Celebrity trainer Bobby Strom tells Healthista how he keeps clients such as Scarlett Johansson, Blake Lively, Britney Spears and Shakira in shape
Scarlett Johansson is no stranger to action movies. With roles in the Iron Man, Avengers and Captain America series, and now the Japanese cyborg blockbuster Ghost in the Shell, the actress might just be one of the biggest badasses in Hollywood. And with so many stunts to perform, she basically has to stay in peak form all year round.
If there’s anyone we’re taking fitness advice from, it’s going to be the man who shaped up Scar-Jo to fit into a skin-tight catsuit. We spoke with Johansson’s former trainer for Iron Man 2 and The Avengers, Bobby Strom, about his favourite diet and exercise tips and what it takes to get a celebrity body.
Q: What are your favourite fat-busting and strength exercises?
‘My favourite fat-busting exercise are sprints! They burn calories and fat while building muscle. Just look at the summer Olympic sprinters, men and women.
My favourite fat-busting exercise are sprints! They burn calories and fat while building muscle.
My favourite strength building exercise are pull-ups. Everyone knows they are one of the hardest exercises to do because you have to lift your entire body weight. All my girls want to be able to do pull-ups, so we train for that starting day one until they can do several on their own without my assistance. You have to have some real strength to do pull-ups.’
Q: What ratio of cardio to weights do you advise?
‘(I don’t have) a formula for cardio to weight training ratio. It depends on what your goal is and what type of results you’re looking to achieve. Someone looking to lose weight and body fat will do exponentially more cardio than someone looking to build up their physique.’
Q: What is your most reliable go-to type of exercise for all round fitness?
‘My most reliable all-around exercise for fitness and conditioning is without a doubt swimming. Swimming uses every muscle in the body. Then, on top of that, it’s incredible cardio, giving the heart (also a muscle) and lungs an incredible workout.’
Q: Is a celebrity body achievable, and if so, how?
‘A celebrity body is usually a short-term goal because they change roles so much and so does their appearance for each. The how is just by making the same commitment any celebrity would make to improve their career. No secret workout or magic pill, just hard consistent work.’
There’s no secret workout or magic pill, just hard consistent work.
Q: What do most of us get wrong when we aren’t seeing results?
‘Most of what goes wrong when someone is consistently working out will be the nutrition. The nutrition is key to anyone’s success. It can’t be 50 percent; it has to be dialled in at 90 percent or better. That’s why the celebs get the fast results—because they know their reputation is on the line and millions of people will see them and judge them, so they go the extra effort to obtain it. The problem was that most didn’t keep it, but that’s now changing, and a lot of the celebs are working out full-time. They love how it makes them feel, as well as they love to do some of their own stunts.’
The nutrition is key to anyone’s success. That’s why the celebs get the fast results.
Q: What would be the one tip you use to keep clients, or yourself, motivated to continue a workout?
‘Exercise is the closest thing to the Fountain of Youth to date. It can take 10 to 15 years off your internal and external health and appearance. That seems to motivate the heck out of women, ha ha.’
Exercise is the closest thing to the Fountain of Youth to date. It can take 10 to 15 years off your internal and external health and appearance.
Q: What diet do you typically follow?
I personally don’t follow any particular diet plan. For me, it’s always about the don’ts rather than the do’s. In other words, I don’t eat meat, dairy, bread or sugar. No fast food, no fried food. I do eat fish, complex carbs and lots of vegetables. I limit my good fats because, in fact, they are still fats, like salmon and avocado. My only cheat is one slice of pizza (very little cheese) when I’m in New York, once or twice a year.
My only cheat is one slice of pizza (very little cheese) when I’m in New York, once or twice a year.
Q: What is the best diet tip you can give people?
‘I used to say “Everything in Moderation.” Not anymore! You wouldn’t have “a little” poison, would you? I now feel that meat, dairy and sugar are like poisons to my body, and I feel so much energy and healthier without them.’
With over 40 years experience and expertise in training, nutrition, martial arts and massage therapy, Bobby Strom is one of the elite fitness experts worldwide. He is an award-winning bodybuilder with 11 years competition experience of over 30 shows. Bobby is also a retired NYPD detective of 15 years.