Three Fitness Lessons From an Emmy-Winning News Reporter


Emmy-winning ABC correspondent Gio Benitez, 29, first caught the network’s attention in 2009 when he filed the “world’s first smartphone news story” on the iPhone 3GS launch — using video taken on the device itself. Since then Benitez, who has reported for Good Morning America, World News Tonight, and Nightline, has covered the Boston Marathon bombing, police corruption cases, major tech stories — you name it. How does he stay enviably ripped despite wall-to-wall shoots, nonstop meetings, and 18-hour workdays? Let him tell you.

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Pay Someone to Yell at You to Put the Damn Phone Down

Benitez is a big fan of today’s fitness “boot camp” trend, in which drill-sergeant trainers instruct group classes. It’s the best option for him, he says, because the timed, supervised sessions force him — a self-described tech addict — to focus on fitness instead of continually tracking breaking news and keeping up with correspondence.

“The first thing I do when I wake up is check e-mail,” he says. “I need to use Twitter to see what the pulse is and what’s happening.

“The funny thing is, I rely on tech in many ways to stay in shape,” he continues, “but it’s also a huge distraction.” And this is where the supervised boot-camp classes come in. “For a full hour, three days a week, I’m just going at it with a really high-intensity workout,” he says. “I keep the phone in the locker — there’s no time to look at it.”

And if he dared, a drill sergeant would be in his face.

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Stay Consistent (And Improve When Necessary)

As a big-time fitness buff, Benitez relies on a basic fitness app to help him count calories whenever he’s traveling. (As an impartial technology journalist, however, he prefers not to be specific about which one it is.)

“The app helps me keep track of the fats, proteins, and carbs I’m taking in,” he says. “I tell it what I ate and it calculates all the nutrition numbers from its database.”

For exercise on the road, if there’s no gym around, Benitez sometimes works out to videos he finds on YouTube.

“I look for online routines that show body-weight workouts,” he says.

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Schedule Your Entire Day – Including Your Down Time

To fit in everything he needs to do, Benitez has only one option: Keep a tight schedule.

“Every single day is a whole new puzzle, and I just need to figure out where all the puzzle pieces go,” he says.

To achieve balance, he relies on crazy-detailed schedules that include everything from fitness sessions to down-time. “I fit play into the puzzle,” he says. “Obviously you need rest, because otherwise work is going to suffer. So I try to keep in mind the time I need to relax.

“I move at 100 mph all the time,” he adds. “The hardest part is trying to slow down.”

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