* Meet Halle Berry’s trainer, who gave her that rockin’ bod we all envy
* Learn how he got into fitness and how you can get started with your own fitness journey
* See Berry’s connection to supplements brand, Purium
Summer is coming up and Halle Berry’s iconic bikini figure is all the inspiration we need to get fit for some fun in the sun. Her secret: a lot of hard work, a sprinkling of healthy supplements and a hardcore, former martial artist who’s now become her go-to personal trainer.
According to Berry’s trainer, Peter Lee Thomas, the 51-year-old actress is an “athlete” when it comes to working out. And he would know.
The personal trainer, martial artist, nutrition specialist and occasional stunt actor has been into fitness since he was eight years old and today, he’s helping celebrities and regular people like us get fit and healthy. Thomas isn’t just into working out and looking good — he’s also a big advocate of incorporating superfoods into your daily routine to achieve overall health.
We caught up with Thomas to find out how he started working with Berry, how the actress’ athleticism actually inspires him, and to pick up a couple of tips for our own summer body transformation.
How did you get into fitness?
It was actually through my brother. I grew up without a father so I didn’t really have a powerful male figure to keep me disciplined. But my brother was involved in Martial Arts at a young age and I always wanted to be like my big brother. He got more involved in bodybuilding later on in his teens. I just continued with Martial Arts. I played ice hockey later on and dabbled with that and track and water polo, too.
But I got into fitness through martial arts. Growing up in Huntington Beach, I was also really blessed with cool coaches and people who believed in me. So I think I was just surrounded by the right flock of people. It becomes really infectious. You get this enhanced mental focus that you need as a kid and a teenager [when you’re surrounded by the right people].
Today, people have celebrities or influencers they call their “fitness inspiration.” Who was your role model when it came to fitness?
With not truly having a dad there every day, my dad was literally Bruce Lee. I had posters of him and other amazing athletes like Mohammed Ali all over my room. That was something that got me really motivated. If they can do it, then I can do it. They came from nothing so I knew this could be my ticket in; this could be something that could help me make the right choices.
I also had female teachers growing up. One of them would woop me a good one every time I would make a mistake. She would make me do push-ups. My mother was also forced to be strong and to transform her outlook on life. I learned a lot from my mom. She’s my hero. You know Halle (Berry), my current client, she’s my hero. Everything she’s gone through, and how incredibly optimistic she is — I owe a lot to women. Women are going to be the leaders of this world in the future.
Is Halle always the motivated, powerful woman we all see, or does she struggle every now and then to work out?
You know, she’s incredible. You tell her to do 20 reps, she’ll do 30 reps. She has that kind of drive. It makes all the sense in the world why she is who she is today and her success as an actress. Even though martial arts isn’t closely related to acting, you can see that because she was able to apply those skills to her career, she could apply it to anything. It clearly shows when we’re training. You can see her overall enthusiasm for it. I’m like, ‘Man this woman could run circles around me.’ It inspires me truly. And she makes me want to be a better version of myself.
How did you two meet?
I met her through some mutual friends and we had a lot of similarities in the way we thought and that was pretty much it. It was a natural, organic progression. We prepare and we know what we’re going to work out. She’s always bettering herself. She’s the hardest working actress I’ve ever met. She’s so dedicated. She’s not afraid to work hard. That’s so inspiring to be around that energy.
There’s this hashtag Halle is using on her Instagram called #FitnessFriday where she shares health and workout tips with her audience. Did you have anything to do with that or contribute tips for her to include?
We were doing our own thing in training and then we realized we should really start showing this stuff to people, because there’s a lot of them that can really benefit from this. She was all about it and she was the one who wanted to start it. You don’t have to have the best resources, you just have to have the right resourceful attitude. It’s not a lack of resources, it’s a lack of resourcefulness. I kind of suggested you know, we should start with stuff that people can use, like even with one little dumbbell you can do a lot with that and if you don’t have one dumbbell then use a can of soup (laughs). Just grab that thing and use it and get creative and have fun. That’s what it should be about – have fun. Most people who are really fit have fun with what they do for a workout.
There’s so much information out there now with the internet and social media. How has the fitness industry changed from when you started compared to today?
You know that’s a really great point. To touch on that, we are living in an abundant time. We have access to superfoods, we have access to super herbs and to the best equipment. Back then, I couldn’t even go buy boxing gloves. I had to go to a special supply store. There was no online ordering of things. I was reading an article about Arnold Schwarzenegger the other day. It talked about the supplements that they used back then, in the late 60s and 70s. They were almost non-existent. They kind of almost had to create that stuff on their own. They went through a lot of trial and error.
What about those people who don’t have access to these superfoods and want to start living a little healthier? What can they do?
I’m so glad you asked this. It’s shocking to know people don’t prefer to drink water and would rather have coffee, diet soda, or fruit juice. Drink good, spring water. Then go into the idea of not having refined white sugar. Also, get rid of the excess amount of carbohydrates. I think it’s something we could live without. Our ancestors lived without it and I think we just got caught up in this weird lifestyle where we’re almost dependent on it. A lot of these companies do a good job at making this stuff so addictive where you keep coming back to it. They have these slogans like, “I bet you can’t just eat one ” and they’re right. They are wizards at making marketing their thing. We have been fooled and duped. I think eating this ancestral diet is the key to balance. Not having too much of this, too much of that.
Ultimately, finding what works for you but staying away from the usual suspects is the key: too much refined sugar, too much refined carbohydrates and not enough water. Those are things anyone has access to. And then, even something as simple as putting a yoga mat by your bed and having a nice glass of water, you make it a little ritual for yourself. Overall, it doesn’t take a lot of money, it just takes a little discipline.
Speaking of superfoods, you’re a promoter of the supplements brand Purium which I’ve seen Halle promoting, too, on her Instagram. What do you like about the brand? What makes Purium stand out from all the other supplement and nutrition brands?
I’ve been with this company now for 12 years and they are incredible. I no longer have to walk into Whole Foods. I don’t have to get to my car and drive there because that could be time spent doing something else. You know what they say, ‘Time is money’ and when you have this product shipped out to you in front of your doorstep, it’s convenient and I know what I’m going to get.
Hundreds of years ago, the food was organic. It was nutrient-rich, it was not processed, it was non-GMO. Today, foods are nutrient-deficient; things are genetically modified. That’s the question I ask: why do people keep eating this stuff when we have all the access to all these great things now? So I think it’s a lack of education.
Companies like Purium have products like super amino 23 and the vegan based protein. Having these products shipped to you fresh as an athlete, you could really champion that warrior inside. It’s hard to do on a standard American diet. I juice a couple times a week. It takes me about two and half hours to prep the fruits and veggies, cut them, and juice them, then clean it all up. If I had the time to hang out at home 3-4 hours to do that then yeah, I’d probably do it, but I don’t have the luxury of doing that. This is why I’m really passionate about the Purium lifestyle because it has all those things I need.
There are a lot of misconceptions about taking supplements. When should people take supplements, like the Purium products?
Think about the word ‘supplement,’ itself; your regime shouldn’t be just about supplements. They should fill the void between having your meals. They’re like little helpers you can use to orchestrate a healthier lifestyle.
What are your favorite products from Purium?
That’s a hard one because they have such a variety. For me, my number one priority is my joints because of my background, so Joint-Flex is a product that has all these great herbs that are found in Chinese medicine. My second favorite product is the Super Amino 23. That is an incredible concept because it’s not a powder, it’s an amino acid (tablet) and your body is able to absorb about 99% of it and it’s utilized. There’s no waste and you get the benefits of it within 23 minutes. It was developed by an Italian doctor. It’s my go-to when I am training.
I also like Can’t Beet This which is a pre-workout. Some people like to have it throughout the day but you don’t have to have it that often. It has things like yerba mate and beets and other ingredients I can’t imagine living without. Those are my top three.
For post-workout, we have a protein called MVP Sport and it’s a vegan protein. I would definitely have people consider switching over to this from the typical protein that has ingredients you can’t even pronounce. Lastly, I think the More Greens is so great because it’s like having one green supplement and has everything in it: the vitamins, the nutrients, the herbs — everything you need. Also, the Green Spectrum really helps the immune system and supports energy. The More Greens and Green Spectrum would be my go-to’s to get something green. It’s probably equivalent to having two big salads.
You mention getting rid of the excess amount of carbohydrates. Do you believe in low-carb diets or the Keto-diet?
You know, I become a little hesitant with the word ‘diet’ because it’s really a lifestyle. I don’t think that labeling myself is really the best approach like, ‘I am this or that.’ For example, if you did the Ketogenic diet or the Paleo diet or went vegan, I think it’s cool to have that as a foundation, but again, if there’s a day or two out of the week where you do whatever you want and eat whatever you want or maybe be more socially flexible, that’s cool, but don’t beat yourself up for it. That’s the balance that I strive for. That’s something I mention to my clients: get out of your own way and don’t worry about it. But if you have a goal or a competition where you need to be really disciplined, then yeah you should be.
Right. If you’re being too strict with your diet, it could backfire.
That happens really often. You know you have these people saying, ‘Hey, I was doing really good in January and now it’s like February and I went back and couldn’t do it anymore because it was too hard.’ A lot of times they set themselves up with this 100% massive action mindset. For some people, it works and they can take that leap of faith and they’re good to go. But for most people, they overwhelm themselves and it becomes exhausting. They get discouraged and frustrating and continue that spiral. It becomes another thing that is learned and a habit. If it’s too extreme, you’re going to go back to where you probably don’t want to be.
So what are three tips our audience can incorporate to get that summer body?
Drink more water and get the right amount of sleep. Also, surrounding yourself with people with the same goal is so key. Without that, you’re kind of lost and you don’t know where to go from there. Having someone to keep you accountable will help you get those results. It becomes a team effort.
I’m so happy to be able to do this and be in an abundance of all these great positive people. You surround yourself with the right people, you have the right supplements, the right training, the right motivation, and you can conquer anything with that.
Sometimes it gets competitive but it helps right?
Yeah you want a little bit of that healthy competitiveness and it just changes the whole dynamic. It really works.
Great. Where can our audience find you and follow you for your expert advice?
I’m a little behind on social media but people can find me on Instagram @PeterLeeThomas. My website is under construction and I’ll also be getting a Twitter finally (laughs).
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