Comedian Kevin Hart likes to poke fun at weightlifters.
"I'm serious about working out," he once quipped. "Wanna know why I stopped going to the gym though? I saw one of them real strong guys. You ever see one of them real big dudes? Real huge, I'm saying no neck. I saw him one day and I just got mad. I was like, 'Dude, why are you still here? That's it. You won.'"
While lifting is subject matter in Hart's stand-up act, don't let him fool you; his own workouts are no laughing matter. They're pretty hardcore, in fact, thanks to his dedicated full-time trainer, who has been traveling with Hart for two years now, helping the 36-year-old Hollywood headliner get lean and strong.
"How do I keep clients on track? I'm there. I'm in your face," says Ron "Boss" Everline, who, in addition to putting Hart through his daily paces, also runs his own company, Just Train.
"When you order something at a restaurant that's not healthy, I'll say, 'Is that a good decision?' I'm the guy sitting on your shoulder," Everline says. "I'm not overbearing about it—I'm more strict or more lenient depending on what goals we're trying to achieve—but it's about helping them buy into the lifestyle. My job is to work myself out of a job, so they learn and they eventually don't need me."
From Athlete To Motivator
A former college football player from a long family line of gridiron warriors—Everline's cousin, Derrick Johnson, is on the Kansas City Chiefs roster, and another cousin, Dwight O'Neal Johnson, played with the Eagles, Giants, and Patriots from 2000-2002—the Boss answered his true calling while on his way to a Canadian Football League tryout.
"I wanted to play football for a living, but [meanwhile] I was was running my own fitness boot camps, and there was this one particular client," Everline recalls. "She had started over 300 pounds, and had lost 75 pounds so far. She came to me in tears, just so excited, telling me she was so happy to be closer to her goal, to be able to have children and be healthy.
At that moment, I realized that I was really making a difference in people's lives. But it wasn't until a few months later, when I was driving to the CFL tryout, that I was like, 'You know what? I'm done. I'm good.' At that moment, I knew I wanted to help people through fitness."
Training celebrity clients came later, and by accident. Everline met Ne-Yo via another client and helped the R&B vocalist and songwriter transform his physique. Through word of mouth, Everline also connected with other high-profile stars, including singer and actress Christina Milian, actress and former Cheetah Girl lead singer Adrienne Bailon, and R&B artist Trey Songz, among others, before Hart added him as a full-timer to his crew, bringing him on set during filming of the 2014 movie "Ride Along" and on 2015's "What Now?" tour, cited by Billboard as the highest-grossing comedy tour of all time.
Within the frenetic pace of Hart's schedule, Everline's role is fitness motivator and facilitator. "I try to make sure that, no matter how busy our day is, we find time to train," he explains. "If our day starts at 5 in the morning, that means we need to go to the gym at 4. If we're at a hotel, before I even check in, I go to the gym to see what we have to work with. Sometimes it's amazing; sometimes it's a closet. But if we have to, we'll take my bands and work out in the suite, or we'll go to the local park for a run."
"I'm big on Cellucor's amino acids," Ron Everline says of his favorite daily supplements, COR-Performance Beta-BCAA and Alpha Amino. "I drink them throughout the day. Sometimes when I have a sweet craving, I sip on that, and the craving stops. I also use Cor-Performance Whey. I love the taste, and protein is so important—it's the building block of muscle!"
Keeping The Intensity High
From that on-the-fly approach, numerous travel-friendly workouts have been born. "I like to be explosive, with high reps and supersets," Everline says. "For gains, I focus on athletic movements. My workouts are high intensity. I like to get the sweat going, feel that burn. Resting is minimal; if we're doing a bench press, for instance, we'll be doing something like push-ups right after, followed by a short rest, and then back at it."
Boss will also work out alongside his clients to set the pace. "I'm not just going to stand there; I want to lead by example," he says. "I come from a competitive world, but I think everyone has that athlete in them if you tap into it. With Kevin, it's like a sport. Running sprints, lifting, whatever we're doing, it's intense. We want to be better than the other, in a friendly competition."
Everline isn't against a traditional bodybuilding training split and will create workouts for individual body parts as needed, but his preferred approach is an upper-body/lower-body/active-recovery split, relying mainly on compound exercises that work multiple muscle groups synergistically. Active rest days usually involve cardio, like a 45-minute incline treadmill walk.
While Everline's own strength foundation was built on a steady diet of bench presses and squats with his five older brothers in their family garage in Texas, he preaches the value of training diversity these days, such as this recent well-rounded Hart lower-body session.
Keep Showing Up
Of course, you probably don't have a trainer like Everline on deck to slap a fast-food burger out of your hand and kick your ass on the gym floor. But that doesn't mean you can't build your own team to help you reach your fitness goals. "I definitely would recommend a partner, someone who holds you accountable," Everline says. "You want someone who motivates you and who is disciplined enough to stick with it for longer than a week.
"The consistency is actually the most important part," he adds. "I always use a sports analogy: Would you rather be a player who has a sensational game every once in a while, or would you rather be consistent, game in and game out? There will be moments when you'll be a superstar, setting a personal best or just being on an all-time high for a few weeks. But just focus on building a lifestyle and staying with it, and have friends who keep you on track, and you'll see results."
Want an even bigger taste of what it's like to be Kevin Hart toiling under Everline's keen training eye? Try this sample workout Everline created for Hart, which clocks in at a furious 21 minutes. It can be done nearly anywhere, and with minimal equipment: just a jump rope, a resistance band, and a towel (for the sweat about to pour out of your body).
Do each exercise in the circuit for 30 seconds, and then repeat the whole thing two more times. Rest only if you need to, and keep it to a minimum when you do. (Beginners should take rests as needed, and should go through the circuit just twice.)