For a model, being fit is a job requirement

Fitness Profile

June 07, 1998|By Nancy Menefee Jackson | Nancy Menefee Jackson,Special to the Sun

For Joe Harmon, the secret to staying fit is a gym bag.

He keeps his gym bag packed, ready and with him every day,

which makes it easy to stop by the gym on his way home from work. Staying in shape isn't just an avocation for Harmon, a computer data analyst with the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory: He also works part time as a model.

"Staying fit is the best way to feel good about yourself," he says.

Harmon chooses to work early - arriving at 7:30 a.m. - so he can leave by 4 p.m. and beat the rush at the gym. He usually works out for about two hours every day after work and favors the Smith machine, similar to a Universal machine, which lets him do squats, chest and shoulder exercises. But his workout schedule is governed by the crowds at the gym and the demand for the machines, so busy Mondays find him just doing squats and sit-ups or riding an exercise bike.

He begins with stretching, then goes to aerobics or riding the exercise bike. Next come 30 to 40 minutes of free weights. For his modeling, he uses barbells to build biceps, and he keeps his waist down with sit-ups.

Twice a week, Harmon, 30, who served 10 years in the Air Force and ran track, runs five miles. But he limits the running because he tends to lose weight easily, and he doesn't want to become too thin.

It wasn't the military that whipped Harmon into shape. He had grown up in an athletic family but found his military duties required little exercise. While stationed in Denver, he joined a civilian gym, Bally's, "and that's basically what started me."

With gyms in many cities, Bally's was ideal for him. While working out at the Bally's in Ellicott City, he was approached about modeling. Ironically, for a guy still serving in the Air Force Reserves, his latest modeling job was for the U.S. Army Times.

Even at work, Harmon makes sure he gets to his feet and stretches and perhaps walks outside a bit. He also resists the temptations of vending machines outside his office door and instead munches on apples, oranges and carrots. In general, he avoids fried foods and limits salt and sugar.

A decent workout, he says, doesn't have to take as much time as people think. "Even here at my job I can exercise," he says. "People who want to lose weight, if they put a lot of motivation into it, they can do it. Eat healthy and exercise - it only takes 30 minutes to exercise."

Each Sunday, Fitness Profile tells you about a Baltimore-area resident who inspires in his or her quest to be healthier. If you know of someone who'd be a good subject, write to: Fitness Profile, Baltimore Sun, Features Department, 501 N. Calvert St., P.O. Box 1377, Baltimore, Md. 21278.

Pub Date: 6/07/98

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