Gunnar: Since you are asking about ‘overall fitness’, I think I would have to go with a light weight, high rep squat with a twisting dumbbell press. Why? Because it is multi-joint, uses muscle groups from the upper and lower extremity as well as your core, and it challenges your balance system at the same time. Oh, and by using a high rep scheme, you will further engage your cardiovascular system. SOLD!
SNI: What is the simplest piece of dietary/supplement advice that you can give your clients to help them lose body fat?
Gunnar: Eat breakfast. It tells your body that you will not starve it and in turn your body will jumpstart your previously sleeping metabolism. If your body doesn’t trust that you will feed it-especially after hours of no food like when you were sleeping- it will hold on to any extra fuel (body fat!) like an old lady clutches her purse when she rides the subway!
SNI: What’s the most annoying exercise myth that you deal with in training your celebrity clients?
Gunnar: ‘Lifting weights makes you big.’ My response is this: If you TRY to get big, you will get in shape. Getting ‘big’ takes more work than any civilian could understand. And even if you start to feel bigger, you can reverse it in a couple of days so relax.
SNI: Describe the ‘Perfect Meal’ that you would consume for optimal health.
Gunnar: Hmmmm… Quinoa, on a bed of spinach leaves with a sliced tomato and a handful of raw almonds, some hummus with a some fresh squeezed lemon juice, and a large glass of water. Or wine if it’s Saturday night.
Gunnar: Squats, side lunges, hip bridges, and some more squats…
SNI: Who/what inspired you to become a fitness expert?
Gunnar: I was a fat kid and self-conscious about my body. When I started working out and learning about nutrition I found that I could control how I looked. Not sure what I liked more at the time-the control or the look! That may sound shallow and narcissistic, but if people were honest, I bet that the majority of them had some kind of aesthetic motivation at the beginning of their fitness lives! At least I’m honest about it!
SNI: Bonus question: If you could be a Marvel Comics SuperHero, who would it be?
Gunnar: I’ll go way back-1940-And I’ll go with ‘Dynamic Man’! Cool name and some cool features! Try this on for size: ‘Dynamic Man, being an android, was impervious to nearly everything except for a rare substance known as lantholum. And it’s not like I would worry about lantholum in Beverly Hills; He could also fly and possessed super-strength, which obviously I think is a cool thing to possess, he had superhuman intelligence, x-ray vision, and could shape-shift, which means I could dial up my handsomeness as needed. In addition to this, he could use magnetic fields to repel bullets and yank guns from the hands of criminals, which is handy at times. His costume was green with a black belt and four yellow lightning bolts on his chest, the top two diagonal on his upper chest, the other two horizontal across the lower part of his chest. Maybe I’d have to tone down his outfit but nowadays it might just blend in.
SNI: Thanks Gunnar!
Gunnar Peterson CSCS CPT is a Beverly Hills-based personal trainer whose clients include celebrities, pro athletes, and everyday people. Gunnar is certified by the National Strength and Conditioning Association and is a graduate of Duke University. He is an editor and writes a regular column for Muscle and Fitness magazine, is on the advisory board for Fitness magazine, and has been a contributing editor for Glamour magazine as well as a contributor for Clean Eating magazine. Gunnar is also regularly featured in Allure, Elle, In Style, In Touch, US Weekly, Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Self and other magazines. His television appearances include The Today Show, Fox & Friends, CNN, CNN Headline News, The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch, Extra, and shows for E! and VH1.
“Gunnar Peterson works out up to nine clients a day at his Beverly Hills gym, and they’re often a mix of pro athletes and movie stars. J-Lo says he’s the best trainer she’s ever had, Sly Stallone was so grateful for Peterson’s help he cast the trainer in Rocky VI, and after Pete Sampras son the 2002 US Open he gave Peterson a racquet signed THANKS FOR EXTENDING MY CAREER.” Sports Illustrated. For more on Gunnar, go to: http://www.gunnarpeterson.com/