Gunnar Peterson is known for one thing: results. He's worked with "anybody and everybody" during his long career as a trainer, from all manners of pro and collegiate athletes to elite actors who need to make jaws drop despite their age. Think Sly Stallone in "Rocky Balboa," Matthew McConaughey in "Magic Mike," the cast of "The Expendables," and more.
But if you've come here looking for the latest celebrity workout, keep walking. This is more important than movements and rep schemes. As Peterson and every other trainer worth their clipboard will tell you, every person who sets foot in a gym is only as fit as the choices they make. Here's how Tinsel Town's top transformation specialist comes down on some of the hottest health issues that pop up on the road between "before" and "after."
Wondering what the latest research and Hollywood fitness fables have to offer? Take it from the mouth of the man in charge!
Recently the American Medical Association (AMA) labeled obesity a disease. There is a range of responses from many fitness and medical experts around country. Where do you come down on it?
Do you really want to get me started? Merriam-Webster defines disease as: "a condition of the living animal or plant body or one of its parts that impairs normal functioning and is typically manifested by distinguishing signs and symptoms." With that as the jumping off point, what isn't a disease?
I am a big believer in taking responsibility for your actions. I tell my kids every day to "own it"—"it" being whatever they've said or done. At some point in your life, you are in charge. You call the shots. You decide to eat or not eat. Is lack of will power a disease? Is lack of self-discipline a disease? I would love to eat my body weight in chocolate chip cookies, french fries, and peanut butter, but I don't. I choose not to. That's on me, just like it's on me if I choose to do it.
I think the AMA got this one wrong, and I think the repercussions are going to be ugly. America wasn't made on blame; it was made on responsibility. Take off the training wheels in life and decide to take responsibility for your actions.
Is there such thing as overtraining in the gym? Some people talk about it like it's an undisputed fact, but plenty of people say it's a myth.
Have you been reading my training journals? I've gone on record saying that I think that the only two groups that might possibly overtrain are Olympic hopefuls and galley slaves. I think, rather, that others under-recover and under-nourish. Your body can take an awful lot. And it can take it on a regular basis if you are recovering properly and adequately—meaning quality and quantity&mdash. Give it the nutrients it needs in the right amounts and at the right times.
On a personal note, I recently trained 49 days in a row. Eight of those days were two-a-days with steady-state cardio for 40-60 minutes in the morning and 45-60 minutes of weights in the evening, with 4-5 hours of snow skiing in between. And I'm not 28 years old. Point being, you can probably do more than you think you can do.
Now, is that more than you need to do? Who's to say? How much is too much money? How big are too-big biceps? All of that is personal, and my live-and-let-live life approach dictates that people should do what they want to do, what makes them happy (assuming it's legal) as long as it doesn't infringe on other people's happiness.
Yes, that's paraphrased from [The United States] Constitution, and I'm cool with that. So, fact: I'm sure some people could overtrain. But I doubt you are.
There are so many different theories on meal frequency and whether it actually speeds up your metabolism. Is the importance of meal frequency a fact, or just another fitness myth?
I believe that it's more about how long you are eating during the day. Your digestive system needs a reprieve. You can't make it work from sun-up to hours after sundown. Read "The 8-Hour Diet" by David Zinczenko, as well as "Engineering The Alpha" by John Romaniello and Adam Bornstein. They make great points, as well as show terrific research, as to why eating for only a certain amount of your day is effective. The efficacy of intermittent fasting for maintaining leanness is hard to argue with when you read up on it.
So, fact: meal frequency is important to helping to control metabolism. But, myth: spreading your meals out across all of your waking hours is the panacea for all your blubber woes.
Which is better for fat loss: HIIT cardio or steady-state?
You could find studies that back both approaches. My personal approach, as well the approach that I use for clients, is a mixture. I am a huge proponent of short-burst, high-intensity intervals. I've used that method successfully on everything from a Thorotread treadmill, to a Concept 2 rower, to the Jacob's Ladder.
I usually suggest that people do their steady-state cardio on the days that they're not with me; they really don't need a cardio babysitter. When working with athletes, I try to pair the interval with the exertion patterns of their respective sport. As Fitt's Law shows, it's hard to hit a moving target, so if you don't want the fat to hit you and stick, just keep it moving!
Too many people look at the results of scientific research studies and think they're the Bible. How should we approach research so we don't get misled or draw inappropriate conclusions?
I think you have to look at each study on a case-by-case basis. I would take the persons conducting the study at their word. That said, if they are working with a focus group of three people, and the demographic is ages 20-22, male, top-tier athletic ability, I would factor that into my decision as to how or if I can apply the information in my workplace. So, it's a fact—unless you are dealing with sociopathic liars—that the research is factual, but a myth that it can be applied across the board.
We hear celebrities saying all the time that they put on, say, 30-40 pounds of muscle for a film. How should we interpret or make use of stories like those?
I think that 30 pounds of muscle in 1-2 months is a reach for anything on two legs. Orcas can do it, but humans ... hmm.
Remember that sensationalism sells. Remember that hype breeds hope. Remember that if it sounds too good to be true, then, well, it may not be true. Use those celeb quotes and PR releases to fuel your workouts, your dreams and your imagination, and, in the inimitable words of DJ Khaled, "Go hard."