Meet the Experience Life team, and get a behind-the-scenes look at how the magazine comes together each month.

Posts Tagged Jen Sinkler

Experience Life Magazine

Behind the Scenes: The Perfect Warm-Up

  • Stylist Pam Brand does Alli’s makeup.

  • All of the wardrobe options for Alli.

  • Some of Pam’s styling tools.

  • Alli waits for direction on set. Photographer Bob McNamara uses an iPad to instantly preview shots.

  • Pam fixing Alli’s hair while she demonstrates the “Quadruped Extension/Rotation.”

  • The crew looks on as Bob shoots.

  • Alli demonstrates the “Power Skip.”

  • Art director Lydia Anderson and former fitness editor Jen Sinkler discuss a shot while photographer Bob McNamara looks on.

  • Pam fixes Alli’s shirt.

  • Alli demonstrates the “Supine Bridge With Reach” for the video segment.

  • Alli takes direction from former fitness editor Jen Sinkler and associate editor Jocelyn Stone.

  • An iPhone provides another angle for the video.

One of the things I love about our photo shoots is getting to spend the day with all the talented people involved. It’s inspiring to be around folks who are so dedicated to their craft, like photographer Bob McNamara and stylist Pam Brand.

I’m always pleasantly surprised at how likeable our fitness models are, too. Take Alli McKee, for example, who demonstrates the moves in “The Perfect Warm-Up.” One might expect a fitness model to be a bit of a diva, but somehow we manage to find “normal,” nice people like Alli who just happen to also be in awesome shape. Thanks, Alli, for bringing your positive energy to the shoot — I think it really comes through in the final photos.

Experience Life Magazine

Behind the Scenes: The Countdown Workout

  • Pam Preps

    Pam Preps

    Pam gets Frank camera-ready

  • Setting Up the Shot

    Setting Up the Shot

    Bob and Jen check out some test shots, while Lydia and Frank discuss the shoot

  • Minor Adjustments

    Minor Adjustments

    Pam makes a wardrobe adjustment while Jen directs Frank

  • Getting It Right

    Getting It Right

    Jen demos an exercise for Frank

  • Never Let 'Em See You Sweat

    Never Let ‘Em See You Sweat

    Pam touches up Frank’s makeup

  • What Do We Think?

    What Do We Think?

    The cast and crew review photos

  • Into the Light

    Into the Light

    Frank demonstrates exercises while videographer Matt Peiken captures video for the “Show Me How” segment

  • Might As Well Jump

    Might As Well Jump

    Frank demonstrates an exercise while Matt shoots video

  • Time Out

    Time Out

    Frank takes a break, while the crew discusses the next scene

  • Another Angle

    Another Angle

    Matt shoots Frank from a low angle

Our fitness photo shoots are always fun and challenging, and there are many talented people involved. Above are some behind the scenes photos of the shoot for The Countdown Workout. Our model, Frank Jones, was friendly and professional, and our expert shooter, Bob McNamara, got the lighting perfect as always. Editor Jen Sinkler was there to make sure the exercises were performed correctly, and Pam Brand, our wardrobe and makeup stylist, made sure Frank looked his best. And of course, art director Lydia Anderson was the creative force behind the whole operation. I hope you enjoy taking a peek behind the curtain!

Experience Life Magazine

The Office Sled Pull Workout

Today we held our annual Worthy Goods staff giveaway. Each team member draws a number and we (very happily and in an organized fashion) choose which of the products featured in our Worthy Goods section we want to have for our very own (or as a holiday gift for someone we like!).

As an avid hipster cyclist, I ended up with the Nutcase helmet (I do own one already and am a big fan of their funky designs and “I Heart My Brain” decal) and was proudly wearing it around the office. I happened to pass Jen Sinkler who was trying out her new SpeedSac sled bag resistance trainer. Since I want to be all fit like Jen, I asked her if she’d show me how to use it.

What you see here is a makeshift “Office Sled Pull Workout” designed spontaneously and with proper fitness advice from Jen. The sled bag (this one is loaded up with fifty pounds, but you can add more or less as you wish) is a great strength and speed workout you can do in limited space.  Do try this at home. Sense of humor is a must, but a helmet is not required.

Special thanks to Senior Editor Courtney Lewis Opdahl for catching this all on tape and editing this video.

Experience Life Magazine

A Behind the Scenes Peek: May and June 2012

We are so excited about the spring and summer issues of Experience Life that we just couldn’t wait any longer to give you a little preview. Enjoy!

Videographer Andrew Putschoegl was game for just about anything the day of our cover shoot with adventurer and mountaineer Squash Falconer (www.squashfalconer.com). He willingly took to the sky, paragliding with camera in hand to catch some action shots for our May 2012 Behind the Scenes video. We can’t help but be a little jealous that Putschoegl gets to do this for work!

(Photo credit: Frank Addelia, Frankie's Lab)

Our fitness editor Jen Sinkler (@jensinkler) traveled to LA for our June 2012 cover and The Workout shoots with Shaun T, creator of the INSANITY fitness series (@shaunTfitness). Based on Jen’s tweet, we believe this photo was taken prior to the workout that Shaun T led her through:

Watch for that video to go live here at ExperienceLife.com in late May. In the meantime, check out our workout and videos pages for some fun and effective workouts you can start doing right now.


Experience Life Magazine

The Slosh Pipe’s Sister

“I need to make a slosh pipe,” I said to my friend Dave.

“No, you don’t. I’ll make you a temporary one,” he answered.

The traditional slosh pipe, invented by Greg Henger and made popular by Dan John, is a length of PVC pipe partially filled with water then capped at each end. Filling it only partially makes waves, and as the water tumbles from end to end, you have to work like a mother to stabilize your body and stay upright — even a light weight feels like a load of lead. (Here’s a great post from Mark’s Daily Apple with some videos of slosh pipes in action and directions for how to make your own.)

As you get stronger and more stable, you graduate from simply standing still to squatting, walking, lunging, overhead squatting and so on.

A common problem, however, is that if you don’t seal your slosh pipe properly, or you thunk one of the ends down too hard, they tend to leak. Not super appealing, regardless of your location.

A second option is the Bouncy Barbell Kettlebell Kontraption (BBKK), which you create by rigging a kettlebell to each end of a barbell (very securely!) with a loop of superband.

Not sure where the BBKK originated (if you know, leave the info in the comments), but I got to mess around with it a couple months back and dug it. It’s got a similar destabilizing effect as the slosh pipe (though perhaps not quite as dramatic as when all of the water rushes to one end at once), so you get a great core workout. And on the plus side, it’s less messy.

Disclaimer: You need a lot of space for this, as it can present a danger to those anywhere in the vicinity (no one wants to see someone careening toward them with this thing in hand). Think of this exercise as something you do up and down the driveway to your garage gym rather than something you attempt inside the four walls of a health club. (Unless you have explicitly gotten the go-ahead.) OK?

Once you’re good to go, begin with light kettlebells, and hold the bar in a rack position (as you would if you were front squatting). From there, you can play around with the same sorts of exercises you would if you were using a slosh pipe. As with any lift, if it goes bad, bail.

We worked up to the overhead position.

My friend Jenn demonstrates walking with it.

And Dave was brave enough to do lunges.

If you give this a try, let me know how you like it!

Experience Life Magazine

Post-Baby: Photo Shoot Round-Up

Last week, I did the fitness photo shoot for the November issue of Experience Life, and let me tell you, I had a blast. It was hard work — holding elevated poses without going boggle-eyed so the photographer can capture the moves is challenging — but really fun. Lydia and Jen, if you’re reading this: ANYTIME! JUST SAY THE WORD.

I started getting excited the week before, when I received an email from Pam, the clothes/hair/makeup stylist, asking for my clothing and shoe sizes. Then I got the call sheet: arrival time for “talent” (that would be me!) was 9:30 am. No problem.

Until it was. My day got off to a crazy start when my 9-month old got sick on the way to the babysitter’s house. Twenty minutes from home, with 45 minutes to get to the shoot location on time, I did a quickie clean-up of MK before turning around, canceling the babysitters and then calling my mother-in-law (MIL) in a panic to see if she can fill-in. Yes, she’d meet me at the house.

We pulled into the driveway 15 minutes from call-time, and I proceeded to hand my fever-stricken, throw-up-covered little girl off to my MIL before dashing out the door. (FYI: MK was happy to see her grandma and in surprisingly good spirits despite not feeling so hot, so I didn’t feel quite as bad for leaving her during her first real illness.)

I arrived at the club 20 minutes late, and though I was stressed about putting everyone behind schedule, it turned out to be no big deal. Senior fitness editor Jen Sinkler was getting prepped for new headshots for her Expert Answers column; while she was having her pics taken, I got the full hair and makeup treatment (like I said, Jen and Lyd, ANYTIME). Within 45 minutes, we were on the workout floor:


EL senior fitness editor Jen Sinkler coached me on technique for the squat-assisted muscle up. I have no idea how many of these I did, but I was sore the next day.


Posing in my new favorite workout outfit between shots.


Practicing the golf-ball pick-up — Jen has much better balance than me! Technique tips: Keep your hips level, glutes tight, chest out and back arched. A slight bend in the supporting leg is also helpful for the balance-impaired like me.

Lifetime_04695_Web.jpgBear crawls should be easy, but there’s definitely coordination and brain power required (learn why in this overview on how crawling builds neural networks).

It took about an hour for Bob McNamara and his team to shoot all six exercise moves. We then grabbed some lunch, before filming the accompanying video (both will be available online at ExperienceLife.com by late October).

Before I knew it, it was a wrap and I was out the door, heading back home to reality. I made it there just in time to put my little one down for her afternoon nap. Not a bad day at all.

Experience Life Magazine

We’re ALREADY Planning for 2012

A couple of interesting facts that you may not know about us: 1) We plan each issue of Experience Life about six months in advance; and 2) At any given time, we have four to five issues in process.

Right now, for instance, the July/August issue is at the printer, September is being finalized, October is moving through fact checking and copy proofing to design, November articles are being edited, and December is being written by a slew of freelancers scattered across the country. Whew! To keep track of everything, our whole team meets on a weekly basis to check-in.

It all really starts, though, at our bi-annual planning meetings, held in June and December. At those all-day meetings, we brainstorm issue themes and articles ideas for anywhere from three to six issues (it depends on how quickly we slate content for each one). 

This past week, we had our bi-annual meeting of the year and made significant headway planning themes and the first three issues of 2012. Let me just say, there’s lots of good stuff coming! 

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Like years past, we traveled off-site, this time to the Cooks of Crocus Hill on Grand Avenue in St. Paul. Not only was it a great space to let the creative juices flow, but the food was absolutely delicious. The chefs prepared our lunch in the open kitchen adjacent to the meeting space, and the aromas that wafted over to our side of the room were amazing — many of us were hungry well before our scheduled lunch as a result. Thank goodness for a breakfast spread and snacks!

Although I can’t share the details of what we planned just yet, here a few shots of our day at the Cooks of Crocus Hill — enjoy!

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From top: The entrance to the Cooks of Crocus Hill; the EL team enjoys the breakfast nosh; the Cooks of Crocus Hill kitchen; planning is lots of fun with this group!
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Experience Life Magazine

September Fitness Shoot Fun

SeptPTOuttake.jpgExperience Life‘s fitness shoots include a fair bit of playing around. In the shot above — the last of the day for a September article about personal training — art director Lydia (the redhead) and I (far left) jumped in to offer hot models Denishia Jackson and Michael Smith some direction. They may not have needed it …

– Jen Sinkler, Senior Fitness Editor