Southerner and the City: D.J. Works Out with Celeb Trainer David Kirsch

DJ on the Beachyellow plumsStaying physically fit has always been a top priority for me. If you ask any of my friends, they will tell you that I’m either heading to a yoga or work out class of some flavor. Spending more than 10 years on television – first as a reporter and later as a spokesperson – added extra pressure to stay trim, too. And of course, you can’t rule out vanity! I want to look good.

However, there have been times when I wasn’t in the best shape. The freshman 15 showed up during the second semester of college. It’s hard to drink beer, eat pizza, study and stay trim. After I got married, a few more pounds made their way onto my frame. We were hop scotching all over the place, eating, drinking and thoroughly enjoying ourselves. When things finally slowed down, I found out I was pregnant. Hello, 40 pounds.

Fast forward seven years, I am looking pretty good physically if I do say so myself. It didn’t happen without a tremendous amount of discipline, hard work and some words of encouragement though. Actually, they were not words of encouragement. They were the words that every married woman NEVER wants to hear her husband say. It went something like this, “Honey, that’s not fat. That’s just a midlife pooch.” Lucky for him and more importantly my son, he is still alive and breathing.

It was all I needed to hear – coupled with the fact that my parents had both recently committed to starting a medically supervised weight loss program. My Father is a two-time heart attack survivor with diabetes. My Mom is in overall good health but needed to drop some weight. They made up there minds they were going to stick to the plan and started with fierce determination. I’ve included a photo of them from Christmas. I am so proud of them for their accomplishments.

My parents’ weight loss, along with my husbands poor choice of words, were all the encouragement I needed to start a serious workout plan. My three times a week yoga sessions were keeping me flexible and calm, but I needed to tone and tighten up my 1970s model body. I was on a mission. I stumbled across a video clip of Heidi Klum’s trainer, David Kirsch. I clicked on it, liked it and started doing some research. During this process ironically, I met David backstage at a fashion show at Lincoln Center in September. He and his adorable twin girls were taking part in the show that I was helping with. After introducing myself, I told him I wanted to start working out and liked his approach to training women, specifically. Shortly afterwards, I called and made an appointment with him at the Madison Square Club.

David is known for whipping Heidi Klum back into runway shape for a Victoria’s Secret show after giving birth. He has also worked with Anne Hathaway, Ellen Barkin, Linda Evangelista and Liv Tyler. While I will never be a supermodel or look like one, I decided it would be great to train like one. David’s approach is all about wellness, focusing on your diet and your workout. He helped me clean up my diet and his team of trainers kicked my butt into shape! I am lean, tone, slimmer and happier about my overall physical health thanks to David and his crew.

So you may be thinking, “That’s great D.J., but how can I work out like that”?

It’s really easy, actually, thanks to technology. David has an online workout/wellness plan called The Ultimate New York Body Plan. It is an online training plan you use at home. Once you sign up, you have to enter information based on your health, physical fitness level, eating habits and most importantly your goals. The work outs are designed for your body type and your fitness level.

Several of my girlfriends have agreed to start The Ultimate New York Body Plan compliments of David. Over the next several weeks, the girls will be doing the workouts, following David’s eating plans and incorporating his supplements into their daily routines. I’m looking forward to seeing their results, gathering feedback and keeping YOU informed on their transformations. This is not all about losing weight. It is about being fit, healthy and well in 2013.

Stay tuned for more on the results from my girlfriends as they get “Kirsched.” Thank you, David Kirsch. You are an inspiration to us all!

Keep up with D.J’s adventures in the Big Apple by following her on Twitter @mrsdjduckworth and on Facebook. DJ is a contributing writer for New York Family magazine. She lives in Manhattan with her three boys, Mark, Corbin and Leo – woof, woof!


One Week Later

10-28-12 We decided to ride out the hurricane.  Can’t second guess myself.  We are stocked up and prepared as we can be at this point.

Cool picture…Unless the storm is heading your way!

That’s as far as I got last Sunday when Hurricane Sandy was heading toward NYC.  I stopped and realized it was not time to blog about a pending natural disaster.  It was time to prepare.  So, what did I do?  I cooked.  A lot. I paced the floor.  A lot.  I looked out the window. A lot.  I prayed, too.  Then Sandy rolled across the city.

We never – not once – lost power, water, cable, Internet, etc. in our neighborhood on the Upper West Side.  Our building did move with the winds and my chandelier swayed gently over a dining room table littered with Legos.  But we weathered the storm just fine, sort of.  My nerves were shot as the former me – D.J. Cunningham, television reporter – was glued to the TV, internet and every available media source for the latest information.

up to the minute weather report
24 Hour Weather Reporting

By the time I finally crashed in the early morning hours of Tuesday, I knew when I woke up  that life as I knew it before was not going to be the same.  It wasn’t.  We have all seen the horrible images of flooding, downed power lines, destruction, hospitals being evacuated, dangling cranes and people crying for help during what I would imagine are some of the worst times of their lives.

My friend and her children crashed with us for two days after she lost power at her apartment down on the Lower East Side.  They walked for two hours before she was able to recharge her phone and send me a text.  They hopped a cab and headed uptown where they stayed until late Friday when power was restored.

Before we moved to New York City, we were hit hard with an ice storm in Jonesboro.  I remember vividly waking Corbin up from a nap, putting him in his car seat and driving down my drive way as limbs snapped down behind us. There was no way I was going to be trapped in my house, with no power, Corbin and my dog Leo while Mark was away on business.  That was a smart call.  Power was not restored to our home for 8 days.  Corbin and I camped out with my parents who were two hours way and then later with my in-laws before the power was restored at our house.

I’ve taken cover during my fair share of tornados.  Growing up in Arkansas, you knew when a severe thunder storm was heading your way, that a tornado was always a possibility.  It used to be that the highest threat for tornados was spring and summer. But over the last 20 years, with wild swings in the weather patterns, tornados have torn through the state in all four seasons.  I’ve also spent some time in the dark and cold after a Christmas ice/snow storm knocked out the electricity in Carlisle, Arkansas where I grew up.  I have memories of myself eating hand made candies that were supposed to be given as Christmas gifts!

Being without power is one thing.  A big pain in the butt, yes.  But losing your home and everything you own is all together a different issue.  Seeing the scope of destruction, not far from where I sit writing this post, is really impossible to grasp.  From the raging fire that scorched over 100 homes in Queens, to the missing boardwalk in New Jersey, to the waterlogged parts of Staten Island, the images are painful to look at on television. The stories of those who died are heartbreaking.

The New York City Marathon was cancelled…finally.  As if it was really a good idea to run the race while so much of the area is still struggling to get back on its feet.  I know thousands of runners had trained, planned and possibly already traveled to NYC.  But the growing sense that the race would go on while there was so much destruction and death in some of the boroughs along the course was just too much to bear.  With hindsight being 20/20, the race should have been called off on Tuesday.

The news of Sandy even silenced the painfully loud noise of the political season.  It was interesting to watch President Obama and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie embrace each other and to set politics aside for a moment.  Even though I suspect the two men can’t stand each other, they both had business to do and people to take care of.  No time for political bickering. There will be time later on for the two to throw each other under the bus!

Photograph by Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty.

Progress is being made…slowly.  Power is being restored, gas is making its way back into the area, food and basic necessities are being provided although not always as swiftly as everyone would like.  Parts of the the subway and tunnels in lower Manhattan are still flooded and will be closed until further notice.  Government officials are already talking about what to do to protect New York City and the surrounding areas in the event another storm barrels through.  This is the second hurricane/tropical storm in two years. Hurricane Sandy was not a fluke.  Neither was Hurricane Irene last year.

Tuesday’s Rainbow over the Hudson River

How we managed to escape the wrath of a 900-mile-wide storm, I will never understand. I am beyond grateful that we did.  God bless those who were not as fortunate.  Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers as they work to rebuild their lives one day at a time.

If you want to help out, you can contribute to the Red Cross at





Om Shanti Mother F@#$%r

super2Yoga is part of my life and has been for many years.  One of my favorite aspects of the practice is the music.  I like to listen to music that is more instrumental and without lyrics preferring Krishna Das over Katy Perry.  If I start to sing along, my brain takes me back to where I was when I heard the song, who I was with, what we were doing, what I was wearing, what I was eating, how old I was, who my friends were, who I didn’t like, which boyfriend broke my heart, how much I weighed, what my hair looked like…you get my drift?  I get lost in my thoughts and forget about the practice.  Which is why I don’t like to hear anything remotely contemporary in a yoga class.

On Wednesday, I was half way through an intense yoga class with a teacher who plays a wide variety of music in his class.  You can image my surprise when I heard the words mother fucker float or rather sear through the room!  I was really into a groove with my practice, moving well, sweating like crazy and finally in my yoga zone.  And all of a sudden, there they were.  Mother fucker.  Of course, it didn’t take long for me to snap out of my yoga zone.

Getting into my Yoga Zone

Getting into my Yoga Zone

I looked at the other yogis in the room to see if they were as shocked as I was.  Some were.  The teacher didn’t appear to be too rattled that the song was playing as I assumed he wasn’t aware that it was in the playlist.  Needless to say, my practice took a different turn at least mentally.

Here is a quick script of my thoughts.  ”Did I here that right?  Was that mother fucker?  Yes, that’s what he said.  Is he (the teacher) going to switch songs because this is totally not a yoga class song?  How many times is this guy going to say mother fucker in one song? This is one mother fucking hard pose. If this mother fucker isn’t going to change the song, then he could change this mother fucking pose.  My legs are fucking killing me! This is one crazy ass way to end my mother fucking yoga class.  So much for om shanti, mother fucker…this is just fucked up!”

And then I started giggling.  Really?  Not only was I bombarded with mofo’s, but now I
was giggling like a school girl.  The song finally ended – THANK GOD!  And my giggles subsided and I managed to finish the class.  Sivasana was as pleasant as it could be as Adele’s version of  ”I Can’t Make You Love Me” played in the room.  And there again, I was back in my head thinking about the first time I heard that song and how sad it makes me feel. I thought,  well isn’t this just a mother fucking perfect way to end my mother fucking yoga class?

Namaste’ my friends.  May all of your yoga experiences be free of all mother fuckers.