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What personal trainers do to stay in shape

Wondering how trainers stay so toned? Here's what a weekly fitness routine looks like for 7 different fitness professionals.
Tennis racket with balls isolated on yellow
One trainer traded logging miles on the treadmill for tennis lessons as a fun cardio alternative.LightFieldStudios / Getty Images/iStockphoto

As a personal trainer and weight loss coach, I often get asked, “What do you do to stay in shape?” Typically people are shocked when they find out how little time I actually spend in the gym!

Like other professions though, there are people at both ends of the spectrum. There are fitness professionals who live in the gym, and trainers who use the gym for a quick workout and then get out. We’ve tapped some top personal trainers and fitness professionals to find out what their weekly regimens look like, including what types of workouts keep them in top shape and what their “rest” days actually look like.

'Queen of the Court' and Functional Workout Fan

Here's a sneak peek into my weekly exercise routine:

About a year ago I picked up an old sport — tennis — because I wanted to have a social activity that was structured, competitive and allowed me to meet more like-minded people. So, I joined a league and signed up for weekly one-hour lessons. Once I felt comfortable on the court, I started signing up for more classes. Currently, I play three times a week (for 1 hour each session). Many of the sessions are guaranteed to leave me sweaty, red-faced and sore! My instructor incorporates a lot of games (my favorite game is “Queen of the Court”) and it makes me feel like a little kid playing, while delivering serious results.

Here’s what my week looks like:


5-minute morning routine: I do 5 minutes of Pilates exercises in my living room on my yoga mat, read a personalized mantra to start my day on a positive note, and then do a few stretches or a 60-second meditation.

60-minute Pilates class: Twice a week I attend a Pilates class. Growing up, I had severe low back pain and was in a chiropractor’s office twice a week. Sometimes it was so bad that I couldn’t walk. It wasn’t until I was in my early 20s that I discovered Pilates, and it has singlehandedly kept my back in check. The abdominal engagement and working my core in the proper way has saved me from low back pain.

One hour tennis lesson

60-minute massage: I love massages. I try to get them weekly to take care of my body.

(Since I travel a lot and sometimes work on the weekends, I use Monday to get in a lot of things that make me feel good.)


5-minute morning routine

20-minute upper body & back routine: This consists of 6 exercises: bicep curls, tricep extensions, bent over rows, 2 exercises on the cable machines, and then another round of bicep curls (they’re my favorite muscle to see, so I work them extra!)

One-hour tennis lesson: I used to run a mile on the treadmill for cardio before I started playing tennis. However, I really dislike cardio, so I am grateful that tennis gives me an outlet for it that I actually enjoy.

Wednesday: 5-minute morning routine

Thursday: 20-minute upper body and back routine

Friday: 5-minute morning routine; one-hour tennis session

Saturday: I usually skip my morning routine on the weekends, but do 60 minutes of Pilates and my upper body and back routine.

Sunday: 60 Minute yoga class. Once a week I go to a yoga class because I love the mind-body side of exercise, and I love the stretching. I do not go to intense classes — I’d pick a beginner’s class over a hot yoga vinyasa flow. As a yoga instructor myself, I know how to do the more advanced poses, but I choose not to. I go to yoga to focus on my breathing, center myself and take care of my body.

Key takeaway: Do workouts that mean something to you and serve a purpose.

As a yoga instructor myself, I know how to do the more advanced poses, but I choose not to. I go to yoga to focus on my breathing, center myself and take care of my body.

Director of Health and Fitness at Planet Fitness

Brian Zehetner, CSCS and personal trainer

Zehetner is a devoted and proud father of three, and he works out almost daily with his children. They play tennis, practice Taekwondo and, during the winter months, downhill ski. In addition, Brian encourages employees at Planet Fitness’ headquarters to partake in their corporate step challenge — and he is an avid participant himself. Brian typically averages 90,000-95,000 steps per week.

Here’s a look at Brian’s weekly workout schedule:

Monday: Strength training (30 minutes of chest and biceps at work); Taekwondo (60 minutes at a studio with his son and daughter)

Tuesday: 90 minutes of tennis. This is an advanced drill session with other adults; rigorous intensity.

Wednesday: Rest day

Thursday: Coach youth basketball. “I am walking around most of the time, but occasionally running for demonstration purposes,” he says.

Friday: Rest day

Saturday: Rest day

Sunday: Indoor cycling (30 minutes of intervals on his bike at home)

Key Takeaway: Make exercise part of your everyday life and find activities you can share with his colleagues, friends and family.

A New Father Who Still Fits in Fitness

Ronnie Lubischer, CSCS and Owner of Lubischer's Burn and Blast

Before last year, Lubischer's schedule was pretty straightforward: “I’d train clients from 5 a.m.-12 p.m., lift weights 12-2 p.m., do cardio 2-2:30 p.m., train clients 3-8 p.m., go home sleep and repeat,” he says.

But in January 2018, his whole life changed. “We had our first child and all of a sudden being a gym owner and competitive bodybuilder became much more complicated. Throughout the last year over many attempts and reiterations, I’ve managed to fine tune my schedule to accommodate being a new and involved dad, an owner of a growing business, and maybe no longer a competitive bodybuilder, but certainly someone who still looks close to one with a relative amount of balance in my life.”

His new daily schedule looks like this Monday through Saturday:

3:45-4:15am: HIIT cardio (he wakes up earlier now so that he can fit in his workout.) HIIT is either a 2-mile jog or 1 mile sprint splits on the assault bike, rower or elliptical. He says, “I choose my fasted cardio based on what body part I’m lifting later in the day. For instance, if I’m lifting legs then it’s the rower, on a back day I’ll use the elliptical, and I’ll make sure I’m not using the rower on a back day because that would be too much work on the back in one day.”

4:15-4:45 a.m.: Shower, walk dogs, kiss wife and baby goodbye and off to work

5 a.m.-12 p.m.: 7 one-on-one personal training appointments (1 hour sessions)

12-1 p.m.: “I lift weights, but not the way I use to because I don’t have the time,” he says. Now, he bases his workouts on 2 giant movement circuits that combine power, strength and hypertrophic training in one. Then he leaves 15 minutes at the end of each workout for an additional set of HIIT training (either using cardio equipment or functional training equipment like kettlebells, bands, or med balls). He performs the circuits “supersetted,” which means back to back without any breaks. He does different muscle groups every day except for Sunday.

4 -7 p.m.: After spending a few hours with his wife and one-year-old at home, he returns to the gym for 3 more personal training sessions.

7:30 p.m.: Return home for bath time and goodnight book time with my wife and baby, then some adult time with my wife and some Jeopardy on DVR. Then bedtime and do it all again!

Key takeaway: It's never impossible to make time for fitness, but it may take a little work to find an exercise schedule that works for you. (If you're strapped for time, HIIT is a good place to start).

Off-Season IRONMAN Triathlete

Ali Cook Jackson, owner of Never Give Up Training in Philadelphia, IRONMAN coach and athlete

What does Jackson’s life look like when she’s training for an IRONMAN versus living everyday life? “In the thick of IRONMAN training, I am working out approximately 16 hours a week; in the off-season, it's half that, and filled with restorative and different workouts that I love to do and don't always have time for during race training,” she says.

In the off-season, she works out about four days a week for an hour at a time while juggling kids and running her studio. While her weekly exercise plan does vary, an example week looks something like this:

Monday: Hour-long trail run

Tuesday: Hot yoga class

Wednesday: 1 hour of strength training at her gym including weight training and body weight exercises

Thursday: 1 hour of Flywheel

Friday: Swim for 45-60 minutes followed by 30 mins of self-guided yoga

Saturday: Stationary triathlon bike in my training room or gym

Sunday: Rest day! Play with her kids and relax

In addition to her workouts, she stays active with her kids. In the warmer months, she walks her two kids in the stroller for 90 minutes to two hours a day. She also picks up her baby and does lifts and squats: “I time myself just like I do my personal training clients — I go for 30 seconds on and 15 seconds off, for as many times as my little guy will tolerate it,” Jackson says. While her kids are playing or watching TV, she’ll do ab workouts. "I'll try to time myself for 45 seconds to a minute, or challenge myself to go until the next commercial. It's all about squeezing these workouts in while the kids are occupied,” she says.

Key Takeaway: Every week doesn't look the same. Change your workouts and fitness plans based on your goals and schedule.

A Celebrity Trainer Making Every Second Count With HIIT

Jorge Cruise is a Celebrity Fitness Trainer and New York Times Bestselling Author

As a celebrity fitness trainer, Cruise does it all. He coaches clients on finding the most efficient workouts they can do in the shortest amount of time — and he takes his own advice: Every morning at 5 a.m., Cruise does an 8-minute HIIT workout. He does this live with his clients via Facebook. (He personally does more when he can.) For the 5 a.m. workouts, Cruise puts together a series of two moves — one high-intensity and one low-intensity — and alternates between them performing each move for one minute, for the duration of the 8 minutes.

Cruise breaks it down by day, and follows this structure on weekdays:

Monday: Arms and abs

Tuesday: Butt and legs

Wednesday: Chest and back

Thursday: Core

Friday: Total body

Weekend: Cruise also loves to stay active with his kids. They go to the gym at Equinox or 24-hour fitness together as a family. Cruise’s son, Parker, loves to surf and Owen likes to do gymnastics. The family also hikes at Runyon Canyon.

Key Takeaway: By setting up your workouts first thing in the morning, you'll make sure you get them in.

A Personal Trainer Who Gives His Body and Mind a Workout

Omari Bernard, personal trainer and CSCS

For Bernard, it’s not just about physical fitness; it’s about mental fitness as well. First he shares his weekly workout schedule, and then we’ve got the daily activities he does to keep his mind in check, too.

Monday: Weight training, lower body

Tuesday: Cardio for 35 minutes on the treadmill at 60-70% of his heart rate max. “Pace and incline all depends on my ability to stay within my zones, but the treadmill is always at least at 1% incline to prevent joint injury,” he says. He says he enjoys going to a community yoga class, but if one isn’t available he’ll do an individual practice.

Wednesday: Weight train, upper body

Thursday: Same as Tuesday

Friday: Weight train, total body workout

Saturday: Fun day! He bikes, kayaks, does an obstacle course, takes a different class that he doesn’t normally take (i.e martial arts, barre, dance etc.)

Sunday: Farmers market and reflection. “I’ll either go to the beach, pool or park if the weather permits and disconnect myself from my devices for an hour and sit in that space and see what comes up. Then I’ll journal about it.”

Bernard works his brain just as much as his body. In the mornings, “I meditate at my desk. I read my devotionals, then say prayer for the day, followed by a 2-minute silence and mediation,” he explains. Then he’ll list out 3 things that he’s grateful for.

In the middle of the day, he sits in silence for 1 minute and thinks of one thing he’s grateful for. He has an alarm set each day to remind him to stop and sit in silence for 1 minute.

In the evenings, he commits to disconnecting from his devices by a certain time, does some light stretching and reflects in a journal. “I have an alarm set at 10:10 p.m. every night so that I can start my nightly rituals. I pick 10:10 since I typically wake up around 6:30 a.m. every day, and the goal is to get 8 hours of sleep a night,” he says. After journaling, he lies on his back and brings both knees into his chest, then does a figure four stretch, a seated hamstring stretch, a quad stretch, and holds child’s pose for 20 breaths before getting into bed.

Key Takeaway: Try to incorporate some of your own mindfulness activities into your daily routine and see if this leads more consistent workouts and less stress.

A Professional Ballerina Getting His Ballet Body Back

Craig Ramsay, personal trainer, currently playing “Lord Capulet” in Romeo & Juliet at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet in Canada.

You may recognize Ramsay from Broadway or TV (he co-hosted “Thintervention”, popped up on multiple BRAVO reality shows and worked the soap opera circuit), but recently, the TV personality and fitness expert has shifted his focus back to one of his first passions: ballet. He has dropped 20 pounds (of both muscle and fat) over the past two months to get back into the professional ballet world. This is what his weekly workout routine and rehearsal schedule look like:


Morning: Ballet class, which consists of isolated consistent contractions of nearly every muscle in the entire body (lots of deep squats, lunges).

10 a.m. to 6 p.m.: Rehearsals with the ballet in preparation for “Romeo & Juliet.” (He also fits in 300 pushups using different hand/arm positions throughout the day.)


Morning Cardio: 20 minutes includes walking on the treadmill at an 8.0 incline, 3.6 speed. 10 minutes of shoulder exercises.

10 a.m. to 6 p.m.: Ballet rehearsals. Stretching throughout the day, which not only burns calories additional calories but helps the body heal from rigorous rehearsals.

Wednesday: Same as Monday.


Morning Cardio: 20 minutes on the recumbent bike at moderate resistance level, incorporating 5 lb. dumbbell in each hand performing a series of upper body exercises, like shoulder presses and bicep curls, for 30 seconds each. Finishes workout with 50 floor burpees.

10 a.m. to 6 p.m.: Ballet rehearsals.


Morning Cardio: 20 minutes (walking again); 10 mins of weight training with a moderate weight dumbbell (for Ramsay this is 20-lb dumbbells); 100 jump squats in a wide ballet 2nd position (also called sumo squats).

10 a.m. to 6 p.m.: Ballet rehearsals.

Saturday: Rest day! Stretching hamstrings and calves in a warm bath; after warm bath continue stretching for 20 mins, rotating body parts and holding stretches for 30 seconds each.

Sunday: Day off from ballet. 5k jog, either outside or on the treadmill at a 2.0 incline and a consistent 5.5 -6.0 speed. Challenging, yet manageable.

Key Takeaway: It’s never too late to pursue your passions, or go back to something you once loved.


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