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How to get fit – celebrity trainer to Zoe Saldana reveals his 7 steps

We spoke to Steve Moyer, celebrity trainer to Zoe Saldana about his seven rules on how to get fit 

It’s not just space that Guardians of the Galaxy actress Zoe Saldana has set out to save. The 39-year-old starlet is on a mission to launch a digital empire with a positive impact. Her website, BeSe, launching at the end of the year is a Latino-based media company that aims to inspire the cultural community. Speaking with Hollywood Reporter, Saldana said ‘Latinos are a growing community in America, but Latino stories have remained historically marginalized… I’m so excited to be leading BeSe, a truly uplifting brand that fills a niche for young audiences craving positive portrayals of the modern Latino experience in America.’

It’s safe to say this woman is seriously slaying it. And it’s not just in the business and film worlds that Saldana is kicking ass – the star is in phenomenal physical shape. We spoke with Steve Moyer, Zaldana’s LA-based personal trainer about his health and fitness tips (so that we can steal her secrets!)

After a long day of shooting…popcorn! #gotgvol2 #Gamora #bts

A post shared by Zoe Saldana (@zoesaldana) on

A-List trainer and nutrition expert, Moyer has more than a few celebrity clients to his name including Janet Montgomery, Marisa Tomei and American Hollywood legend Faye Dunaway. The personal trainer prides himself on using a combination of fitness methods specifically targeted to the individual BUT the ex-basketball-pro did have a few handy hints that could benefit all of us.

Keep it varied for weight loss

‘I believe for fat loss the best idea is a combination of weights and cardio. Weights help you build muscle. The more muscle you have, the more fat you’re going to burn on a daily basis. But resistance training does not necessarily burn fat in the moment, the only thing that burns fat in the actual moment is heart rate training in the fat burning zone – that, however, is very boring. Because it’s a heart rate that is not that hard to maintain but when you do it, you have to do it for at least 40 minutes to get full benefits, if not an hour. That would mean being on a treadmill, elliptical or a bike, just pedalling, walking or running at a moderate pace for an hour. You leave that session feeling like you didn’t really work out but you really don’t have to feel like you laid it all out there.’

Struggling to switch up your workout? Try heptathlete Katarina Johnson Thompson’s Switch7 workout – ideal for people that get bored easily. 

Know your limits

‘I would never have someone do CrossFit exercises if they weren’t prepared and in tip top shape. I would never have amateur people do Olympic lifts, especially under a time constraint. That’s not to say that I’m anti-CrossFit but I do think there is this wave in fitness where things have to become more and more intense. Everyone wants things done now, now, now and I think that’s a very dangerous trend in fitness. People need to have patience and realise that fitness and health are about the long-term goal and not the short-term… certain complicated exercises like dead lifting, clean and press, snatch, those Olympic lifts are not for everyone.’

You’re doing the same thing every day and breaking your body down but never giving it a chance to recover

You don’t have to kill yourself on the cardio

‘I believe in both heart rate training and interval training. Heart rate training is great for fat loss and general cardio but it’s a little bit boring. It’s not intense enough for most people nowadays. People want to feel like they’re killing themselves but you really don’t need to kill yourself. You can actually leave a workout and not actually feel like you’ve worked out and it can still have been beneficial.

Anytime someone does high-intensity interval training, which is so popular these days, they leave a session feeling like they let it all out there and people really like that. So it can be a very valuable tool but I really don’t think it should be the only way someone does cardio… it’s like the people that spin every day of the week – it’s just over training. You’re doing the same thing every day and breaking your body down but never giving it a chance to recover.’

Train smart

‘At my gym, we use a concept called periodization, it’s where you take a four or five week period and you keep doing a little bit more throughout those four or five weeks. So if you’re in the beginning of that cycle, you shouldn’t be killing yourself to the point of exhaustion because next time you work out you’re going to need to do a little bit more.

If you’re training for a marathon and a marathon is 26 miles, you wouldn’t run 26 miles on the first day of training – there would be nowhere to go from there. Plus you wouldn’t be ready for that and you’d be killing yourself. So you’d start with a two-mile run and then a few days after that, you might duplicate that run. A few days after that you might add a mile or add some speed and you’d work your way through a period of six to eight months to get ready for that marathon.

So do the same thing with resistance training – you take it in chunks. Usually, that chunk is around four or five weeks, that’s when a plateau is going to hit if you do it the right way. When the plateau hits, that’s when you do a different type of training. You either take a week off from resistance training or you do different exercises with higher reps to give your body a break and then you get back at it… too many trainers are not taking this periodization aspect into account. I see it all the time where trainers see clients and their only goal is to kick their ass and that doesn’t work in the long run. It does work in a business way because the client leaves each session feeling like they really worked hard but they’re really not improving or achieving anything.’

Ditch the remote control

‘The maximum I’m going to see my clients is six days a week and that really is the very maximum… they’re away from me for 106 hours. That’s a way bigger aspect of their life than their training alone. So if they’re working an office job and then going home and watching TV, working with me really isn’t doing much, to be honest.

 If you’re sedentary then your diet should be much different to someone who is a lot more active

Become more active. If you’re working a desk job and having to sit all day, there’s not much you can do about it. But going home and watching TV all evening, that’s something you can change. It might sound extreme but a standing desk would be a great idea for anyone that is sitting all day, especially if they have back problems. And I would say rather than looking at doing lots of exercises, look at general activity. If you’re walking your dog for an hour every day, that’s seriously good activity. It’s not necessarily exercise but it is good activity. And that’s when diet comes into this too. If you’re sedentary then your diet should be much different to someone who is a lot more active.’

Avoid starchy carbs at bedtime

‘If you want a general rule for fat loss and weight loss then the number one thing I think people could benefit from is to avoid starchy carbs near bedtime. If you can not eat carbs within three hours of going to sleep you are going to do yourself a huge favour. That means foods like rice, bread, pasta, potatoes, corn and anything high in carb count, even carrots are quite starchy.

There are some foods that are really great foods and they’re all complete, plant-based proteins like hemp seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds. I use them in my breakfast or sometimes I’ll just roast the hemp seeds and eat them like that.’

Know what you want

‘Have a concrete goal and work towards that. A lot of people don’t understand this. If you were trying to save money and you wanted to save £100,000 in the next ten years, that would be £10,000 every year. It would make no sense to put away £5000 every year and think that magically after ten years you’d have £100,000. I often have new clients and when I ask them their goal they say ‘I want to be in shape’. But I don’t know what that means. In fact, it means a lot of different things to a lot of different people… it can be a weight goal but I like to steer my clients away from that because the more I delve into what my clients are talking about it’s often not a weight goal but that they want to look a certain way.

you want a concrete goal and then you want a plan and strategy that gets us to that goal

For people who are already in generally good shape, it’s still good to work towards something. Maybe they’re going to run a 10k or maybe they’re going to do a half iron man or something like that. That can be a good motivator to stay active. But in general, you want a concrete goal and then you want a plan and strategy that gets us to that goal.

Aim for this rather than losing a load of weight in a week or two, which is mostly just water – that’s what fad diets achieve. That’s not putting your body in a better position than it was. That’s just fools gold.’

Steve moyer headshot, how to get fit - Zoe Saldan's personal trainer reveals by healthistaSteve Moyer moved to Los Angeles in 2008 after injuries derailed a promising professional basketball career in Europe. Starting his own training business in 2010, he added a meal delivery business a couple years later. His latest project is is OatPro3.com – the perfect daily breakfast. 

For more information head to Moyer’s website here. 

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