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Lord of the Abs: Gilad Janklowicz

Bodies in Motion host Gilad Janklowicz has led TV viewers through living-room workouts for 30 years. His show, shot at scenic locations in Hawaii and currently shown on the Discovery Fit & Health channel, has fans all over the world.


Photo: Adam Jung

WHEN I had the chance to start doing this show, I thought maybe it would be a two-year stint. I didn’t realize it could last 30 years. I’m 59 now. I don’t know if I want the show to be my main event at 80. But as a hobby, I would do it.

I THINK the show is as intense now as ever. But I’ve walked away from high-impact aerobics. I’m doing more low impact now. It’s easier on the joints.

WE DON'T tape every year. We tape every couple of years. When we do a season, we’ll shoot a bunch of shows in a short period of time. I’ve shot as many as eight a day. But usually five or six.

I'VE NEVER had a plate lunch, and I never will. Unless I’m completely starved to death, and I have no choice.

WE PAY the talent that works out with me a day rate. They rehearse a long time with me, somewhere from six to eight weeks. By the time we’re ready to shoot, they can pretty much guess what I’m going to do.

I FIND the talent everywhere. I find them in the gyms. I find them walking down the beach. I approach them and say, “Hey, would you like to come and try out for my show?” It’s a great pickup line [laughter]. Yeah, no—I don’t use it as a pickup line.

I CRINGE when I see that stuff on YouTube of me in the ’80s wearing those tight little shorts. I’m trying to get that off of there.  

IN ONE of the shows we shot in Waikiki, you’ll see a guy kind of stumbling around in the background, drunk. We couldn’t get rid of him. So I said: “Hey, what are you doing? Come over here and work out with us.” We pulled out a mat and made him part of the show. He did all right, considering his condition.

MY FAVORITE locations are the North Shore locations. The weather’s good, it’s secluded, and nobody bothers us.

I HAVE never had McDonald’s, although I think I ate at Burger King once.

I THINK the show’s fairly athletic. But if I do an appearance at a fitness convention, you’ll see girls in leotards and tights running between classes, but they don’t come to my presentation. The people that come for me are not your fitness buffs. They’re more like housewives, or guys who were out of shape and got back in shape. That never ceases to amaze me.

I WILL have Zippy’s beanless chili once in a while. With brown rice.

HOW MANY calories have I burned in 600 episodes? Let’s say 300 calories per episode times 600 episodes—that’s, um, 180,000 calories. That’s my 30-year total.

Before he moved to Honolulu in the 1980s, Gilad Janklowicz held Israel’s decathlon record.

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Honolulu Magazine March 2018
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