Several Hollywood stars head up a new fitness program geared towards children and teens.
Ever since I was a tiny tot, I was always on the chubby side.
In fact, my pediatrician one time put me to tears when he said I was obese and needed to see a dietician. Instead of thinking “screw you, don’t call my baby fat,” my mom took his advice and encouraged healthy eating choices and some much needed cardio.
We called on the expressive chap Richard Simmons to help get my rear in gear. Although I loved “Sweatin’ to the Oldies,” I never felt that I connected with it. It was more of a task than an enjoyable way to spend my time. There were other weight loss methods we tried but I always got frustrated and just accepted the fact that I would always shop in the “Pretty Plus” section at Sears.
I had to wait a few painful years until the baby weight melted away and I discovered my passion for running and fitness. It sure would have been nice to have Alyson Stoner as my dance coach to help rid me of those extra LB’s.
Kevin Schmidt, actor and co-creator of the Alyson Stoner Project (ASP), drew from his own weight loss success story to inspire others.
“I was a very chubby kid growing up, even the word fat was used to describe me. I’ve always known what foods I should and shouldn’t eat but I never learned portion control,” Schmidt said. “At my heaviest, I was 190 pounds standing five-feet-two-inches tall. During the production of ‘Cheaper By The Dozen 2’ in 2005, I decided it was time for a drastic change. I switched from conventional food to an organic and all-natural lifestyle. I learned how to exercise and how to lose fat, gain muscle, or stay a consistent weight.”
So Schmidt is talking the talk and walking the walk. How did dancer and actor, Alyson Stoner get involved with the ASP?
“I have always enjoyed staying active, but I’ve noticed how distorted our culture’s perception of health has become, so I want to teach my generation a message of balance, freedom, and joy as opposed to pressure, obsession and rigidity, like most diets and workout programs,” Stoner said.
She couldn’t have hit the nail more on the head.
What I think is quite valuable about this particular project is its focus on pure enjoyment. Watching and participating with the Alyson Stoner Project DVD, I can see how participants could feel more confident and free. Once you master a move, of course your confidence is going to get boosted up a bit. Not to mention, the endorphins your body is producing while engaging in this workout will keep you coming back for more.
When I found out about the Alyson Stoner Project, it was obviously near and dear to my heart from the get-go. I couldn’t help but wonder if the person who suggested I write an article about it asked me because I was a self-proclaimed chub in elementary school when he knew me. He was confident I would be able to relate!
“The ASP is a unique concept showing kids there are fun ways to be physical,” Schmidt said. “Dance is continually rising in popularity, for good reason, so I knew the angle I wanted to take to convey the philosophy behind the ASP. Inspiration can come from anywhere, we just hope to inspire one person at a time to become aware of their health before serious damage is done. Baby steps eventually equal leaps and bounds.”
These moves seriously get the heart rate pumping and help raise the energy level. When I was bopping along to one of the segments, I pretended I was a background dancer in a music video. The moves work the entire body, simultaneously allowing you to feel cooler than you really are.
More importantly to me, this program allows a safe, positive role model into the participants’ lives, never having the focus on body image. This is what separates the ASP from the clutter of fitness DVDs out in the market today.
“The ASP never once mentions a certain appearance or size as being the goal of working out; no scales or counting every calorie or talk of getting toned,” Stoner said. “The focus is achieving internal health, which ultimately results in an individual’s ‘perfect’ weight anyway.”
This is exactly what America’s youth needs right now. No more scantily-clad females doing squats in hot pants. These young impressionable children and young adults need positive, encouraging role models who are raising their hands and saying “I am taking control of my health and my happiness.” Stoner does this in quite a professional and welcoming manner.
I think participants will be quite receptive to her warmness and down-to-earth feel. Although she is incredibly talented and decorated with a long list of acting and dance roles, you still feel like you could hang out with her in your sweatpants. That trait is going to make the connection with the audience and that is where the health transformation is going to come into play.
“Kids watch ASP at sleepovers, after school, or on the weekends with their parents and siblings,” Stoner said. “The feedback has been very positive. Kids no longer view being healthy as a burden, but as a privilege that can be very rewarding and fun.”
Schmidt and Stoner are not the only masterminds in this new approach to fitness. They are joined by close family and friends to put their plan into motion. Be sure to check out the bios of each member at the end of the article and learn about the entire team from dancers to the behind-the-scenes team.
“The dancers and actors are actually well-known, talented stars who donated their time because they believed in the project,” Stoner said. “We’re very thankful for everyone’s support. In most cases a simple phone call to ask if they would be interested in helping out in some way was all it took.”
I have given you the behind the scenes look and motive for the ASP’s conception. But what did all that hard work and planning turn into?
“The ASP reaches the younger generation through media, the most major influence in their lives besides family,” Stoner said. “Also in addition to working out, you have an entire package of entertainment, including music videos, celebrity guest appearance and behind the scenes interviews.”
These ambitious young entertainers are definitely onto something. I sure wish I had the ASP to jam out to when I was an overweight pre-teen. Instead I scolded myself for not looking like the anorexic supermodels that graced the covers of magazines. This ASP method could realistically transform a child’s life and the rest of his/her future.
“Have a long-term goal but take it a day at a time,” Schmidt said. “Educate yourself on the right foods to eat and when. Explore various physical activities and find one that is not only effective; but fun. When trying something new, you rarely know where to start. Explore the options, learn from your mistakes and make smarter choices in the future.”
Alyson Stoner Project Team Bios:
A native of Toledo, Ohio, Alyson moved to L.A. at age 7 to begin acting and continue dancing. She has appeared in music videos alongside Missy Elliott and Eminem and has performed with OutKast and Will Smith.
She can be seen daily on the Disney Channel with numerous guest appearances on network television. Cheaper by the Dozen 1 & 2, Step Up, Alice Upside Down, Camp Rock and animated features line her movie resume.
Alyson’s singing career began with her title song in Alice Upside Down and followed with a remake of Dancin’ In The Moonlight for Disney (as a music video on the Space Buddies DVD). She’s also featured on DisneyMania 7 as well as The Little Engine that Could.
She is set to release her first single “Flying Forward” on April 20, 2010 on iTunes and other online services. She returns as “Camille” in Step Up 3D and “Caitlyn” in Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam in 2010.
At 18, Kevin embarked on a physical and mental metamorphosis – evolving from a “chubby” character actor to a “leading man.” Along with numerous guest appearances on Prime Time TV, Kevin can be seen on daytime’s The Young and the Restless as well producer and star of the hit web comedy Poor Paul.
Schmidt’s features include Cheaper By The Dozen 1 & 2, The Butterfly Effect, Resurrection Mary, Disney’s Princess Protection Program and Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakuel.
A professional actor and dancer since age 8, Lindsay has guest starred on My Name is Earl, All of Us, Seventh Heaven, Without a Trace, Disney Channel and Nick TV. The youngest ever to teach at the Millennium Dance Studios in North Hollywood, CA, she has taught Friday night Hip Hop for 9 years. Her movie credits include Greek, Bratz Movie and A Time for Dancing and alongside Zac Efron in 17 Again.
Monica showed off dance talents with Missy Elliott and Eminem before appearing in national commercials for Target, Gap, J. C. Penney, Limited Too, Sears, Old Navy and Burger King. She now adds TV’s Everybody Hates Chris, Just Jordan, Wizards of Waverly Place, iCarly and Gary Unmarried to her acting resume. She was the face of Nike Women of Asia and a JammX Kid. Monica is now with Nick Cannon’s “School Gyrls” pop singing group.
At age 9, Khameron Lawrence knew Hip Hop was his dance style. Working with artists Missy Elliott, Michael Jackson and Lenny Kravitz plus doing commercials and print work for J. C. Penney, Discovery Channel and Nike and performing with Jonny’s Jr. Live Show in Japan all appear on his resume. Look for him on Shark Tale and Kung Fu Panda DVD bonus features and watch for his own Mixtape project as he produces his own music now.
A native Southern California kid, Brennan first discovered dance, while taking tap at age 11. It didn’t take long to find Hip Hop when he realized dancing was his true passion! Professionally, he’s been featured on the Dance Revolution TV show and has appeared in Macy’s, Nike and AT&T commercials. Presently he’s traveling throughout California with Team Millennia Dance Group, teaching dance and attending Fullerton Junior College.
The youngest brother of the “Schmidt trio,” Kendall has been an actor since childhood – landing numerous roles in television shows, commercials and feature films. Recognizing his passion for music, Kendall has since embarked on a dual acting / music career as song writer, guitarist, vocalist, and Producer. He is currently starring in the new Nickelodeon show entitled “Big Time Rush!” where he plays the character Kendall Knight, a hockey playing kid from Minnesota, that gets recognized by a big-time music producer and given the opportunity of a lifetime to go record music in Hollywood (but not without his friends). You can check out some of Kendall’s covers and original music at http://www.youtube.com/K3ndallSchmidt & http://www.myspace.com/HeffronDrive ;
The oldest brother of the “Schmidt trio,” Kenneth began his entertainment career (print, commercials and television) in New York and later moved to Los Angeles with his brothers and mother. Since finishing high school, Kenneth has pursued his interests in political science at U.C.L.A. with an emphasis in Chinese. His goal is to receive an entertainment law degree. In his spare time, Kenneth focuses on creating his own music as writer, guitarist, vocalist and producer.
About the Author
Kimberly Westphall is the author of Blogging Fitness and a regular contributor to Midwest Sports Fans. She is a recent graduate of the University of Kansas where she majored in Journalism. She participated in a podcast with Jerod, which will help you get to know her even better.
While at KU, she was an anchor and online web producer for Jayhawk Sports Talk. Kimberly made her MSF debut in 2009 discussing the fight between Kansas’ basketball and football teams and also had her column about the Dallas Stars Ice Girls featured at Dallas Sports Fans.
She has a passion for fitness and is on the lookout for emerging fitness trends and workouts. Her favorite group exercise format is kickboxing, and when she’s not hitting up the aerobics studio both as a participant and instructor, Kimberly is training for marathons with her best friend Jackie.
Midwest Sports Fans (MSF) Disclosure of Material Connection: Kimberly Westphall received a complimentary copy of the Alyson Stoner Project DVD as part of the review process. That said, MSF only writes about stories that we believe will interest our readers, and we only link to and endorse sites and services that we would use or have used ourselves. We are disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”