Train like an IndyCar driver: Jack Harvey takes us to Fit Flex Fly for a taste of his Indy 500 workout

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – During the month of May, our “In Your Neighborhood” segments will be infused with some Indianapolis 500 spirit. Each week, some of your favorite IndyCar drivers will take us on a tour of the Circle City featuring their favorite hot-spots.

We’re kicking things off with Jack Harvey of Meyer Shank Racing, who sets out to show us how to work out like an IndyCar driver.  He took us to the gym where he trains throughout the year and where he’s currently gearing up both physically and mentally for the greatest spectacle in racing. Fit Flex Fly—also known as F3—is located in the Northview Shopping Center off east 82nd Street near Westfield Boulevard.

Photo credit: Yelp Indy via Brittany S

You’ll find Harvey here 6 days per week, but today he’s putting CBS4’s own Rachel Bogle to the test in a head-to-head fitness challenge.

"My dad used to say when I was younger, ‘Fit in the body, fit in the mind,'" said Harvey. “So if I go through a corner and I’m thinking about what they’re telling me opposed to, ‘Oh wow, my neck is really sore today’ or ‘Man, holding the steering wheel at this position at 3 or 4 G’s four times a lap, 800 times per race---it’s intense.'

Fit Flex Fly owner Mark Morgan has been working with Harvey for over 2 years and says customizing a workout and plan has been paramount to his success.

“He came to me at 192 [pounds] and I was like, “Okay, we need to get some of that English lard off of you, get that fat off, get you lean and get you strong to deal with the G-forces and the forearm strength and the neck strength that he needed,” said Morgan. “He followed it to a tee and lost 25 pounds.”

Harvey said he’s always trained hard, but the major difference with his fitness experience and his ability to lose the excess weight is the guidance he’s received from the F3 staff when it comes to nutrition.

“That was a combination of training and tweaking little bits in that but honestly a lot of that came in diet,” he said. “So it’s not just what can they do for you training wise. They’re going to improve your general lifestyle and your general health.”

Fit Flex Fly is open to the public, offering group fitness classes and individualized personal training.

Four Things You Need to Know About Fit Flex Fly:

  • Fit Flex Fly—also known as F3— was founded in 2012 by Mark and Kelli Morgan. They offer group classes as well as one-on-one personal training and have a registered dietitian nutritionist on staff.
  • Fit Flex Fly prides themselves on having everything under one roof: boxing classes, kettle bell classes, hot yoga classes and more. They even offer childcare Monday-Friday from 8:30am-2pm, on Saturdays during 9am classes and during 8:30am classes on Sundays.
  • According to F3 owner, Mark Morgan, they focus on full body workouts that will up your heart rate and decrease body fat. Their main three goals for all clients are to help them lose fat, gain muscle and have fun.
  • IndyCar driver Jack Harvey has been going to F3 for over two years. Aside from the 25 pounds lost and success he has had with training, he also credits the atmosphere and friendships he has built there for helping Indianapolis feel more like home.

But how does one create a workout for someone who drives over 220 mph for a living?

“In the off-season what we focus on is what I call his work capacity… his endurance, keeping him strong and keeping his heart rate up,” Morgan explained. “We actually take him into the heated room and even when it’s 20 degrees out, I can train him like he’s racing in the summertime under those conditions.”

Photo credit: Jack Harvey Official Facebook page

“During the season, I wouldn’t say that it’s ramped up at all but we like to keep his endurance high and really focus on focusing basically… His brain needs to be dialed in, focused and as he’s on the treadmill or on the bike or whatever, you can definitely see that he is a true athlete,” he added.

The public’s notion of whether or not race car drivers are “true athletes” is a debate Harvey is all too familiar with.

“A lot of people drive every day… to work or wherever they’re going. So they are like, ‘Oh driving is easy! You just sit there and turn the wheel!’ and I’m like, ’Oh yeah, right, that’s all we have to do! Haha!” said Harvey with a laugh.

Photo credit: Jack Harvey Official Facebook page

“We were on track yesterday at the speedway and even then you’re going 220 mph and I’m thinking about my front adjustable roll bar, my rear adjustable roll bar, I’m then thinking about my weight jack. Then in the midst of that, I have 3 different people talking to me all at one time,” he explained. “So you can’t exactly compare your road car to what we are racing… We don’t have any steering assist, we’ve got nothing like that so I can’t explain how much heavier it is just purely on holding the wheel.”

So, in order to be a race car driver and do the job well, what areas are the most important when it comes to fitness and training?

“The first things I would target in the off season if I’m trying to improve strength would be neck, shoulders, forearms, hand strength,” said Harvey. “But then-- that being said--- when we hit the brake pedal we’re trying to push 1200-1400 PSI so suddenly then you need leg strength.”

Photo credit: Jack Harvey's Official Twitter @jack_harvey42

Our Rachel Bogle decided to see first-hand exactly what it takes to train like an IndyCar driver and let’s just say it wasn’t as easy as Harvey made it look.

“The thing that’s tough about the gym is if it looks easy, it’s probably really, really, really hard,” he said.

Photo credit: Jack Harvey Official Facebook page

From exercises that relied on balance, hand-eye coordination and reaction time, to a one-on-one challenge using the Jacobs Ladder, it was pretty clear to say that she—as they say in racing— got stuck in the marbles.

Rachel gives the Jacobs Ladder a try at Fit Flex Fly

However, even a professional athlete like Harvey dreads certain exercises in the gym. His least favorite is the Fit Flex Fly fitness test.

“It’s a heart rate test basically and two of the zones you have to do for a period of time are like red zone, max out all you can go. Honestly, I don’t know what starts to give up first; my forearms go or if I’m on the bike my legs start to go and I feel like I’m having a heart attack," he said with a chuckle. “It’s not strong for me. My hair is going everywhere; I mean it’s just a disaster.”

A bad hair day after a workout? Now there’s something we can relate to!

“The amount of hairspray to lock this down when I’m training? Unbelievable!” he joked.

Photo credit: Fit Flex Fly Facebook page

For more information about Fit Flex Fly, check out their website by clicking here. To see more photos and reviews by local Yelpers, check out their Yelp profile. You can also connect with them on social media via Facebook and Instagram.

For the latest news and info about Jack Harvey, check out his website by clicking here. To keep up with him throughout the month of May, follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Photo credit: Jack Harvey Official Facebook page

When you’re done working out like an IndyCar driver, check out some of Jack Harvey’s other favorite local hot spots:

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