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Pamela Gold of HackD Fitness – Strength of Mind, Body, and Soul

Welcome to the gym of the future. It’s smaller because you don’t need that much equipment. It has machines you’ve never heard of because the gym of tomorrow looks nothing like the gym of today. There are fewer people because you can get a full workout in 20 minutes. It offers supplemental services you can’t find at your gym because your gym hasn’t caught up to HACKD.

In this deep dive, you will learn …

What is HACKD (0:00)

  • A holistic approach to fitness that emphasizes efficiency and effectiveness
  • Individualized instruction and programs, sessions are by appointment only
  • Much smaller facility that a traditional gym
  • Cutting-edge technology built into their equipment that allows for a full week of working out to be condensed into less than an hour

The future and perception of the gym (5:02)

  • Grow to more locations and a larger space
  • Should be seen as paradigm-shifting and a place where people get a unique experience with the best equipment
  • This is a place where you get results for your mind, body, and spirit

The future of fitness (10:24)

  • Carol bike – no one else in NYC has it, it gives you the equivalent of a 45 minute jog in under 10 minutes, uses an algorithm to learn the exact resistance you need
  • ARX machines – the reason she opened HACKD, collects data and allows you to compete with your previous workouts, in under 20 minutes per week she gets all the strength training she needs
  • Fit 3D scan – collects data on your muscle mass and fat composition to allow you to get a baseline measurement and see exactly how you have improved over time
  • Joovv panel – near infrared light
  • Infrared sauna – far infrared light

Bob Troia talks us through additional equipment (19:00)

  • Nano-V – repairs cells , reduces oxidative stress, makes our body produce anti-oxidants
  • Liv 02 – exercising with oxygen and its advantages

Full Transcript

Pamela Gold: 00:00

So this is HACKD Fitness. My approach to fitness is very holistic. I like to look at both the workout, kind of the breakdown catabolic phase and the anabolic phase in this kind of holistic balanced way. So I want to be as efficient as possible on the workout side because we can achieve our fitness goals in much less time, which then gives us time to recover in a proper balanced way. And that’s what we have at Hacked with all the latest technology that allows us to achieve that in the most efficient, trackable way.

Saad Alam: 00:30

Tell me about what’s the kind of the, your philosophical approach to wellness and fitness that you’re trying to replicate here at HACKD.

Pamela Gold: 00:36

Yeah, so my philosophical approach is around efficiency because at the end of the day time is really really precious. You have a finite amount of time and successful people know how to best use it.

Pamela Gold: 00:47

And so all the tech here helps us have the most efficient, effective workout. And it’s about both the catabolic and the anabolic, and so we’re working out, breaking down our body, but then we have to put in the appropriate recovery time to build back up. And so it’s finding the right balance for each of us and having the most effective tools to help us reach those goals.

Saad Alam: 01:06

How do you see this differing from a traditional gym?

Pamela Gold: 01:10

Well traditional gyms, the old business model, right, that you sign up as a member, you either come or you don’t. You may get results or you may not. This is not about that. This is about actually helping people change their lives, one person at a time. I’m really about individualized attention, individualized programs. And so at HACKD you always someone with you on any of the big machines. And you always have kind of that one on one attention. And we’re really about helping you get your goals met.

Pamela Gold: 01:38

And so this is a much smaller footprint, a much different business model, a really unique business model, unlike anything that exists currently in New York City, so a lot of that on the business side was figuring it out. So the business is very different than a traditional gym, but then the service and the feel is very different than a traditional gym.

Saad Alam: 01:54

How is the business model different from a traditional gym?

Pamela Gold: 01:56

Well we’re still figuring it out to be completely honest, but because it’s by appointment only, you have to come sign up and use the equipment, you can’t just have an open membership where you just pay every month and either you come or you don’t. You pop in whenever you want. It has to be by appointment only because of the nature of the appointment and the experiences. And so trying to figure out the best way to structure that, to have people feel like they have enough flexibility and it’s reasonable from a cost perspective.

Pamela Gold: 02:23

But the return on investment for something like this is way better than you get at a tradition gym because you’re getting such efficient results.

Saad Alam: 02:29

Tell us about maybe two different people who you’ve seen come in here for two very different purposes and how you see them evolving, over what period of time.

Pamela Gold: 02:39

So basically some of the people that come in here are really busy executives, parents, so time is of the essence. And they see this as an opportunity to raise their fitness level in less time. And so we’ve been open a couple months now, so we’ve had some people that have been here for at least two months. Starting with the Fit 3D scan they’re able to kind of assess where they started and then they’re able to reassess each month and see how their body’s changed.

Pamela Gold: 03:01

So one of our clients has been coming in weekly, doing the ARX twice a week and doing the Carol three times a week. And he’s been able to see how his muscle mass and cardiovascular fitness level has evolved in the last two months. And I know he’s put on several inches of muscle mass and he’s pretty psyched about that and he feels really good.

Pamela Gold: 03:18

So the Carol increased the cardiovascular fitness level and gives you an octane score that’s pretty close to a V02 max, you can kind of see how your body is evolving from an efficiency and power standpoint. And so he can see how much his cardiovascular fitness level has improved, he can see how much his strength has improved, his output has improved, and he can see how his body has changed, in the last two months with these really minimal effective dose workouts. And when I say minimal effective dose, it’s literally … I mean you’ll come in and you’ll do a 20 minute session on the ARX, but that’s usually under ten minutes of actual work. ‘Cause you’re resting in between. So over two sessions that’s like 20 minutes of work, plus you add in the Carol which is a ten minute work out, if you do that three times a week that’s literally less than 50 minutes of work a week. And people are seeing massive, massive results from that.

Pamela Gold: 04:03

So that’s one person who kind of was already in decent shape, and wanted to see their fitness level and their body kind of evolve to the next level. But we’ve also had people come in that are not in decent shape. And that first visit, when I get them to do the Fit 3D scan, it’s a pretty humbling experience. And they usually don’t like me so much. But I had one guy who literally blasted this on social media, how much he hated me. He didn’t share the picture of his body, but he definitely was really vocal with how much he was not happy with me.

Pamela Gold: 04:31

But then a month later, after he worked out with me once a week on the ARX, and he does other things. He did the Carol once a week but he also does Peloton from home. And he was really psyched with his second scan when he lost nine pounds of body fat and increased his muscle. And his body looked very different in the picture.

Pamela Gold: 04:47

So when you put together these more efficient workouts with the trackable progress it really can help people get super motivated. Because it’s a lot easier to get motivated when the workouts are short and when you can see the progress.

Saad Alam: 04:59

How do you see this evolving in the future?

Pamela Gold: 05:02

I definitely have a vision for this place that will allow it to be scalable, and will be able to take this kind of minimal viable product, proof of concept, footprint and have the next one be really beautiful. And have it be that the kind of space that the energy here already exudes. So you walk in here, hopefully you feel the energy of how warm it is, how advanced it is. How next level it is. But we’re in a very start up kind of mentality here and this space doesn’t really have the polish that I would like it to have.

Pamela Gold: 05:31

So long term I see us with a lot of the same equipment and then the latest and greatest as more stuff comes out. But I definitely see us in a space that really has the different privacy areas, right now we use curtains and everything’s open and so the acoustics can be kind of tough, which, you know, it’s all energy. So if you can hear the other conversations and we’re trying to practice being zen it gives us an opportunity to be even more zen. But in a perfect world there’d be different areas where you could really focus on whatever it is that you want to focus on. So down the road I see us with more locations in New York City, I see the branding, everything kind of evolving to the next level, and I really see us touching more lives.

Saad Alam: 06:10

Wonderful. How do you want people to describe this place?

Pamela Gold: 6:15

Awesome, magical. I mean I’m kind of cheesy in that way but I want people to talk about how this tech is game changing and transformative, and paradigm shifting. Because most people have this really really out dated idea of what fitness looks like. In this city we don’t put enough emphasis on recovery, we are working against ourselves when we don’t really set aside that time and put programming in in our week. So I want people to talk about HACKD as being this wholistic really well balanced program. And I want them to talk about how this equipment is just next level and gives us results and experiences that they just couldn’t get anywhere else. And I want them to talk about how great the energy is. That when they come here they feel safe, they feel supported. Because if I’m gonna ask you to do an ARX session I’m gonna ask you to be vulnerable. I’m gonna ask you to get really far out of your comfort zone. So I want people to feel safe and supported here.

Saad Alam: 07:08

How many places are there like this that you see?

Pamela Gold: 07:11

So other cities have places like this, myself, I’m only visited Upgrade Labs, used to be Bulletproof Labs. Very different vibe, very polished, right, it’s a beautiful space. They’ve got all the different areas laid out really nicely. I went there to try some of this equipment out because I was trying to decide what I wanted to have at HACKD. And it was an operation, it didn’t feel as warm and homey as what I wanted to create. And I really want to create an opportunity for this to be more mainstream, for people to understand that this isn’t a lab where we’re experimenting on you, and you may or may not get results. I want people to understand that a lot for the equipment we have here like the ARX, and the Carol, you get results from these pieces of equipment.

Pamela Gold: 07:56

So that’s one of the differentiating factors between us and Bulletproof or Upgrade. The other places that are like us I haven’t been able to visit but I know there’s a bunch of other cities that have facilities like this. I know there’s Everstrong in San Francisco, Quantified Fitness down in Nashville, Texas there’s a bunch of places. So there’s a lot of other places doing this, just New York City didn’t have one, which was just baffling to me, considering how type A and optimization, highest level of achievement in least amount of time us New Yorkers are.

Saad Alam: 08:28

And let’s assume someone like me comes to you right off the street, right? And they say, “Pam, I’m all messed up. I’m trying to change my life.” How do you go about assessing them and the process, how you should change them?

Pamela Gold: 08:44

I love that question because I’m actually all about mind, body, and spirit strength. And so even though Hacked really focuses on the physical, I’m very very passionate about both the mental and spiritual pieces of who we are as humans and how that affects our optimization, our achievement, and our health. Because I really think it’s all connected.

Pamela Gold: 09:04

So if you just walked in off the street I would start to ask you some kind of open-ended questions and listen to learn and where you were on the spectrum of, what do you think your goals are? What do you think your desires are and your fears are? And then whatever you think those are, we start there. So if you think that your problem is that you don’t have enough muscle mass, then that’s what we’re starting with. And I will talk you through how HACKD can help you with that.

Pamela Gold: 09:29

But if you walk in and you tell me that you think your problem is that you eat like shit. Crap. I don’t know if I can curse, but, if you think that your problem is that you eat horribly, then we can talk about that as we also talk about the fitness program. Because we all know at the end of the day a really really great fitness program is not going to overcome a horrible nutritional set of habits.

Pamela Gold: 09:49

And so I really do look at the holistic person, and HACKD does offer programming to kind of hit all of that stuff. We do talk about mindfulness here, mindset, meditation, bio-feedback training with the Muse. So we really are able to address whatever’s going on on all those levels. But we really focus on what you think you need first and then I can sneak in some of the other stuff. Kind of as a mom I put spinach in the smoothies, you don’t necessarily know that you need some kind of heart and mental kind of support, maybe you came in here just for physical support, but I can kind of sneak it in while I train you.

Pamela Gold: 10:24

So this is the future of fitness. And it’s New York City’s first bio-hacking fitness facility. And so we have equipment here that you will not find anywhere else in New York City. This is the Carol bike. This is a high intensity, artificially intelligent, high intensity interval bike. So this basically puts all of your fitness levels into an advanced algorithm and learns the exact resistance that you need to be maxed out in two 20 second sprints, giving you the equivalent of a 45 minute jog in under 10 minutes. So this is awesome. I do this 2 to 3 times a week, it’s all I do for cardio. We can also measure the V02 max while you’re here to show you how this is indeed working.

Pamela Gold: 11:08

This these two machines are the ARX. This is really the reason why I opened HACKD. Because they were too big to have in my apartment. But these machines give you computerized mechanical resistance, which allows you to be maxed out both on the concentric and the e-centric, each second of each rep. Which allows to get fatigued deeper and faster than any other way of anything that you could do, and as I say, “Friends don’t let friends lift weights,” because this is far more efficient, effective, and safer.

Pamela Gold: 11:37

And so you get data. So every second that you are on the machines, it’s recording what is the work that you’re doing. And you’re the one acting on the machine, the machine’s not acting on you. But you can always go back and look at how you’re doing and your progress, and this shows you, this is my chest press. So you can see when we first got the machine back in October, October 1st was the first time that I was on the machine, that’s actually the gray. And so you can see over time it’s not always like each week or each session I do better, because everything kind of ebbs and flows, but you can see my last two sessions on the chest press have been my maxes so far.

Pamela Gold: 12:16

So all this stuff is fun, it holds us accountable, it keeps us motivated as we see our progress. And it is far and away the most efficient, effective way to build strength, muscle mass, and cardiovascular fitness in literally one minute and 30 second session. So every week I try to use these machines in two different sessions, which basically is the equivalent of two 20 minute sessions here at HACKD. But overall it’s about 20 minutes of work that I do a week. So I’m averaging, actually, under 18 minutes of work on the ARX a week. And that’s all I do for strength. And as I said, I combine that with the Carol, so I’ve been averaging under 40 minutes a week of exercise for the last several months. And I know, because of all of the data, that I’m in the best shape that I’ve ever been in. It’s pretty, pretty cool.

Pamela Gold: 13:02

Okay, so on the other machine you can do leg press. You can do chest press, you can do row. You can do torso flexion, torso extension, calf raise. On this machine you can do pull down, you can do horizontal press. I’ll hop on and demonstrate a horizontal press for you guys. And so since I’ve been here before I have data. And so I can look back and chose which session I want to go against. Generally speaking I want to go against my best session because that’s gonna inspire me to put in my best effort. And it just so happens that the last time I did this I had a personal record. So that’s what I want to see. I want to see that over time I’m getting stronger. And so since, again, I’ve been here before. All I have to do is press the button, hit start, and sit down. And go.

Pamela Gold: 13:52

So anyway, you start in the e-centric phase. I’m not gonna be able to talk after this, just FYI.

Saad Alam: 13:57

You’re fine.

Pamela Gold: 14:01

So I just hit a new max, which is good. So each second … it’s showing what I’m doing on the screen and I can see it. And I, of course, always want to beat myself. And so it motivates me to keep pushing harder.

Pamela Gold: 14:33

It’s no joke. There’s no question that this workout is just unparalleled and game changing and transformative. And once I used this machine I was just like, “I don’t want to use anything else.” And then when no one had it in New York, I was like well, I really want to be using it and I can’t be alone. So from a business perspective it’s a blue ocean. So here we are.

Pamela Gold: 14:58

But yeah, so you can see I maxed out, so I have a new max. I stopped early which is fine because we had enough, but so I didn’t beat my intensity and my output. But I had a new max. 219, woohoo!

Pamela Gold: 15:13

And so that’s foot pounds, so in that moment I was pressing 219 pounds a foot. And I can assure you that when I go to the gym and I do a chest press, I aint doing 219 pounds, right, like I’m strong but I’m not that strong. So for me, if I were gonna do a set and if I was trying to reproduce this with weights when I didn’t have the machine, I would try to do 100 pounds. But I probably, I mean probably 100 pounds would be what I could do. But there’d be 100 pounds the whole time. Instead of 100 pounds I got to do 219, 200, 171, 143, 113, way more work and way less time.

Pamela Gold: 15:51

So over here we have the Fit 3D scan. And as we say on the wall, the data don’t lie. So we want as much real information as possible to hold us accountable and have us be objective about our goals and how we’re doing on our goals. And we use this for good, not evil. So this is gonna give me, and you, a 360 degree picture of your body. It’s humbling to actually see your body in kind of gray form with all of your measurements and all of your forms and you learn your muscle mass and your fat composition. And so when you first get that it’s your starting place. This is where you’re starting from. And then you can talk about, okay, where do I want to go and how am I gonna get there? And then we just focus on the process and you trust the process.

Pamela Gold: 16:30

So every four weeks, six weeks, we’ll do this again. But we don’t want to micromanage these numbers. So we want to use it as part of our process and part of our motivation. And I can tell you that when you get your second scan, and you see how your body has changed, it’s super motivating and it helps you keep going.

Pamela Gold: 16:46

So the way this works is you get on it and you literally spin around and it takes a picture of you from all sides and then it goes to your own account, your own email, you’re the only person that sees it. If you want to share it with your coach you can, but it’s really just for you and your own personal use.

Pamela Gold: 17:00

So this is the Joovv, it’s a near infrared light panel. There’s actually two different wavelengths of light. So there’s the red light that you can see, that’s 660. So that is the wavelength that is best for our skin. If you go to the dermatologist they use this wavelength to help even out skin tone, it increases collagen, elastin, and it also helps with hair regrowth. Which is awesome.

Pamela Gold: 17:24

The wavelength that you can’t see, that is out of the visible spectrum, that goes deeper into our tissues. Basically it’ll help on that same kind of repair and recovery but at a deeper level. But basically all the cells that get these two wavelengths on the cellular level their cellular function is improving. It’s been shown that it increases ATP, which is the molecular energy of our cells. So you have more energy and that’s what helps with the repair, recovery process. There’s also oxidative stress that it’s kind of giving you, which you’re then repairing and recovering from quicker.

Pamela Gold: 17:54

So this is great before a workout. If I use this before I go onto the ARX I usually see about a 10 to 15% increase in my strength which is pretty cool. And when I use it after the ARX it helps me with the inflammation and I’ll be less sore.

Pamela Gold: 18:08

So we have a personal infrared sauna that gives you far infrared light. That light wave actually heats up our body faster than traditional saunas do. So the sauna itself can be at a lower temperature, which makes it more palatable for most people, you can stay in longer. But your body is getting the same benefits from that internal heating. So for sure your circulation is increasing, your heart rate’s increasing. They show that you burn calories when you’re in there, so if you’re looking for weight loss this could help with that. It helps you with your toxin efficiency, it helps you with your skin. You rest and sleep better. All of these things are benefits, but in general I use it mainly for meditation.

Pamela Gold: 18:45

We have the vibrational resonance therapy in this, so there’s speakers in the box. And so you put different tones, different tone qualities, meditation music. And it’s incredibly meditative and relaxing. So it’s one of my favorite things that I wish I had more time to do here.

Bob Troia: 19:00

Cool, so this is a device called Nano-V. And it looks kind of weird and funky and you’ve got lights and bubbles and all that, but what’s it doing is it’s taking distilled water, treating it with a signal, and then vaporizing into a fine mist that you breath in. And what it’s doing is it’s tricking the body into thinking it’s receiving oxidative stress, but you’re not really getting the oxidative stress, so it triggers a bunch of things in the body in terms of repairing cells, reducing levels of oxidative stress, so our bodies will naturally produce anti-oxidants and all that. And it uses a lot of technologies and might look a little bit woowoo, and what it does. But all you’re really doing is breathing in distilled water vapor that’s been treated with a signal. And that’s essentially what this machine does. And then under the hood, obviously, and your body’s doing all the work, essentially.

Bob Troia: 19:50

So there’s no chemicals, no drugs, nothing else. It’s literally just frequencies, it’s like you’re eating light, essentially.

Bob Troia: 19:57

Okay, so this is Liv 02. What we’re doing with this is exercising with oxygen. There’s been a lot of research done around this topic, probably over the last 50 years. And what the concept is is we can fill up a reservoir with concentrated levels of oxygen and by having a person do some light exercise to get their heart rate elevated while breathing in the oxygen, we can drive it deep into the tissues which does a number of things. We can clear out metabolic waste, reduce vascular inflammation, repair hypoxic tissue within our bodies, whether it’s from past injuries or just areas in our body where we’re not getting blood delivering the oxygen too deeply.

Bob Troia: 20:37

And what we do is we call this one adaptive contrast because we have an oxygen concentrator that takes room air, put’s it in this reservoir, so we’re talking about 4 times normal oxygen levels. We also have a smaller reservoir that has very low oxygen levels, so think 12, 13000 feet of altitude. And we have a switch. So while the person’s cycling, getting their heart rate into a certain zone, we can flip between low and high oxygen which allows it to trigger a lot of things in the body depending on what our goals are.

Bob Troia: 21:06

And while that’s going on the person riding and breathing the oxygen will be wearing pulse-oximeters. So this allows us to measure not just heart rate but blood oxygen saturation. ‘Cause we play around with that, sometimes we actually want to bring it low. We want to teach people to breathe with very low levels of oxygen, like hypoxic training, and then when we flip the switch and give them some more oxygen we want to see how they re-saturate. So this helps people with cardiovascular fitness, whether their trying to stimulate training at altitude, or just want to be more efficient using oxygen in their bodies. So we can do a lot of things with it.

Bob Troia: 21:42

There’s a whole medical aspect to it too where I’ve seen success with people being treated with all sorts of things, but in here we treat it as a training modality.

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