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Train like Hollywood’s Elite & Transform Your Body | Gunnar Peterson

Episode 70, duration 1 hr 19 mins
Episode 70

Train like Hollywood’s Elite & Transform Your Body | Gunnar Peterson

Gunnar Peterson is a Nashville based personal trainer whose clients include celebrities, professional athletes, and everyday people. Gunnar is the former Los Angeles Lakers’ Director of Strength and Endurance. He is widely recognized for his expertise in functional training and his commitment to developing and implementing innovative fitness techniques. With over 31 years in the fitness industry, Gunnar emphasizes strength training modalities that can be transferred from the gym to daily life, and from training camp to championship game. He has worked with athletes from the NBA, NHL, NFL, MLB, USTA, professional boxing (male AND female!) and various NCAA sports.

Train like Hollywood's Elite & Transform Your Body - Gunnar Peterson

In this episode we discuss:
• How to design an exercise plan for fat loss.
• Movements everyone should do to stay fit for life.
• Eliminating the confusion around when to do HIIT vs Zone 2 cardio.
• The best exercise plan for beginners.

00:00:00 Introduction

00:02:18 Fitness Industry Trends

00:07:10 Targeting Fat Loss

00:13:05 Make it Fun

00:19:19 The Core Components of a Fitness Program

00:23:57 Training in the Morning

00:29:50 Resistance Bands vs Weights

00:34:31 When to do HIIT

00:41:05 Exercising With Friends

00:45:57 Sleep Is More Important Than Cardio

00:47:02 Are You Training Hard Enough?

00:49:48 How to Recover

00:50:54 Most Effective Recovery Tool

00:55:38 Training for Hypertrophy

01:01:52 Everyone Has a Scheduling Problem

01:04:15 Fat Loss and Hypertrophy

01:09:13 What Should You Track?

01:15:28 Fitness and Happiness

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Dr. Gabrielle Lyon  [0:00:01]

Welcome to the Dr. Gabrielle Lyon Show where I believe a healthy world is based on transparent conversations.

Hi, friends.In today’s episode of The Dr. Gabrielle Lyon Show, I sit down with the legendary trainer, Gunnar Peterson.This guy is an absolute legend in the space. He has trained everyone from the Kardashians, to Jennifer Lopez, to athletes in the NBA, NHL, NFL, any and every major sport team, and I am bringing him to you. In this episode, we get to the nitty gritty of how to design an exercise plan for fat loss while maintaining skeletal muscle, movements everybody should do to stay fit for life. Gunnar clears up the confusion about when to do high-intensity interval training versus zone 2 training, and probably most translatable is how to design an exercise plan for beginners.

Gunnar Peterson is a certified national strength and conditioning coach. He’s a graduate of Duke University. This guy is extremely smart. He’s an editor and wrote a regular column for Muscle& Fitness magazine for over a decade. He is on multiple advisory boards. He has done frequent television appearances;Today Show, you name it, Keeping Up With The Kardashians.This guy is the real deal, and he is here to support you.

As always, if you liked this episode, please take a moment to share, rate, review, subscribe. I put this content out for free, and the only thing that I ask is that you pay it forward.

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Gunnar Peterson, I’m so excited to have you on the Dr. Gabrielle Lyon Show. By the way, I met you in person when we were at the Strong event in New York City, I believe it was last year. I have to tell you, I was so blown away by listening to you talk and watching you interact with people. You are–

Gunnar Peterson  [0:05:27]

Iwas blown away by the fact that we have so many mutual friends, and you could put up with those people.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon  [0:05:33]

Shout out to Ray “Cash” Care and Don Saladino, so funny.

Gunnar Peterson  [0:05:38]

Yeah, big shout out to Ray.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:05:40]

Yeah, love those guys.

Gunnar Peterson  [0:05:42]

They’re a couple.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon  [0:05:47]

Yeah, that’s so funny. Just kidding, Mel, that’sDon’s wife;oh, and Trish, just kidding. But what really struck me about you is that you have and do work with some of the biggest names in Hollywood, from the Kardashiansto just everyone, a whole bunch of A-listers, yet, you’re so humble, and so charismatic, and so interested in making things better for people. There was absolutely no ego, which, no offense,I just didn’t know what to expect. I would love–yeah, go ahead.

Gunnar Peterson  [0:06:21]

Look, I’m in the right place. It’s funny to talk about humility. How can anybody be anything but?You’re in the right place to train those people. I’m at the crossroads of if they’re going west to east or east to west, they were passing my gym in Beverly Hills, so I’m a logical pick. It’s private. You try to provide a service that is up to the level up or the standard that they experience in the other realms of their life. You try to match that and surpass it. If you keep delivering and you work at that day in and day out, then to me, it stands to reason that there’ll be comfortable coming back.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon  [0:06:57]

You’ve also been in the game. How long have you been a trainer?

Gunnar Peterson  [0:07:04]

This is year 32.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon  [0:07:06]

That is a lot of longevity. I’m sure you have seen a lot of trends. I’m sure that there are certain things that you’ve tried that haven’t worked, things that you’ve tried that you were really surprised that worked. What would you say, especially with your clientele and how you help the rest of the world—I know that you’re very involved in F45 and you’re very involved in the fitness space. Would you say that there’s one particular trend? Is it fat loss? Is it hypertrophy? Is it different from the celebrity versus the regular, a non-celebrity person?

Gunnar Peterson  [0:07:38]

No, that we’ll touch on.Here’s just to give you an idea of the span. When I got into fitness, women wanted their asses to be smaller, and now they want them to be bigger. So we’ve come that whole way. We’ve done that whole continuum. As far as trends now, I don’t know if there’s a trend, but I think on the male side, I think they’re looking more for an athletic physique. It’s not bigger arms, big chest and abs—abs are always a thing—and at some point during the course of the training, sure, they might say, I wouldn’t mind being a little bigger here or there. But ultimately, the training has become, at least from my perch, it’s more towards athleticism and functional, the ability to do what life throws atyou, look and feel good kind of thing. Now, I think the focus is, at least that they’re not speaking to the aesthetics as much as they used to be.Maybe that’s not de rigueur anymore. It’s not cool to say, I want to look a certain way. It comes down to, I’d like to drop some body fat and feel better and be able to do XYZ, which is probably trending in the right direction in my opinion.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon  [0:08:55]

Yeah, I think that would be a great trend. What are some of the strategies that you deploy? Because, again, your patient population or your client population, they have to achieve a goal, or I don’t know, they will forever not look good in the part that they are being paid millions of dollars to do.There’s a certain amount of pressure that comes with that.

Gunnar Peterson  [0:09:16]

Yeah, if you’re talking about the celebrities and the stuff that’s captured on film, that does live forever. But I think that works the other way, too. I think sometimes maybe they don’t feel like they hit their mark, so to speak, all puns intended. But I think that then they might look back on– at least I’ve had that with some where they look back and they go, wow, I can’t believe how great I looked then and I was thinking at the time. I actually have a great picture on the wall from a woman that says,“When I looked like this, I didn’t feel great.Looking back at it now, I do.”To me, I’d rather see it that way than the other way. But when you talk about the athlete population, that’s also money on the line, performance on the line. I will say that’s one population that 100% will bypass aesthetics for performance. If you tell them, if we do XYZ, the yield will be this in your performance, but it’s going to make your body lookfunny or disproportionate, they’ll say, no problem; I don’t care. Other populations don’t embrace that as readily.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon  [0:10:25]

Let’s say we’ll start with fat loss, because that’s probably something everybody listening would love to do, potentially. How do you initiate a training plan? What are you thinking about when you start with your clients?

Gunnar Peterson  [0:10:43]

I stay away from the nutrition. I can give them broad-strokes nutrition stuff, but I’m going to probably push them in the direction of a specialist. This isthe area of specialization, boutique fitness, that kind of thing. So I will give them broad strokes, if that’s something they’re open to, but I don’t push it. You got to take care of one problem at a time. Don’t try to fix the whole car at once. I push them towards lifting. I always push towards lifting; men and women, you have to lift weight. I go so far saying, at a certain point in your life—let’s pick the magic 30th birthday—if you’re not lifting weights, it’s almost irresponsible from an osteoporosis standpoint, from a connective tissue strength standpoint, from a lean tissue maintenance or building standpoint. It’s irresponsible. You have to impose an external load on the body. Yes, calisthenics are fine, and I have no problem with bodyweight stuff; there are certainly ways to make that intense enough. But we have a lot of other fun tools, and I don’t care if that’spneumatic, or water, or bands,or just old-school iron. Whatever it’s going to be, there are ways to add a load to the body, and you have to get behind that to understand what your body can do and how far you can take it and the improvements you can make well into the years when a lot of people are hanging it up.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon  [0:12:06]

That’s amazing. Again, you’ve been in the fitness industry for 31 years. I just went right to the top. Talking to you is essentially going to the top. What I’m hearing you say is that lifting weights, it is irresponsible, by the time you hit the magical number of 30 or whatever, if you’re not doing it.

Gunnar Peterson  [0:12:25]

But I don’t want to wag the finger and say, do it. I also have this other approach and maybe this has served me, maybe it hasn’t, maybe it’s polarizing. I don’t care if you work out. I mean, I know the benefits, so I want you to because I want you to feel as great as I feel. I want you to be able to have this buzz, this jazz all day long. But if you don’t want to,no problem. I’m not selling fitness to anybody. I’m not selling exercise. I’m not selling workouts. I’m not selling schemes.At the end of the day, and I tell trainers this, you’re not selling exercise, you’re selling energy. You’re selling enthusiasm. You’re selling an experience. They all start with E, but don’t get pulled down that selling exercise thing because that’s not what you’re doing. You’re opening a door and letting people in.That’s also why when they succeed with it, I don’t take the credit. I also don’t take the blame. If you’re sticking to the program, I know it’s going to work. I mean,I’m not saying focus group of one just because of me, but I’ve been through this with enough people from a variety of demographics; it’s going to work. If you’re doing the work, it works. I’m just trying to show you the way. I’m just trying to give you that. But if you don’t exercise, no problem. I’m not saying it’s irresponsible like that. But I look at it and go when you’rebitching about what you can’t do, what you used to be able to do, what you wish you could do, but you’re not doing anything towards that end, then that’s irresponsible.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon  [0:13:50]

Well, you also have to think about the trajectory of aging, especially with this information overload. I used to think that there was just an information overload in the nutrition and medicine space. I realized that it gets very heated in the exercise space, which is shocking to me. If we’re all trying to have the same message, which is move your body, there are multiple ways to do it. But it seems as if the fitness world is a bit divisive. I was shocked to see that.

Gunnar Peterson  [0:14:21]

Very much so, and that’s why if somebody works out with me and let’s say I travel, and they taketwo Pilates classes or they take two group exercises,and they go, hey, I really liked that. You should do that. Whatever honestly elicits the, I really liked that, by all means you should do that unless it’s dangerousor harming others. But you should do that. I’d rather have you go somewhere and stick– there 8 billion people. I’d rather lose you to another form of exercise than have you not doing anything or have you doing something you hate. That would always be the way.You found something you like, you like Pilates, you like yoga, you likegroup exercises, whatever it is, by all means, do it. But if you can’t find your way, stay here and let’s attack this and see because you’re going to really benefit from this.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon  [0:15:12]

Do you think that there is a way where it is replaceable? Would you say that lifting weights or resistance exercise could be replaced with a different form of training?

Gunnar Peterson  [0:15:26]

Sure, I mean, come up with it. There are so many group exercise classes that offer a variety. I would say ifyou’re using the 2-pound weights, I think it’s time to bump that up. But yeah, there’s outdoor activity; farming, for example, great activity, taking care of kids and running a house. There’s a lot of activity that goes into lugging bags and dog food and groceries and mowing the yard, if you’re doing all that. There are a lot of activities that have that yield. But if you don’t have anything that’s structured, and you’re not happy with the way you feel and look, or look and feel, depending on what city you’re in because sometimes one precedes the other, then get into a workout routine. It can actually be super fun. If you find a way—and I know I drank my own Kool Aid a long time ago—to enjoy the process, the rest is just gravy. It just happens. It’s not even, you look in the mirror and go, I look great. You haven’t thought about that because you’ve been enjoying the workout so much. I know I’m a weirdo. I wake up thinking about what my exercise is going to be today. I’m going to do four sets of this, or two sets of that, or I’ll do this much cardio. I’m going to add jump rope intervals today or whatever. I know everybody doesn’t think like that. Not everyone thinks like that. But if you find a way to think a little bit like that– put it this way.If you at least give as much pre-thought to your workout as you do to your next meal, your workouts are going to be super enjoyable.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon  [0:16:57]

I know that there’s this component of, well, if you’d like to do it, you’ll do it. But for example, we know that resistance training under load really improves insulin sensitivity and triglycerides and fasting glucose levels.There are all types of things that healthy skeletal muscle does. Are there a handful of really important components to a training plan when an individual is really looking for body recomposition?

Gunnar Peterson  [0:17:35]

Yes, I would say you have to think about working in all planes of motion.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:17:41]

What does that meanfor the listener?

Gunnar Peterson  [0:17:42]

So three planes of motion: sagittal, which is front to back; frontal, which is side to side; and transverse, which is in rotation, and a lot of people don’t want to work in rotation. They don’t want to load in rotation; they’re afraid.But you think about when you get in your car, the first thing you do is grab your seat belt. That’s rotation, transverse plane. Did we talk about Pat McNamara, Pat Mac?Do you know Pat Mac? You must.Pat Mac, TMAC on Instagram, Delta guy, great guy. He has a great quote, and he says, life-saving and ass-kicking happened in the transverse plane. It’s a great quote, andit’s true. That’s where stuff happens,so you have to work in that plane against load. Stop just doing crunches. I have no problem with crunches,but there’s so many other ways to train your core: work rotation, work from the bottom up, work insertion, work origin. So multiplanar training, not just everything straight ahead, side to side and rotation.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon  [0:18:48]

So multiplanar rotation versus, when you say front to back, would that be like a–

Gunnar Peterson  [0:18:57]

I’m saying the average person sets up their workout, watch them do it. Actually, somebody did this in a TRX workshop. The guy had everybody put something together. I think nine out of 10 people did all their movements forward to back in the sagittal plane, and they didn’t put lateral lunge, side lunges. They didn’t do anything rotating. That’s where it becomes more comprehensive and more lifelike, and it gives back more to what you do in real life, so you have to add those components. You have to rotate.You have to move side to side. You have to move front to back.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon [0:19:35]

What are examples of rotation exercises?For the listeners at home thinking, what could they do for adding in rotation?

Gunnar Peterson  [0:19:45]

They can do any kind of banded rotation or a cable rotation.Even that, I would say don’t just do it right in the middle. I would say think low to high, high to low.They could do wood chopping movements.They can stagger their stance and then do a wood chopping movement high to low, and then reverse it low to high. So it looks like a golf swing or a baseball swing or like you’re chopping wood; different directions. You’re going to noticeyour core strength will improve. You’re going to notice your coordination will improve, especially if you play with your stance. Don’t put everything in a bilateral stance.If you know, there’s a coach, Cal Dietz. I don’t want to downplay his title. I don’t know what his title is at University of Minnesota, but he’s a genius. He wrote a book called Triphasic that when I worked at the Lakers, I based a lot of how we worked with the rookies, the younger guys, who had less training history.Triphasic, meaning focus on the concentric, eccentric, and the isometric. Give specific time to each part of the lift,the shortening, the lengthening, and the holding still under contraction. But Cal Dietz does another thing that you should just be talking to Cal.He did a study where he says they looked at how often in life you are standing in a perfectly even bilateral stance, and it’s not very often.You’re almost always staggered to a degree or shifted to one side or split stance. You should incorporate that in your training, you’re going to get a different response from the body, and it serves you in real life more

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon  [0:21:27]

I just want to highlight this for the listener.You’ve worked with the NBA, NHL, NFL players, baseball, you name it, you have boxing. So you’ve seen a very well-rounded group of individuals. Thank you so much for your time. This is very valuable for the listener.Again, we try to make this very practical. I have a lot of scientists on, and there’s also other modalities for health and wellness other than just science. We need the physical component, and we need to be articulate in the way where people need to understand it. You are saying that the rotation is really important for movements in real life, and that is a core component that we have to get rotation in.

Gunnar Peterson  [0:22:18]

You have to go from taking the groceries out of the car, picking the baby in and up out of the crib, picking the dog up and putting the dog in the dog bath.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon  [0:22:27]

Does that involve also taking out the garbage?My husband would not know how to do.He would be stuck for rotation, just kidding.

Gunnar Peterson  [0:22:33]

You can YouTube that.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon  [0:22:35]

After rotation, what else is part of a successful exercise program?

Gunnar Peterson  [0:22:43]

I would put some HIIT intervals in it. I want you to spike that heart rate. I want you to be challenged. I want you to be winded for just a brief– and I don’t care if it’s a 30-second or up to a 90-second, I want you to play with the energy systems in the body. I want you to push yourself to where you’re out of breath. Not all the time, but I want there to be those little spikes. Very few people need a cardio babysitter, and very few people would hire me to be a cardio babysitter. You don’t need me to stand next to you on a treadmill or on a bike and just push the buttons for you. I can do that during your warm-up to get you mentally in the gym, to get you pushing yourself past what you might do. If I said, we’re going to hop on the treadmill for five minutes, or we’re going to hop on the elliptical backwards for five– I do a lot of backward stuff, treadmill and elliptical, because your day to day, you’re always walking forward and at some point, let’s move that backwards so you don’t only work one direction, just from a symmetry and balance standpoint. You’re not going to hire me for that. I mean, that would be silly.But after the warm-up in the training, for gen pop, for the average person trying to change body composition, move better, feel better, I’m going to put in some intervals. I might do a peripheral heart action type sequence where it’s an upper body movement, followed by a lower body movement, then a core movement, and then boom, right into a HIIT interval. It could be an incline walk with an overhead carry. It could be a lateral shuffle down a track or on a treadmill. It could be sled work, it could be anything, and it’s not going to last that long, but it’s going to last long enough that you’ll remember it.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon  [0:24:34]

How do you gauge someone? If someone is starting out and they haven’t really done high-intensity interval training, maybe they’ve been a cardio bunny, or maybe they’re just really into the bodybuilding style workouts, how do they gauge?Do you say we’re going to do 10 reps of 30 seconds? Do you get a sense? How can someone at home begin to think about putting together a training program for themselves with a HIIT-style workout?

Gunnar Peterson  [0:25:03]

It’s fun to train with somebody if you can. I train super early, which, right out of the gate boxes out a lot of contenders. Not a lot of people want to do that.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:25:15]

What time is really early?

Gunnar Peterson  [0:25:19]

I’m up at 3:45, andI’m usually on the gym floor by 4:30, 4:40. But there are a lot of people that– the guy, Colin Shane, who trains with me in Nashville, I think he’s up at 2:30, 2:40.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon  [0:25:35]

What time do you guys go to bed? That’s outrageous.

Gunnar Peterson  [0:25:37]

I try to be in bed by 9:00. I’m better on my sleep, but I’m not as good as I should be. I try to get seven.If I get eight,I’m a force. Colin is not married; he’s engaged, but he doesn’t have kids, so he can go to bed at 7:00.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon  [0:25:57]

Super-duper easy.

Gunnar Peterson  [0:25:59]

It’s like those guys that say, I go to bed right after I wake up. It’s likethey’re kind of outdoing it. I’m not saying that. I’m just saying by training early, you have a lot less– part of the reason I train early is becauseit’s just math. Less people awake, less people to interrupt you, so less phone calls, less emails, less texts. But it also means less options for training partners because not that many people want to do it. But I will say train with a partner and try to maintain a conversation during your HIIIT interval. That’s a greatRPE, rate of perceived exertion. Can you talk during it?If you’re just chatting away, you’re probably not working hard enough. If you’re taking a second,that guy, that’s probably right around where you want to be. If you don’t have a training partner, sing. Playsome music, have headphones and sing, and if you find yourself stopping because you can’t get the air to sing, then you may be pushing yourself right where you should be if you’re more seasoned, but if you’re new to it, you may be overdoing, so pull it back a little bit.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon  [0:26:59]

Would you say using a modality like an Airdyne bike would be beneficial?For example, if I were to get up and do a minute sprint on the Airdyne, after that first 30 seconds, depending on if I come out too hot, I’m gassed. So the quality of where I can even keep my heart rate or just the wattage output is abysmal after that.Do you say, all right, you’re going to hit the Airdyne. You’re going to keep it at, let’s just say arbitrary, 500 watts andanytime you’re below that, you just call it?

Gunnar Peterson  [0:27:35]

I would use the assault bike. I would put it them there on that same bike. But at first, I’m not going to scare them with the wattage. So here’s how I would do that. I would say, we’re going to do a minute, 10 seconds easy, and then 10 seconds like you’re being chased, tean 10 easy, beach cruiser, then 10 like you’re being chased, 10 easy, 10 like you’re being chased. By the third 10, they’re feeling that. So that’s not that minute sprint. That’s big boy stuff that you’re doing right there. But whenI’m leading people into it, and then maybe the second lap through, maybe it’s four 10s, and then maybe it’s five 10s. Or maybe we’ll play with it, it’ll be the same 10s, but we’ll take the rest down. So it’ll be 10 seconds rest, 10 seconds work, 7 seconds rest, 10 seconds work, 5 seconds rest, 10 seconds work.We shorten the rest periods, so your rest-work ratio becomes way more work.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon  [0:28:37]

I love that. I love that.

Gunnar Peterson  [0:28:39]

But I like playing with the numbers with people. It’s not always 10 to work. Sometimes the work goes up, the rest goes down. We just play with it depending on who you’re working with. How do you keep them engaged mentally? How do you keep the programming so that they’re challenged?There’s a difference between being engaged and challenged. Engaged, they’re focused, and they know what they’re doing.Challenged, they’re actively trying to destroy whatever they did on the last set.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon  [0:29:04]

How long would you go? Is this a 10-minute type of thing? Is this a 20-minute type of thing?

Gunnar Peterson  [0:29:14]

On that, if I’m doing that as an interval,I might have seven, eight, nine movements with two intervals in those movements. So it could be the rest would be weight training and then spliced in there would be the assault bike or the rower or stairclimber, that type of thing. If I were just doing a conditioning workout, it’s probablygoing to be more like five minutes on the bike, and then I’m going to move on to something else because I think a lot of people have–I don’t want to dabble in ADD and ADHD, but I think a lot of people, they like mixing it up, and also, I have a lot of fun toys in the gym, so I don’t want to be that you can’t join in reindeer games over here. You got to stay on this one thing. I’m going tomix it up. Why not? If I can elicit the same physiological response and use different toys or tools to do it, why wouldn’t I? Your experience is going to be infinitely more pleasurable. Eventually, you’ll go to a gym or on vacation where you don’t have as many options, and then you’re going to have to lock it down. But when you’re in the candy store, go nuts.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon  [0:30:18]

So far, we have rotation. We have high-intensity interval training. Basically, what I’m hearing you say is that you’re not doing typically high-intensity interval training as its own session, its own conditioning session.If what I’m hearing you say is one of the things, if someone is, I don’t know, trying to lose fat or body recomposition, you’re adding in the high-intensity intervals in between doing other things. Did I hear you correctly?

Gunnar Peterson  [0:30:47]

Yes, in between the strength training. If I just had people come in and do high-intensity cardio stuff for the entire time with me, they would feel like—I’mgoing to use term—they get their money’s worth, I guess, is the way they really feel. It just wouldn’t feel like that’s not what I came here for. So what I would say is, okay, we’re going to do the strength stuff, because I also know from a recomp standpoint, the strength, that’s really your money shot.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon  [0:31:14]

Again, for all the listeners, because there’s lots of controversy as to how you’re really going to move the needle, just say it again.

Gunnar Peterson  [0:31:23]

Let’s see the physiques of the people who have the controversy because no, to recomp your body, it’s–there’s an Arthur Jones clip on that, the guy who invented Nautilus equipment and had a hand in strength, and then I think his son did Hammer Strength. Arthur Jones says you can get in better condition lifting weights. He actually goes as far as saying—you can pull up the quote—you can become a better runner from lifting weights than you can from running. You can get in better cardiovascular shape from lifting weights a certain way than you can from running. That’s Arthur Jones. I’ll take that with me. I mean,he’s passed away, butcall us on. I’m going to go that far with the conditioning, but I am going to say from a body recomposition standpoint, if you’re going to give me somebody who’s going to do just cardio versus somebody who’s going to do strength, and I can put the strength together, oh, yeah. All day, that person’s coming outbetter with betterrecomp.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon  [0:32:28]

I see this in clinical practice. We work with trainers all the time. This is what moves the needle for them. That’s what I was trying to get to in the beginning of the interview is that I don’t think resistance training is replaceable. I just feel like from a body–

Gunnar Peterson  [0:32:45]

We’re starting to say to you, I said I gave you your 20s, and I said at 30, at some point, you got to get serious about this, and you have to train a certain way. It sounds crazy, you have to lift weights, and people balk. That doesn’t mean necessarily clean and jerk,power cycle.I’m not saying not that. But I’m saying if that’s whereyou go into defensive cat stance and fight me on it, that’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying you have to add external load to the body and work against that. You have to if you want to recomp your body.Just from fighting off degenerative diseases and age-related diseases, what are you doing? There’s so much information, why are we having this conversation, the whole thing? Well, you lose 10% of your body mass every year.Hold on, hold on. If you’re lifting, no, you don’t. Your metabolism goes down. What drives metabolism? Lean tissue, it’s active tissue versus fat, which is inert tissue. Lean tissue burns calories at a much higher rate. Maintain the lean tissue. Hey, look, your metabolism is not dropping off precipitously like you were claiming. Maintain lean tissue. You still want to go to Sonic and have a big old milkshake? Keep lifting. You could find a way for all those things in your life.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon  [0:34:11]

Is it safe to say that after a period of time, you can start with resistance bands, but eventually, you should graduate to things that have translational function?For example, maybe you are picking up heavy things and doing a farmer’s carry. Is it true that after a period of time, it just seems that resistance bands might be a great place to start, but eventually we should all become a little more comfortable moving weights around because it is what happens in real life?

Gunnar Peterson  [0:34:44]

Between us in this conversation, yes. I’m not going to fight with the band people. I’m not going to fight with any people. I don’t care. If you want to do bands your whole life, do bands.Go ahead. But I would bet you this: after you’ve done bands for a while, you’re going to look with that yearning eye.You’re going to want to cheat on your bands.You’re going to want to slip over and touch those dumbbells, you just are.It’s a natural progression.The people with the bands, they’re going togo like this. Then after a while,  they’re, like, that looks more fun. Can I do one of those?They’re going to want to.It’s a natural progression. I’m not saying don’t go back. The other thing is, the two are not mutually exclusive; they can coexist.Here’s another crazy one. You can attach a band to a dumbbell.How about that? So you can havea little menage right there for you. Doing banded dumbbell curls, so much better than just doing banded curls.You’re getting that added eccentric. It’s dynamic. Why wouldn’t you do that? I’m doing those tomorrow.Now right now, I just plannedhow to start my workout.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon  [0:35:53]

Do you typically add in a high-intensity interval component into every workout, or would this be a one- or two-day-a-week kind of thing, just from a baseline perspective of designing it?

Gunnar Peterson  [0:36:11]

Let’s say somebody’s coming to me five days a week, and they’re not doing anything outside of the hour with me, then I’m putting it in every single time.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:36:21]

Why? Why is that, for the listener?

Gunnar Peterson  [0:36:25]

Because I want their body to feel that. I want their body to know that you can rev the sports car, you can punch it out of the gate, and then you can slam on the brakes. And you should be able to drive it hard like thatat will and not feel like oh, maybe not today. You can do that to the body.At the end of the day, it’s only going to be six, eight minutes of your total workout. We’re at that kind of intensity, so, really? If I know you’re not doing that type of elevated heart rate stuff outside of there, then I think it’s incumbent upon me to include that in my programming with you because I want you to get those benefits. I want you to get the heart health from it. I want you to feel your body rev that high. I want you to know that you can handle something, which is probably going to involve some speed.If you’re pushing on that assault bike, you know that there’s some speed. There are elbows flying, and you’re moving. I think that’s good to move like that.You look at people, it’s like they get to a certain age and everything slows down.They move slowly. They drive slowly. They ride the bike slowly. You should be able to let it rip in the gym.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon  [0:37:38]

You easily could do that five days a week, six to eight minutes. That’s nothing. Right?

Gunnar Peterson  [0:37:44]

Within the context of your total workout, it’s nothing, but it will yield terrific benefits.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon  [0:37:53]

What kind of benefits do you see?People typically, I have to say, there’s usually a dichotomy. Typically, we have the individuals that are just doing cardiovascular activity, and then we just have weights. 50% of Americans are not working out. I’m just going to say that. So while you’ve been in this industry for so long, for you, this is like brushing your teeth. But I would say for the majority of us, the idea of doing a high-intensity interval session within a weight session is something that is maybe a bit new to them. How would you think about doing it? Would you do a high-intensity interval assault bike, and then you would do, I don’t know, what would be your next exercise? How many more before you take a break and then circle back?


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Gunnar Peterson  [0:41:12]

Well also know that if there’s somebody who’s trying to put on– if there’s somebody who’s looking for hypertrophy, like gaining muscle size, I’m probably not putting that in there because it’s maybe counterintuitive. Maybe I’ll give them a lower-intensity conditioning program to do outside the gym, like walk, that kind of thing, or walk with a weight vest, orgo on a bike ride, that kind of thing. But if it’s people who are talking about recomp, and that’s still the demographic I had in my mind, I’m going to put that in there. I’m going to do a program that I do often called the 9’s, and it’s going to be peripheral heart action-based, so your body is shunting the blood from one extremity to the other, so the movements will be in succession. But this is not straight set. So if you’re trying to bodybuild, this is not–

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon  [0:42:00]

I love the idea of body recomp, and that’s what most people care about. We’ll get to hypertrophy next,but from your perspective,for body recomp.

Gunnar Peterson  [0:42:11]

I would have you do a compound movement toward the lower body. I’d probably start you with lower body because you’re probably not going to start with lower body if left to your own devices, so let’s just get that out of the way.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon  [0:42:23]

What would you do? Would that be squat under load, would it not be under load?

Gunnar Peterson  [0:42:27]

It’s going to depend on the person, but some kind of squat, some kind of lunge, some kind of deadlift, some kind of hip bridge, a thrust, that kind of thing, to hit the biggest muscle group of the body. I want to hit the glutes. I don’t want to hit the legs, and I want that blood to be shunted to the lower extremity. Then I’m going to put you on something upper body, whether it’s a pull or a push, depending on the day, depending on when I’m seeing you next, depending on how often we do this,depending how often you have done this in the past. Then I’m going to do some kind of core movement, and the core movement is going to vary by plane. Meaning, it’s going to be sagittal plane like a crunch, or it’s going to be a frontal plane like a side bend or like a Copenhagen plank with a side bend—it goes nicely after a lower extremity movement—or it’s going to be something in rotationlike a woodchop, a medicine ball slam, that kind of thing, and then probably going to go into a HIIT interval. That’s going to either be like that assault bike or it’s going to be a Stairmasterif you’re coordinated and athletic.It might be a Stairmaster but using a crossover step. It’s going to be a Jacobs Ladder, a VersaClimber, a ladder mill. It’s going to be something like that where you’re movingand you’re feeling it, and then there’s probably going to be a water break or sit down like holy cow, what did we just do?

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon  [0:43:50]

Just to clarify, the lower body exercise, you pick one lower body exerciseand then one upper body exercise, or is it more than that?

Gunnar Peterson  [0:43:59]

If we’re doing the 9’s, I’m going to go lower, upper, core,HIIT interval. Then I’m probably going to repeat it; lower, upper, core,HIIT interval with different movements.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon  [0:44:14]

I love it. Is it for nine times?

Gunnar Peterson  [0:44:17]

No, I’d probably go through it three times; maybe two in the beginning. I tell people sometimes look, in the beginning, my goal is to get through this three times. Sometimes it’s 10. Sometimes it’s eight, but just ballparking.It depends on how many of them are unilateral, like if we have to do a left side and right side,like if it’s a lunging pattern, that’s going to take more time,and we’re on the clock when they come in. That’s going to take more time than if we’re doing a squat just because one side than the other.Then at the end, I often add a little thing called dessert. I always show it’s gluten free, come on, you’ll like this. Some people are like, I’m skipping dessert today. You’re not. It could be anything. But it’s usually something that’s going to ramp you up. We don’t go down on dessert.It’s going to be an overhead carry for distance.It’s going to be an overhead carry for time. It’s going to be a wheelbarrow or a sled or inertial waves, or it’s going to be something that gasses you, and it’ll take anywhere from a minute, probably the shortest, but probably 90 seconds to three minutes. To me, you leave on a high note, so there’s a positive association with the experienceyou just had.You leave like that, which is a great way to leave the gym.But then I also stretch up, so they come down for that. When they’re doing that dessert, I pop up on the table where I stretch them, and it’s so Pavlovian. I’ve had people say to me, that’s my favorite sound. When I hear that table pop open, that’s my favorite sound, it means I know I’m done. Then you stretch, and then they’re out.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon  [0:45:58]

What is the rep range that you’re looking at for the lower body, upper body portion?

Gunnar Peterson  [0:46:04]

Not to be vague, but it depends on the movement. If they’re new to this, it’s going to be somewhere—and this is a big rep range—eight to 15, eight to 12. But if we’re doing something like a step up clean and jerk with a dumbbell, as an explosive movement, it’s probably going to be six to eight maybe.You’ve got central nervous system concerns, you don’t want to smoke them and have them get all wonky and sling dumbbells over and get injured.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon  [0:46:31]

You mean like me this morning.Yeah, I get it.

Gunnar Peterson  [0:46:34]

Is that what happened?That’s rough.You see people and then they start going, I can do this, and they’re slinging the dumbbell. You’re going to hurt somebody, and it’s probably going to be you.So let’s pump the brakes and bring it down.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon  [0:46:51]

For individuals, you would have them do that five days a week. So that would be a great recomposition for five days a week.

Gunnar Peterson  [0:46:59]

That’s a great recomp for three days a week, and then I would have them add two activities on two of the other days. If that activity is a sport, even better, because so many people get away from sports.A sport can be cycling, it can be tennis, it could be pickleball. It could be whatever your thing is. I’m not saying bowling is not a sport; that’s a wholeother conversation. But if you’re drinking beer during the sport, we’re on different pages, so come on, guys.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon  [0:47:32]

That is hilarious. After that, how fast do people anticipate seeing changes? People obviously want to see it right away. I’m sure it depends on age. But do people ask you, how fast is it going to be till I see some change in my body?

Gunnar Peterson  [0:47:49]

All the time. Then I go, look, 168 hours in a week. You told me you’re here three times this week. First of all, let’s see if you’re here. But then also tell me what you’re going to do during the other 165.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon  [0:48:02]

Do you have them say, okay, you’re going to hit a target walking goal. You’ve gassed them pretty bad three days a week, which is amazing. Do you have them do other things? I know you said the other two days are sport. But what about the non-exercise activity?

Gunnar Peterson  [0:48:16]

I say sport or activity. I say sportif I gave you a sport; if it’s activity, its activity. If I can get you to walk in one direction 15 minutes and then turn around and try to get back to your start point in less than 15 that forces you to keep apace, andyou can do that before dinner or after dinner, that kind of thing, I’ll take that as an activity. If it’s something more robust, yay, and closer to your goal. If you’re making better choices at the table and better choices at the bar and better choices at bedtime, all those things play their respective parts in this overhaul we’re doing here. Again, it goes back to I can’t take the blame, I can’t take the credit. We’re doing something here. I didn’t feel sore from that yesterday. Okay, are you saying we didn’t do it, that I imagine that you were here? I know what you did.You know what you did.Sore is just one benchmark. There’s so many ways to look at the efficacy of a program.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon  [0:49:20]

You tell them, essentially, it’s not about how they’re feeling. It’s really about what you saw them execute and do.Probably, I’m sure they work with someone on their nutrition and then their recovery.

Gunnar Peterson  [0:49:33]

Right. Stay in a calorie deficit, not a huge one. If you’re burning2800, don’t drop it down to 1200. Take it down 2500. Go down to 2300. Go down to 2000. Overtime, get into a calorie deficit. Stay in a calorie deficit.Focus on your sleep. I just read a thing the other day, and I don’t want to misquote it, but it might have been Stan Efferding that said that sleep was more important than cardio–

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon  [0:50:07]

Yeah, it was Stan. I saw that.

Gunnar Peterson  [0:50:09]

–for fat loss. I was like, yes. I talk about it all the time.If you can get an extra hour of sleep– first of all, you can’t eat when you’re sleeping, so you’re way ahead of the game already.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon  [0:50:20]

I don’t know about that.I’ve seen some people eat while they’re sleeping.

Gunnar Peterson  [0:50:24]

That’s terrifying. Then you go, and your body is at rest, andthat’s when the magic happens. That’s when it recovers. That’s when it rebuilds. That’s when it recharges, which means your next workout will be more, and you’ll have the potential to put more into that workout. You’re getting the recovery. You’re able to hit the gas harder the next time, and it was another hour that you weren’t picking at something in the cookie jar. Great, we’re winning. This is a win-win-win.Recovery is a huge component. 

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon  [0:50:56]

Tell me about that. In my mind, I think this is great because you’re setting the record straight. I would say most people are not training hard enough where recovery is a necessity. Listen, I’ve gone through periods– my book took two years to write.There are days in the gym where I just wasn’t training as– I was showing up, but it wasn’t as hard as I could have gone.

Gunnar Peterson  [0:51:20]

But that’s okay. Not every workout has to be fire and brimstone,I’m lighting this place up. It doesn’t have to be that. No, it doesn’t have to be.You’ll see when you’re older. You’ll see showing up, as people say 50%,sometimes showing up is 70%. Thank God you’re here. Let’s just do something. When you have more,give it more. I will say too if you only have 20 minutes today, okay, well, hopefully, maybe there’s a day on a weekend when you have an hour or an hour and a half. Let’s see what it is. There are other places you can chip away time in your schedule to add to the workout. I don’t want to spend my whole day in the gym. All right, well, when you say it like that already, mentally, you’re not in the right place. You should be excited to spend whatever time you have, whether it’s 20 minutes or an hour, whatever it is, and just take it for what it is.

Stop evaluating and micro analyzing every single rep and workout; that’s not what we’re doing. You didn’t get this deconditioned for this long and now all of a sudden, you’re going to fine-tooth comb the whole thing; that’s just crazy.Recovery is huge, and it comes in a lot of form, sleep being number one, the one we all get; body work, if you have the time and the luxury and the wherewithal to get massages or you’re using a Theragun or any handheld percussive device or ice bath or sauna or infrared sauna ormeditation. There are so many ways, just finding ways, to lower your stress levels, which also help your body recover. Make sure you’re hydrating.Make sure you’re getting enough quality foods spread out throughout the day.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon  [0:53:02]

You don’t care necessarily what the modality of recovery is aside from sleep.

Gunnar Peterson  [0:53:09]

I do. But if you’re starting with a blank slate, I’m going to say, what speaks to you?What sounds good to you? What do you like? You might go, I don’t like massages. I don’t like anybody touching me. Okay, I got that. No problem. I’m not going to say, oh, you got to try this massage. No,they’ll turn you out. I’m not selling it to you.Fine. You don’t like massages? No problem.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon  [0:53:33]

If you were to pick one for yourself, what would you say that you feel is the most effective recovery tool?

Gunnar Peterson  [0:53:41]

In the last 18 months since I moved to Nashville, I got one massage, and I actually got it when I went back to LA for Ben Bruno’s wedding.My wife said, you have not had a massage since we’ve been there. I booked you one.I go, babe, you’re the best. But massage is great, and I know how much I need it.But for me, I have to train myself to lie there and be still, and I’m not great at that,but I work at it.But I always know that I feel so much better after a massage. If I can’t get that, I use the Theragun religiously. I travel with it.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon  [0:54:16]

You do? Does it matter where?Is it always hips and hamstring or quad, does it matter where you do it?

Gunnar Peterson  [0:54:22]

It’s almost always hamstrings, low-back.Sometimes it’s biceps, pecs, and armpit to try to get underneath because I get shoulder stuff. If you can get the shoulder from underneath from inside it, I feel that.That’s because I had Dr. Jason Wersland, the Theragun guy, actually work on me once, and he drove the Theragun up my arm. I go,dude, are you robbing me? I’ve never been pushed like that. But the relief I got from it was tangible. I can’t replicate the intensity, but I try to.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:54:58]

That’s fascinating.

Gunnar Peterson  [0:55:00]

Anywhere, I tried to do the traps.But I feel sometimes like when I’m trying to do my traps, I feel like I’m tightening them while I’m doing them, so I have trouble with that. But I foam roll. I stretch religiously. I stretch every day, and it’s anywhere from 8 to 15 minutes. I had a guy who will say to me, that’s not long enough. I’m like, how often do you stretch? He goes like, but I know that’s not long enough. I go, mind your business, seriously.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon  [0:55:25]

You’ve had your clients for long periods of time.Someone in their 50s, 60s, and older, do you find that their training has to change? Are there things that you impart that are different? Is mobility more important for them? Are you doing fascial work? Are there other things that you find really important?

Gunnar Peterson  [0:55:47]

I saw a thing years and years ago that said, when we’re born, we don’t move.We sit and we just wiggle around.Then, our movement patterns increase, and we crawl, we walk, we run.Then we start playing, then we go into sports, and we go into a bunch of different sports. Then we specialize in one sport, and it drew this graph, it’s like this, and then like that. It said, and then we go into the one sport, and then our sporting career ends, and then we start working and our movement patterns decrease. Then we get old and we can’t really move much, and we end up exactly the way we started: in one place not being able to do much. It was a thing about try to maintain as much of the ability to execute as many movements and movement patterns as possible. I try to challenge myself with that, and I would do the same with people that I work with who are older.I handled a guy who jumped rope the other day, he goes, I haven’t jumped rope in years. I go,perfect time to bring that back.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon[0:56:56]

That is so funny.

Gunnar Peterson  [0:56:59]

It was funny because you watched him do it, and he was struggling because I think he thought, I’m going to jump right back into it when I used to. I said, you want me to say something, or you want me to let you find it?He goes, let me find it—a typical guy answer.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon  [0:57:16]

Did not ask for direction,kidding.

Gunnar Peterson  [0:57:19]

Exactly. I don’t need any help. By the third time through, he was crushing it. I didn’t ask him, but you could see on his face, there was the pride of a jump rope. It’s another skill. It’s another arrow in my quiver, another thing I can do. I think exposing people to all those different things so that then they know or they remind themselves of what they can do, that’s a powerful tool. You go out in the world, you feel a little better. You can ride a bike. You can jump a rope. It’s just another skill set. I think that’s important for people in generalbecause I do believe that thing I read that you start with no movement patterns, it goes, and then it diverges, andthen it converges and ends up with no movement patterns. I want to hold that window open as long as I canwith everything.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon  [0:58:15]

I think that’s very valuable. After we’re done talking about hypertrophy, I really do want to circle back on this mindset component. Because we’ve been talking about training, we’ve been talking about what is effective for fat loss, but sprinkled in there, it’s all really about motivation and what is going to keep someone consistent and push that lever for them. It’s certainly not lost on me, and I’m sure that’s part of the magic of you being effective at what you do. In a hypertrophy plan, let’s say someone is their normal average weightlifter who goes into the gym, not really structured; today, I’m going to do back.Tomorrow, I’m going to do– now I’m sorry, Monday’s universal chest day, andthey’re just unstructured. How would you think about structuring for, maybe not a beginner or it could be a beginner, but maybe a more intermediate weightlifter as it relates to hypertrophy?

Gunnar Peterson  [0:59:10]

They’re coming out, and they’re newbies. They’re new to this. They haven’t trained like this. I would split them probably. It’s not that different from what I do now. I would change the rep schemes. I will pull out the cardio stuff, but I would put them probably a push-pull split, probably more like back and biceps. I don’t think people have the luxury of training one body part every time they’re in the gym, and I don’t think the average person, at least not that I know, is going to train two days, like they’re not doing legs in the morning.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon  [0:59:44]

Unless you’re a professional athlete, who has time for that?

Gunnar Peterson  [0:59:46]

But sometimes even professional athletes. I’ve worked in the NBA. Those guys are cranking out 20-minute workouts. Remember, they have practice. They work with their skill coach. They have athletic training room for recovery, and then you’ve got to getthemin the weight room when you can. Sometimes it’s 20 minutes, sometimes 15 minutes; it is what it is. But they don’t have that kind of time. I don’t know, but you read some of the pro bodybuilders,they did legs in the morning and at night. I’m just like, that’s cool, but not real. That’s not in my wheelhouse. So I would probably push-pull split.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon  [1:00:23]

Is that the same day?

Gunnar Peterson  [1:00:27]

Yeah.So let’s say, like you said it, international chest day, it will probably be chest and triceps on Monday. The next time I saw him, if that’s Tuesday or Wednesday, whatever it is,it would probably be back and biceps, or it might be legs to give the upper body even more time, also lower extremity. Then it would be back and biceps the next time kind of thing. I’d probably do legs. Maybe it’d be back and biceps and legs and shoulders, final, or switch it and do legs first. That way, you’re not fighting for stuff in the gym if everybody else is doing chest, and you get legs and shoulders together.

The other way to do it is to prioritize by what they see where they really want to focus.Sure, they’re new to it, but they’re all going to have something that in their mind’s eye that you have to factor in. I’m the kind of trainer who I factor in what the person wants. I don’t just go forget what you want,I’m running the show. I don’t have that ego.Okay, if you tell me that you’re super concerned with your shouldersor your lats, I will find a way to prioritize that in the programming so that you get the feeling that I’ve addressed your concern, and you get the feeling in whatever lagging or underdeveloped or needs-more-TLC body part or area you have.It might not be might not be a body part if we’re talking biceps, chest, back, shoulders, legs, it might be an area on the back, and then we’ll target that. When we’re training in a way that’s hitting that, I will remind you that was something you wantedin and try to feel it in that area.

That mind-muscle connection is super powerful, too. You have to talk people through.It can’t just be repping and chatting. They have to know, you don’t have to do the grimacing unless that’s your thing. But are you feeling what we’re doing? We’re doing back,are you pulling? Are you abducting the scapula? Are your shoulder blades rotating inwards? Are you pulling down, so you feel the lat contract downward? I was just working with Matt Wenning, if you know Matt, a powerlifter, incredible world record holder. Matt said, when you do these rows, if you’re not pulling in and down and trying to put your elbow towards the bottom part of the lat, you’re not really firing the lat as intensely as you could. I thought that’s a great cue. That’s a great way to say that, in anddown. I want to program in a way that they know that their concerns are being addressed andin a way that’s going to serve them, so it’ll probably a push-pull and I would separate and have lower extremity on a different day.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon  [1:03:18]

Are they hitting each body part twice in a week for hypertrophy? Do they need to hit it more? Is it more the volume?

Gunnar Peterson  [1:03:30]

Case by case, who are they? You have to hit everything twice a week. What if they can only come to you three times a week, what are we going to do? Are we going to do more of a full body work?If they’re brand new to this, that would probably serve them. But if they’re farther in and they want to start splitting it up, then we’re going to have to find a way to split it up and get everything. Maybe they can’t come that many times a week; maybe it’s a financial decision, maybethey can’t get away from work that much, or who knows?This is where a part of thatmagic coaching ingredient comes where you have to manage expectations in a way that doesn’t deflate them because you could just as easily deflate them and then they go,it’s not going to work for me, and they’re just back to zero.

You have to find a way to encourage and get them to get the most out of what they have.It’s the same thing you tell your kids.You get what you get, you don’t get upset; happy for what you have, not unhappy for what you don’t have. Don’t be unhappy that you don’t have sprinkles, be happy that you got the ice cream. I know you wanted the sprinkles, but they didn’t have them, so we just got ice cream. We’re not going to sit here and just bitch about no sprinkles. We’re going to be excited about the ice cream. If they can get two days a week, three days a week, I’m going to give them credit for that versus beating them up for what they didn’t do, which is also why I start people usually twice a week because the hardest part is getting them to build it into their schedule. Everybody has a schedule.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon  [1:04:58]

Ultimately, it becomes a non-negotiable though. Even if you’re tight on time, the healthier and stronger you are, the more capable you’re going to be in all domains of life.

Gunnar Peterson  [1:05:12]

It does for me, but again, I can’t push that on you. I traveled today with a group, and we left early, and I knew we were leaving early. I went to the gym early. I was in Paris and the hotel, so the gym opens at 7:00. I go, the gym?Wait a minute. I said gym,not the restaurant.What do you meanthe gym opens at 7:00? I said, I’ve got to get in there at 4:00. The guy goes, oh, that’s tough. I said, look, I’ll come down.I went down at 4:00, and they let me in. They got security to let me in because there was no way I was going to fly all day and arrive and think, can I go to the gym now? There’s just no way. I wanted to get it done. So for me, it’s a non-negotiable, but I don’t put that on anybody. You might say, oh, that’s crazy. You should have slept. All right. Well, how about I slept on the plane? There are ways to do it, and you pick your poison. I know how I want to feel, how I want to look, so for me, it’s a non-negotiable.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon  [1:06:10]

I don’t know.I think you should. It could probably change the trajectory of how we all age.

Gunnar Peterson  [1:06:20]

Maybe I spoke to where I don’t put it on them directly. But I show up, andthey see that I look a certain way, feel a certain way, act a certain way. My demeanor is better, I’m capable. I don’t know, I feel like I’m happier. I know for me, a lot of that is connected to whatever I did physically.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon  [1:06:48]

We are human and animals designed to move, so that would make a lot of sense. We talked about fat loss; I really love the high-intensity interval type stuff. I’m going to actually start incorporating this after this conversation. We talked about hypertrophy. Also, I didn’t ask you, rep ranges or is it really just based on–

Gunnar Peterson  [1:07:10]

I was just going to say that.Yeah, rep range has to drop for hypertrophy.You got to bring it down. You have to be pushing towards failure in those lower rep ranges. Eight to 12 is what they used to say for hypertrophy, but now studies come out that you can see hypertrophy gains in any rep range where you approach failure. So technical failure, when your form begins to crumble, then that’s when it sets over,maybe squeak out one rep, two reps after that. But youdefinitely want to challenge yourself.If you’re finishing your set, let’s say you say it’s six reps and it’s like four, five, six, done, you need to either add weight or add reps. It’s the same thing if you’re in the higher rep range, it’s 13, 14, 15, done. That doesn’t mean you train to 15.That means you just didn’t push yourself.You have to be keeping good form, reaching technical failure.You have to be pushing towards failure.You don’t have to reach failure, but they say you should be inching towards failure with your sets.Again, not every set, but you want to push yourself. That’s what this is all about.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon  [1:08:19]

Do you find that there are certain movements that everybody should be able to do physically?Granted, as long as they don’t have an injury, should they all be able to squat?Should everyone be able to deadlift?Are there certain things people should be able to do?

Gunnar Peterson  [1:08:33]

I’m a fan of squatting and deadlifting because playing with my kids, I see the squatting happens all the time. Lunging happens all the time. Then functional lunges like you can go Juan Carlos Santana out of Floridayears ago did reaching lunges, twisting lunges. I incorporate a lot of that stuff because, especially if you have kids, but those are movements in real life. I think the name deadlifting does it a disservice. I think a lot of people are put off just because of that word. You shouldn’t be.You are deadlifting all the time. Especially with Amazonpackages at the house, you’re deadlifting now more than ever.I think do it in the gym. If a woman’s deadlifting in the gymwhen she’s at home doing something that she might not have done 30, 40, 50 years ago, it’s going to be easier. If a man is deadlifting in the gym, and then he actually is called upon to do something that men used to do back in the day,he’s going to be able to summon that ability.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon  [1:09:40]

How important is it to track the high-intensity interval training?How important is it to show improvement?For example, if you’re using the assault bike, are you looking to see improvement? Are you looking to see improvement in weights? How important is it to track to see if we’re meeting certain metrics?

Gunnar Peterson  [1:10:07]

I would say that’s case by case. I know some people love that, and some peopledie by the data.They got to see the numbers. They want to know. That’s my thing. I don’t do it for me. I don’t do it for you. The last thing I wanted somebody to do something is say, I was doing that heavier last week. Okay, whatever, but you weren’t today. Remember, you just came off of two flights, you shorted your sleep, you didn’t have your usual breakfast. Again, you’re not a weightlifter. You’re not powerlifting.This is not a meet.There’s no reason for you to get to that number if you’re not going to be able to executejust so we can say you didn’t get to the number. I don’t need to do that with you. We can log it if you want. But to me, you’re not at that. I don’t know people are not, what is that about? We’re going to get so caught up in a day that you’re the person that needs it, I think by all means, you should do that.

My brother is an avid cyclist, like three-, four-, five-hour rides. He sends me this data thing. It’s mind blowing; the ascent, the heart rate, the miles traveled, the kilometers traveled. I know that keeps him going,and he looks to crush that every time he’s out there, and he does. That’s his thing, so by all means, I would never take that from him. But for me, I’d rather just go on a bike ride. That’s just me, and I’ll still work up a sweat. I’ll still feel good. I’ll still feel like I got my heart working, but I don’t need to look at numbers and pore over them. At the end of the day, I don’t. I couldn’t tell you rep ranges. I just don’t do that.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon  [1:11:52]

What about your heart rate variability, are there things that people that you feel should be tracked, or you feel that it’s somewhat—and I don’t want to put words in your mouth—a little bit of a distraction to be tracking all of this stuff, all this data?

Gunnar Peterson  [1:12:07]

I would use RPE, rate of perceived exertion. I will talk to you during that. I say something like, I have this thing called a Laddermill bya company called Brewer’s Ledge.They did the Treadwall; I have one of those outside.But I had the Laddermill inside. It’s this 10-foot ladder, about the width of two standard ladders. I can put it so it’s inverted, so the person can actually have their feet underneath them, or I can put it at an angle where it’s an easier climb. I can put it just vertical, and I can have you do it with just arms or hold the bars on the outside, just legs, or climb it like a ladder. I’ll say to you during it, how are we doing? Sometimes it’s a real clipped“fine”. Sometimes it’s, “I’m good, I feel it,” and there’s a little more of a sense, okay, so now I know I can bump the speed up. Then sometimes I’ll say, how are we doing? And they’ll say nothing. I’ll say, don’t want to talk about it now? Bad time?Catch you at a badtime?I’ll get a laugh, and I’ll know that they’re working where I want to be working. You’re just past the point of chitchat, so we’re probably in the higher range, which means we’re doing this the way I want to do it. I don’t need the heartrate monitor. If you want to have a heart rate monitor and get off and look at that– a lot of people do because it comes on their Apple watches, so they’re tracking that all the time, that’s great. I see a lot of people looking at it.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon  [1:13:35]

But it can be done,and you can get results without all of this stuff.I gotto tell you, I would have to say Gunnar, I’m probably more in your camp that obviously I track bloodwork, and etc. But when it comes to training, it can be distracting. It will be distracting for people, and then it becomes not necessarily a motivating factor, but just a whole bunch of distraction as opposed to focusing in and getting the work done and really putting in the time, effort, and energy.

Gunnar Peterson  [1:14:08]

If it’s not a distraction within the workout where I see it as afterwards, I didn’t burn as many calories as I thought, and I go, okay, here we go. Soto me, it has a lot of similarities with a scale. Scales are great, and it’s a wonderful tool. It’s great to know and all that, but how many people really weigh what they have on their driver’s license?Come on. I go like this, look, if you look at your body in the mirror and you love what you see and everything’s sitting just right and you feel unbelievable, andthe number you had, let’s say, as a woman in your mind for your best body ever was 135, and you’re feeling great, you look great naked—that’s the true one, not in your clothes—and you get on the scale, and it says 140 or 142, how are you going to feel? I have some people who will say to me, oh, I’d be so upset. I’d be so sad. I would start crying. I go, but you’re allowing an inanimate object now to dictate your mood.

Then I’ll flip it. I go, what about the other way? What about you look in the mirror, it looks like Isaac Newton personally attacked you,and gravity is just pulling everything down. You feel awful. You have no energy. You don’t like what you see in the mirror. You get on the scale, and it says 127. Oh, my God, I would be so happy. That is crazy, but I don’t want to say that word. But yeah, that’s crazy. You are empowering that tool to change your mood. How about go with your mood?Let’s just be honest.Look in the mirror.Find a mirror that you like becausea mirror is not a mirror is not a mirror.Find a mirror that you like. Find a way to stand in it, so the lighting hits you in a way that you like, use that as your benchmark. When you don’t like what you see, take it up a notch. When you love what you see, enjoy it and have a great day. Let’s stop analyzing it all.You’re spending so much time analyzing.Go live your life. I’ve only been to a few funerals. I don’t remember any of them where they had the person’s vitals and body fat and weighton the brochure of the funeral home. That’s just not how it works, guys.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon  [1:16:41]

You probably saw a lot and do see a lot of fixation on this external number, body fat percentage, whatever it is, just because of the industry.

Gunnar Peterson  [1:16:51]

Yeah, but I’m also not saying look, if that’s your thing, and that’s what guides you, andthat’s what keeps you from going off the rails, by all means, go for it. But I don’t think that’s for everybody. I think you have to look back and honestly evaluate, is itdetrimental to your end goal? Are you unnecessarily bludgeoning yourself with these numbers when damn, give yourself some credit.Like the person who said,when I looked like this then, I didn’t like it; looking back at it, now I do, that’s a powerful thing. You don’t want to spend the time beating yourself upand then later go, wow, I really looked great. I shouldn’t have beaten myself up. You can’t stay in having your fighting weight all the time. There are days when you’re not your best. There are days when you’re beyond your best. It’s all going to come out in the wash. If you’re constantly applying yourself and you’re varying the intensity and you’re sticking roughly to your plan, I don’t think you should be weighing your food when you’re on your honeymoon or when you’re on a vacation. I think that’s weird. But I’m not judging you. If that’s what you want to do and that makes you feel great, then by all means you do.You’re probably saying I don’t think you should be working out at four in the morning. Okay, I understand. I hear you. But I know what makes me happy. I think that’s what it’s going to come down to. Are you happy with your program? If you’re not, then evaluate it. Take a look at what you’re doing, what’s causing you the unhappiness. I think a lot of people don’t make that connection between fitness and happiness. Ultimately, the fitness should give you all the things you want in your life and lead you towards happiness and prosperity and fun. Have some fun. There’s a lot of shit in life that’s not fun, so let the fitness be fun.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon  [1:18:46]

Gunnar Peterson, I’m so glad that you agreed to come on this podcast, and I can’t wait to work out with you at four in the morning when I come to Tennessee, to Nashville.That’s going to be quite fun. So I’ll keep you all posted.

Gunnar Peterson  [1:19:01]

I was honored to be on this podcast.I see it. I hear it. I see the people doing it. I see the people tagging you. I see the comments, andI’m like, I love what she’s about. Your workout stuff, you’re telling people to train, I’m like, she’s not even a trainer, and she’s pushing the message. I love it.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon  [1:19:22]

Thank you.

Gunnar Peterson  [1:19:23]

It’s a great message. It’s a valid message.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon  [1:19:25]

That was because I care about people. Truly, everyone’s looking for this fountain of youth, and I don’t think we’re going to find anywhere else. I just don’t.It’s in muscle. That’s how we’re going to leverage this.

Gunnar Peterson  [1:19:39]

It’s as close to the 574. It’s as close to the fountain of youth.Exercise is as close to the fountain of youth as I’ve ever found.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon  [1:19:47]

I would agree with you, and I’m so grateful. I’m not looking forward to the four in the morning, but I’ll be there. Where can people find you? I will tag all of your stuff. You’re all over the place doing all kinds of things, but where can people find you?

Gunnar Peterson  [1:20:00]

I’m on Instagram,@gunnarfitness on Instagram.That’s the one.

Dr. Gabrielle Lyon  [1:20:06]

Perfect. All right, my friend, thank you so much.

Gunnar Peterson  [1:20:09]

Thank you. Keep leading from the front. You’re tearing it up, and it’s an honor to be on your show. Thank you.


Dr. Gabrielle Lyon  [1:20:15]

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