Q&A with Eric Steiner: Fitness Provides Balance, Focus and a Way to Contribute to the Community

It takes a strong resolve to commit to a consistent fitness regime, particularly one that includes training at lunchtime when most FiDi professionals are either slumped over their desks eating a takeout salad or waiting in line at a food truck or Philz. Over the past year my client and friend Eric Steiner has run multiple marathons, recovered from knee surgery, maintained an impressive weightlifting training program and decided to once again ride the 545 miles from SF to LA in 2016 to help raise money for, and awareness of, our continued fight against HIV/AIDS. So I asked Eric to share his insights on how training helps him maintain balance and what his upcoming AIDS/Lifecycle ride means to him. Enjoy! - JJ

Q. Why is training important to you and what is your #1 goal?

My job requires a lot of reading and analyzing so it’s important to me to offset that with some sort of physical workout every day.  We need balance.  It doesn't need to be the most intense workout, but for me turning off my brain for an hour or so to focus strictly on how my body feels at that moment, is key.

Running, and in particular distance running, forces me to focus completely on how I'm feeling at that moment and because of that, all the other crap going on in life doesn't matter.  However, distance running has a tendency to beat up your body (knee surgery anyone?) and for me, it's hard to keep weight on when I'm in the middle of marathon training.  So my main goal is to find a good balance with weights and training to help me maintain overall muscle tone and leanness.

I think it is also important to revise your goals as we age and as your body changes.  At 52, my goals are much different than they were 10 or even 5 years ago.  The body reacts differently and you have to be able to revise your expectations and live with the limitations.  That is by far the hardest thing about my workouts.    

Q. What are your favorite (and least favorite) exercises that JJ makes you do?

I like most of the upper body workouts we do, but hate pull-ups.  I'm also not crazy about those stupid ropes and dragging JJ's ass around the cardio studio. (Editor’s note: He’s kidding, obviously. What could be more fun and effective than sprinting while dragging a 175# man behind you?!)

Q. What's your favorite post workout snack?

I don't typically snack after a workout, but if I do, I like the Muscle Up protein shake they've got at the gym these days.  Or I’ll grab a piece of fruit.   If I don't have to go back to the office, my favorite post workout snack is a manhattan.

Q: What advice do you have for people considering starting a fitness and health program?

Be consistent.  Make time in your life to make fitness a priority.  Set aside time each day to do something physical, and be consistent about when that is.  I have found that if I work out at the same time each day, my mind and body come to expect it. And people in my life (whether personal or work) come to expect and accept it.  Once you get into a fitness routine, everything else will fall into place and you won’t be able to make excuses for not exercising.

Q: Tell us about AIDS/LifeCycle and why it's important to you.

I moved to San Francisco, and more specifically to the Castro, in 1985.  I was 22 and was just starting to explore my sexuality. The Castro in 1985 was not a happy place.  It seemed like everyone was getting sick and dying from AIDS.  The weekly newspapers had pages and pages of obituaries each week.  For me, a kid from the suburbs, it was frightening and has had a profound impact on who I am today.

Fortunately, those days are behind us and people are living with HIV and AIDS thanks to the introduction of life saving therapies. But these therapies don’t come cheap and there is more research to be done.  We can’t become complacent simply because HIV/AIDS isn’t in the news each day.

The AIDS Lifecycle is one way I can help in the continuing fight against HIV/AIDS.  The Lifecycle is a 7 day, 545 mile bike ride from SF to LA.  The mission of the ride is among other things, to (i) raise funds to support the HIV/AIDS services of the SF AIDS Foundation and the LA LGBT Center, (ii) increase awareness and knowledge about the services and programs offered by the benefiting organization, (iii) increase awareness and knowledge about HIV/AIDS among participants, their donors and the general public and (iv) increase AIDS activism and volunteerism among the participant and donor communities, inspiring them to become ambassadors in the fight against AIDS.

Selfishly, doing the ride and training for it is a great way to get exercise and to stay in shape.  During the ride we cycle anywhere from 60-100 miles a day and burn close to 5,000 calories a day, which means I can eat as many cupcakes as I want for an entire week!

If you’re interested in learning more or want to make a donation, please go to this website.