The Los Angeles Lakers ended the exodus of their training staff and have begun to replenish it, announcing the hiring of Gunnar Peterson as their new director of strength and endurance training.
If you were like most Lakers fans, you might have found yourself asking “Who?”
Well, in their press release that mentioned his 28 years of experience training “athletes from the NBA, NHL, NFL, MLB, USTA, boxing and various NCAA sports” as well some “top entertainers,” the Lakers neglected to mention arguably Peterson’s most covered clients: The Kardashian family.
The internet quickly found out, and there were jokes to be had. Some good, but mostly bad. However, while many NBA fans will look for any excuse they can to razz the Lakers, why should Peterson’s experience training a group of famous, rich models necessarily mean he shouldn’t be training famous, rich athletes?
To find out, I decided to look scour the interwebs for some of the best results I could find with Petereson’s name attached. Here is what I discovered.
He can help the team get “Revenge Bodies,” whatever that means:
This is likely a reference to Kardashian attempting to look really good after a break-up, but break-ups aren’t the only things to get revenge for!
In fact, “Revenge Bodies” may be exactly the ticket for the Lakers young core of second overall picks (D’Angelo Russell, Brandon Ingram and whoever the team selects with their second overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft), because if you think about it, getting broken up with is basically the same thing as having only one team at the top of the draft pass over you.
In that case, Peterson may be eminently qualified to help the Lakers’ young trio get into the type of shape they need to make the Minnesota Timberwolves, Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics go “Oh no, what did I just pass up on?”
Peterson is flexible when it comes to his clients’ diet:
In multiple articles, Peterson offered advice along the lines of not having clients totally deprive themselves of their dietary cravings.
"You'll get a cheat meal, no question. It's not a cheat day," Peterson said in interview with ET. "Every day I indulge with something because if I feel restricted, I'm gonna lash out."
He gave similar advice in a People interview:
Don’t totally deprive yourself. Says Peterson, “It’s like skateboarding — the more illegal it is, the more attractive it is.” And don’t beat yourself up when you do slip up. “You can drive the car a little bit on one flat tire,” he says. “You know you’re going to have alcohol or sweets, so why not factor that into your workouts and focus on getting a good night’s sleep?”
…But avoid most hors d’oeuvres. With the exception of crudités, Peterson says, “No finger foods. Period, done.” He adds “A toothpick is an extension of your finger, so skip what comes on those too.”
Eat “defensively”— have protein before you go out. “Most of what you get at parties is going to be a carbohydrate or a fat. It sounds weird, but have a chicken breast before you leave. Protein helps your insulin levels not spike, and helps you not store your food as fat.” During the holidays especially, “It’s important to have protein at every meal.”
Avoid the “Double D’s”: drinking and dessert. “Try not to make every eating transgression at once,” he says. “When I go out, I won’t ever do both dessert and drinks. Just pick one.”
“The more illegal it is, the more attractive it is” might be the most dramatic quote about a non-cannibalism diet floating around on the internet, so Peterson clearly already has the flair for showmanship necessary for Los Angeles.
This mentality of allowing players to “cheat” a bit on their diets at times should fit right in with pro athletes as well, because they work out enough that it would be unreasonable to expect them to skip all their vices.
Unlike bloggers or probably the majority of the people reading this, Lakers players can probably afford an unhealthy meal or two every once in a while.
He doesn’t think one plan fits all:
Various articles made it clear Peterson already has experience helping his clients come up with individualized fitness plans (via Self):
He has trained every one of the family at some point, including Kris and Rob, but is adamant he treats each as an individual.
He says: “Kim, Kendall and Khloe have very different bodies. With Khloe we do a lot of stairs and side lunging, while with Kendall it’s upper body strength.
“She is very athletic, very gifted athletically and picks up movements well.”
This is a mindset that will (again) help Peterson with the Lakers’ varying physical needs. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all plan for a team when players like Ingram need to bulk up while Ivica Zubac has been working on trimming baby fat. Then there is whatever the hell the insane stuff Julius Randle is doing is:
I’m not a doctor, but I’m pretty sure Ingram’s body would literally snap in half if he tried the excercise Randle starts that video with, so it’s probably for the best that Peterson will make sure each player has a plan that fits them.
He’s a good storyteller:
Admittedly this one is a bit inside baseball, but how can you not love a guy that’s ready to give the media quotes like this one? (via ET)
"Khloe's an animal," says celebrity trainer Gunnar Peterson of the 31-year-old Kardashian sister, who made headlines recently for her Complex cover shoot, and has been getting into impressive shape through waist training and most importantly, intense workouts. "No complaining, no bitching, just gets after it."
Replace “Khloe” with, say, “D’Angelo,” and all of a sudden that quote is ready for a feature story on his improved work ethic. He can also drop the types of anecdotes needed for those stories (via Daily Mail):
Meanwhile, the ever busy matriarch Kris Jenner doesn’t have time to put work on hold for working out, so makes business calls during her sessions.
‘She’s so driven. Kris comes to the gym at 6:30am and she’s on the treadmill while on her cell phone, shouting down the phone about millions of dollars,’ Gunnar said. ‘She’s everything to that franchise.
Again, that’s a ready-made sports feature story quote that could easily be about the Lakers negotiating contracts or something. This guy is going to be great!
Between his ability to help the Lakers get their revenge bodies with individualized workouts and dietary flexibility, and his skill at spinning a story, Peterson is proof that working with the Lakers really isn’t that different from working with the Kardashians.
Add to the whole package that he has experience helping a young franchise star rebuild their reputation after a leaked video incident, and Peterson seems like a perfect hire.