An Interview With Jessie Pavelka From The Smash TV Show - Diet Tribe!

'Diet Tribe' is Lifetime's new reality series that follows the emotional journey of five friends as they attempt to go from 'fat' to 'fit'. Here's more about professional trainer Jessie Pavelka and what he did for these women!

Article Summary:
  • Jessie started out competing in bodybuilding.
  • At first he was wary of reality TV, but liked the Diet Tribe's concept.
  • No longer competing - he trains using an "everyday life" approach.

  • An Interview With Jessie Pavelka

    "Diet Tribe" is Lifetime's new reality series that follows the emotional journey of five friends as they attempt to go from "fat" to "fit". These women have made a commitment to lose their unwanted pounds together.

    With the help of professional fitness trainer Jessie Pavelka and psychotherapist Stacy Kaiser (of "Celebrity Fit Club" fame), each woman will change her eating and exercise habits over the course of three months and confront the issues that caused her to gain weight initially.

    Through the course of the five-episode series, cameras follow the tight-knit group as they deal with real-life temptations, struggle to stay on track through the toughest workouts of their lives and face the scale each week to see how far they have come both mentally and physically.

    With The Help Of Jessie Pavelka Each Woman Will Change Her Eating And Exercise Habits.
    + Click To Enlarge.
    With The Help Of Jessie Pavelka Each Woman
    Will Change Her Eating And Exercise Habits.

    As the trainer in the first season of Diet Tribe, with hopefully many more seasons to come, Jessie Pavelka brings a compassionate approach to training.

    He is one of the hottest fitness coaches in the country, having worked with thousands of people of all walks of life to achieve a new sense of health and well-being. Jessie has appeared as a fitness model in several fitness magazines, and has appeared on the television series "Friday Night Lights".

    This is what Jessie had to say when caught up with him recently and learned some secrets from the celebrity trainer.

    • Hometown: Corpus Christi, TX
    • Current Residence: Los Angeles, CA
    • Age: 26
    • Height: 6'
    • Weight: 195 pounds
    • Marital Status: Single
    • Education: Calallen High School, and attended the University of North Texas
    • Hobbies: Guitar, music, writing, painting and any outdoor activities

    [ Crystal Matthews ] What do you consider your first big break in the industry?

      [ Jessie Pavelka ] First off, it's always been a lifestyle. I started working out with my Mom in 4th grade. She used to take me to the track.

    I Started Working Out With My Mom In 4th Grade.
    + Click To Enlarge.
    I Started Working Out
    With My Mom In 4th Grade.

      My first break in the industry was probably when I met Ed Conners. He is well known in the bodybuilding industry and franchised one of the first Golds' Gyms. He approached me and let me know that I could really do something with my physique, that I had something more than I thought I had. That was the point I decided to dedicate my life to fitness and health.

      I was 21 and living in Texas at the time, and decided to move to California to pursue fitness. I started to compete in bodybuilding, and got involved in fitness modeling and got wrapped up in the whole industry.

    [ CM ] Tell me about your work with bariatric patients.

    What Does Bariatric Mean?
    Bariatrics is the branch of medicine that deals with the causes, prevention, and treatment of [those who are extremely overweight]. The field encompasses dieting, exercise and behavioral therapy approaches to weight loss, as well as pharmacotherapy and surgery.

      [ JP ] Australian Fitness Star David Rylah and I started our own personal training business for the overweight. We worked with a doctor who referred his patients to us. I may not have been living my life the best, but I was able to tell people how to live their life the best. Finding out what I shouldn't be doing helped me let people know what they should be doing.

    An Interview With David Rylah.
    Inspired by bodybuilding magazine Muscle and Fitness, a 14-year-old David Rylah dreamed of some day becoming a top bodybuilder.
    [ Click here to learn more. ]

    [ CM ] What made you decide you wanted to make a career out of being fit?

      [ JP ] When I came out to California the first time bodybuilding was my life, but I wouldn't consider myself to be living a healthy lifestyle. When I had enough of the scene, my girlfriend at the time and I decided to move back to Texas, and I became a super attendant for a commercial construction company.

      It was a total change, but it was necessary. I knew what I was doing (in California) wasn't right or healthy for me. I hated my job and decided to move back to my home town and do some soul searching and went back to my roots. I went back to the stuff that made me who I was.

    It Was A Total Change, But It Was Necessary.
    + Click To Enlarge.
    It Was A Total Change,
    But It Was Necessary.

      I started exercising for me and taking care of myself the right way. On 7/7/07 I woke up and I had this spiritual experience, and I told myself I'm moving back to California and doing it the right way. That day I wrote a five and a ten year plan, and 2 months later I headed back out again and ended up in Long Beach.

      You set goals, but I had to deviate a little bit and started back out training one client that is big in the financial world. I traveled with him - did his diet, made his meals and trained him twice a day.

    [ CM ] What attracted you to the Diet Tribe show? How do you feel about training all women on a women's network?

      [ JP ] I read what the show was all about. I originally didn't want to do reality, but I realized how much impact this show could have. It was a show where people could watch and realize they could do it too. Losing thirty pounds in three months is a short term goal, so it makes it seem more attainable. Lose the 30 lbs. and then you have more confidence to learn the next 30. Break it up.

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      I did the audition for the show, and was actually thinking about how bad I needed something to take me to the next step in my career when the call came in from the producers, and they loved me. I went back in, wrote up a diet and exercise program and trained a lady from the production company.

      It was between me and another female trainer, but they liked what I was about and signed me on. I was very excited, and I'm really enjoying it. Lifetime is a great network. I definitely have a soft spot for women. I was raised by women - my Mom and two older sisters. I've been surrounded by estrogen since I was born.

    [ CM ] How is the show doing?

      [ JP ] We got number one ratings on our first night. We've wrapped our first season, but I still keep in contact with some of the girls. The main thing I love is they've all gained a conscience from this show. Now they feel guilty if they get off their healthy path. I'm excited for Season 2 to start!

    I Still Keep In Contact With Some Of The Girls.
    + Click To Enlarge.
    I Still Keep In Contact
    With Some Of The Girls.

    [ CM ] How are you handling all the interviews and press that you're getting for the show? Are people starting to recognize you?

      [ JP ] We did Access Hollywood, E! and a lot of other press for the show. It's still surreal; I haven't let it all sink in yet. People are starting to recognize me, and it can be hard because I'm a really nice person and people will ask me uncomfortable questions like they know me, and I'm just like umm... can I walk away now?

    [ CM ] What was it like filming the show? Was it hard for you to keep up your own health and fitness routine?

      [ JP ] The first time I met the girls was their first day of personal training. We filmed at many different locations in L.A. Since we only trained an hour and a half out of the day I was able to follow my normal routine.

    Maintaining Nutrition With A Busy Schedule.
    [ Click To Join The Thread. ]
    Maintaining Nutrition With A Busy Schedule.
    Hi, well I'm constantly on the go, and have trouble eating healthy! Do any of you ladies have any tips on how to eat well with a very busy schedule?
    Started By:

    [ CM ] Was the cast's weight loss diet something they could do as a lifestyle or did you tweak anything to help them drop the pounds fast?

      [ JP ] Everything about our show is a lifestyle change. We don't take the women out of their element. They live at home, cook their own meals. I'm with them an hour and a half out of their day and give them the tools they need to do it on their own. Their goal of losing 30 lbs. in 90 days is something everyone can do.

    Embracing Change: How To Make It Work For You!
    This article will share some ideas on change and how you can improve your goals in training and life in general.
    [ Click here to learn more. ]

    [ CM ] How influential can it be (have you seen it to be) to work out with friends who have the same goal as you? Do you think the girls having each other made a big difference in their success?

      [ JP ] I think it's important. Americans make their New Year's Resolutions to do it on their own, and then they start just to stop again. I think it would be really cool if America woke up and said you know I'm spending all this time at home, I'm not happy, and they called up a few of their friends and made a plan to go to the gym together.

      Not only does that build a really cool bond between you and your friends but a healthy one. That's why I love this show. The thing that we're trying to sell is getting your friends together, changing your lifestyle, so that everything in your life can get better.

    [ CM ] One of the ladies is an ex personal trainer who in her words, 'let her self go'. Do you think it was easier for her to get her health on track than others who have had no experience with a healthy lifestyle?

      [ JP ] Definitely. The biggest reason people don't do things is knowledge. Many people don't go to the gym because they don't know what the heck they're doing.

    The Biggest Reason People Don't Do Things Is Knowledge.
    + Click To Enlarge.
    The Biggest Reason People
    Don't Do Things Is Knowledge.

      My advice to people who've never been to the gym and never worked out is to take advantage of the free initial training sessions they offer when you sign up. The main thing is to JUST DO IT. There is a big difference between not knowing what you're doing and having a bad attitude about what you're doing. Having a bad attitude will set you up for failure way worse.

    [ CM ] How do you handle a 'food enabler' when you are trying to change your lifestyle, but you have someone around who wants no part of it?

      [ JP ] The number one person in your life is you. If you're not happy with your weight and you want to change and your significant other doesn't support you and your decision, you're with the wrong person.

    [ CM ] What is your workout program like for someone overweight?

      [ JP ] When I'm first starting out with someone who is very overweight, my main focus is getting their body back in motion. I don't start out with weights right away. I focus more on cardio and hitting their target heart rates. Then I will combine a cardiovascular-weight routine.

      It's a lot of constant movement and improvising. They may not be able to do a regular pushup, but you can improvise on the movement so they can still get the benefit.

    [ CM ] What is your meal plan like for someone overweight, how does that compare to the meal plan for yourself?

      [ JP ] The problem with people overweight is that they are going to have cravings. Their insulin levels are going to be very sugar sensitive and uncontrollable throughout the day. Many overweight people only eat one enormous meal at night. Since their body thinks it has been starving all day, their metabolism has dropped and their body stores all the calories they took in that night.


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      For someone who is very overweight, I try to get the cravings out of the way. There are different types of food that help with that. Natural foods like coconut water and agave (a natural sugar substitute) can help keep them at bay. I have somewhat of the same diet for myself. I try to keep my insulin levels balanced by having consistent meals and foods with a low G.I.

    My Diet Plan for the "DietTribe" Women

    Eat "Clean"

      The most important thing about staying healthy is to eat wholesome foods that I call "clean." These are unprocessed, organic foods.

    The Most Important Thing About Staying Healthy Is To Eat Wholesome Foods.
    + Click To Enlarge.
    The Most Important Thing About Staying
    Healthy Is To Eat Wholesome Foods.

      Read the labels on your food. If there are all kinds of ingredients listed that your grandmother wouldn't recognize as food, then don't eat it. Fast foods and processed foods are loaded with hidden sugars and fats. Treat your body right and give it the kind of wholesome energy it needs to be healthy.

    Plan Ahead

      The most important thing you can do to lose weight is spend time planning what you are going to eat. Eating clean means you'll be doing a lot of your own meal preparation, because processed foods are full of ingredients that will undermine your progress, even if they are labeled as "diet" or "low calorie" or "low fat."

    Critical Health: Put Down That Diet Soda!
    Contrary to popular belief, people who drink diet sodas are actually more likely to become overweight than people who don't.
    [ Click here to learn more. ]

      Be in control of your food. If you have time to get a manicure, then you have time to grocery shop or prepare food. Each evening, prepare your lunch and snacks for the next day. If you get to a meal time and don't know what you're planning to eat, you are more likely to go off the plan and eat something convenient that is full of calories, fat and sugar.

      Take time for yourself. Make yourself and your food a priority. Plan ahead. It's the only way to make sure you stick to your diet.

    1,500 Calories Per Day

      To lose weight, you have to eat. On my plan Megan, Morgan, Shawna, Anna and Lydia all ate 1,500 calories per day. That is enough calories to ensure proper nutrition and provide the energy required for their workouts. But it was still less than they had been eating, so they were guaranteed to lose weight.

    Three Meals And Two Snacks

      The women all ate five times per day: three meals and two snacks daily. If you don't let yourself get too hungry, then you won't binge when you do eat.

    How Often Do You REALLY Need To Eat?
    Along with increased attention to your diet, you are likely trying to eat every three hours... Now, do you have to be extremely anal about this?
    [ Click here to learn more. ]

      The key is to keep a steady stream of calories feeding your body. You need food to fire your metabolism, so keep the fire burning steadily instead of flaming up and burning out. You'll feel better all day long. Here's how I broke out the calories throughout the day:

      • Breakfast: 350 Calories
      • Morning snack: 150 Calories
      • Lunch: 350 Calories
      • Afternoon Snack: 150 Calories
      • Dinner: 400 Calories


      50% Protein:

        My plan for the five ladies focused on protein. Fifty percent of their daily intake of calories was to be from clean protein. Our workouts focused on building muscle, and you need protein to make muscle. When your body has more muscle, it will burn more fat. So more protein means more muscle, which means less fat on your body.

    When Your Body Has More Muscle, It Will Burn More Fat.
    + Click To Enlarge.
    When Your Body Has More
    Muscle, It Will Burn More Fat.

      30% Complex Carbohydrates:

        Complex carbs are whole grains that help provide a steady stream of energy without turning into too much sugar in your bloodstream. They are a good source of fiber and provide a wide variety of nutrients.

      20% Good Fats:

        Good fats are unsaturated fats that help the body absorb nutrients and maintain and already healthy cholesterol level. See my food list for examples of all these types of protein, complex carbs and good fats.

    Food List

      Here is a list of foods that are clean and healthy and follow my plan. Take time to experiment with creating your own combinations of food. Avoid fried foods.


        Drink at least eight glasses of water per day. This helps flush your system and keep you hydrated for workouts.

    What Is The Importance Of Drinking Water?
    Many people do not understand the benefits of water, and therefore do not meet their recommended daily intake.
    [ Click here to learn more. ]

    [ CM ] I'm so not a fan of the scale - I know you put a lot of emphasis on the weigh-in, and I understand the importance of this when you are looking for extreme fat loss. We all know muscle weighs more than fat, so do you incorporate a different way to measure results later once the extreme fat-loss has been achieved?

      [ JP ] I don't like using anything to be honest with you. If you're working out and doing what you gotta do, you're going to get results. A lot of people get obsessed with the scale, it's unhealthy. It's not about a number.

    A Lot Of People Get Obsessed With The Scale, It's Unhealthy.
    + Click To Enlarge.
    A Lot Of People Get Obsessed
    With The Scale, It's Unhealthy.

      When I was in bodybuilding I got on the scale every day. It was sick - so unhealthy. The scales are more for the show. The girls weighed themselves every two weeks. I agree with using the scale as long as it's in moderation.

    [ CM ] Do you take any supplements? How important is supplementation?

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      I think supplements are more important in helping you get enough nutrients in your diet, and they're so convenient. I wish supplements could be a little less chemically enhanced and a little more raw, but I think in the future manufacturers will end up heading in that direction.

    [ CM ] Okay, now onto you? I hear you're a believer in 'The Law of Attraction'. How do you implement 'The Law of Attraction' into your life?

      [ JP ] If you go to my computer you will see pictures and post-it notes surrounding my computer. Everyday is a new day for me. I wake up and I write all my short term goals down for the day. I use that as the law of attraction.

    Want A Better Self-Image?
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      I'm a very creative person believe it or not. I think things in my head and manifest them to happen. I think the biggest thing that keeps people from achieving is fear. It stops a lot of people. They won't do something because they justify it in their head that they can't. If you really want something and you go for it and you take the steps necessary, you can do it.

    [ CM ] What's your least favorite physical attribute that you have to work the most?

      [ JP ] It's hard for me because fitness model Greg Plitt was my roommate and he has the most incredible abs, so I was a bit envious of his abs. But you know what, my physique is the way it is and I embrace the person I am and the person I'm trying to be.

    [ CM ] So I have to ask about all your tattoos, any special significance?

      [ JP ] The one on my left shoulder is the Japanese symbol for inner power/inner strength. That was my very first tattoo. I got it when I was seventeen almost eighteen. Shortly after, I got the cross on my right arm that I drew up myself. I have one on my stomach that says 'Fear No Man' in Japanese.

      I have one on my side that says 'For My Brother' in cursive writing, and that's for my best friend. You know, you go through a point in your life when things get tough, and there's someone there to help get you through that time, and he was there. He got the same tattoo.

    I Have One On My Side That Says 'For My Brother'.
    + Click To Enlarge.
    I Have One On My Side
    That Says 'For My Brother'.

      I have one on my wrist that is the alpha & the omega (the beginning and the end in the Greek alphabet), and I got that because of a necklace my mother gave me with the same symbol.

      The cross ring that wraps around my left ring finger was the most painful tattoo emotionally. I was with a girl for a very long extended period of time. We were very serious, but I was young, dumb and full of fun - and yeah... she didn't get one, that's the funny thing.

      Finally, I have two tribal angel wings on my back; they're symbolic. Not that I'm an angel, but I think angels are all around us. No more tattoos. This is it. Wait I can't say that - today this is it.

    [ CM ] What's the big difference between bodybuilding and fitness modeling competitions?

      [ JP ] I did both the bodybuilding and the Fitness America Pageants. I think fitness competitions are a much healthier avenue to go. You can do everything that's healthy for your body while getting ready for a fitness competition, and wake up the next day and continue to live the same healthy lifestyle.

    Just Drink Water, Backstage At A Competition!
    Several times a year, I have to deal with individuals who have pushed themselves too far. They have dehydrated themselves to the point of lightheadedness and even passing out.
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      Now with a bodybuilding competition, you bulk up, then you cut and train like a maniac, and then for a week you don't drink water. Then you carb-load/carb-deplete, sodium load/sodium deplete, etc. It's not a lifestyle that's maintainable. It's not what life is all about.

    [ CM ] Who do you admire most in this industry?

      [ JP ] That's hard to say - if I look at drive and dedication, growing up, Arnold was always an idol of mine. Everything he said he wanted to do he did. Female wise; I love Jamie Eason's story. She's obviously a very beautiful person; she's gone through a lot. She had a lot of things going against her and she prevailed. That says a lot about a person.

    [ CM ] What advice would you share with someone who wants to make a career in the fitness industry?

      [ JP ] Being involved in bodybuilding and fitness competitions helped me get exposure. Just by competing, not even winning, it can help you make connections. Look at your self, look at your physique, if you feel it's something you really want to do and you're cut out for it then go for it.

    Being Involved In Bodybuilding And Fitness Competitions Helped Me Get Exposure.
    + Click To Enlarge.
    Being Involved In Bodybuilding And Fitness
    Competitions Helped Me Get Exposure.

      The most important thing is to be the best you, if that's being successful in the fitness industry then great, but you don't have to make it in this industry to be happy.