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David Siik loves running. The Michigan native, our number 8 Hottest contestant, has competed in runs since college, incorporates running into his sessions with clients and is even penning a book about how to maximize your treadmill workouts. (Watch the fitness buff and Ford model talk about his obsession right here; click here to see him on the cover of Runner's World.) We spoke to him about his number one passion and number one workout pet peeve.
How did you get into training?
"I'm a retired competitive runner. When I stopped racing I wanted to find a way to continue in the culture of running. So I began instructing people. I'm known in LA as 'the running trainer' because all of my workouts are based on the principles and ideas of running. I'm so desperately in love with running that I just wanted to help other people to stop hating running."
Okay: How do you get people to stop hating running?
"Number one is understanding how to do it correctly. And then seeing the results. It's difficult—running is not ever going to be easy—but it's such an amazing way to maintain the body. Running is extremely emotional. If you thrive on the emotion of it instead of the sweat and hard work of it, that's how you become a running addict. And that's how you become a better runner."
What's the hardest thing about what you do?
"I would say that the hardest thing is making everybody happy, because you never will. Everyone has such a different set of needs. But in LA especially, LA's a very fit city and it breaks my heart that the people who are already fit, well educated, they've already worked really hard and come a long way, they're the demographic that's not looked after. They're kind of forgotten. People only care about weight-loss stories. My greatest contribution is helping the fit-ready community stay motivated. It's easy to help someone lose weight. It's very difficult to take somebody who's already fit and help them move to the next level."
What's the most rewarding part?
"There are so many rewards. I get to share my obsession and passion and deep deep love for running with people. I get comments all the time about how fast someone has run a mile and that's great and I'm happy for those people, but it's the girl or the guy who comes to me in tears saying, 'David, I haven't actually run longer than two minutes in 15 years.' And they're so overwhelmed by the ability of their body. For someone to run five minutes straight through who hasn't run in many years, it's almost an out-of-body experience for me. It's so gratifying. It's a form of therapy too. I have a lot of people who have told me that running has become their biggest source of emotional therapy."
Do you have any tips for someone who is just starting out?
"My number one thing is: don't be hard on yourself. And always come back. Always try again. Even if you hate it, you hate the instructor, go somewhere else and try it again. You have to come back. It will get easier."
What's the biggest mistake you see in peoples' workouts?
"Everybody loves to show off in the last ten seconds of a training session. But saving it for the end of the workout, or when the trainer is watching you do your last rep, is the biggest mistake you'll ever make. Work out like you live your life. The last ten seconds of your life, they really don't matter compared to the quality of your life up to that point. I think fitness is the same thing."
What's your advice for getting a flat stomach?
"Running! Running and diet of course. Eating right, combined with running specifically, is like the atomic bomb on fat. Nothing it melts it away the same. It's the number one thing people ask me as a fitness model. I do a lot of ab shoots and always get, 'How many crunches do you do?' I do very little. It's about running. There's a certain torquing motion that your body does when you're running. When you lift your knee your body torques and your abs react underneath. And that's what holds a runner's stomach in and why runners have such flat stomachs. Core and running are hand-in-hand, you can't have one without the other."
Where do you shop for workout gear?
"Well, I'm sponsored by Mizuno and they're launching a whole new line of fabrics that I've been testing that are incredible. They have some really really great workout stuff. They're in every running store and most big athletic stores carry [the brand]. And then I teach and train in Lululemon. I have to say that my favorite shoe is the Precision. It's a really, really great shoe for somebody with an average kind of stride and running ability."
What do you like to do when you're not running?
"I'm publishing a running book this year. It's been really exciting. It's a treadmill running book so it's all about training on the treadmill. I have a methodology of training with specific guidelines that give you the biggest burn out of the running with the least amount of impact on the body. It's half-narrative, kind of like 'Chicken Soup for the Runner's Soul,' and half an instruction manual and I work on it every day. Every spare moment I have. We're trying to get it published this year."