5 Things I learned from Celebrity Trainer – Harley Pasternak

Harley Pasternak

I got the amazing opportunity to meet Harley Pasternak in person this past weekend.  I was so incredibly excited about meeting him.  You could say I was coming out of my skin with excitement and wanted to share it with somebody who would be equally thrilled.  So i called my husband and in my giddy voice I shouted “OMG!  I just met Harley Pasternak!!!”  And he replied with a disappointing “who?”  Hahaha – ok maybe its just a big deal if you are a fitness trainer.

Harley Pasternak is a Celebrity Trainer, Nutritionist and Bestselling author.  He has written 6 books about fitness training and nutrition.  He has worked with many celebrity clients, including: Jennifer Hudson, Lady Gaga, Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, Megan Fox, Bono, Halle Berry, and Ariana Grande to name a few.  He grew up in the Toronto area and I have been a fan of his for many years.  What I love most about Harley’s philosophy on health and fitness is that he always keeps it simple.  He breaks things down into bite-size, do-able steps that makes any goal seem possible.

Recently Harley took a year off of personal training to do research.  He was finding that the abundance of information regarding weight loss was becoming confusing to many of his clients.  In his quest for answers he hired university students to find ALL the research they could (from around the world) about how to become leaner and healthier.  They complied all the research and found that there were 4000 things that you can do to become leaner and healthier.  No wonder we are confused!!  Four thousand things we should do??!!!  Talk about information overload. 

Harley and his team dissected their metadata and narrowed it down to 5 easy, do-able, daily habits that anyone can do in order to achieve a leaner and healthier life.  And I want to share this information with you!

The 5 Things You Need To Do Every Day – According to Harley Pasternak

#1 – Get 10,000 step every day

Harley says we are a society that “over-exercises but is under-active”.  Think about it.  We sit in our cars and drive to work.  We sit at our desks for 8 hours.  We get back in our cars to drive home.  On the way home, we may stop at the gym a couple days a week to push out a super intense workout.  Then, we sit at the dinner table.  Sit and watch tv or look at our computers.  Then we lie down and sleep.  We sit on our butts way too much.  Our bodies are made to move consistently throughout the day, not just for that 30-60 minute workout, 2-3 times per week.  We need to think of ways to move more everyday.

In Harley’s research, he found that the healthiest countries in the world average 10,000 steps per day.  Do you know what the average daily steps are for Canadians and Americans?  Five thousand.  That’s it.  I know many of you who pound out way more than 10,000 steps so kudos to you!  You got step one done.

#2 – Sleep at least 7 hours every night

Ok.  I need to be honest and tell you that this is a mindset I need to change.  I always think that I am being a superhero if I can rock out my day on less sleep.  Sleep in my mind is overrated and honestly, I can sleep when I’m dead so let’s move it!!!  Slowly, I am learning that this is not a good attitude for my health. 

We have all heard the many reasons why we should get enough sleep.  But here is what Harley taught me about sleep that hit home a little more and made me think I need to make sleep a priority.  There are 2 hormones that are affected when we lack sleep: Ghrelin and Leptin.  These are our appetite hormones.  Ghrelin is our appetite increaser and Leptin is our appetite suppressor. 

The role of these hormones is interesting (and perhaps a good topic for another blog) but for now all you need to know is this:  If you are lacking sleep – even if it is just 30 minutes less than you need, you will eat 20% more calories the next day.  What!?!  Seriously, this is a big deal.  Sleeping less makes you eat one-fifth more food and ultimately makes you gain weight.  So, I may be a superhero with less sleep but I will be bursting out of my spandex suit!!  Not exactly a look I am going for.

#3 – Simplify your diet

Harley’s suggestions for eating healthier and becoming leaner are simple.  Instead of making things complicated with calorie counting.  Use your hands as measurements so that you can always see if your portions are correct.  Throughout your day eat 3 meals and 2 snacks. 

Here’s what he says you should include with each of your 3 meals:

  1. Protein – the size of your palm
  2. Fat – the size of your thumb
  3. Vegetables – unlimited amount so eat an abundance
  4. Fibre – the size of your cupped hands

Here’s what he suggests for your 2 snacks:

A combination of any 2 items from the above list.

Simple, easy and do-able.

#4 – Unplug from technology for one hour every day

I don’t think many of us would argue with the fact that we are over-attached to our technology.  I am unreasonably anxious if I forget my phone at home.  You can choose any hour of the day to disconnect.  Perhaps you choose the first hour when you wake up or maybe right after work or during the dinner hour.   Notice how you feel when you purposely unplug.

Harley suggests turning off our technology for the hour before bed.  There is a reason why the sky turns red and orange in the evening.  It is this light that starts preparing our bodies for rest and restoration.  Research is showing that exposure to the blue light from our phones into the evening hours has serious effects on our sleep and general health. 

If unplugging from technology the hour before bed isn’t possible, then try setting your phone to Night Shift to minimize the impact on your sleep.  If you have an iPhone you can scroll up to get your setting screen and hit the button at the bottom that looks like a sun and moon mixed together. 

#5 – Do Resistance Training at least 5 minutes every day

Our bodies are meant to push and pull and exert force through our muscles everyday.  Harley eliminates all the road blocks and excuses by making this completely achievable.  Who can’t set aside 5 minutes per day to pump out a mini workout?  No one.  Harley says that if we have a daily habit of 5 minutes of strength training it makes us more accountable to our goals.

Harley suggests that we should start by focusing on one muscle group per day (i.e. triceps, biceps, chest, shoulders, glutes, hamstrings, quads – you get the idea).  He explained that this daily habit will allow us to burn more calories, lose more body fat, boost our metabolism,  protect our bones, sharpen our focus, manage our pain and chronic conditions and keep us on track with our diets and our goals.

You can always add more time into your day to workout.  But start with 5 minutes and make that consistent.  Remember, exercising is important but it’s also important to MOVE all day long. 

I hope you found these tips helpful.  I know I did.  Let me know if you have any questions or comments. 

If you are looking to add exercise into your daily life and want an easy to follow plan,  check out my Beginner’s Guide to Yoga & Meditation.  Learn basic yoga poses and a simple way to meditate for 2 minutes everyday.  Click here to get the free guide.

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