In 1988, Melanie Griffith stunned moviegoers everywhere with her riveting performance in “Working Girl.” Fast forward to 2017 and the people are going wild for Mel again—this time, for her gloriously toned abs and svelte figure, which she credits to celebrity trainer Gunnar Peterson.
Peterson, who’s also worked with Sofia Vergara and Jennifer Lopez, shared a few of his secrets on his eponymous site. If you’re wondering how 59-year-young Griffith got so fit and strong, here are four reasons why:
1. "Organized Chaos"
When it comes to physical training in general, Peterson reveals his star clients don’t necessarily see him every single day. That’s partly because of their hectic schedules, but it’s also because they engage in other forms of exercise, such as Pilates, spinning, tennis, and martial arts, throughout the week. Peterson aptly calls it “organized chaos.”
Workouts themselves should include an assortment of movements. For the highest impact, Peterson recommends a “mix of multi-joint strength movements (push-ups, squats, lunges, rows) coupled with high-intensity bouts of cardio.” So if you want to get to Griffith-level proportions, your morning jog alone won’t suffice.
2. Zero Excuses, Zero Half-Assing
Sure, it’s easy to show up and complete all your intended workouts with full force when you have a trainer like Peterson relying on you to do him proud. But for the rest of us? Do what you need to do to push yourself, whether that means you have to recruit your overwhelming gym-rat friend or finally pay for Apple Music to create the ultimate cardio-workout playlist. And regardless of what exercise you’re doing, Peterson underscores, “DO NOT hold back.” The trainer firmly believes, “Shoot for 100% and you’ll end up at 80-85% and you’ll be great. Shoot for 80-85% and you’ll end up at 65-70% and you’ll be disappointed—regularly.”
Oh, and the “I’m traveling and I don’t have access to a gym so I can’t work out” excuse doesn’t work either. Peterson says you can “leave it all on the gym floor”—in other words, you can do his workouts anywhere (see above for Peterson’s high-impact plan that requires zero equipment).
3. A Natural-Foods Addiction
It’s no big surprise that Peterson advocates for whole, fresh foods you can pluck from or grow on the earth. “Stick to foods as close to their natural state as possible. Light proteins, light complex carbs and fruit that is high in antioxidants (e.g. blueberries) in the morning; clean carbs, veggies and light protein midday; and veggies and protein in the evening,” advises the fitness guru.
From the Organic Authority Files
(Interested in a sample menu? Check out what Peterson’s other client Jennifer Lopez eats in a day.)
And since we all know that perfection is boring and painful, we’re not going to tell you to forever surrender your favorite decadent dessert of choice (even JLo likes her some chocolate ice cream). With that said, do keep in mind that Peterson thinks refined sugar is the worst: “Refined sugar is white death! It’s so hard on the body. It spikes insulin levels and encourages fat storage!”
4. Bigger, Carb-ier Mornings
Your meals should get smaller and smaller into sunset, according to Peterson. “Make breakfast bigger than lunch, and lunch bigger than dinner.”
He also suggests avoiding complex carbohydrates at dinner. Complex carbs, also known as dietary starch, are fiber-rich foods chockfull of nutrients, such as oatmeal, whole-grain bread, regular and sweet potatoes, corn, lentils, peas, and beans. In his book “Skinny Meals,” fellow celebrity trainer Bob Harper (of “The Biggest Loser” fame) also recommends steering clear of complex carbs after lunch, imploring his followers to stay “lean and green for dinner.” “Your body interprets complex carbs as sugar, which cues your pancreas to make more insulin, which triggers appetite. The later in the day you eat a complex carb, the more likely it is that you will get food cravings at night,” writes Harper.
On the contrary, sports dietitian Pamela Nisevich Bede, MS, RD, told Bustle.com that "the best time to consume carbohydrates is in the evening at dinnertime, as blood samples from the research subjects showed eating carbs in the evening beneficially modified leptin—a satiety hormone—and adiponectin, a protein that regulates insulin secretion." Bede did acknowledge, however, there are many dietitians who advocate for eating most of your carbs earlier in the day, as they believe the body focuses on burning fat after it’s had the chance to burn off the carbs during the day.
Either way, it seems as though most experts agree that moderation is key—but if you’re committed to simulating Griffith's age-defying body, you best listen to Peterson.
Clearly, discipline -- and a ton of sweat -- are the keys to looking amazing at 59. But it’s also not just about appearances. It’s about the process and the way you own it. Even Peterson thinks so: “Much of the beauty is in how you rock it.”
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