Celebrity fitness trainer Gunnar Peterson told trainers today that if they're in this business just to have a job, they should get out now.
Few if any left Peterson's keynote speech at the Javits Center, and some had to stand alongside the walls to hear Peterson, who is based in Beverly Hills, CA, and travels extensively all over the world.
Peterson did his share of name-dropping throughout the keynote address. He said he had trained celebrities from Pete Sampras to George Wendt of "Cheers" fame. Wendt was an interesting client because he was told he couldn't lose too much weight. Evidently, none of the "fat" jokes on "Cheers" would have been funny if Ol' Norm was svelte. The extensive collection of beers and meat in his house didn't help Wendt's cause, either.
"You cannot blame me for George Wendt's condition," said Peterson, who got Wendt to drop almost 30 pounds.
Sampras, by the way, like to adhere to a strict routine when working out. Peterson said Sampras requested the lights turned off, the air conditioning dropped down into the 60s, and U2 or Pearl Jam had to be playing. Oh, and Pete didn't want anyone else in the room.
The name-dropping continued when Peterson told stories about how Alyssa Milano went on and on about her menstrual cycle in front of Peterson, who said Milano referred to him as a "Ken doll," someone she could trust and feel safe around without having to worry about him showing any personal feelings for her.
When Peterson leaves a client for any length of time, they're not always happy. Peterson said that when he told Leah Remini that he was going to New York for this speaking engagement, she was displeased, to say the least. He offered to pass Remini to another trainer for the time being, but apparently she wanted to wait for him and do cardio until he returned.
"And they don't [do cardio]," Peterson explained.
Peterson stressed that too many trainers want to be celebrity trainers, and that's a mistake. He said that one bad trainer plus a celebrity equals a good trainer, no matter how bad that trainer is. Peterson told the story about how one trainer for Mary J. Blige pitched a song to her during their session.
Trainers have to be active, said Peterson, who "cold calls the hell out of people." Like actors, trainers can't just rely on their pedigrees. They have to continue to leave the house.