From Lady Gaga to Halle Berry, Kim K to Kayne, fitness guru Harley Pasternak is the man behind these physiques, renowned for his ability to get his clients into camera-ready-shape via fast, efficient workouts, and smart nutrition.
Originally from Toronto and based in LA, he’s a regular on Khloe Kardashian’s Revenge Body, with appearances on shows like GMA and Access Hollywood, not to mention his collection of DVDs, books and products. It’s any wonder this guy has time to be a trainer, husband and Dad too – but he does!
Curious to know more about his workouts, nutrition tips – and let’s be real, what truly goes into to getting rock star abs without doing crunches, we asked Harley to give us the goods. Here’s the healthy scoop…
Q: What’s a typical day like for you? Are you a coffee guy in the morning, or must it always be a (freakin) smoothie?
H: First…COFFEE! I get a cortado, and love 49th parallel beans. Then – yes. A smoothie, often my Apple Pie Smoothie.
Q: You say the secret to getting stronger, sleeker abs is not by doing a million crunches, but by focusing on our back-side instead. Your favourite moves?
H: Yes! Only focusing on the front of the abs is a common mistake. If your front muscles are stronger than your rear ones, it will draw you forward, giving the impression of a gut. By strengthening your lower back, and therefore improving your posture, your abs will look lengthened and sleeker.
Harley’s top 3 ab exercises: Supermans, to strengthen your lower back; Side bends to target your obliques and Trunk Twists to work your transverse abs, or your ‘corset muscles.’
Q: Any so-called ‘health foods’ or trends have you’ve had enough of? (ie: Bullet proof coffee, avocado smashed everything…)
H: Every time I see a new ‘juice bar’ crop up (and in LA, there are PLENTY), I want to scream. You squeeze the sugary water out of the fruit or vegetable, and throw away the most nutritious and fibrous parts! As one of my old University professors used to say, you’re better off throwing out the juice and just eating the skin and pulp.
That’s why I love blending and smoothies. Blending in whole fruits and vegetables is actually filling, and more nutritious. And why I partnered with Jamba Juice to make the Superblends line — a healthy, filling alternative!
Q: Cardio versus weights. Some people swear by just weights to burn calories all-day long. Your thoughts?
H: You need both! Get a Fitbit and aim for 10,000 steps a day. That’s’ your “cardio”. Next, pick one body part and one exercise for that body part, and do 5-10 minutes of resistance exercise a day. Do a different body part each day of the week.
Q: For guys, can you share any tips for keeping their engine running in the sack? Seriously, can a really active lifestyle plus aging, put a dent in their energy and desire in other areas?
H: Of course! Strength exercise can boost hormones, increase blood flow, and boost serotonin- not to mention confidence.
Q: For women concerned about aging, what are your thoughts about using light weights with multiple reps versus heavier weights and lower reps? The theory being bigger biceps with stronger, more pronounced quads and hamstrings don’t look good as we age. The skin starts to sag, and it looks – well, unflattering. Thoughts?
H: You need need high, medium AND low reps. You need to keep changing the workout stimulus to keep your body changing. You don’t need to make your muscles bigger. In fact, it’s very very difficult to make bigger muscles unless you are eating lots of extra calories. You need to make your muscles strong and dense.
Q: Food staples? Healthy (or not) snacks you love most?
H: Eggs, peanut butter, apples, avocado, salmon.
Q: Tips for getting your kids to be active and eat healthier?
H: First, expose them to as many physical activities as you can. From dance and gymnastics to soccer, ballet, etc. By doing so, it’s likely they will find one they enjoy, and will want to continue doing. Second, lead by example. Third, be active together (like family walks). My daughter is learning to cook using a blender (with parent supervision, of course). It’s fun and easy.
Q: Lady Gaga was shunned for not having super sleek abs during her Super Bowl performance. How disappointing. Your thoughts on that?
H: Ridiculous. She’s in amazing shape.
Q: Popcorn, yes, no?
H: There’s a big difference between movie theatre popcorn and air-popped popcorn. Air-popped popcorn is one of my absolutely FAVORITE snacks. It has fiber and protein and is super portable and easy. Adding butter and oil, plus salt – and who knows what else – is what makes it unhealthy.
Q: Protein smoothies for teens. Too early?
H: Smoothies are perfect for all ages! Check out my recipes in The Body Reset Diet.
Q: Last, your advice for late-night snackers?
H: Eat well during the day so you’re not hungry at night, and remove all temptation foods from the house.