Ivy Ingram Larson
Qualifications: Certified by American College of Sports Medicine as a Health Fitness Specialist and with the Fitness Institute International as a Fitness Instructor and Fitness Testing Specialist
Personal History: Staying in shape and keeping fit has been important to me for as long as I can remember. From an early age I had a passion and talent for dance and gymnastics and in high school I was an All-American Cheerleader. The sports I loved in my youth required my body to be strong, flexible and functionally fit and to this day I still draw on exercise training techniques I learned from my dance and gymnastics days.
However, in 1998 when I was twenty-two years old the body that had always performed at a very high physical level—and the body I had taken for granted--- started to betray me. I went through an entire summer with an array of bizarre and troubling symptoms that culminated with a trip to the E.R. and an episode of urinary retention. I left the E.R. wearing a catheter and within a week I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (M.S.) at the University of Miami. My husband, Andy Larson, is a surgeon now but at that time we were just friends and he was still in medical school at the University of Pennsylvania. My neurologist suggested that nutrition and lifestyle modification (exercise, stress management, etc.) could potentially help slow the progression of my MS. Andy helped me research an anti-inflammatory nutrition program that has kept my disease in remission for almost 15 years now. Along with changing my diet I also changed my approach to exercise after my MS diagnosis. MS is a disease that can cause extreme fatigue and so over the years I have learned how to exercise in a way that keeps my body lean, strong and limber without spending hours exercising and exhausting myself at the gym. In addition to the MS, I also had terrible hip pain after the birth of my son in 2001, which required me to once again alter my workouts, this time to be no-impact. As my hip pain worsened over the years I had one failed hip surgery for a labral tear in 2008. In 2011 I finally learned that my hip pain was caused by a rather unusual congenital abnormality called “Femoral Retroversion” where my femoral head was rotated 22 degrees “off” what is normal. My femoral head was pressing into my pelvis and not only causing pain but also prematurely deteriorating my hip joint. The only way to fix the problem was with a surgery called “Femoral Derotational Osteotomy” where my femur (leg bone) was broken in half and the shaft was rotated to put the femoral head in the “normal” position. In January 2012 I underwent a very major 6-hour surgery at the Hospital for Special Surgery in NYC. After the surgery it took more than 6 months before I could even walk and when I finally did start walking it was with a new hip anatomy. However, even during the lengthy recovery from my surgery, I still was not willing to give up being fit.My health issues have absolutely shaped my approach to fitness and have helped me develop workouts that get results without overly stressing the body. I am also a firm believer that you do not need to spend hours and hours exercising each week to be fit. These days, I can no longer fly and flip through the air like I did in my youth, but my 36-year old body is still functionally fit, strong and lean. And I definitely have a very full life outside of fitness! I do not want to spend hours and hours exercising….I want to get my workouts out of the way so I can go on to spend time doing the other things I enjoy in life such as spending time with my husband and son, cooking, entertaining friends and having fun!
Workout Philosophy: There is absolutely a science to getting fit. Going for a walk and moving your body is not enough if you want to get lean, strong and functionally fit. My fitness philosophy is to focus on quality over quantity by fusing as a variety of highly effective exercise training techniques into 30-minute workouts. I do not want to spend all day exercising!