Lee Reherman
Lee Reherman: Fitness Expert

Featured On:

  • American Gladiators
Since his days as "The Hawk" on American Gladiators, Lee Reherman has been a respected fitness expert. Whether hosting infomercials, reviewing products, speaking out against childhood obesity, or producing fitness segments, Reherman's fitness expertise has been sought out for more than fifteen years.

After an All-American football career at Cornell University and a quick stint in the NFL with the Miami Dolphins, Reherman earned an MBA from UCLA's Anderson School and began his professional career at UCLA as a Ph.D Candidate and think tank analyst. In 1993, Reherman left UCLA for the entertainment business and became “The Hawk” on American Gladiators. One of his first hosting assignments was a weekly fitness segment on the kids show Gladiators 2000; and since then he has hosted and produced over two dozen fitness shows, segments, and infomercials, been a spokesperson for countless products, and been a celebrity advocate for the "Fight against Childhood Obesity" campaign.
REVIEWS
  • Best Core Exercise Balls and Books
    Ok, to begin with I am fully aware of the bathroom humor that accompanies any discussion of Core Exercise Balls, and to be perfectly honest, I participate in that sort of sophomoric tomfoolery more than almost anyone! But to get this review past all those Internet content filters, we’ll exit that road right there, and stick with the clean names…

    So whether you call yours a Pilate Ball, or a Fitness Ball, or a Pezzi Ball, they’ve been around for nearly 50 years, and many folks swear by them! The most common uses of the Core Exercise Ball are for flexibility training and abdominal training, and for the purposes of the list I’ve compiled here, those are the activities I’ve focused on. Certainly, there are many other reasonable, and perhaps some not-so-reasonable, ways to utilize the Core Exercise Ball, but for all the “cooky stuff,” you’re on your own.

    The overall concept is simple: exercising on, and with, hard surfaces that don’t “give,” create stress on the body, and especially on the joints. If we can introduce a softer surface to the process, we should be able to exercise longer with less negative impact on the joints, right? Hence, the creation of the Core Exercise Ball!

    The Core Exercise Ball is great for flexibility and balance, and is commonly incorporated into many aerobic activities as a way to stretch and loosen up at the beginning of a workout. Similarly, the core exercise ball is also recognized as a highly effective abdominal training tool, by getting the back and butt up off the hard floor and onto the softer pillow like surface; thus, it is often incorporated into a “core abdominal routine” at the end of the workout.

    Three things to look for in a core exercise ball:

    1) Is it the right size?

    2) Is it right material?

    3) Is it built to last?

    Two things to look for in a Core Exercise Ball Book:

    1) Does it focus on the right exercises? You don’t want to get a book about Pilates if you’re looking for a strength routine.

    2) Is it the appropriate fitness ability level? Many of these books have beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels, and there certainly is no shame in thinking ambitiously; but why waste time or torture your self confidence by reading content that is totally out of reach.
    Read More »
  • Best Core Ball Workout Books and DVDs
    Ok, to begin with I am fully aware of the bathroom humor that accompanies any discussion of core exercise balls, and to be perfectly honest, I participate in that sort of sophomoric tomfoolery more than almost anyone! But to get this review past all those Internet content filters, we’ll exit that road right there, and stick with the clean names…

    So whether you call yours a Pilate Ball, or a Fitness Ball, or a Pezzi Ball, they’ve been around for nearly 50 years, and many folks swear by them! The most common uses of the core exercise ball are for flexibility training and abdominal training, and for the purposes of the list I’ve compiled here, those are the activities I’ve focused on. Certainly, there are many other reasonable, and perhaps some not-so-reasonable, ways to utilize the core exercise ball, but for all the “cooky stuff,” you’re on your own.

    The overall concept is simple: exercising on, and with, hard surfaces that don’t “give,” create stress on the body, and especially on the joints. If we can introduce a softer surface to the process, we should be able to exercise longer with less negative impact on the joints, right? Hence, the creation of the core exercise ball!

    The Core Exercise Ball is great for flexibility and balance, and is commonly incorporated into many aerobic activities as a way to stretch and loosen up at the beginning of a workout. Similarly, the Core Exercise Ball is also recognized as a highly effective Abdominal Training tool, by getting the back and butt up off the hard floor and onto the softer pillow like surface; thus, it is often incorporated into a “core abdominal routine” at the end of the workout.

    Two things to look for in a Core Exercise Ball Book:

    1) Does it focus on the right exercises? You don’t want to get a book about Pilates if you’re looking for a strength routine.

    2) Is it the appropriate fitness ability level? Many of these books have beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels, and there certainly is no shame in thinking ambitiously; but why waste time or torture your self confidence by reading content that is totally out of reach.

    Three things to look for in a Core Exercise Ball DVD:

    1) As with books, is it a DVD focused on the exercise routines you’re looking for?

    2) Is it the appropriate fitness ability level? This may take a little more research than with books, given that many of these workout themes have different “levels” for.

    3) Is it the appropriate length and contain the type music you like?
    Read More »
  • Best Heart Rate Monitors
    When I was a young pup, I used to giggle when I’d see all the old cougars running on the treadmill with all the “old cougar bling.” And despite the fact that “cougar” and “bling” weren’t actually part of our cultural parlance yet, I’ve borrowed it retroactively, as it helps paint the perfect visual when coupled with: the patella knee straps, the sun dial sized stop watch to a hundredth of a second on the left wrist, the wristband on the right wrist, and, of course, the always conspicuous heart rate monitor.

    I remember thinking to myself, “Wow, I’ll NEVER be that old and goofy lookin’!”

    Well, many trips to the gym have come and gone, and in that time, several things have changed: Most of my joints are tight, and I actually creak a little until I’m really warmed up; all those tools that were “goofy lookin” then, are vital now; and the term “cougar” and “bling” DO exist, and are in fact, a 100% bulls eye accurate description of me, and the garbage bag full of “stuff” I now use to keep MY old engine runnin’! The purpose of this trip down memory lane was a long winded way to get to what is on top of that garbage bag full of “stuff”: the heart rate monitor!

    The most effective “target heart rate” for training is between 75% and 80% of your maximum heart rate, and your maximum heart rate varies with age, though I’ll spare you that complicated calculation here. But the key point to remember is that this optimal range is very narrow, and thus, if you can get to it, and then once there, stay in it, the efficiency and effectiveness of your workout will improve dramatically.

    There are three important criteria to consider when choosing a heart rate monitor:

    1) Does it work? Though you may be saying, “duh!” Many products are manufactured so poorly, that on a sweaty, hot, bouncing body, the measurements are inaccurate.

    2) Can I put it where I can easily read it?

    3) Is it comfortable enough, or will it drive me nuts?
    Read More »
  • Best Men’s Cross Trainers
    It wasn’t that long ago, that an active person’s day of hiking up the side of a mountain in the morning, playing a game of tennis at lunch, and maybe going for a jog after work, all were accomplished in the same low cut basketball shoe that Dr. J wore! Can you imagine? My ankles hurt, just thinking about it!

    In more recent years, the big brand named shoe companies got smart and realized they could slap the face of an overpriced athlete on a box and move a million pair during the Christmas selling season! Never mind that the shoe inside the box was garbage! Well “good riddance” to that, too!

    Thankfully, you, today’s consumer, has become the savvy one, and the companies that make those shoes have had to adapt, and adapt they have. The modern Cross Training shoe is a perfect example of that, with great ankle support, solid soles, waterproof material, and many more features, having become standard fare. The Cross Training shoe section of any sporting goods store today is a smorgasbord of general and specialty products built for any activity you can think of, and probably some you haven’t. The key is to just take the time to pick the right one.

    A couple simple things to consider when buying a Cross Training Shoe are:

    1. What do I need a shoe for? Is it multiple activities, or do I need something specific? If you’re training for a marathon, go get a high-end running shoe! Duh!

    2. If I decide I do need a Cross Trainer, then what “dominant” activity will I be participating in? Obviously, if hiking through the woods is the chore, then an aerobic shoe might not be the right choice, as you’ll want to err toward more ankle support.

    3. Finally, what “other” activities might I be doing? Sticking with the above example, you’re not going to want to go to your aerobics class in a hiking shoe that has creek sludge all over it from yesterday’s trek up the Matterhorn!
    Read More »
  • Best Handheld Weights
    I fondly remember one hot summer day in high school when our high school football coach emerged from a loading dock driving a dolly carrying a pallet stacked with soup cans he’d just swiped from the school cafeteria, and made each of us a carry a big soup can in each hand on a five-mile run that afternoon. I was certain he’d lost his marbles, and this began a “soup to nuts” process that lasted every day the rest of the summer! It took me until the end of the summer to conclude that we were the “marble-less” ones for not sitting the cans down and taking a nap for an hour, once safely out of the coach’s sight, but by then it was too late! Hey, cut me some slack… I was a fifteen-year-old meathead at the time…

    Regardless, I recall that on the first play of that following football season, I suddenly realized that the coach’s tactic wasn’t so silly, and in fact was brilliant. The upper body conditioning I’d developed over those long jogs with the Campbell’s Tomato in one hand and Chicken and Noodle in the other, had greatly improved my performance on the field. Certainly, much of my overall upper body strength increase can be explained away by puberty, but equally, if not more importantly, was my overall conditioning, which was markedly better than it had ever been before!

    Hand weights, especially when used in combination with a cardiovascular activity, are an extremely efficient training tool, that surprisingly accentuates and/or helps create a full-body workout. Lets use power walking as an example, but the story is similar for any activity where you can carry hand weights:

    1. Burns more calories by expending more energy
    2. Works shoulders, biceps, forearms, wrists, and hands directly
    3. Works abs and back by making it necessary counter the weight with each stride
    4. Works legs and butt by adding a few pounds to the work load of each step

    So ever since that day, every time I see a power walker with a hand weight swinging at their side, I fondly reminisce and I think “coach”, I think “football”, I think “soup”!
    Read More »
  • Best Home Stair Steppers
    If it’s not a rowing movement, it’s a swimming motion… if it’s not a swimming motion, how about climbing? Isn’t it funny how fitness equipment engineers are always attempting to recreate something? You may not have thought much about it, but the next time you walk through the gym, take a look at the rows of bizarre contraptions that line the machine area. I’m pretty sure two things will be obvious to you: first, you’ll have no clue as to what 50% of those crazy appendages on those machine do, much less know how to use them; and second, you’ll notice that those machines always seem to be empty!

    OK, then glance over to where the treadmills, stationary bikes, and stair steppers are… packed!

    I bring this up, not because I’ve got a sponsorship deal with a bike manufacturer (though if any of those companies are looking for a spokesman, I’m available!), but I bring this up because it illustrates a pretty basic principal of exercise: “Keep it simple, stupid!”

    Now climbing stairs may not be as sexy as swimming the English Channel or conquering Mount Everest, but during peak gym hours that long waiting line to get on Stair Steppers keeps growing because as a cardio training tool, climbing stairs is pretty hard to beat.

    All Stair Steppers are not alike, as they’ve been engineered differently, and thus have slightly different ranges of motion, angles of foot placement, and programming options. Thus, when searching for a Home Stair Stepper, I suggest three things to consider:

    1. Does the machine and its range of motion fit me comfortably?
    2. Does the computer track the variables and have the programming options I want?
    3. Will it last?
    Read More »
  • Best Women’s Cross Trainers
    It wasn’t that long ago, that an active person’s day of hiking up the side of a mountain in the morning, playing a game of tennis at lunch, and maybe going for a jog after work, all were accomplished in the same low cut basketball shoe that Dr. J wore! Can you imagine? My ankles hurt, just thinking about it!

    In more recent years, the big brand named shoe companies got smart and realized they could slap the face of an overpriced athlete on a box and move a million pair during the Christmas selling season! Never mind that the shoe inside the box was garbage! Well “good riddance” to that, too!

    Thankfully, you, today’s consumer, has become the savvy one, and the companies that make those shoes have had to adapt, and adapt they have. The modern cross training shoe is a perfect example of that, with great ankle support, solid soles, waterproof material, and many more features, having become standard fare. The cross training shoe section of any sporting goods store today is a smorgasbord of general and specialty products built for any activity you can think of, and probably some you haven’t. The key is to just take the time to pick the right one.

    A couple simple things to consider when buying a Cross Training Shoe are:

    1. What do I need a shoe for? Is it multiple activities, or do I need something specific? If you’re training for a marathon, go get a high-end running shoe! Duh!

    2. If I decide I do need a cross trainer, then what “dominant” activity will I be participating in? Obviously, if hiking through the woods is the chore, then an aerobic shoe might not be the right choice, as you’ll want to err toward more ankle support.

    3. Finally, what other activities might I be doing? Sticking with the above example, you’re not going to want to go to your aerobics class in a hiking shoe that has creek sludge all over it from yesterday’s trek up the Matterhorn!
    Read More »
  • Best Racing Bikes under $3K
    Before we talk racing bicycles, remember as a kid, when you were ABSOLUTELY certain you could run faster with the “cooler” looking tennis shoe? Or maybe you’re a big Olympics fan, and every four years, after two solid weeks of being glued to the television, you run out and buy that stunning state of the art full body swim suit, only to realize after wearing it once, that it’s a tad snug for a middle-aged pooch belly?

    Sadly, far too many of us “regular Joes” base an exercise gear purchase on this same theme that, “the latest and greatest” must be better, right? Now don’t get me wrong, the $2,500 kryptonite driver certainly has the potential to push your tee shot further down the fairway than that bent aluminum job that jerk Eddie left behind in the clubhouse, when he climbed out the bathroom window and stuck you with the $25 bar tab! But unless you see the US Open or the Tour De France in your future, do you really need the $3,000 computerized putter or the $5,000 feather light racing bike?

    Ok, now to the topic of racing bikes. Because with racing bikes, this grandiose thinking can be especially expensive, I suggest that establishing realistic expectations is the first step in a racing bicycle purchase decision. Think about why you REALLY want a racing bike, and once that has been established, then its just “Xs and Os”! As a start, I’ve tried to do my part to keep your cost from hitting Biblical proportions, by selecting only those bicycles under approximately $3,000. I mean, if you can’t find a fantastic product for under $3,000, then you are way past my grade anyway! Then to finish up, I’ve stocked the Best of the Rest list with several very sensibly priced bicycles that certainly could be the product you’re looking for.

    Regardless of whether you heed my general and/or specific recommendations, when searching for a racing bicycle, I suggest you consider:

    1. What am I going to use if for? To get to work? Long rides on hot days?
    2. Who will I be riding with? A racing club? My kids?
    3. Where will I be going? Long flat stretches? Up hills?

    Beyond that, if the above is clear, it should become a fairly self-explanatory decision based on comfort and durability.
    Read More »
  • Best Home Ab Trainers
    Beer Gut? Baby Maker? Love Handles? Jelly Belly? Behind every person staring into a mirror mumbling some playful “pet name” for the less than flattering mid-section staring back, there are at least a dozen futile attempts to lose that “pet”!

    First the bad news: Unfortunately, the abdominal and oblique region of the human anatomy is the last thing to tighten and the first thing to loosen. Equally unfortunate, is that many believe the myth that focused training can eliminate fat from an isolated muscle group. Sorry folks! This just ain’t true. The sad truth is that as adults, we are pretty much stuck with the number of fat cells we’ve accumulated by the end of puberty, and the density of those fat cells is highest in our midsection; all we can hope to do is to shrink all those fat cells equally, with proper diet and exercise.

    Now the good news! Though we can’t actually lose fat cells from our stomachs, we can dramatically minimize the appearance, by improving our diet and by
    1. Strengthening and tightening our core area
    2. Building muscle especially in the shoulders and lats
    3. Lowering overall body fat density through exercise

    So if we really are committed to a good exercise and diet regimen, we can get our “pear shape” into “ship shape”! Thankfully, Abdominal Trainers help with all of the above, most notably by helping us strengthen and tighten our core area.

    But listen up people! There is no magic bullet and there is no magic piece of equipment that will “melt away” those inches from your waistline without effort. As advertised at the top, the abdominal and oblique region of the human anatomy is the last thing to tighten, and it takes hard work on quality equipment. Our focus here is on those durable grade Abdominal Trainers that have been adapted for home use, and you’ll find no dehydrated pitchman on a $3 piece of hyped plastic here!
    Read More »
  • Best Ellipticals
    Let’s imagine for a moment that some poor slob, who’d been stranded on a desert island for 25 years, is finally rescued. Somewhere on his “to do list” after a big juicy steak, a cold beer, and a good movie, is a relaxing trip to the gym. I offer, that one glimpse of an elliptical machine would elicit a response somewhere between “you’ve got to be kidding me!” I mean think about it, if you’ve never seen one before, an elliptical machine looks like the wheel-less love child of a big bug and a bicycle! And the variety of poses you see on an Elliptical only adds to the peculiarity: the rump way out, the chest pressed forward, or the always fun to see, hunch back! Yikes!

    I mention this not just because a big juicy steak and a cold beer sound pretty good right now, but because the elliptical machine may be the most improperly used piece of exercise equipment out there. If used correctly, the Elliptical is a fantastic training tool that provides a great cardiovascular alternative to the pounding on the joints from running; or a more even full body alternative to the unavoidable distribution of the workload to the quadriceps from bicycling. But if used incorrectly, the strain on the back, hips, knees, even the shoulders, can cause real orthopedic problems.

    Because only your hands and feet touch the machine, all that “real estate” in between is vulnerable to injury from improper use. So part of the task in choosing a Home Elliptical Machine is to simultaneously make certain you’re stance, form, and duration of workout are all “right” for you.

    Thus, the key things to look for a home elliptical machine are:
    1) Does the machine allow me proper stance and form?
    2) Does the machine have the programs and monitoring capability I want?
    3) Is the machine’s elliptical mechanism going to last?
    Read More »
  • Best Dumbbells
    Home Exercise Equipment almost didn’t exist 25 years ago, and over the last twenty, the quality and versatility has improved dramatically. A shining example of a recent “game changer” is the Adjustable Home Dumbbell. “Back in the day” unless you had a whole rack of ascending weight dumbbells in your garage, you probably had to stick with that lonely pair of “25 pounders” for every muscle group, every exercise, every workout; because that’s what your older brother had stolen from the High School Phys Ed class! Unfortunately, these were much too heavy for some exercises, much too light for others, and if, “heaven forbid,” you actually got stronger and wanted to increase your “poundage”? Forget it!

    The Adjustable Home Dumbbell has changed all that, and you can now bring much of your free weight workout home with you, without spending a ton of money or taking up a ton space.

    To make this Adjustable Dumbbell list, a product must consist of two dumbbell grips, with a relatively simple weight adjustment mechanism, as part of its core design. Thus, you’ll be sadly disappointed if you were hoping to see your cute little lavender “four pounders” on the list; not because I don’t like cute little lavender “four pounders,” but because to increase to cute little lavender “five pounders,” you’d need a whole new dumbbell.
    Read More »
  • Best Stationary Bikes
    Stationary Exercise Bikes are one of those pieces of gym equipment that most folks don’t think too much about until they find a really BAD one. You may not realize it, but if you regularly ride an exercise bike at the gym, I’ll bet you head for the same particular bike in the same spot each time you walk in, right? Now I submit that your favorite bike is not chosen because of quality, but rather because of scenery: come on admit it, you pick a bike that has the best view of the cute buns on the aerobics floor!

    But even the best of "bun shows" won’t keep you on a bike you don’t like, as there is nothing worse than a BAD stationary bicycle. Thus, the bikes I’ve chosen, and the criterion I recommend you consider when shopping for one, fall into a somewhat tight window.

    A home stationary exercise bicycle:

    a) Must be of at least "good" quality construction and function

    b) Must be priced for home use

    c) Must allow you to do the "programs" and track the "variables" that you want

    Now you might be saying, "'Good' quality? Duuuuh!" But a durable, comfortable, smoothly functioning, stationary bike is arguably the most difficult piece of exercise equipment to engineer and manufacture; and thus, the landscape of home gyms, garages, and basements is littered with far too many "towel racks" that once masqueraded as economical exercise bikes! You should always balance economy with utility, but with a stationary exercise bike, this is especially true. I mean, a cheap set of free weights might still get the job done, even a cheap mountain bike might get you from "a to b", but a cheap stationary bike that you won’t get on, won’t do much of anything!
    Read More »
  • Best Free Weight Home Gyms
    The idea behind a Home Free Weight System is to approximate the utility of a gym’s free weights at home, right? So I’m always dumbfounded by the chubby pitchman’s claim that “his” home contraption is the magic bullet that will make the $2 million worth of commercial free weight equipment at your local gym, obsolete!! I mean, did Richard Dawson say at the end of every Family Feud episode that if you bought the Family Feud home board game, you could stop watching the television show?

    Ok, I’m not exactly sure where I was going with that, but the point is that in choosing a home free weight system, your purchase should consider those exercises you do, and the free weights you use, when you do go to the gym. If you’re a “lighter weight/higher repetition person”, a bench with some dumbbells might do the trick, whereas, if you’re a “heavier weight/fewer rep” person, a rack with weight plates and a bar is more your speed. The key is to first give some thought to the needs of your body and focus of your workout; if you’ve adequately defined those, the choice of product should be fairly easy.

    Note: there are numerous “Smith Machines” on our list, as these type machines are by definition, multi-functional pieces of equipment that yield a full slate of exercises.

    Just remember that if you truly are looking for a full-body home free weight system, you need a product that adequately accommodates at least one exercise for each and every body part.
    Read More »
  • Best Workout Belts
    A workout belt is one of those things that if you’ve never used one, it’s utility might be a mystery, but any experienced weight trainer will tell you, it should be item number one on the must have list! If you’re still not buyin’ it, the next time you park behind a warehouse or raid the “Clearance Rack” in the back of the grocery store; take a look at what almost every worker back there has around his waist - a belt! You can bet this is not a fashion statement, and you can be equally certain that the lettuce crates the sweaty fella just pulled off a produce truck don’t weigh nearly as much as the dumbbells you’re gonna be putting over your head at the gym later! Get the point?!

    A weight belt provides stability by supporting your core and promoting good posture. A common misperception, however, is that a weight belt only provides added support for the back, but in reality, the support a belt provides to the abdominals is equally, if not more, important!

    When deciding on a belt, the criterion is fairly simple: a. Does it provide support for your abdominals and back? and b. Is it comfortable enough that you will wear it?
    Read More »
  • Best Workout Gloves
    Unless you’re a Longshoreman trying to impress the boss, rough hands are a real no-no; and those who exercise regularly using strength equipment, know just how tough a few hours a week in the gym can be on the hands. Calluses develop over time on the palms and at the base of the fingers from rigorous repetitive griping like that done on a free weight bar, a dumbbell, or the handle bar on a piece of gym equipment. Thus, a good pair of workout gloves can make the difference in creating a nice firm handshake you can be proud of, versus a swipe from a claw that could slice vegetables!

    The function of a workout glove is to provide adequate protection and maximum grip, yet allow movement and flexibility for those exercises that require extension and/or flexion in the hand to be done properly. Most of the gloves on the market today are a fingerless design, that protects the palms yet allows the fingertips to move freely. There are also a few unique designs and lifting straps that fall under this category, and I’ve tossed those into the “Best of the Rest” for convenience.

    The questions to ask about a workout glove are simple:

    1. Does a glove protect the parts of the hand that need protecting?

    2. Does a glove provide proper flexibility and grip that allow an exercise to be done properly?

    3. Does it last and is it washable? Because a glove can start “barking” fairly quickly, if you know what I mean!
    Read More »