of surprise,” says Donovan Green, owner of Fairfield’s new SHOCK Studio. “No class is ever the same.”
Earlier this spring, Green opened his private studio on Post Road with his own intuitive approach to workouts.
“You’re not going to see me with a clipboard with a written-out routine and me checking things off as you do them,” he says. “I don’t have people step on scales. There are no measurements; there are no weigh-ins, none of that stuff. It’s just me and you and people are drawn to that.”
They could also be drawn to his infectious energy and highly positive, highly motivating personality that’s almost – dare we say – Oprah-like. It doesn’t hurt that he’s so liberal with his mile-wide smile and a spirited, yet deep-voiced, “You go, girl!”
Jamaican-born and Bronx-bred, Green built his repertoire and client base over the last dozen years by taking his training through the five boroughs. He dedicated years to developing his body-mind workout regimen that emphasizes a yin and yang approach of meditative personal awareness and fast-paced circuits. After years of word-of-mouth referrals in and around Manhattan, Green found himself training one of the most publicized health and fitness personalities in the nation, Dr. Mehmet Oz.
“He was a lot of fun and filled with energy,” Green says of Oz, who, of course, rose to fame thanks to (the real) Oprah’s golden endorsement. “He is not afraid of hard work. As a matter of fact, he welcomes it.”
Green first trained Oz’s wife, Lisa, who, he says, “is not afraid to work or sweat,” and explains the daytime doc’s favorite exercises were the ones focused on body mechanics that didn’t require equipment. On “The Dr. Oz Show” website, folks can find Green (and his biceps) starring in a series of “No Excuses” workout videos, including a no-equipment regimen he developed called Healthy Couch Potato. That name says it all.
Back at SHOCK Studio, Green builds private sessions and workout classes with and without equipment. The lower level of his two-tiered center stocks everything from jump ropes to sand bags, BOSU balls to medicine balls, plus a full weight room. Clients take SHOCK classes upstairs – there are three to four a day from Green or fellow trainer, Rore Middleton – that target “Butt & Gut,” emphasize “Firm & Tone,” and integrate kickboxing or martial arts. Green has a black belt in jujitsu and practices Krav Maga and Muay Thai among other forms of martial arts. He also offers TRX classes, where students work with resistance bands suspended overhead.
Then there’s DonaYoga, Green’s custom meditation blend interspersed throughout workouts, that’s a package deal of relaxation music, yoga and tai chi emphasizing breathing, balance and the fluidity of the body.
“Within a matter of a week or two, I have clients who had no balance now maintaining balance. Clients who could never do push-ups are doing push-ups,” says Green, who trains beginners as well as high school, advanced and even professional athletes. “Bodies change, posture changes, inches come down and stress goes away. But you have to make a commitment to nutrition or those results will never happen.”
For Green, nutrition, fitness and spirituality go hand in hand (in hand). His credo: “Your body is just a body until you make it a temple.” And as an admitted “chubby kid,” Green remembers observations as a 13-year-old that motivated him toward a life of health.
“I started looking at people in my community and people at my church and realizing that they were all overweight,” he says. “They’re supposed to be taking care of their body they call their ‘kingdom,’ but they looked sloppy.”
There was no turning back once teen Green was on the workout track, and he’s been on a mission ever since to bring others aboard. When Oz launched his HealthCorps program to teach nutrition, fitness and mental resilience to high schools around the country (see related story), Green was one of the first to lend a hand.
“I was with HealthCorps since day one,” says Green, who has since visited more than 60 schools from New York to New Jersey and Philadelphia. “We talk about nutrition, we talk about health and living their lives with a changed lifestyle.”
He also encourages kids to keep a strong self-awareness and warns of the danger of gangs. Green says it’s not the first time he’s helped keep his community not only healthy, but also safe.
“I had a gym in the Bronx for three-and-a-half years, and it helped the low-income community to change,” he says. “Today there are a lot of people that are no longer in gangs because of that gym being there.”
To Green, inspiring whole-body wellness is a responsibility, a privilege, from speaking with high school students or working clients into a sweat.
“It’s good for me to know I’m helping people,” he says. “It feels awesome to give back, so whatever inspiration God gave me, I’d like to spread that word.”
Call it a ripple effect – or maybe, a SHOCKwave.