Greg, you are originally from South Africa. What brought you to the USA?
My father came to the USA. I wasn’t embracing the political situation in South Africa, so after high school, I moved too.
You are a well-known fitness trainer, and were recently named by Men’s Journal magazine as one of the Top 100 Trainers in the US. How did you get into this field?
Back in 1983-1984, I was competing in triathlons. At that time, private fitness training was a relatively new phenomenon. People heard about me, and I began training others at the Santa Monica Body Builder Club, where Stallone was training for Rambo.
I also did corporate fitness at Warner Brothers for 10 years.
My success comes from offering individual body assessment programs rather than cookie–cutter routines. The basis for the assessment lies in the basal metabolic rate and other comprehensive assessments. Sticking with fundamentals, like walking, is essential. We must move our bodies and not be sedentary. People need different forms of stimuli, and I incorporate cardio conditioning and strength training. I’m passionate about my work. I also authored The Ultimate Lean Routine.
I see you have trained many A-list stars over the years, like Melanie Griffith, Pierce Brosnan, and others. What can you tell me about that?
Over the years, yes, I’ve trained many celebrities. It’s been a great experience. Recently, I went out on the road for several months with Lance Armstrong, to help get him in shape for the New York City Marathon. But celebrities prepping for a film or an athlete in training—they are obviously having to work much harder at their workouts than most people have the time or desire to do. This is what moved me to try to encourage people with this latest book, to start with something as simple as walking — something all of us can do — to get themselves in better shape.
What has been your greatest challenge as a trainer?
The greatest challenge is keeping people consistent. The results don’t come quickly enough. The level or amount of exercise necessary to change the body is not easy. As I say in 10,000 Steps A Day™ to Your Optimal Weight, I encourage walking at least 10,000 steps a day, and eating properly. People must believe that this program will work if you’re consistent and keep it up over an extended period of time.