9 Fitness Tips from Celebrity Trainer Gunnar Peterson

By on November 4, 2012

By Tamekia Reece –

When you’re on a quest to drop pounds, maintain your weight or increase your physical fitness abilities, advice from the pros can help you get–and stay–motivated. To assist you in accomplishing your goals, we spoke with Beverly Hills-based trainer Gunnar Peterson, who has worked with under-50 and over-50 celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez, Kim Kardashian, Sylvester Stallone, Kris Jenner, Angelina Jolie and Kim Basinger. His tips will help you as you travel down the road to physical success.

Crawl before you walk

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“Take the statement ‘walk before you run’ and apply it literally and figuratively,” Gunnar says. Sure, you want to meet your goals as quickly as possible, but it’s better to take things slowly. “Don’t just go out and start jogging. Start with a walking program, then maybe a couple of bouts of jogging, and work up to a couple of faster paced jogs, and then work up to stretching out the duration of the jogging,” says Gunnar. Trying to do the same workout that you were able to do when you were twenty (or challenging yourself to keep up with a friend who’s been physically active for years) is an easy way to burn out, give up or injure yourself.

Go to a pro

Just as you wouldn’t try scuba diving without first having a lesson from a scuba instructor, Gunnar says when you’re starting a new exercise regimen, it’s a good idea to have a professional trainer show you the ropes. The trainer will demonstrate the correct (and safe) ways to use equipment and perform exercises; he or she will help you find a workout that suits your abilities and goals; and the trainer will create a plan that tells you exactly what you need to do. If you’re not interested in having a trainer for the long-term, purchasing a session or two should help you get off on the right foot.


Do your homework

Gunnar says inability to afford a gym membership (or not wanting to attend one) shouldn’t be an excuse not to exercise. You can work out at home.

“There are DVDs, books, online workout programs, and people blogging about different workouts,” he says.

He even has an online challenge program. “If it’s a priority, you should spend an hour and do some research,” Gunnar says. That small investment of time can do a lot of good for your body.

Buy new shoes

Another small investment that may have a huge payoff is footwear. Even if you don’t have enough money to buy a new workout wardrobe, Gunnar says a new pair of shoes can motivate you to get out and get physical. Starting your regimen in new shoes will make you feel good about yourself and help protect you from injuries.

Fuel before you workout

You may think (or have even heard) that working out before eating burns more calories and fat, but it’s a recipe for disaster.

“Don’t go in on an empty stomach,” warns Gunnar.

“It’s like taking your car for a drive. You need to make sure there is gas in the tank so you can have a pleasant drive and not run out of gas.” Not sure what you should eat? Real food is always the best choice, even if it’s a single banana. However, if you’re short on time or can’t prepare a meal, Gunnar says it’s okay to have a pre-workout drink, shake or bar. The important thing is to make sure you have some source of fuel so that you can power through your workout.

Stock your gym bag

Having your gym bag packed and ready can save you time and make it less likely you’ll use the “I forgot my…” excuse as a reason not to work out. Pack your bag with your workout clothes, a pair of socks and underwear, soap and a washcloth, a comb and brush, deodorant and any other toiletries you feel you’ll need. If you don’t have time for a post-workout shower, Gunnar says one of his gym bag must-haves is Cottonelle Fresh Care Flushable Moist Wipes. The wipes give a “fresher” clean during bathroom breaks, and as Gunnar has found, they’re great for post-sweat sessions, too. You go in, do your workout, use the wipes, and then you’re fresh and all set to continue your day, he says.

“Your body’s ready on the inside from what you did workout-wise, and it’s ready on the outside because you’re cleaned up and ready to go.”

Buddy up

Partnering with a friend who has similar workout aspirations can do wonders for your motivation. It’s a little of a push and pull, Gunnar says. “Sometimes you’ll be the one who doesn’t want to exercise, and other times it will be the friend who doesn’t want to do it.” By having someone hold you accountable (and giving you a mental kick in the butt), it makes it more likely you’ll be successful.

Lift weights

Whether you’re trying to lose weight or maintain, Gunnar says don’t neglect to hit the weights. Not only will resistance training help to maintain or build muscle mass, which will burn more calories, it also helps improve bone health. “Any movement in which external load is applied to your body will be beneficial,” says Gunnar.

“So anything you do, whether it’s pushups or bodyweight squats, shoulder presses, dips or lunges, anything where you add weight to it is going to help.”

Once you get used to the weight, increase the load. Don’t worry. Gunnar assures weightlifting won’t cause you to “bulk up” since women don’t produce enough testosterone to build huge muscles like men.

Don’t forget nutrition

Working out does not give you permission to be careless with your nutrition habits. What you eat (and how much) matters, too. “Weight loss and maintenance is all about calories in and calories out versus energy spent and energy taken in,” says Gunnar. Sticking with an eating plan that is healthy and well-balanced is the best way to make sure your food choices don’t negatively affect your progress.


Tamekia Reece is a health writer in Houston. She has written for Woman’s Day, Essence, Parents, Preserving Your Memory and EverydayHealth.com, among others.

About Tamekia Reece

Tamekia Reece is a health writer living in Houston, TX. She’s written for Woman’s Day, Parents and Oxygen, among others. See her website at www.tamekiareece.com.


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9 Fitness Tips from Celebrity Trainer Gunnar Peterson