Fit Chic NYC’s Blog

My Workout With Celeb Trainer Gunnar Peterson

He’s responsible for making some of Hollywood’s sexiest celebs like J-Lo, Matthew McConaughey and Kim Kardashian hot and sweaty – and into red carpet ready shape! And for one steamy NYC morning I had him all to myself… well almost. As one of the lucky few who won an invitation to FITNESS magazine and Silk soy milk’s tweet-up workout with trainer Gunnar Peterson, I (and about 12 other fitness enthusiasts) was put through a 10-exercise workout with one of Hollywood’s most sought after trainers.

Gunnar’s philosophy is to create an exercise program that keeps your heart rate elevated, your body guessing and builds strength. So what did we learn? Well some of the moves can be viewed HERE but the 10-exercise workout program was designed for busy people who can’t spend hours training, but want to have the body that looks like they do! Best way to do that – incorporate total body moves like a plank/push up or my favorite, the advancing side lunge with wood chop, so that you can make the most out of limited time.

Looking for some moves to include in your workout routine? Try the dumbbell squat that goes into an upright row. Always remember proper form when squatting – keep your chest up and don’t lean over your knees. Imagine that there is a string attached at your chest bone and someone is tugging it up as you squat down. Incorporate other upper body moves into the exercise by switching out the upright row for a push press or lateral shoulder raise.

While celebs may fear Gunnar’s workouts (expect to sweat!) I see why they love him! His tongue-in-cheek personality shined during the Q&A session that followed the workout. One girl who is trying to shed a few pounds asked if she should hold off on strength training (and focus on cardio) until she drops the weight? Gunnar’s response, “I see a lot of fat people on the treadmill.” Harsh? Maybe. Honest? Completely! But for those looking to lose weight, the reason why Gunnar stresses that workouts must include resistance/strength training is that it builds lean tissue which is active, and active muscles burn calories faster.

So what does Gunnar keep in his workout toolbox – the rowing machine and stairs! Simple but effective workouts. I like to use the rowing machine on Monday nights when I get to the gym after work and it’s so packed that there is a wait for any cardio machine because more often than not, the row machine is open. Gunnar suggests mixing it up when rowing by including an overhead row or underhand grip.

His other favorite – stairs! He claims they are another underused component in an exercise program, especially considering you don’t even need a gym to use them … and I agree, check out the earlier post I wrote about stair climbing as a great budget workout! Keep your heart rate up and your body challenged by speed intervals, climbing two stairs at a time or even climbing climb sideways.

And his advice if you’re in the market to hire a trainer – the best workout program is one that keeps you challenged and makes you want to come back. Being pushed to the point you want to throw up, not being able to walk the next day or hating yourself and your trainer isn’t motivation to come back for another session.

The only piece of equipment we used during our morning workout with Gunnar was a set of light dumbbells (I used 8lbs.) and a yoga mat. So even if you can’t afford a gym or trainer, Gunnar proves you can still get a body like Hollywood’s hottest celebs!


A Standardized Version of Health?

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all standard of health. Being healthy doesn’t mean being a size 2. Or in some cases, even a size 8. (Hello ever heard of the “skinny fat” syndrome?!) It means dropping excess weight, increasing cardiovascular strength, incorporating daily exercise and eating healthy to help prevent disease and live a longer, happier life.

Oxygen’s new show Dance Your Ass Off is trying to do just that for it’s 12 overweight contestants whose lives are at risk physically, mentally and emotionally by their weight. I was able to interview host Marissa Jaret Winokur (Hairspray, Dancing With The Stars) before the show started – check out my byline in issue 26 of Star – and was able to meet her at last night’s premier preview event at the Oxygen Network studios. No she’s not skinny but she has a healthy outlook on health and fitness and oozes with a self-confidence that makes her sexy!

Here is my clip about the show that ran in the magazine (available online here):

Take the glitz and glamour of Dancing with the Stars, add the emotional roller coaster of The Biggest Loser, and you get the new reality weight-loss competition Dance Your Ass Off.

Twelve full-figured fleet-of-foot contestants will try to shed pounds by busting a move, hoping to win a healthy new body and the $100,000 prize!

Each week, the contestants learn a new dance style, such as hip-hop, ballroom and even pole dancing, with a pro partner. Then they perform in front of a live audience and a panel of judges led by dancer Lisa Ann Walter. After receiving their scores, the contestants weigh in, and the one with the lowest combined dance and weight-loss total is sent packing!

Host Marissa Jaret Winokur, Tony Award winner for Hairspray and Dancing with the Stars alum, thinks shaking your butt is a great way to a healthier you. “You’re doing a cardio workout while having fun,” she tells Star. “You sweat like crazy, but because you’re so focused on learning the steps, you forget how much pain you’re in!”

There are daily practices and gym sessions with trainers and nutritionists on site to help the dieters change their lives. And for Marissa, getting a chance to strut her stuff again was reason enough to sign on. “I hadn’t danced since DWTS, and I was so inspired that I started dancing again,” she tells Star. So would she have stood a chance in this competition? “I tried to pole dance, and I only lasted 20 minutes,” she laughs. “I wouldn’t make it very far on this show!”

These contestants aren’t striving to be 120lbs., rather they are trying to lose weight and learn to incorporate a healthy diet and exercise in a fun way. Lesson to take away – be inspired by those around you, but work towards your own personal goal of health.

The Ultimate Total Body Exercise – Join The Burpee Challenge

No matter how fit you think you are, allow the burpee to humble you in less than one minute.

Also affectionately known as the jumping squat thrust, the prison workout or just plain workout hell, this famously miserable exercise can be considered the ultimate total body exercise that serves both strength training and cardio purposes.

How to do you do a burpee? Check out this video for a great visual:

1.    Squat and jump back into a plank position
2.    Perform a pushup with your CHEST TOUCHING THE GROUND (besides being proper form, it’ll make your life easier)
3.    Jump to squat landing on your HEELS
4.    Jump up (and if you want, clap your hands over head to ensure your getting your hands up)

What are you working? Well everything! You are firing your legs with the squat, your using your triceps and shoulders with the pushup, your abdominal is engaged helping to stabilize your plank and I promise these will have your heart pumping and leave you breathless after just a few.

Best part about burpees (said with tongue-in-cheek since there are no “best” parts about burpees)? This exercise can be performed anywhere, doesn’t require equipment and uses your own body weight. So NO EXCUSES (burpee like a champ)!

It shouldn’t be a surprise to see the reemergence of burpee popularity; it incorporates a few of the predicted 2009 fitness trends – back to basics/primal, bootcamp and budget-friendly workouts – plus they are repeat offender in CrossFit WODs (workout of the day).

So fellow fitness fanatics I invite you to join my one-minute burpee challenge. I’ve engaged in a little friendly competition with a friend where for 5 days/week we will each perform as many burpee reps as possible in ONE minute. We record our daily numbers as well as a weekly average and winner gets street cred and bragging rights.

Think you can handle one minute of burpees? Join the challenge. Post your daily one-minute burpee totals in the comment section of the daily post and see how you measure up.

Hot Off the Bench Press – Make Your Workouts Work For You, A Dose Of Veggie Reality, Kim Kardashian Muscles Up and More!

Hot fitness news you don’t want to miss!

What’s the deal with interval training? – – Not seeing results? Rev up your workout by including intervals, here’s why!

A 3-in-1 exercise – – Trim your workout time (and your upper body!) with this move that targets your biceps, shoulders and triceps.

The carrot train to crazytown – – Avoiding carrots because of their sugar count? Get some sense smacked into you by this witty blog from one fit chick!

The 10 fat loss mistakes you’re making at the gym – – Make sure your workouts are working for you!

Sneak preview of Kim Kardashian’s Muscle and Fitness Her’s cover – Kim’s fitness transformation is inspiring especially since she keeps her curves!

Are You Intimidated by the Gym?

Last night I was at a wine tasting event with a bunch of my girlfriends and everyone seemed to be talking about three things – wine (duh!), summer beach house shares and FITNESS! It was my ideal night!

But a lot of the girls talked about being scared of the gym. Well, not scared, but timid to weight train because of the their lack of knowledge of exercises, proper form and how to set up and use the machine. And apparently this is a common fear: Check out this post from Fit Sugar about intimidating gym equipment.

Trust me, I understand how the weight and circuit room can be intimidating if you don’t know what you’re doing. Not only do you need to know which exercises target which muscles, but you need to understand form, proper settings and alignment (if you’re on a machine), how many repetitions, how heavy of weight etc.. But women of the world take control of your workouts!

First, understand that proper training incorporates cardiovascular, flexibility and strength training. And ‘unfamiliarity with’ is a lame excuse to ignore any of the components. While I would love to take all my friends to the gym and explain everything myself (I can’t help it, it’s the trainer in me), with everyone’s hectic schedules and different gym memberships, matters become a bit complicated. So what’s a girl to do – get educated!

No one is born with the knowledge of how to use the machines, everyone had to start somewhere. Maybe you can’t afford to hire a personal trainer these days, but if you’re unfamiliar with how to work a certain machine, ask the trainers for help. Catch them between sessions and ask them to explain an exercise or how to set up a machine. Use them as your resource.

Other options?  Watch others. This can be risky since not everyone knows what they are doing, but look at exercisers who seem competent, it will at least give you a starting point. Also, try to peak a glimpse at someone’s training session and try to emulate their position, posture and form on your own. Read up. There are plenty of weight training resources out there in both print and online. Just as you learn follow a recipe when you cook, follow instructions for equipment when you train. I see plenty of people (girls and guys!) bring books, manuals and logs to the gym. But remember safety first, when you’re first starting out, use lighter weights until you nail down the technique.

I’d love to know, are there machines that you shy away from? Or what have you done to overcome your fear?

Get Fit Without Breaking the Bank

A great resource for staying on shape while on a budget!

Hot Off the Bench Press – Lessons learned from Jillian Michaels, Top 5 Core Exercises, a Summer Swim Routine and More!

Hot fitness news you don’t want to miss!

Do you have problems taking a break from exercising? – – Some fitness enthusiasts (me included!) know that it can be just as hard to know when to take a break from the gym as it is to get there in the first place.

Brendan Hansen’s summer swim fitness program – That’ – Swimming is the quintessential summer workout, check out this swim routine designed by Brendan Hansens, Olympic gold medalist, captain of the 2008 Beijing Olympics U.S. Swim Team.

3 Fitness do’s and dont’s I learned from my workout with Jillian Michaels –  VitaminG, – I WISH I had the chance to workout with Jillian Michaels (Biggest Loser trainer and overall superstar), but here are the lessons Glamour’s health department learned from their experience.

Core Esstentials – – Getting to the core of ab training (okay, I know what was corny) and the top 5 core exercises.

Get ready for your better body breakthrough – – Get to the root of your fitness frustrations and learn how to solve them!