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Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023

Improving Lives Through Exercise

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Rick Fugate uses physics to achieve fitness.

Rick Fugate uses scientific approach

To a lot of individuals who work in the exercise business, the human body is a temple. To Ric Fugate, the human body is a science lab.

His Facebook information describes him as working as an exercise expert who is changing lives and character for a lifetime. He is originally from Chicago, Ill., says he studied at the University of Hard Knocks, went to Southwood High School in Shreveport and currently lives here.

He works with clients in a one-on-one environment to help them achieve their goals using a scientific method he has developed over four decades in the business of bodies.

“This program is for anybody,” he said, and his approach breaks down into simple parts. “What I try to do is apply physics as it relates to biomechanics, and biomechanics as it relates to kinesiology. Physics, I used a part of classical mechanics which dictates perfect motion. In my business, that means I’m a stickler for perfect form at all times. How it relates to biomechanics is the function of it. How can I enhance sports performance and reduce injury? That’s where the biomechanics comes in. And kinesiology is, by definition, the muscles in motion. We’re trying to improve mobility, improve lives through exercise.”

Fugate started his journey in 1986 when he trained a family friend in his double garage with fitness equipment he’d bought at a local sporting goods store. That was his first client, and she went on to compete nationally. That success spurred Fugate to learn if this avocation was his life’s calling.

“I started with Ken Meeks at Fitness Plus, probably about 1987. He is definitely a mentor of mine.”

A few years later, Fugate got the opportunity to move west, a move not everyone thought was wise. “I had an opportunity to go to southern California in 1994. I had $9,000 in my pocket, didn’t know anybody there, and I took off. My parents and my family thought I was out of my mind. I was trying to figure out, am I going to be any good at this?”

California was, and perhaps still is, a fitness mecca.

“I landed in Malibu, Calif.,” Fugate explained. “I was there about three weeks, nothing happened. This great big Indian guy pulled me aside. He just went by one name, Ed; he called me ‘Louisiana.’ He said, ‘I tell you something, Louisiana, this area right here is too cliquey for you. If I were you, I’d backpedal a couple of hours and go down to Newport Beach, the Costa Mesa area. They’re more laid back like you are. … I think you’ll be fine.’”

Fugate said those were words of wisdom for him. The next day, he headed south and, within a week, was working at a personal training studio.

“I met a guy named Doug Brignole. Doug Brignole is the one who came up with the physics as it relates to biomechanics, biomechanics as relates to kinesiology. I was under his tutelage for a little over three years. Probably, the success I have in this business is because of Brignole.”

Fugate said he studied under Brignole for between 50 and 80 hours, but he also owes a debt of gratitude to the instruction he got from his first boss, Ken Meeks.

“[He’s] who got me started in this business; [he] gave me a start at Fitness Plus. Ken taught me everything right to do in this business. How to treat customers, how to treat clientele, how to treat members.”

Fugate has a variety of 16-week programs for folks interested in getting in shape, losing weight or training for specific activities.

His scientific approach to all this comes from all the years and all the bodies he’s helped keep in motion.

“Muscle is actually made on the eccentric portion of the movement, or the down portion part of the movement. Not the positive portion because most of that is done off of momentum, anyway. When you’re resisting the motion, like when you’re using a barbell, three or four seconds down to your chest, that muscle is fighting to contract and stretch at the same time. So, you get little microfiber chairs in your muscle.

And you allow that to heal, and that’s how you get bigger, stronger, faster. Or, in a woman’s case, who doesn’t have testosterone in her body, that’s how her muscles get harder. It’s extremely effective.”

Fugate said our goal should be to become as hard and lean as possible to maintain our health.

“Every human on the planet should think that. And that doesn’t mean you have to live like a monk. Food is 50% of our success or our failure. I have been working out for 45 years, and trust me, you cannot out-exercise bad nutrition.”

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