Harley Pasternak

Meet the trainer to the stars

In the land of fitness fads and the birthplace of the ‘health industrial complex’, Los Angeles is hardly the place you’d expect to find a trainer who preaches working out by simply starting on your front doorstep, using your two feet. Yet Harley Pasternak is wildly successful as a trainer, known for cutting through fads and getting down to what works—and what will work for life.

Harley Pasternak

Your approach to fitness and nutrition is anti-fad. Why do we constantly seek ‘the new’? 
It’s human nature. People always want the latest, greatest, magic, secret fix. 

You’re a big advocate of walking. In Europe, walking or cycling to work is part of the daily routine. What can we learn from them? 
The more you move, the less you’ll weigh. In America, the attitude is “If we work out for an hour, we don’t have to move for the rest of the day,” but that’s not true. Europe has fewer gyms, yet slimmer people. The trick is staying active all day. 

What motivates people to finally get it, start working out, and then keep the weight off? 
Everyone wants to look and feel better. However, life gets in the way. We don’t have time, or we don’t know how, or we don’t have access, etc. So my job is to make it simple. And it really is. 

When actors have to change their bodies for a role, are you ever called in to supervise the process? Anyone in particular come to mind? 
So many. Halle Berry in Catwoman, Seth Rogen in The Green Hornet, Mila Jovavich in Resident Evil, Rachel Weisz in Constantine, Jordana Brewster in Fast and Furious, Gabriel Macht in The Spirit, Common in Just Right, Jessica Simpson in Major Movie Star, Adam Levine in The Video Animal, Kanye West and John Mayer for Rolling Stone magazine, and countless others. 

What sports do you play? 
Basketball, because it’s a great cardio workout; and I love golf because it’s relaxing but also active—I get thousands of steps just playing nine holes. 

Which is the best time to work out: morning, afternoon or evening? 
It doesn’t matter, just as long as you do it. Don’t make time of day an excuse. 

What should people know about the world of vitamins, supplements and ‘superfood elixirs’? 
I like a good protein powder. Source Organic Wheat and Source Organic Peanut are by far the best. I also think a good fiber supplement can be helpful at times. 

Could you give us tips that make a difference when trying to get fit and lose weight? 
Here are five tips from my new book, 5 Pounds, which is out in March: 

1. Walk at least 10,000 steps a day. 
2. Get at least seven hours’ sleep. 
3. Eat five times a day—three meals and two snacks with protein, fiber and healthy fat. 
4. Unplug from electronics for at least one hour in the day. 
5. Do at least five minutes of resistance exercise every day.


Photography Maria Tornberg