If you want to know what Lynne and Victor Brick are all about, read her necklace.
"Brick Bodies," it says in gold letters with diamonds studding the capital Bs. The description is right on the mark:
A nationally recognized leader in aerobics exercise, Lynne is, at 36, flat-bellied and firm in all the places that show. Victor, two years older and known for his acumen in the business aspects of fitness, is a perfect inverted pyramid, with broad shoulders, narrow waist, no hips.
Their reputations are equally firm: "Victor is an inspired speaker, and Lynne has a very solid teaching program; she's always in the forefront in all her concepts," says Peg Moline, fitness editor at Self magazine, which this month named them "one of the foremost fitness couples in the country" and cited their Padonia Fitness Center as one of the nation's 25 best.
And the Padonia club, which they bought in 1985, has been so successful they're branching out, with "Lynne Brick's Women's Health and Fitness," scheduled to open this fall at Belvedere Square.
"You have to understand the way it works," says Victor, whose enthusiasm sometimes overrides his wife's more measured speech. "I'm the idea guy. Then I say, 'Lynne can do it!' "
They're relaxing on the glassed-in patio of their split level home in Timonium, not far from Lynne's original neighborhood. She attended Lutherville Elementary School, Dulaney Senior High and Towson State University, where she got her bachelor's degree in nursing. Her parents still live nearby; her sister is the office manager at Padonia.
Victor, whose mother is from the Philippines, grew up in Silver Spring; his family has more recently moved to Florida, though his father is still his "business mentor." Victor went to Towson, too, getting a master's in physical education. They met as students: She was dancing with the college ensemble; he, angling for an introduction, joined her in the studio one day, pretending to be stretching out prior to auditioning for dance.
On his resume, his full name is C. (for Charles) Victor. "I always tell him it's C for Control," Lynne says, laughing.
There's a Lexus in the garage, and a basketball half-court in the driveway, but tennis is really the family passion. Their 10-year-old daughter Vicki is already an accomplished player, they're teaching 6-year-old Jonathan, and they're thinking about installing a tennis court in the back yard.
Their children are their hobby, they insist as they show off Vicki's sports trophies, Jonathan's drawing of a multicharacter video game. When they're not working, they play with the kids; Victor coaches Vicki's basketball and soccer teams and Jonathan's soccer group.
"I'm also an inveterate reader," he adds. Inspiration has come from such books as "Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun," by Wess Roberts.
"What it points out," he says, "is that Attila got a bunch of barbarians and organized them into an efficient empire, using the same principles that you use when you get a bunch of different people and organize them into a business."
But the leadership secrets of the Bricks come from their background as well as their books. According to Victor, they've always been planners; they've always looked ahead. They met during Lynne's first year at Towson and dated for the next four years, waiting until 1978 to get married, "because Lynne wanted graduate and go into nursing," he says. "I wanted to graduate and go into coaching."
They did exactly that. With her B.S. and her R.N., Lynne went to work at the Shock Trauma Center; Victor coached basketball at TSU and then Essex Community College, and also worked as a recreation director for Baltimore County.
"It really prepared us to have our own business, because when things are tough, we just think back to Shock Trauma, where 13- or 14-hour days are nothing. Plus, you're dealing with people who really have problems. You just think of that, and you say: 'I can walk, I can think, I have my health, I don't have problems,' " Victor says.
"Another thing," Lynne chimes in, "It really helped us establish guidelines. At Shock Trauma, we had protocols, procedures, rules and regulations, and we put them into our own business right from the beginning."
Moreover, Victor continues, "There was the discipline that Lynne learned from nursing, where you better do your job because if you don't a life could depend on it. And in coaching, you better do your job, because if you don't, we lose."
But all those different pieces were just different pieces until 1981, when Victor had his first big idea for Lynne. Vicki was a newborn, and, looking for a way to supplement his income, he found a job as an aerobics dance teacher at the Belair Athletic Club.
"After teaching one or two classes, I realized this was really not my thing; it was too difficult for me," he says. "So I figured, 'My wife is a dancer; why don't I get her involved?' "