Harley Pasternak is one of the best celebrity trainers on the planet. He has helped everyone from Lady Gaga to Katy Perry, Megan Fox and John Mayer (to name a few) get healthy and in shape! Harley was kind enough to join me for an interview recently to share his favorite tips for everyone from beginners to athletes. He shared the best exercises for flat abs, the 5 factor diet, the importance of being cautious when working out to avoid injury, multivitamins and much more! This interview originally took place in 2011, and I updated a bit in 2018 because it’s still one of my favorites after all these years.
Harley Pasternak On the 5 Factor Diet
Candace Rose: Can you tell us about the 5 factor diet?
Harley Pasternak: “Yeah, Candace, the 5 factor diet is an eating lifestyle that my clients use and it’s five meals a day – breakfast, snack, lunch, snack and dinner; and every time you eat there’s five factors, those five factors are a low-fat protein, like chicken, fish or egg whites; a healthy carbohydrate like whole grains, fruits and vegetables; fiber; healthy fats like canola oil, olive oil or fish oils; and a sugar free beverage. When it comes to fruits – eat them, don’t drink them. I created a few hundred recipes that take no more than 5 minutes to prepare or any more than five key ingredients. If you want to know more about the 5 factor diets and recipes, you can go to 5factor.com.”
Healthy Sources Of Protein
Candie Anderson: What are some good sources of protein for vegetarians?
Harley Pasternak: “It gets a little tricky when you’re a vegetarian because a lot of the good sources of protein also have a lot of fat and are pretty calorically dense, so if you’re a pure vegan you’re really forced to get most of your protein from soy and from other beans and legumes. If you’re a partial vegan; if you’re sort of a lacto-octo-pesca-vegetarian (there’s so many different blends these days) and you have dairy, then you can have yogurts and milks. There’s so many other great dairy products that you can get the skim milk version or the fat-free milk versions. If you’re someone who has egg whites, I think that’s a phenomenal source of protein; fish is something that I suggest everyone try to make an effort to eat more fish (low mercury fish.) You don’t want to have too much tuna or swordfish, but things like salmon and trout; freshwater and shellfish are so high in protein and so low in fat and have many, many health benefits.”
Multivitamins Are A Great Insurance Policy
Candie Anderson: Speaking of fish, some people don’t care for it or are allergic to it – do you have any suggestions when it comes to vitamins? Should everyone take a multivitamin?
Harley Pasternak: “I think a multivitamin is a great insurance policy. I’m not big into supplements and pills, and potions, and powders but I’ve always said a multivitamin. I take a Centrum multivitamin every day, it’s a great insurance policy, but people have got to be physically active and that’s so important. We quite often look at diets as an easy way out, diet’s important; we all have to eat properly, we also have to move. You look at certain cities like Houston who only take 200 steps a day on average. You look at somewhere like Beijing or Tokyo, they take between 12,000 and 13,000 steps a day, so diet aside; getting people to move more is essential to them being physically fit.”
How To Get Flat Abs
Candie Anderson: Now that swimsuit season is in full force, what can we do to get Lady Gaga’s flat abs?
Harley Pasternak: “Well, you’re going to think I’m crazy, I’m going to tell you to get…out of the gym, don’t go to the gym. Get out of the gym. The weather is beautiful, let’s take advantage of more daylight, warmer climate and do the movements you were doing in the gym, outside. I’m going to show you right now; now Mica’s actually going to demonstrate three simple movements (screen shots shown below) that I would be doing with Lady Gaga.
Now the first one is a sumo squat, it’s such a simple movement you can do it anywhere – in the park or in the shade. Right now Mica’s using a 5-pound dumbbell but you can use a water bottle, a jug of water; you can also use a heavy fruit or vegetable like a watermelon that’s in season right now, is a great way to tone and tighten your thighs.
Now she is doing a side bend which works the love handles. Now, I’m sure you don’t have love handles, Candace, but for those of us who do, it’s a great way to really tone and tighten the sides of the abdominals.
And this third movement is a very simple movement I call a reverse fly and it strengthens and tones the muscles in the upper back between the shoulder blades. This is such an important area because it makes your posture that much better. It gives you a natural chest lift and it also lengthens your midsection and your abdominals.
Don’t Overdo It When Exercising
I’ll tell all your listeners out there, please make sure you don’t overdo it. Start off with maybe one set of 20 repetitions of each without any weight, gradually increase. When we’re outside and the summer gets nice we tend to want to push things a little bit because we’re wearing less clothing, we want to look better quicker. Pace yourself, otherwise you’re going to get injured and if you do get injured please see a doctor. In the meantime ice it, rest it; grab some frozen peas. I love the Ace brand products, like the hot and cold therapy products, the elastic bandages, the braces; and if your shoulder hurts, keep walking and jogging with your lower body and if your knee hurts, keep using your upper body and doing abdominals, etc., etc.”
How To Treat Shin Splints
Candie Anderson: How about the dreaded shin splints? I just started running recently, I used to get them back in high school and now they’re back. Is there anything I can do to get rid of them?
Harley Pasternak: “Well, shin splints is an umbrella term for a lot of different conditions that happen on the front of your lower leg. I think it’s important to identify what the shin splints are from. First and foremost rest. You need to stop what you’re doing that’s causing the pain. It could be small microfractures in the bone which is not a good thing. You really to need to rest at that point. It could be the muscles on the front of the shins that are sore, you’re overusing them or maybe they are weak, so I think what’s important is rest first of all. Maybe you need to see a doctor to identify what kind of shin splints you have; maybe it’s poor footwear; maybe you need special orthotics; maybe you need to run less distances; maybe you need to run on different surfaces but it’s really important that you don’t let that stop you from being physically active, so in the meantime maybe cycle or swim or do other things as your shin splints dissipate.”
Healthy Snacks After Working Out
Candie Anderson: And for those of us who get hungry after working out; do you have any healthy alternatives, so we don’t defeat the purpose of exercising?
Harley Pasternak: “If you’re getting hungry after working out, chances are it’s probably time to eat, and I try not to plan my meals relative to the workout; I try and plan my meals relative to the day. So, I eat five times a day – breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, and if you’re working out between one of those then make sure you have those five factors of whatever you’re eating. Make sure you have the low fat protein, the healthy carb, the fiber, the healthy fat and the sugar free beverage with every meal.”
Harley Talks New Show “The Revolution”
Candie Anderson: I just heard about your new show, “The Revolution,” congratulations! Can you tell us a little bit about it?
Harley Pasternak: “Yeah, it’s on ABC. We start shooting soon and starts airing in January. Right now it’s Tim Gunn from Project Runway and Kimberly Locke from American Idol and myself, the three of us are going to be changing peoples lives from weight loss to changing the way they look, the way they feel, the way they dress, their personal relationships and I’m really, really excited. It’s great to work with celebrities one on one but to be able to work with millions of people and really help change their lives, I think is going to be really fulfilling.”
The Revolution Cast – Kimberly Locke, Tim Gunn and Harley Pasternak debuting in January on ABC – image via Examiner.com
Candie Anderson: Do you have any additional tips or information you’d like to share?
Harley Pasternak: “I’ve got so many tips and so much information but the easiest way is to just to send people online to see all of my tips at 5factor.com and please go to AceBrand.com if you want to learn how to avoid getting injured and what to do if you get injured.”
Candie Anderson: Well, thank you and best of luck with everything!
Harley Pasternak: “Thanks, Candace!”
Harley Pasternak Bio
Celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak, a fitness and nutrition specialist, and bestselling author, holds a Master of Science in Exercise Physiology and Nutritional Sciences from the University of Toronto and an Honors Degree in Kinesiology from the University of Western Ontario. He trains many top male and female actors and entertainers in his Los Angeles studio.