Chris Hansen has had a long and successful career catching ‘predators’, but in order to maintain his decades-long on-screen pursuit of justice, the last thing he wants to start worrying about is needing to have a seat, uh, catch your breath at work.
That’s not to say the seasoned reporter — whose career spanned from a local NBC affiliate in Lansing, MI, in the early ’80s to most notably his NBC Deadline series Catch a predator (which began in 2004) with his Daytime Emmy Award-winning show Daily Crime Watch (now True Crime Daily)—never let go, physically.
In fact, when the cameras are off and the monsters are wearing bracelets, Hansen uses his limited downtime to maintain an active lifestyle and control his conditioning. His goal is longevity, and to achieve that, the broadcaster would normally rely on a trio of activities: tennis, skiing (on family getaways) and his peloton for quick workouts at home in his new apartment. yorkers.
“My goal was to be able to ski the slopes for free when I turned 67,” Hansen laughs. “Now they keep pushing the age back to 72 or 75.”
And just as busy as he is keeping fit, the 63-year-old aims to stay ahead of the curve in his media career. After quitting network television in 2013, he continued to find ways to stay in the game (his ongoing work has helped arrest over 500 predators, with all but a small fraction of convictions). He has his weekly crime podcast, Predators that I caught, and a new streaming series, Teardown with Chris Hansen who recently debuted on the investigation TruBlu channel. (He also starts a one-man show at Southpoint Las Vegas Hotel and Casino from February 3).
However, since we passed 60, the pursuits have certainly become a little more exhausting. Additionally, even with law enforcement, the looming threat of a situation going off the rails forces Hansen to remain quick and responsive at all times, especially if a situation was about to escalate.
At the same time, Hansen not only needed to add strength, he noticed his posture in front of the camera was starting to take a negative turn. As the episodes rolled on, Hansen began to see sagging and sagging shoulders, which he says made him look years older. And while he could do some visual corrections in the editing room, it was time for a change in his fitness routine.
The journalist started working with Robert Brace, a New York-based trainer who immediately prioritized strength training in Hansen’s routines. Previously, before joining Brace just over a year ago, only the lower weights that would come with Peloton workouts would end up in Hansen’s routines.
“I would normally do my weights on Peloton — three to five pounds of weights or the kettlebell I had lying around,” Hansen says. “Now in terms of endurance, posture, at the end of the day, physically, I’m doing so much better thanks to the weights.”
He’s gone through the dreaded phase that many lifters go through: realizing that pressing an empty bar to his chest can be a struggle when you’re not yet educated about form or practice. However, soon after, Hansen started loading weights on the bar, hitting 135 pounds. Of course, these aren’t powerlifting numbers, he admits, but a PR nonetheless.
After participating in Brace’s ICONS program, a specialized diet designed for people in their 40s, 50s and 60s, Hansen was improving day by day, both physically and visually. Next, Brace added boxing drills into the mix with an emphasis on jabs and footwork to keep HIITs (and progress) going.
It was essential to stretch before and after practice so that Hansen was standing when the camera was on.
“I can make a difference. You know, I wasn’t really looking to lose weight or anything, but I wanted to gain muscle mass, I wanted to improve posture and I wanted to, you know, improve focus in some way and it’s all happened and it’s, you know, become a really big part of my weekly schedule.
Whether it’s R train up Brace Life Studios in New York’s Little Italy (the only 100% black-owned personal training studio) when he’s in town or at his Michigan home, Hansen takes an hour a day for his health. Because professionally, there are still a lot of predators to catch, and he is not about to stop. But at home, he wants to be a model of well-being for his family. Hansen’s winning strategy for well-being and longevity starts with making changes, using the resources you have to succeed, and finding comfort in stepping out of your comfort zone.
“There’s a little part of me that takes pride in leading by example,” Hansen says. “I think all my kids tend to be me, like, they see their own man doing this. I encourage them to follow suit. My wife went to Robert’s studio, as did my son and daughter-in-law. “It’s a lot of fun, you know, they really have fun when they’re in town.”
1. Chris Hansen is adept at catching bad guys
It’s television, and it’s filmed, and even though people watching may understand that they’re 63, they expect to see some presentation of a human being who is going to tell them the story. You have the right to grow old, but you are expected to do so with grace.
Physically, especially in “Predator” surveys, you’re on your feet for up to 16 hours a day. You have to move and adapt, especially if the situation is volatile. And even though law enforcement is there to make it as safe as possible, there is inherent risk there. You must be precise, focused and you must be able to defend yourself. You must therefore be in good physical shape in case something happens and be able to get out if the situation becomes unstable.
I wish I had done it five years ago. I have always been active, running, playing tennis, skiing and going to the gym. I have worked, quite regularly throughout my life, in one way or another. And just being a New Yorker, I take a lot of steps just walking around to get to the places you need to go. But I wish I had gotten to it sooner.
But that said, [training] came at a great time in life for me. Entering the sixties, this kind of exercise, focusing in particular on stretching, is now part of the routine. It’s about longevity and continuing to do both physically and intellectually demanding work to the best of my abilities. And I have to say that I feel great. I have very little pain, I don’t suffer from any knee or hip ailments or low back pain. I can just sail all day. And I think a big part of that is the training methodology that I have with Robert.
2. For Chris Hansen, it’s about looking good and feeling good.
There’s a bit of vanity here, that’s for sure. When you see a profile picture of yourself and your sports jacket is open and you’re hunched over, that’s not a great picture. And it’s not good for your body either.
The stretches we do after training are essential for me at my age and it goes hand in hand with the posture, which has improved phenomenally. Before Robert and I started, I looked rushed. Today, my posture is much straighter. My back doesn’t hurt and I feel less tight when I get off a plane.
I have to sit in the editing room and look at the shots, I have to see everything from all angles. I can choose which ones to use and which ones not to use at certain times, but even if the goal is not to change your appearance, you must be able to tell the story.
And it’s simply better for your overall health and well-being. My dad was overweight and my mom had very severe osteoporosis in her later years – I saw her struggle with that. They weren’t necessarily horribly unhealthy people, but you learn these things and pay attention to them as you get older.
So everything I’ve learned from Robert and his team suggests that the best way to stay ahead of the curve and be comfortable in your 70s is to somehow live into your 60s. years, and you the decade before your behavior there will dictate what the next decade will be like. So what I’m doing now not only makes me feel good every day, and it helps me be better at my job, happier in my personal relationships, but it also bodes well for me when I turn the next corner. .
3. Start making a wellness change for your long term
I have this conversation with my family. My father died of congestive heart failure. He was a heavy man and he had established a lifestyle that, you know, came out of the 50s and 60s – he was a three-martini guy who worked in the auto industry. At the time, it was very acceptable, it was how people did business, but it wasn’t necessarily linked to a healthy lifestyle, unless you changed things at some point.
I decided a long time ago that I wasn’t going to go down that way. It became very clear to me that to do this job for another 10 to 20 years, as some of my colleagues older than me have done successfully, you really have to focus on your physical abilities and create an environment where the you feel good, it doesn’t tear you up getting on a plane and going coast to coast, or working until two in the morning on an undercover operation. I think physical fitness and mental acuity go hand in hand, I think there’s most definitely a connection there. And I think scientific studies now show that.
I have buddies older than me who are still in the game. Joseph Smith, owner of the Bobby Vans steakhouse here in New York and other cities, just turned 75, and I’ll take him as my tennis partner any day of the week. This is where I want to be in 12 years. I am lucky to be surrounded by these people. This keeps you focused on what you need to do from a business, professional, and personal perspective.
4. Chris Hansen built a lifestyle of crime
Crime stories are as old as the Bible – it’s good versus evil. People are very fascinated by it. And the way we report and produce these shows, we take people inside crime. In many cases, in the “Predator” and “Takedown” franchises, they see the commission of a crime in real time. They see justice when this guy comes face to face with me and then gets arrested by the authorities in real time. They see and hear things they wouldn’t normally see and hear. And even if it’s not a sting, inevitably, there is usually a confrontation.
One of the reasons we launched TruBlu was during the last two documentaries I did that were on Discovery+. By the time you go through the whole process, a five-hour series can take, from start to finish, 12 to 24 months of production.
At TruBlu, we are lighter and more focused. We can be more nimble and turn those things around in a fraction of the time and deliver the content to the consumer. We applied the same kind of enterprising techniques that we use in news reporting, whether it’s a predator investigation or any other documentary we’re working on.
We have access to it because I spent 40 years on television. And having a brand, in large part because of the “Predator” franchise where I have access to law enforcement information, and people are willing to open up and talk to me. And that’s a real advantage in this job.
5. Find a way to adapt to your physical condition
There are many workouts you can do on your own. I use the platoon a lot, I have one in the apartment. And at our house, we have a treadmill and we have weights everywhere. We’re staying fit, but there’s no substitute for a guy like Robert – you’re determined to top what you did the day before.
I’m not crazy about getting up at 5:30 in the morning, but you get on the train, listen to some music, then get off at 7, warm up, and do it. And once you’re done at 8am, and you’ve got the whole day ahead of you, you feel much better than 5:30am. There is a sense of accomplishment.
Working with Robert is a very unique setting for me because I have a personal relationship with Robert and his team of trainers. So, you know, I get more out of it than just being physically fit. We have become good friends, we advise each other on business. So it became more than just “put your ass over there and give me 20!” It’s a unique thing. I’m not saying people can’t get what I get in other programs, but it’s a very different and special connection and experience I have there. And I look forward to it every time.