BC Seal Boston College Magazine Winter 2001
current issue
Linden Lane
Q and A
Letters to the Editor
BCM Home
Contact BCM
Coming Events
Muscle man

Photo of Steve Zim '88


Steve Zim (né Zimelman) leads a visitor to a treadmill at A Tighter U, his three-year-old gym in Culver City, California, and sets his inner clock. Ten minutes later, he takes his guest's raised pulse and calculates a target heart rate, forgoing the usual dossier on first-time clients (weight, body fat, other measurements). Then he maneuvers her around to a Hip Abduction machine and next to a Leg Curl machine and then to a mat. Lying butt lifts, triceps kickbacks, kickbacks with twist, and a killer maneuver called W-shoulders build to a sweaty, muscle-burning finale, a series of crunches and bicycle churns. Afterward, Zim recalls the 30-minute routine perfectly. "People sometimes think I'm not paying attention, but I remember everything they do," he says.

Eighteen years ago, while still a student at BC (majoring in Romance languages), Zim was introduced to a doctor who rehabilitated injured patients using infrared photography as a diagnostic tool. Zim began utilizing infrared techniques to devise efficient workouts for himself that would reach deep into muscle mass. After graduation he settled in California, aspiring to act but finding success as a fitness instructor with the regimen he'd developed. He tagged his approach "hot point," and eventually wrote a book, Hot Point Fitness: The Revolutionary New Program for Fast and Total Body Transformation (2000). For a brief time last year, Zim's book was number three on the Amazon best-seller list—"two ahead of John Grisham," Zim notes. He is now a regular guest on NBC's Weekend Today show, appearing about every six weeks to give workout tips and offer insights into trends ("step classes are out, ankle and wrist weights are way out, freestyle rope-jumping is in," he says).

Zim, who grew up in Newton, Massachusetts, started working out as a teenager, in a dark and stuffy gym tucked within an industrial neighborhood. Now he spends long hours at A Tighter U, where light floods in the front windows, and the back door rolls up to reveal the brilliant Southern California sky. His clientele is a mix of professional athletes (baseball players, figure skaters), celebrity actors, and neighborhood folk, and "everyone's treated the same," he says. "It's like Cheers, but a gym instead of a bar."

Suzanne Mantell

Suzanne Mantell is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles.

Photo: Zim (right) and Weekend Today cohost David Bloom outside NBC's New York studios. By Karjean Ng

Top of page .

Works and Days
related links
. . .
  »  Hot Point Fitness is available at a discount from the BC Bookstore
Alumni Home
BC Home

© Copyright 2002 The Trustees of Boston College