Results are required if you want to earn America’s Most Wanted Coaching title, and for nearly three decades, Gunnar Peterson continues to tick that box by helping hundreds, if not thousands, of people, from average Joes to professional athletes in all leagues to Hollywood’s biggest entertainers, to create their own stories of transformation.
Gunnar Peterson has been in the game for nearly three decades, coaching and coaching everyone from A-listers like Tom Brady and Sly Stallone to weekend warriors like you (and us).
At 60, Peterson hasn’t slowed down at all, even though he’s sticking to his old-school ways. In other words, no virtual tours or AI-based programs; it is a type of notepad and paper, handwriting each customer’s workload. However, he encourages a type of digital communication: “Texting makes it much easier to control things,” he says.
If you put it in football terms, in an industry increasingly dominated by the Saquon Barkley-type flash, Peterson still chooses the John Riggins ground and pound, three-yard-and-a-cloud-of-dust approach to moving the yard Markers. This is a steady march towards the goal.
“I’ve always been a hard worker,” says Peterson. “If I was running back, I would average 2.8 yards per carry. But I would like the ball 40 times per game. I would always bring it and outperform everyone.
For starters, Peterson routinely started his day at 4 a.m. and finished until 10 p.m. to ensure he received his training and helped clients. Weekends were an extension of the work week: teaching spin and hustling everywhere Los Angeles to customer training.
In between all that is the marketing side of things to generate more business, and digging into journals and magazines to keep up to date with new trends and evolving science. “I passed the ACE test reading Muscle & Fitness,” he says.
For years, even decades, it was a 24/7 job to rise above the competition. But the sacrifices and relentless pursuit of excellence have undoubtedly paid off. Few people boast of his clientele and can say that he was the director of strength and endurance for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Most recently, Peterson was named Head of Athletics with F45, the boutique fitness franchise backed by actor Mark Wahlberg and football great David Beckham.
He also lent his name and supported MitoQ, a capsule backed by $60 million in research funding to help alleviate cellular stress to boost energy levels, immunity and support recovery. He does research to keep his name on point. “It gets right into the cell that goes into the mitochondria — your powerhouse,” he says. “For me, plus hydration, nutrition and training, I feel like I covered all the bases.”
Yet after nearly 30 years in the fitness industry, he attacks every (early) morning with the same vigor as that rookie Year 1 trainer who found his first client by chance after the gym partner of the guy jumped in: “Shortly after his buddy joined, and then another person joined in the afternoon, and just like that, I was training three people three times a week, and making more than my 40-hour job a week So I quit.”
Peterson’s Winning Strategy has an old-school feel with a timeless message: love what you do and work like you love what you do. His influence paved the way for the personal trainer business to grow from a luxury niche for the wealthy to a $12 billion industry by 2022. He hopes today’s generation will take advantage of his blood and sweat doing the work necessary to not be more informed. but more in line to provide customers with an experience beyond three sets of 10.
“I would return all calls, all messages, anything,” Peterson says. “And I was stalking, chasing, chasing anything because it might have led to something down the road, and I wanted to make sure I never left anything on the table,” he says. “I don’t want to judge today’s generation, but some coaches don’t have the ability to want to make that kind of commitment. Ultimately, do you consider this your career or just a job? »
love what you do
I love this profession. I just moved to Nashville, and I don’t mean I gave up all the house work and renovations, but I spent most of my time working on my gym because for me , it’s my powerhouse, my mitochondria.
When I wake up, I think about exercise. I think about what I’m going to do when I get to the gym. I watch the workouts for my clients and maybe make some adjustments. The training part for me is like taking a shower. It’s just something you do that you don’t necessarily need to talk about. You just did.
It’s being with people that’s most exciting. Remember that I see different people every day who have their own multi-faceted lives. I deal with so much interesting information for me and I work with very motivated, very motivated and inspiring people. There are so many factors that make it great, I love it.
There was an old adage that still resonates with me: you don’t have to, you can do it. I look at training like that. I don’t have to train seven, eight people every day, I can train them. How lucky is that? It’s something I like to do. And you know, knock on wood again, it just keeps coming at me. So I manage to do it. And I don’t walk away from something like that. I’m not going to try to open a restaurant or an auto detailing business or anything else you can think of. It works for me, and I couldn’t be happier.
Work like you love what you do
I still print workouts for each person, every day. I can’t go to a gym and get away with it – I don’t think that’s fair to the person. I’m sure some coaches manage to do it that way, but it’s not my style. So I write them down the night before and get to work in the morning, and I have them all there. However, I reserve the right to modify it on the fly assuming something doesn’t fit or doesn’t work. But I think organizational skills are important. It’s like any good coach. They walk out onto the field with a clipboard full of plays and an idea of how he’s going to direct play practice. That’s how I treat it.
I do my planning by SMS. I’m going to text everyone over the weekend and say I’ll see them next week. I was a paper guy until about six, seven months ago – I would always keep it on paper like I needed it. But being able to text, there is no confusion. It’s just easier for the people who come to train, and it’s definitely easier for the trainer. Now you can properly budget your time for the rest of the things in your life that are also important.
Make social media your friend
I was at a conference in May. And I would say almost all of the speakers got into social media. I was sitting with Jen Widerstrom and I said to her, “Next time I present, I’ll give social media so much love.” It’s a great tool.
People should remember that social media is voluntary. You don’t have to go there. So what you’re complaining about is really self-inflicted. Unless you’re standing up for your platform, dispelling myths, or destroying something that you think is misunderstood in the world, I can’t imagine taking the time to write a negative review. It just blows my mind.
For the casual user, there is so much information you learn. You can learn training techniques from top people, you can learn about equipment, supplements, nutrition, protocols, and things you just didn’t know. And there’s so much to get out of it, obviously you have to put it through a filtering system – and that’s up to you – but there’s so much good stuff.
Remember back then how long it took, in terms of exercise, to get and put all this information together – now, just like that, it’s right there. Consider trying to get some powerlifting info from Ed Coan, or find out what Jay Cutler or Phil Heath are up to – you can go right now and see it on Instagram. Want to know about a protein supplement or powder you’ve heard of, head over to their social profile. See the people who are labeled – you can go down all those rabbit holes and gain knowledge about supplements and ways to train that you could never have come back to in the day. It would have been like writing a thesis back then.
Put your name on what you believe
I always have to do my research. I need to know that the people I work with are nice people that I want to know. I don’t mean hanging out at the beach is cool, I mean they’re there for the right reasons. Because I’m in my job for the right reasons, I think I want to know that this isn’t a sellout or a hit-and-run. They don’t just try to get rid of a bunch of products, exit the business, and move on to the next product. I also want to know that the product itself is solid. This means I want to know how the trials went and learn more about the research and the money that went into it. Money talks. Are they really doing research or are they doing it like in a fraternity. I really want to see what happened in the trials and the results.
And I want to try it on myself, I always try it on myself. I know it’s the focus of one, but if I take it, and I like it I feel or notice a difference in performance – and it’s legal.
I’m too late in the game to sell myself – that would look too desperate. I said if I was going to sell it should have been 10 or 15 years ago. Now, that would look like an act of desperation, and I don’t want to be part of it. So I’m going to write it as I wrote it and stick with quality partners and products that I think are effective. I like taking MitoQ. There are so many antioxidants that are good for you.
Make every customer feel like an A-lister
Someone told me years ago that I should raise my prices for celebrity clients, and I thought, what are you talking about? And they say, “You know, if you charge X, you have to charge X plus 20%.” I asked why you would do that, and he replied saying they could afford it and they were used to it.
I told him it was flawed and just crazy. If I owned a restaurant and said a steak is $28, but oh, I’m sorry, I just saw you in a movie recently. For you. It’s $36. Are you insane? you can’t do that to people, you’ll kill your business.
Everyone is the same and I try to ensure that the experience is the same for everyone – same allowances, same preparation. When you start spending time and working hours around them, you see every celebrity as regular people. Yes, it’s amazing what they’ve accomplished and how they impact your life. You don’t even realize that so-and-so made that movie or that TV show and you’re still quoting the joke about it 20 years later. Now that person is in your gym, but that doesn’t mean they train better than anyone else. To me, everyone is the same, in a good way. I tried to get everyone up there. Everyone is a celebrity in their own world.