A Full Body Celebrity Workout with Trainer Gunnar Peterson
Ever wondered what a celebrity workout is really like?
I’m sure you’ve seen the spreads in magazines showing moves you can try at home that seem challenging, but totally doable. You’ve also probably heard celebs downplay their exercise regimens, saying things like, “Oh I like to go hiking with my dogs or take a relaxing yoga class.”
Sure, some of them do that — and then some of them get their butt handed to them four to five times a week from expert trainers like Gunnar Peterson.
You’ve probably heard of Gunnar. One of his many success stories includes helping Khloe Kardashian, who recently published the fit-spiring read Strong Looks Better Naked, drop 40 lbs. Or maybe you remember him from my wedding challenge with Propel Electrolyte Water last year?
Well, a week ago I got the opportunity to have my butt-kicked again by this master of muscle as a part of Propel’s 4-Day Co:labs Popup Studio in Venice Beach. Naturally, I stepped right up to the plate.
I’ll be sharing the exact breakdown of that killer session at the end of this post so you can try your own celebrity workout challenge at home!
But first, let me tell you about the insane party Propel threw.
The Co:labs, hosted in a three-story, tricked-out Venice loft, kicked off with an amazing evening of fitness, fashion, food, and fabulous bloggers.
All of LA’s hottest fitness influencers were in attendance including my babes Gwen of The LA Girl and Rachael of Sweat and Repeat.
And of course the lovely Jordan of The Balanced Blonde, Lauryn of The Skinny Confidential and Danielle of The Beauty Blender.
First, they decked us out in adorable gear from Bandier.
Stella Bra Top // Koral Emulate Leggings
Next, we got to experience a mash-up of three awesome workouts including a flow from Yoga for Bad People, a sweaty circuit from Speedplay, and a no-shame, booty-shaking breakdown from Nicole Winhoffer of the NW Method.
P.S. That babe ^^ is one of my fav yoga teachers Aree from Aura Yoga!
The 60-minute sweat sesh was an absolute blast, and combined with the workout I’d done with Gunnar earlier in the day, it totally wiped me out.
As I was trying to regroup, mop up my sweaty face, and replenish the gallons of minerals I’d lost over the day with a bottle of Peach Propel (side note – did you know Propel is the only fitness water with enough electrolytes to replace what you sweat out??), something totally crazy happened.
In case you can’t make out the blurry former boy-bander in the background of my photo, I’ll fill you in — it’s Nick Jonas!
Now I’m not a diehard Jo Bro fan, but my knees did get a little weak when he came out and serenaded our small group with his hit single “Closer.” I’ll admit he’s not bad on the ears — or eyes (control yourself hubs, I know you still get jealous).
Despite my drenched hair and beet-red face, Nick was sweet enough to grab my phone and take a selfie of us mid-song. Did you see it on my Snapchat?! If not, follow me so next time you won’t miss this cinematic gold >> whitskitch.
To sum it up, it was one of the coolest fitness events I’ve ever been to. Keep an eye out as I’ll be teaming with Propel on several more fun pieces throughout the summer!
So now, back to the workout with Gunnar.
If you want to try this at your own gym, I’ve added substitutions using everyday dumbbells in case you don’t have the state-of-the-art equipment that Gunnar is working with.
- 15 Kettlebell Swings
Using a 20-30 lb kettlebell, perform 15 kettlebell swings in a row. Make sure to keep your back flat, knees slightly bent, and hinge at the waist. Remember, this is not a squat. It’s important to lead with your chest, and thrust your hips forward, not squat down.
Alternate exercise: If you can’t get your hands on a kettlebell, use a heavy weight instead and hold it perpendicular to the floor, swinging it like a pendulum.
- 5 Minutes of Boxing
Grab some gloves and go to town on any bag or dummy you can find. Go hard for one minute, take a break, then repeat twice more.
Alternate exercise: Shadow box (punch in the air) using light to medium weights (about 5-10 lbs).
- 10 Side-to-Side Medicine Ball Slams
Using about a 20 lb medicine ball, alternate slamming the ball from side to side. Squat down to grab the ball, then launch it up and over your head, and slam it down on your right side. Repeat, slamming the ball on the left side.
Alternate exercise: Hold one heavy weight (15-20 lbs) in both hands. Squat down, then make a circling motion with your arms, bringing them all the way overhead and back down. Repeat 10 times, switching the direction each time.
- 10 Side Lunges with a Leg + Ball Raise
Holding the same 20 lb medicine ball, lunge to the side, and lift a leg as you press the ball overhead. In Gunnar’s session, I had to perform this by lunging under a limbo bar (I only knocked it over once, maybe twice).
Alternate exercise: Perform this move using 5-10 lb weights in each hand.
- 5 TRX Squat Rows + 5 Chest Flyes + 5 “Y” Shoulder Raises + 5 Squat Jumps
TRX is one of my favorite exercises. If you’ve have one or your gym does, try these moves. If you’ve never used them before, ask someone at your gym to demonstrate.
Alternate exercise: 5 squats, 5 push-ups, 5 plank shoulder taps, and 5 squat jumps — no stopping in between.
- 10 Squat Curl Press
You know the drill. Grab a pair of 10-15 lb weights (Gunnar had me using circular weights — but any weights will do). Legs hip width apart, toes pointed forward. Squat down, dropping your butt parallel with the floor. Stand back up and perform a biceps curl, followed by a shoulder press. Repeat 10 times.
- 10 Lunge + Twists on the Wobble Board
This exercise consists of a forward lunge, with your front foot landing on an unstable “wobble” board, with an oblique twist at the bottom holding a 10 lb circle weight in front of your body. You then press your foot down, launching back to the starting position.
What? You don’t have a wobble board?!
Alternate exercise: Try this at home on steady ground for 10 reps on each leg, using a normal weight, medicine ball, or weight plate.
- 10 Ab Roll Out
You know those old-school ab rollers? This is pretty much like that. Starting in a push-up position on the knees, you glide forward as far as you can go, keeping your hips elevated and arms straight. You then engage the abs, and pull back to the starting position.
Alternate exercise: Starting in plank position, walk the hands forward as far as you can, then walk them back. Repeat 10 times. You can find an example of this, aka “The Cliffhanger,” in my post 10 Ways to Progress Your Plank >>
- 10 Roller Hamstring Curls
This exercise is performed on the roller machine as well. Starting in a bridge, with your back on the floor and feet on the roller, push the roller forward, keeping the hips elevated, then pull it back in, engaging the hamstrings.
Alternate exercise: Do hamstring curls on a machine or 10 bridges with your feet on a bench/step.
- 5 Minutes of Battling Ropes
I’m not going to lie, battling ropes are probably one of the hardest exercises out there. For our workout, Gunnar had me do a series of exercises, starting with a traditional alternating arm wave. Next, I performed chest flyes with the ropes. Lastly, I ended with rope slams, launching the ropes up as high as I could, then slamming them down as hard as possible.
If you/your gym has them, grab the ropes and go as hard as you can, in as many directions as possible, for about 5 minutes.
Alternate exercise: Grab light dumbbells (about 5 lbs), squat down, and make an alternating wave motion with them, emulating a rope. Or do 5 minutes of burpees — the main purpose of ropes is to get your heart rate up (burpees will do that pretty quickly).
- 5 Minutes of Crab Walks with Bands
For this exercise, grab a tight resistance band and place it just above your knees. Now “crab walk,” squatting down and stepping side to side, for the length of a room and back (or for about 5 minutes), without bringing your legs too close together, and keeping the band taut.
Alternate exercise: If you don’t have a band, perform the exercise without it. I guarantee it will still burn like hell.
- 10 Bungy Runs
It’s hard to even really explain this one — I’d never seen this before. This exercise uses a very long bungy cord (about the length of the battlerope). One side is anchored, and the other side loops around your waist. I had to run as far as I could against the bungy, then backpedal to the starting point for 10 reps. I almost died.
Alternate exercise: Sprints. Again, this exercise is meant to really skyrocket your heart rate and give you one last burn at the end of the circuit. Finish your workout with 10, 30-second sprints with 30-second breaks in between.
And that’s it — oh, after you repeat it all one to two more times.
Want to try this workout at home or at your gym?
Print the graphic below or save the image to your phone to try later!
Thanks to Gunnar and his team — The Angry Trainer + Brad Siskind — for leaving me unable to walk for three days straight.
And a big thanks to Propel for an incredible weekend. As I mentioned before, stay tuned for more workouts and fun collaborations with Propel over the next two months!
Weigh In: Will you try Gunnar’s killer celebrity workout?
Krissy @ Pretty Wee Things says:
Yikes that workout sounds HARD but I can imagine it would be incredible! I will definitely try it as soon as I am able to exercise after this baby! x
Whitney English says:
Not going to lie, it was very hard – but it was also really fun to try new things and challenge myself! Hope the pregnancy is going well :) xoxo
Erin @ The Almond Eater says:
This is AWESOME. I wasn’t a jo bro fan but of course I’m a Nick jo fan because….he’s hot and his music is catchy. It’s that simple. I’m jealous you got to workout with Gunnar Peterson… I do remember him from Glamour mag and heck, pretty much every other fitness magazine.
Whitney English says:
Haha totally! Love music that makes you want to dance :)
Lauren @ The Bikini Experiment says:
I will definitely do this workout. Amazing. Love the workout clothes too. xo Lauren
Whitney English says:
Thanks Lauren!! Let me know what you think after you try it!
Deborah @ Confessions of a mother runner says:
You do have the opportunity to attend some great fun fitness classes out there! I love my boxing and my battle ropes-so fun!
Whitney English says:
Absolutely – it’s so important that you enjoy your workouts!
Dale Janée (@Savvy_Spice) says:
This event looked so cool Whitney and I can’t believe you got to work out with him! Actually just read Khloe’s book and she’s always saying how amazing Gunnar is. :) PS – those workout clothes are so stylish and you look great.
Whitney English says:
Thanks babe!! How was the book?!
Joe Ashton says:
That routine looks very difficult. I’m thinking if I can pull up this kind of workout. Thanks for sharing this blog post. Maybe, I’ll try some of the routines soon. Hopefully I can manage to do it consistently. It looks really hard though but if this kind of routine will help my body become more fit and healthy, it will be great to try it. My body is a little bit skinny due to cardio exercises. I want to tone my muscles a little bit, so I’m just curious if how long should I be doing this kind of exercise to see results?