Trading fat for muscle


True love served as the motivation to send Ian Silberman on a path to better health. “In 2000, I got engaged, and during the wedding preparation, I realized I was out of shape,” said Silberman. “Growing up, I was a scrawny, skinny kid, but somehow in my 20s, I had become the pudgy kid. At age 30, when I got engaged, I knew I needed to get in shape.”

Since then, Silberman, now 39, has dropped 40 pounds of fat, and his waist size has decreased by five inches. Over time, he has packed on 30 pounds of muscle, and his waist size has remained the same. “My body has changed proportions — everything has moved around, and those pounds I put back on are all muscle,” he said.


Silberman works out three days a week with trainer Kelly Pollman at Metro Personal Training, 7800 Bonhomme Avenue in Clayton. “Ian is dedicated, a guy who comes in at 6 a.m. and works his butt off,” said Pollman. “We change the workout every six to eight weeks because the body adapts so quickly to any routine. Ian loves exercising, and I’d say at this point, he is physically capable of absolutely anything.”

Silberman recently made time to talk about his road to better fitness.

How did you begin this journey in 2000?

I had a friend whose wife was a personal trainer, and one day I made a comment to him that I had never worked out in my life, but I knew I needed to get in shape. My friend suggested I meet with his wife, but I was still using my old excuse.

What excuse was that?

I said I didn’t have time. I like to work late, so getting to a gym at the end of the day is not an option. Then I figured out that busy people make the time — they go to bed earlier and get up earlier. I did that, and signed up to work out with my friend’s wife.

What happened next?

I worked with her for one year, and then she suggested I make a change to somebody who could handle what I was lifting – it was a safety issue. I knew Kelly, so I started working out with him.

Describe your typical workout.

No two workouts are the same. Kelly puts together different programs for me, and he keeps me on track. We also spend a lot of time talking about how to live a healthy lifestyle, and that includes cross training – integrating cardio, running, cycling and yoga with weight training.

What about yoga appeals to you?

Yoga is part of a healthy lifestyle. As you get older, you start to lose flexibility, and yoga helps with that. I’ve done Bikram yoga, the yoga you do in the really hot room, and I love, love, love that!

Has your diet changed over the past nine years?

One main focus of the culture at Metro Personal Training is food. Kelly and I discuss how to make proper food choices for what you’re trying to achieve. When I started, I told him I knew nothing — zero, zilch — about food and what constituted a proper diet.

What do you typically eat?

I eat five small meals a day. I eat a lot of chicken and I stay away from white breads and simple sugars. Carbohydrates for me are whole grains or a sweet potato. I still eat red meat, though personally I like leaner cuts, and if a menu offers a bison burger, I’ll go for that. I also eat a lot of fish and vegetables. Fruits, I eat in moderation, because of the natural sugar. I don’t do soda, but I do drink a lot of water.

Do you ever cheat?

My cheat is alcohol. I love red wine or a glass of scotch.

Talk about reshaping your body — how much weight are you lifting now?

I don’t look at the numbers to judge my progress. I look at my Body Mass Index, which we track once a month, and at whether my pants are tight or loose. That’s the difference between going on a diet and changing your lifestyle. This is not a sprint or a marathon – this is a walk that will take the rest of my life.

Ian Silberman

WORK: Commercial real estate

HOME: Ladue

FAMILY: Married to Heidi, a medical sales headhunter

HOBBIES: Travel, golf, wine, automobile shows

PERSONAL ACCOMPLISHMENT: Changed from being overweight and out of shape to living a healthy lifestyle.