Thursday, October 29, 2009

My Interview with Pam the Blam - Part Four

Have you caught up with Parts One, Two and Three of my conversation with Pam the Blam? If so, click below to read the final segment of her interview, in which Pam discusses her fellow onscreen trainers and life after P90X.


Do you get recognized in public by people who've seen you in the P90X videos?

Yeah, it’s funny. It happens in bizarre places, and it’s actually shocking to me when people recognize me.

One time I was in Panda Express, which doesn’t necessarily have the best food for your diet, and a guy approached me as I was in line to place my order. He said, “I don’t mean to bother you, but is your name Pam?” It really made me more mindful of my choices. Even though I’m normally in shape, I kind of feel like I can’t walk around with a big slice of pizza or whatever – I have to be a role model. 

It’s not surprising to me that you’re recognized by people. When I look at the search terms that lead people to my blog, the names that come up most often are Tony’s, Dreya’s and yours.

What? [Laughing.] Why is that? Why do you think that is?

I know why you’re one of my favorites on the videos – you look very comfortable doing what you’re doing.  Yes, you break a sweat, but you look so calm and cool.  And I think a lot of us aspire to be like you. When we start P90X, we’re all out of breath and stumbling around, and to see someone who looks like they’ve mastered the program is very motivational.

Believe me, I was huffing and puffing internally. 

You hid it well. Are you still in touch with any of the people from your P90X experience?

The only two with whom I have any interaction are Joe Bovino and Laura. Most of the other folks, no.

I guess I have too much time on my hands, because I’ve Googled pretty much everyone in the videos. It was awesome to learn about Erik, for instance.

Erik Stolhanske! And guess what? When I met him in person during the class, I had no idea that he was so successful in Hollywood. No idea! I think I may have even learned from somebody else that Erik acted in or wrote this or that movie, but he’s just this low-key guy!

And all the attention was focused on him having one leg.

Yeah – even during the test group, I would see Erik and say to myself, “Okay, I have to keep going. It wouldn’t be right for me to crap out at this point.”

He’s awesome. His name also comes up a lot in the search terms that lead folks to my site.

Not Dominic’s?

No, but Dominic is amazing – the fact that he can jump that high is just crazy to me.  Was he part of the test group?

Yes, he was. He was really into it. I don’t know what his fitness background was, but he was definitely the superstar of the test group.

I’m a big fan of Phil’s. He comes across as no-nonsense, but he cracks me up on the videos when he snaps at Tony.

He is like that in real life -- no bullshit. I instantly liked him. He also knew Tony before the shoot.

Have you ever thought about capitalizing on your P90X fame to develop your own workout series, fitness book or other opportunities?

No. In fact, up until recently, I had put the P90X thing in my past. I mentioned it in my “Pamela in Panama” blog as an aside, but just recently, a lot more people have been connecting me to P90X.

I had a chance to be a Beachbody coach originally, but even then, I didn’t really want to do the actual “coaching” part. I like helping people, but I don’t know how much help I could be to them while they made their way through the program. So I turned them away. But now that people are looking me up – and hey, we’re doing an interview right now –maybe I should consider doing the coaching again. I’m kind of torn. Did you ever consider becoming a Beachbody coach?

Well, I believe Beachbody coaches aren’t allowed to say negative things about the products, and I’ve already done that on my blog.  And I’ve made fun of Tony. A lot.

[Laughs.] Is that against the rules?

I don’t know, but Beachbody coaches do sign a non-disparagement clause, and my guess is that some of what I've said on my blog might be considered disparaging. Besides, I’m not sure that I’d add much value to anyone’s experiences with P90X. But certainly if you become a Beachbody coach, I’ll sign up with you.

Then you might end up being my first customer! I’m really thinking about it again, but I don’t want to get involved if somebody’s going to think, “Oh, she’s just taking my money and she’s not reaching out to me.” I want to feel like I’m actually contributing something more than just showing my face and getting paid for it. 

But I’m not the type of person who personally requires a trainer for ongoing encouragement. I don’t need someone to say, “come on, Pam, you can do it!” That’s not me, so by extension, I tend to think that you have to be largely self-motivated to get through P90X. You’re doing it at home by yourself. I’m not sure I can contribute to anyone’s internal motivation except to say, “Go do it. And buy more product.” Because at the end of the day, it’s about selling products. 

I’ve actually not purchased anything from Beachbody except the P90X DVDs.  But I’m thinking about trying out another workout series.  I’m looking at Shaun T's Insanity.

Oh, believe me, I was looking at that too – but I was probably just looking more at Shaun T! [Laughs.] Yeah, I popped onto the website and thought, “Ooh, I could look at him and get through Insanity! I could stay engaged long enough to get through the craziness of the workout!”

Hence the name, I guess. If you ever try it out, let me know and we can try to sync up our workouts.

And vice versa. Or actually, I’ll let you try it first and you can get back to me. That program looks like you’d need other people around just to make sure you don’t get killed.

Yeah, I’d need a spotter just to stand there with a towel and bottle of water and a phone pre-programmed to speed-dial 911.

Wait – if you’re not buying products, then you wouldn’t be a very good person for me to coach!

Yeah, I tend to look skeptically at the products. I ask myself whether I can replicate them by going to a cheaper source, and the answer’s usually yes. You got a lot of supplements for free when you did the test group, but I’m assuming you didn’t keep ordering all that stuff afterwards, right?

No, I didn’t. I really appreciated the free supplements at the time, though. The recovery drink? I thought, well, this is bogus – what’s this drink going to do?  I did drink it, but I didn’t think it made any discernable difference. And also, I don’t like [protein] bars or anything like that.  I don’t like eating artificial, overly processed foods.  I’m more like you – I’m more likely to go out and buy some goji berries, whey protein, make my own shake.

Hopefully, Beachbody won’t see me as having disparaged them and not allow me to be a coach because of this interview! [Laughs.]

So you're really thinking of becoming a Beachbody coach?

You know, if you’re the type of person who needs ongoing support, I think it’s actually important to go with someone who can give you that.  But if you just want to buy products from my page – that’s a different story!  I’m happy to receive my percentage from your purchase!  I’ll put out a disclaimer: If you ever need to reach out to me on a regular basis for an “atta boy,” then I’m not your coach, but if you just want to see me benefit financially because I didn’t make money from the P90X videos, then by all means! [Laughs.]

I’m sure you deserve more than you got – especially now that the series has gotten so popular.

Yeah – it really has exploded! I think they’ve made like $400 million or something. And think about it: it’s five years old. The longevity is what’s so amazing to me. I can’t really get my head around it. Who could have anticipated it?  And it works!  It does what it says it’ll do! I hate to sound like an infomercial – but if you stick with it, it definitely, definitely works. 
Do you still do P90X?

I use the DVDs – I have them, and use them along with other things that I do.  I did Ab Ripper X the other day and – oh, my hip flexors! – it was horrible. I feel for all the people doing P90X because I’d forgotten what it’s like to do the workouts every single day. You’re so sore from the day before you can barely make it through whatever it is they throw in front of you the next day!

What do you do now for fitness?

When I went on the Beachbody message boards, I read what people were saying, and a lot of people said my legs are so muscular that I must have already been a weightlifter. I’m naturally inclined to easily build muscle; that’s just my build. I’m a mesomorph. So now, I just do maintenance things – whatever I feel like doing.  I try to work out different parts of my body. I rollerblade, I jump rope, I hike, use my resistance bands, my flexiball.

I do love yoga – I hadn’t done yoga before P90X, I think it’s the most incredible exercise that you can do, especially as you get older because your flexibility declines. And it definitely makes you strong. I like taking classes, too, like dance classes. They’re just another way to get exercise and mix it up.  For me, just going to the gym gets old, having to figure out what to do next.

Thanks for taking the time to speak with me today, Pam.

I appreciate you taking the time to talk to me – I’m beginning now to have a better understanding of the impact P90X has had on the lives of people. I’m trying to be a better person and see how I can contribute in the world – as corny as that sounds – using my own gifts and talents and interests.  I hope that people will check out my second book when it comes out, even if they think there was nothing in it for them in “Why Do Black People Love Fried Chicken” – the next book will be more universal. And that’s it!

[JAN. 2011 UPDATE: Pam's back with a new video, answering questions from fans and talking about going Paleo!]

[FEB. 2011 UPDATE: Want even more behind-the-scenes P90X dirt? Check out my interview with Joe Bovino!]