Ten pounds. Thirty pounds. A new backyard patio. More kitchen counter space. Time, money, and energy. These are the things standing between you and your ideal body, between you and your ideal house—perhaps between you and your ideal life.
Certified strength and conditioning specialist Joe Arangio—“Coach Joe” as he’s known in the gym—and his wife Sharon, a health coach, have spent their careers battling “homebody” culture by teaching their clients how to get and stay active and healthy. Now, they’re redefining what it means to be a homebody entirely with their new reality show, HomeBody Challenge. The transformational show grants Lehigh Valley residents the opportunity to give their homes and their bodies a makeover with help from home renovation professionals and time in the gym with the Arangios.
We sat down with the fit couple to get the scoop on HomeBody Challenge.
Tell us a little bit about yourselves.
We own WorkoutEngine Allentown, a private gym where we work with clients to help them lose body fat and build muscle. We work with fewer than 100 clients at a time so that we can provide adequate individual attention to each of them as we help them reach their goals. Fitness isn’t just our livelihood—it’s also our lives. Everything we preach to our clients, we also practice.
What exactly is HomeBody Challenge?
It’s a fun reality show that takes our passion for health and fitness one step further. It combines two popular formats: home renovation and body transformation. In addition to just home improvement, we also help the show’s participants change their bodies and implement healthy habits to carry with them for the rest of their lives.
Success is about sustainability and longevity—you have to be able to follow your nutrition, training, and recovery plan for the next 20 to 60 years. There are some aggressive and popular body makeover television shows that offer dramatic results, but the participants are exercising for 6 hours a day, 7 days a week, and they’re on extreme diets. They can’t keep that up forever, which is why when you see an interview with them a year later, they’ve returned to their former selves.
What’s the link between your health and your home?
There are obvious benefits of having a kitchen with ample pantry and counter space, as well as updated appliances, but other parts of the home also play a huge role in your health. Having a healthy space to recover from your workout and the stressful demands of day-to-day life is incredibly important and often forgotten. If you live in an environment that encourages healthy choices, it’s easier to make decisions that will result in your success.
There’s also financial health to consider. Surveys repeatedly show that money is a leading cause of stress. Some renovations that we do, such as adding solar panels to offset expensive air conditioning units or using window film on windows to boost energy efficiency, help save people money.
What inspired the show?
America has a huge obesity problem. More than 35 percent of adults are obese, and another third or so of Americans are overweight. Prevention is the best solution, and we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to bring an entertaining and educational show to our community that offers actionable solutions to fight the obesity epidemic.
How do people get on the show?
Any Lehigh Valley resident who has at least 10 pounds of body fat to shed can apply to be on the show to win home upgrades and training with us. We’re looking for people who are committed to changing
What’s the biggest mistake most people make when they decide to get healthy?
They don’t set a clear goal with a realistic deadline. Rather than saying “I want to get in shape” or “I want to feel better,” it’s important to focus on something that you can
Decide to lose a certain amount of body fat, run a certain distance, or lift a certain amount of weight by an achievable date—don’t set yourself up for failure by wanting to lose 10 pounds by Friday. Then track your progress accordingly. Setting short-term goals is great, but you also have to implement a long-term strategy. The reason why fad diets sell—and fail—is because they offer the hope of a quick fix to a systematic problem. The best plan is one that you can stick to.
What’s one small thing everyone can do today to improve their health and their diet?
Drink more water! Everyone should be drinking half of their bodyweight in ounces. A lot of times, hunger is just thirst in disguise.
How effective is WorkoutEngine Allentown’s training? We put our graphic designer Melissa through the exercise portion of the HomeBody Challenge to find out. For the past two weeks, she has been starting her morning at 6 a.m. to exercise with Coach Joe as well as following the Arangios’ healthy meal plan. Flip to the next page to read about her experience.
Why did you agree to this exercise challenge?
I feel uncomfortable in my own skin. I knew I needed to make some kind of change when my pants started feeling too tight and my winter coat got harder to button up. I don’t own a scale, but I found out at the gym that I had gained 10 pounds in the past year. I didn’t want to find out where staying on that path led.
What kind of exercise were you doing before?
I walked my dogs twice a day, and I’d get to the gym three or four times a month to do cardio for 45 minutes.
What are your workouts like now?
They’re a lot more efficient and effective. We do circuits, which keeps my heart rate up and also keeps me from getting bored. Forty-five minutes of exercise four times a week is only three hours total every week, which is totally doable—I used to spend three hours a day watching television.
Have you seen any changes after two weeks?
I lost six pounds, and I already feel stronger. I feel like my posture has improved from lifting weights.
What is your favorite workout song?
My power song is “Whip My Hair” by Willow Smith. It definitely makes me work harder.
What has been the most eye-opening thing about this experience?
I learned how much I overate. Seeing what proper serving sizes are and how quickly calories add up was a huge realization for me. For my activity level, size, and goals, I only need to be consuming around 1500 calories per day.
Has your diet changed?
Drastically! I never used to measure anything and I didn’t bother with nutrition labels. I used to eat pretty healthy for breakfast and lunch, but it all fell apart at night. I’d often go home and treat myself with a huge serving of pasta. I also used to eat really quickly, but I’ve been trying to slow down and savor my meals.
Now I eat five or six small meals throughout the day, like a turkey wrap, cottage cheese, or an apple. On Saturdays, though, I let loose because it’s my “cheat day”! Last Saturday, I had the Brewers’ Grain-Fed Burger from Fegley’s Brew Works—it was heaven.
What nutrition fact surprised you the most?
There are about 190 calories in two tablespoons of peanut butter!