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Celebrity trainer Gunnar Peterson has shaped the bodies of everyone from Kim Kardashian to Jennifer Lopez. Allure asked him what to look for when hiring a trainer and how to get more bang for your buck.

Timing is everything. Don’t book sessions you know you’ll be tempted to cancel. Even when you dread it, show up—and eventually you might not dread it. An actress once told me, “Sometimes I feel like I don’t have it in me, but I’m always happy when I do the workout.”

Get what you’ve paid for. You want a trainer to map out the entire session so that during one interval, he’s already setting up the next few exercises. In between, you take a sip of water and he puts a dumbbell in your hand. You shouldn’t have to be the one wasting time fetching free weights. Go ahead and ask for the service you want—but you should only ask once. First time, shame on the trainer. After that, shame on you for seeing that trainer.

Pipe down. It’s good to have a trainer you like­—up to a point. If you can enjoy chatting while you train, that’s great, but if you spend too much time talking, you’re wasting your session. That said, talking can be a good gauge of how much you’re pushing yourself: If I have you do 20 reps, and somewhere around number 17 you go from “And then my sister Katie said…” to silence, that means the weight just kicked in. If you can talk all the way through, you need to increase the weight.


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