Celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak’s number one fitness tip is shockingly easy (hello, Kim K body!)

Photography via Keystone

Kim Kardashian, Ariana Grande, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry; celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak’s client list is as buzzy as an awards show after-party. The Toronto native and Los Angeles-based muscle sculptor has a method to get his clients in their best shape, and it has nothing to do with detoxes or drill sergeant workouts. (What not to do? Vibration plates and juice cleanses, he says.) Our lives are similar to Kim’s and other celebs’ in that we’re busy, too, and it’s very difficult to find the time to exercise. It’s almost as if we build up the act of working out, making it insurmountable in our minds: we must work out for an hour; it must be so difficult we are completely spent; we must do it every day. But we could reap the most benefits from our regimen if we just keep it simple, according to Pasternak.

Start by looking around outdoors for a good, steep staircase (Pasternak likes the Santa Monica stairs). “Climbing stairs is a really great movement to tone and tighten your thighs and your butt. The whole leg. And at the same time, you’re getting your heart rate up and it’s a fat-burning movement.” It might seem daunting, given that we take the elevator whenever possible, but if Harley says so…

The second celebrity trainer tip is to walk, and walk and walk. “You have to look at the [regimen] in terms of exercise, and one of them is aerobic and it’s chronic movement; it’s burning calories,” says Pasternak. “So that’s why I use the Fitbit. How you get your steps is up to you: If you want to run, if you want to walk, if you want to get rid of your coffee machine and walk to the coffee shop instead.” For his really busy clients (which is, presumably, all of them), Pasternak has them take phone calls on their hands-free devices while walking around the block.

Before you walk away from this post, consider the second part of the exercise routine, gaining muscle. Surprisingly, Pasternak is not a fan of fancy boot camps and gym workouts—much to my chagrin, because who doesn’t feel like a superhero after an hour of burpees? “In terms of resistance exercise, more isn’t necessarily better,” says Pasternak. “It’s analogous to antibiotics. When the doctor says take one a day for 15 days, you won’t take three a day for five days to get it over with. With resistance training, you need to do it for a specific duration, frequency and intensity, and I think people miss that when they do these boot camp workouts that are super high intensity. There’s no method to the madness.” For those who really, really don’t have time, he says to reach your steps goals daily (aim for 10,000 steps minimum) and then exercise one muscle group each day by doing walking lunges for about five minutes, for instance. The next day, do supermans, and so on.

In Toronto to promote FitBit’s Charge HR activity/heart rate monitor, Pasternak took us, a group of editors, through a workout: We walked and did chest pull-ups (on TRX suspension bands), walking lunges and cardio bursts on the stationery bike (total time: 38 minutes). But we didn’t count out our lunges; we kept going until Pasternak said “stop”—and it burned. When we biked, we pedalled with abandon. And when we did pull-ups, Pasternak came alongside us and raced us to the beat of the music. I was surprised at the simplicity of this celebrity-style workout. Is that really all it takes to get lean like Fox, Grande, et al.?

“The most effective things in life are simple,” says Pasternak. “Think of Italian food and Japanese cuisine. I think we complicate things because it’s not an interesting story. Walking is not an interesting story; to do a walk lunge is great, but how many times can you write about a walk lunge?”

There you have it. Getting in shape like your favourite celebs is easier than you ever thought. So lace up and walk on.

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