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Celebrity Fitness Trainer Gunnar Peterson – Interview

Posted by Lisa LaGrou May 9, 2012 OCM Blog

altI had the opportunity to interview celebrity fitness trainer, Gunnar Peterson. I was quite intrigued to hear more about how these celebrities manage the task of fitness training. We see these people on the “silver screen” but what are they really like when they’re not acting, and when they are working hard to stay fit.

Here’s my interview with Gunnar Peterson…

Oakland County Moms: When I look at the people you’ve worked with, Sofia Vergara, Steven Tyler, Kim Kardashian, Bruce Willis, Ryan Seacrest, Jennifer Lopez, they all seem incredibly fit. Are they dedicated trainees of your program, or are genetics on their side?

Gunnar Peterson, Celebrity Trainer: No, they’re very dedicated. The genetics are what the genetics are. These people are dedicated and they show up on a regular basis, and I think if you look at not just their longevity in their careers but their longevity in fitness. There’s no surprise. It’s a work ethic and it comes down to making this a priority and making a commitment to a certain time, and getting in and getting it done and then getting out. People think they’re cranking in the gym for 2-3 hours. There’s no way. If you look at work load of the people you just mentioned, there’s absolutely no way they would have time for that. So, they fit this in. They found a way to make it a priority. You hear about priorities all the time. It’s not a priority. How can you tell me it’s a priority if you can’t even make time to get a workout done.

Oakland County Moms: Well, I’m going to ask for some scoop on these celebrities…

Gunnar Peterson, Celebrity Trainer: Oh, no you’re not. You’re so not. I will deflect, I will duck, weave, bob and perry all day.

Oakland County Moms: Oh come on! Now, the first person I want to ask about is Kim Kardashian. Many times she comes off as some kind of princess and she has once said she believes that you don’t show others if you’re in pain, i.e. keep a straight face in the middle of a tough workout. Is Kim Kardashian a hard worker and does she ever let it show?

Gunnar Peterson, Celebrity Trainer: She’s an incredibly hard worker, and you know, pretty poker face. I think a lot of people play that poker face. Hold ‘em like they do in Texas, please! They’re not going to show you when it’s crushing them. They’re going to show you they can get through it without giving up anything. I think it’s a great way to go because as a trainer, I’m constantly pushed to, you know, usually you talk to people about instead of just heart rate you go off of RPE (rate of perceived exertion), so I say “On a 1 to 10 where are you?” They’ll just look at me and smile, “That’s your job to figure out, Gunnar.” So, I have to make sure the workout is challenging them without crushing them. Crushing people is easy. You see trainers do that all the time. And they brag about it. Why would you crush somebody? They’re not going to come back. They’re not going to have a positive experience. You gotta have something that works in the confines of their lifestyle.

Oakland County Moms: Exactly. And, with Bruce Willis, I would think he’s the type that wants to get crushed, when you think of his films. So, does he tend to work his tail off until he keels over?

Gunnar Peterson, Celebrity Trainer: Die Hard and Die Harder. You know, he’s also a new dad, too. So, that breathes a breath of fresh air and gets him fired up. And he’s working different hours now. He’s definitely on diaper duty. This is a man, who there’s no surprise that he’s at the top of the food chain in his movie career and you see why. You see the work that he puts in. You see the commitment and dedication. That’s what’s fun about working with people like that; it’s how driven they are.

Oakland County Moms: And you’ve got people who are Steven Tyler’s age. Is it more difficult for him? I’m sure you’ve got to structure the program around each individual.

Gunnar Peterson, Celebrity Trainer: I’ll tell you, Steven Tyler, you’d be shocked at how much that man knows about the human body. And he’s had a number of different injuries and he overcomes them and pushes through, and he works with the energy of a 20-year-old. It’s incredible how that guy works.

Oakland County Moms: And Sofia Vergara – it must be fun to train her…
Gunnar Peterson, Celebrity Trainer: (Laughs) Yeah, you know, Sofia… she always has a couple of choice words for me. The key thing is she gets the work done when she’s in there. You know, the proof is in the pudding. The proof is in the Spandex.

Oakland County Moms: Is there a celebrity out there that you haven’t trained, but would love to work with?

Gunnar Peterson, Celebrity Trainer: You know, the people I want to work with I probably wouldn’t be able to call them out by name. But, it’s the people you hear about who are so dedicated and so committed. I love working with people who like to do this. I’ve been in this too long to try and work with people and sell them on it. I want them to come in wanting to do it. And if they want to do it, I will always bring my “A” game to them and I don’t want the “A” game they bring to me to be lower case, you know what I mean?

Oakland County Moms: What types of exercise makes up a bulk of your program (The Gunnar Challenge)?

Gunnar Peterson, Celebrity Trainer: Well, it’s a combination depending on the person and depending on the goals. We try to incorporate strength training. I would push for them to do cardio on their own. I will always build in some cardio intervals so they can find a way to recover actively. Some flexibilty and movement so that it’s real life and it applies and helps them do what they need to do outside the gym.


Oakland County Moms: So you’re saying you work with people who have very tight schedules and you encourage them to do things on their own. Celebrities are working with tight schedules, just as us moms do. Do you have programs that accomodate people with busy schedules?

Gunnar Peterson, Celebrity Trainer: Yes, the programs that are put together are for those people. You’ll see on gunnarchallenge.com there’s a new workout every day, and there’s a way to progress from the mean, or regress from it, depending on your level. There’s also diets, meal plans, recipes, shopping lists all built in so your nutrition is not left to chance. And, there’s no way this program can fail if you stick to it as diligently as you should for you life. Not just because you’re challenging yourself, but because you need this in real life. You work so hard to have what you have. To enjoy your down time, you want to be able to be fit and ready to get after it – whatever your leisure pursuit is.

Click on Gunnar Peterson’s website, gunnarchallenge.com, to take the Gunnar challenge! Hurry! The Gunnar Challenge starts May 21st, 2012.

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