Category Archives: Celebrity Training

“Oscars” of Fitness and Chris Rock comment about Kevin Hart

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How in the world did I manage to tie the 88th Academy Awards to this blog post? Is it about the fitness of certain male and female celebs for their superhero movie roles or fury road action?

Better yet, how am I, Mr Blond-haired, green-eyed white male connecting to Chris Rock and his on par tirade of Hollywood’s discrimination or lack of opportunity offering to minority actors? I particularly liked his opinion on not separating men from women actors, as it’s not a competition like track, rather an unnecessary disambiguation as performance is not tied to a person’s ability, other than to act.

No, I am only attaching myself to Chris Rock defending his integrity by saying that his refusal of hosting would not stop the Oscars from taking place, and that if he hadn’t accepted the gig, it would have (jokingly) gone to the extremely talented comic du jour Kevin Hart. Essentially, his ability to Always Be Ready and perform on stage regardless of the venue is where his art and craft come to life.

I was recently asked to participate and lead a fitness video for a popular fitness chain. My understanding was that it was down to me and some other guy, and since I haven’t heard back and the shoot is coming up very soon, I am guessing the gig went to the other guy. Now, I’m not going to name the fitness chain, and what I am about to write bears no negativity towards it. Like saying I don’t play the violin, but it doesn’t mean I have anything against playing the violin. Rather, the chain’s image and type of workouts doesn’t reflect what I personally promote with the Natural Method, my training programs and the methods I employ for myself and others. Even so, if you don’t know me (which is everyone in the world except for my FaceBook and direct friends, or my book and blog readers, this means nothing.

Had I gotten the gig, my answer to anyone wondering about why I’d do such a video shoot is simple: Always Be Ready! The process of becoming an all-around athlete via The Natural Method is to prepare you for any physical challenge life throws at you. The method was created to develop people who can protect themselves, their family, their community and ultimately, their nation. You’re not trained to battle only one way, but you need to be able to handle any kind of battle, right?

So, it doesn’t matter if you have to do some kind of workout that doesn’t directly reflect your philosophy or style (“sorry, bro, I only Oly Lift with barbells, running and kettlebells is for wankers”). If you aren’t able to perform for a general, all-around fitness task that’s thrown at you, your system doesn’t work, your method is a fail. Like the saying goes: you’re only strong in times of trouble, otherwise your strength is only a weakness.

Making it as a personal trainer is difficult. Heck, I even thing it’s harder to make it than being an actor (if you seek recognition and fame). I don’t have numbers to back this up, but I am pretty sure if you compare the ratio of celebrity trainers to the actual amount of trainers in the world vs the ratio of successful, famous actors to the obscure unknowns, the discrepancy is greater amongst trainers!

What would this have done for me? Well,firstly, it’s a paycheck and I am not against feeding my family. Secondly, getting your name out there helps you get recognized, and if you have a message to bring to a larger scale, it doesn’t hurt to have a platform and a captive audience! What your message is is entirely up to you, and that’s where your integrity comes from. Sometimes, we do have to be accept an opportunity and turn it into something great.

Now, I have no clue what I would have actually done for the fitness company, I do know that I would have done a great job and by kicking ass, I would have made my point that I was able to deliver and perform because of my ongoing preparation.

Set Training

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There are celebrity trainers, as in trainers who train celebrities (I am not one of them, though I run into some occasionally at my kid’s school, TV and film, A and B listers), who in the process may become celebrity themselves. And then you have the trainers who work on a set as consultants, choreographers or other short-term contract work.

With my previous career in the entertainment industry, I carry a lot of experience working on a variety of movie, or in most of my then-career, TV sets, be it live or taped events (Rose Parade Tournament of Roses, various shows for Animal Planet or Discovery channel, award shows red carpet arrivals like the Oscars or Golden Globes etc…). This comes with a clear understanding that everyone on a set has a specific job, and comes ready and prepared for it: the actor, the stuntman, the make-up artist, the camera assistants, the grips etc.

This time last year I worked on a campaign for New Era, where my job was to take pro MLB players and literally choreograph 2-3 exercises which would make sense in relation to their position on the baseball field and how they need to be conditioned, but also look cool on camera! In some cases, I didn’t even have time to prepare the athlete, warm him up to make sure they wouldn’t get injured (it was my insurance that would cover any issues, which on $20+ million dollar athletes can hurt the wallet).

I remember calling upon a friend of mine, Adam T. Glass, when I was in Florida, to potentially sub for me since my wife was due any day at the time with our second boy. Adam is a very dialed-in physical specimen, a machine of strength, recovery, movement and understanding how to take a body and take it to the next level.

We were with the Pittsburgh Pirates, and Andrew “Cutch” McCutchen was the player to work with that day. Adam and I had a few ideas that were relevant, unique, appropriate and cinematic. The funny part (to me) was when I wanted the New Era rep and “Cutch” to hear our ideas, I handed the “mic” over to Adam, as an intro. Adam went into some cool, educational explanation, but that was too much (to no fault of his, rather mine for taking for granted the needs of the crew, which I didn’t explain clearly). What the “movie” or “Hollywood” people care about is only the outcome, not the process. The athlete comes, ready, we make him look good. That’s it. Cinematic form over function and benefit.

So, for any personal trainer looking to break into the Los Angeles TV & movie industry, realize that if your calling is to help people improve, build their bodies, increase their strength, shed their weight and you’re truly about training and fitness, maybe the TV & movie industry isn’t for you. It’s almost a conflict of interest. The celebrity training part is different, because that’s just being a lucky trainer (skilled or unskilled, both exist, since movie stars tend to have won the genetic lottery and have the dedication and motivation to train most of us don’t have. They get paid to train, we pay others to train us).

And being a set trainer, as in training consultant, is a gig that is rare, freelance and you have to hustle. Unless you’re connected, you’re better focusing on a good marketing plan because you’re in charge, not hoping to get a call for a project need that may be canceled or be taken away from you because of some crew member’s cousin that landed in town and is better connected.