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!


Conversations Overheard at the Gym
June 11, 2009, 10:13 AM
Filed under: Overheard At The Gym | Tags: , ,

Take your headphones off and listen to the people around you – this stuff is just too good to miss!

Gym Paranoia
Coach: “No stop don’t squat that.”
…guy re-racks the weight…
Coach: “Sorry man superstition, got to have the white numbers facing out on the weights.”

Okay these conversations were overheard at the office, but they’re gym material so I’ve determined it counts.

A Workout to Workout
Male Coworker: “I’ll try that class in another two weeks or so, I got to workout and get in shape first.”
Female Coworker: “Um isn’t that the point of going to the class in the first place?”

Buns of Oatmeal
Coworker 1: “So show me how to do the squat again. I have a friend coming in town soon whose body is made out of granite.”

Get Fit and Give Back

There is nothing more rewarding for the body and soul than getting fit for a cause!

When you lead a busy lifestyle, and can barely find time to eat dinner, it can be hard to set aside a few hours a week to volunteer and give back to your community. That’s why I love fitness fundraisers – it combines philanthropy with something else that’s near and dear to my heart (fitness!) and is already a part of my daily routine. It’s a win-win situation for all.

From 5ks to stair climbing (which I mentioned as a great budget workout earlier), there are lots of options when it comes to choosing a fitness event that benefits charity. For example, this past Friday I participated in a spin-a-thon at New York Sports Club to benefit Muscular Dystrophy. The Grand Central location hosted 11 spin classes throughout the day, and for a $10 donation (all proceeds benefiting the Muscular Dystrophy Association), I had an awesome workout and was able to help a great organization.

To find a fitness fundraiser, check your favorite charity’s website to see what event they are hosting in your area as well as different fitness clubs and organizations around the city. New York Road Runners has a calendar of events which has plenty of for-charity options – I’m looking at the June 21st 10th Annual Father’s Day Race Against Prostate Cancer which raises money to support the American Cancer Society’s programs in cancer research, education and advocacy. And I know that in the fall, Shape magazine hosts a Pilates for Pink event to raise money for The Breast Cancer Research Foundation®, and during their 2008 event, they hosted six Pilates classes in Union Square!

What are some of your favorite get fit for a cause events?

Budget workout: Stair climbing

Bouncing off my last post – this year fitness is going primal (use what’s around you) and budget-friendly – and here’s a perfect example: STAIRS.

Yeah you’ve heard it before, take the stairs instead of the elevator and park your car further away from the front door so you have to walk that extra bit. It all seems minuscule but it really does add up! And in their recent revisions of exercise recommendations, the American College of Sports Medicine and American Heart Association recommend these short bursts of exercise to help in maintaining/losing weight and staying physically fit.

But why stairs? Well first of all they are everywhere – do you live in a two story home, walk up apartment (or one that’s below the 10th floor)? Great, consider this a free workout. If you live in NYC there are not only events such as the annual Empire State Building run up, but I hear some of the subway station entrances can be pretty brutal climbs as well (such as the Lexington and 59th Street stop). If you live on the coast, climb the lighthouses, I’ve climbed two in Florida so far! Using natural stairs not only budget-friendly, but environmentally-friendly as well! But if the climate and/or terrain doesn’t allow, incorporate the stair climber at your local gym into your weekly cardio routine.

Incorporating stair climbing into your daily routine will help whip you into shape. As opposed to other types of cardio, stair climbing not only gets your heart rate up but it’s great for toning the quads. WORKOUT TIP: When I stair climb I work in intervals. I’ll alternate between one minute at a faster pace taking one stair at a time, and one minute at a slower pace, taking the stairs two at a time and adding a kickback with the opposite leg to target my glutes.

In a great article written by The New York Times, chief science officer for the American Council on Exercise Cedric Bryant was quoted saying that “Stair climbing will give you a little more bang for your buck because of the vertical component,” and that it  “will be a bit more challenging and therefore allow you to burn more calories for that same amount of time” (as opposed to running or the elliptical).

Tips for the perfect climb:

  • Use proper posture – a comfortable upright position with minimal upper body involvement. Arm support should be used for stability and balance purposes only, not to  support your trunk. Basically, don’t slouch.
  • Place your entire foot on the stair with each step, unless you’re trying to tip-toe up. 
  • If you’re using stairs outside of the gym be smart and safe about your location. Don’t climb the stairs of an empty garage late at night.