An Interview with David Kirsch

One thing I’m trying to get better at: interviewing others. I get press requests to interview various personalities on a regular basis, but either a) chicken out for fear of potential awkwardness, or 2) it’s something I decide I want to go for, and realize it’s a day that I’m at work teaching. Recently, I got an email asking if I’d like to interview David Kirsch, and knew immediately that I would love to, as he’s a trainer I truly admire.

DK on ballSource

If you’re not familiar with David Kirsch’s work, he’s a celebrity trainer best known for sculpting the bodies of stars such as Heidi Klum, Faith Hill, Sophie Dahl, Bridget Hall, Ellen Barkin, James King, Liv Tyler, Kerry Washington, Anne Hathaway, Karolina Kurkova and Linda Evangelista. He’s also credited with helping Heidi Klum getting her postpartum body ready to walk the Victoria’s Secret runway shortly after giving birth to her last child. He’s the founder of Madison Square Club in NYC, which promotes healthy living and lifestyle transformation through mind-body conditioning, multitasking workouts and smart nutrition. 

David is a popular guest on American television, appearing as a featured expert on ABC’s Extreme Makeover, TODAY, CNN Headline News and CNN World News, Access Hollywood, Extra, E! and Style, The View, Fox & Friends and Fox News Live. He’s also been featured as a fitness expert in Time, Vogue, W, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, Marie Claire, Glamour, Allure, Shape, Fitness, Self, In Style, Cosmopolitan, People, Us Weekly, New York Magazine, USA Today, The New York Times, LA times, Financial Times, New York Post, Daily News and the New York Times.

David kirsch heidi klum fitness1Source

I put the call out on Facebook to see what questions you’d like to see answered by a celebrity trainer. Here’s his answers to many of your amazing questions:

What are some of your strategies to get a celebrity “red carpet ready”? How can these be adapted in a healthy way to an average, active, health-minded professional to see results more quickly? If you could pick your 5 favorite workout moves, what would they be?

Exercise and nutrition go hand in hand when trying to slim down. I always recommend circuit training to all my clients in order to burn calories and achieve a toned, sculpted body. This method reduces rest time in between each set to boost calorie burning potential. I like to use a combination of the medicine ball, stability ball and free weights so no muscle is left behind. I think anyone can do my circuits. Start by aiming to do 10-15 sets of each move, doing it in a circuit 2-3x. As you get stronger, increase the number of reps and the number of times you do the full circuit. 

My five favorite workout moves are: Sumo Lunges, Platypus Walk, Push-Ups, Stability Ball Handoffs and Shadow Boxing. 

Ball push up

What do you recommend for pre-workout and post-workout fuel? What are your top 5 favorite healthy ingredients?

Pre-workout, you want something that will give you energy but won’t make you nauseous. High-fiber foods break down well, so eat a banana, trail mix or an energy bar like my KIRSCHBAR. You mainly need energy and you’re going to get that from healthier carbs.

Post-workout nutrition is important part of your routine. An hour of intensive training is a lot of wear-and-tear on your muscles so it is important to feed them with protein post-training. I suggest trying my Protein Plus Shakes or KIRSCHBARs.

My 5 favorite healthy foods are: lean chicken breast, quinoa, asparagus, kale and raw almonds.


What is your advice for staying motivated and breaking through plateaus?

The best advice for breaking through a plateau is to change up your workout – add different cardiovascular exercises such as jump rope and boxing. Also, decrease the weights and increase the repetitions and be sure you are doing circuit training.

The key to staying motivated is connecting to your most inner voice. We all want to look and feel the best we can. We all have triggers that take us off of our path. Discovering and overcoming these triggers is the key to success.

Thank you again to David for such an amazing opportunity! 

So tell me, friends:

If you could work out with any celebrity trainer, who would you choose? I would LOVE to take a class with Chalene Johnson. What are your 5 favorite workout moves and 5 favorite healthy ingredients? My current favorite workout moves: jumping lunges, assisted pull-up, burpee, plank and stability ball hamstring curl. Ingredients: eggs, almond butter, kale, sweet potato and salmon.

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  1. Kaila @healthyhelperblog! on July 24, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    Love the interview! I love when trainers tell us their fave moves…I always make sure to add them to my routine! Right now I am loving tricep kickbacks, squats with dumbbell presses, pendulum lunges, one legged deadlifts with military curls, and spider pushups! 5 fave healthy foods of the moment (they are ALWAYS changing!): slightly thawed frozen blueberries, ezekiel cereal, no salt added turkey breast, peanut butter, and sprouted grain toast!

  2. Liz @ Southern Charm on July 24, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    Celebrity trainer: Karena & Katrina of Tone It Up
    Moves: sumo squats, push ups, tummy tucks, tricep dips and close lunges
    Ingredients: sweet potatoes, egg whites, kale, salmon and avocado … wow haha that came so easily!!

  3. Lydia @ HappyHealthyConfidnet on July 24, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    Great interview!

    Moves: Push-ups, Plank, Lunges, Crunches, Burpees
    Ingredients: Chicken Breast, Asparagus, Avacado, Sweet Potatoes, Almond Butter

  4. Erin @ The Grass Skirt on July 24, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    I’d love to work with the TIU girls, and I also adore Jari Love. It would be so cool to meet any of them!

  5. on July 24, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    I think I would have to go with Jillian. Top 5 workout moves: squats, standing calf raises, tricep pushdowns w/ a cable machine, crunches on a stability ball and planks. Top 5 healthy foods: eggs, salmon, sweet potatoes, quinoa, avocado.
    Great interview!

  6. Jaclyn on July 24, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    Trainer: It’s a toss up between Jillian Michaels and Cindy Whitmarsh. Both are tough, but I find Cindy’s personality a little less intimidating. 😛

    Moves: sumo squats, planks, deadlifts, dumbbell rows, bicycle crunches.

    Foods: chicken breast, oats, berries, cauliflower, spinach.

  7. Michelle @ Eat Move Balance on July 24, 2012 at 6:22 pm

    my favorite moves are: walking lunges, squats, burpees, planks with rows, and medicine ball twists. my favorite clean eats: apples, pistachios, salmon, cabbage and kabocha squash. 🙂

  8. Heather on July 24, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    I would train with Bob Harper, especially with his new love for crossfit, which is the most functional, amazing fitness routine I have ever done!
    favorite moves – double unders, box jumps, Med Ball throws, assisted pull ups and back squats
    fav. clean eats: fresh green juice, sweet potatoes, almond butter, tomato and onion combo, almonds

  9. Lisa @ Jogging on Coffee on July 24, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    A class with Chalene would be so much fun! I also really like Cathe Friedrich.

  10. Sam @ Better With Sprinkles on July 24, 2012 at 7:09 pm

    I’d work out with Jillian Michaels. I feel like she’d absolutely destroy me but it would be one helluva workout.

    Favourite exercises: walking dumbbell lunges (kind of hate them but it’s because they work so well) barbell squats, diamond pushups, hanging leg raises, and tricep dips.

    Favourite ingredients: bananas, protein powder, ground chicken breast, eggs, and sweet potatoes.

    • Julie on July 24, 2012 at 9:19 pm

      Ah, I totally forgot to add this. I would work out with Jillian Michaels!

  11. Shaina Anderson on July 24, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    A class with Chalene would be awesome! I might actually work in figuring that out. I was doing the Burn Intervals DVD the other day and the guy in the back – Skip – I take his yoga class all the time! Gonna have to ask him about that….

    Favorite moves: squats standing on the flat side of the bosu, sumo squat with overhead tricep extension, 21s, pushups and suicides (not really a move but an intense cardio exercise that will kick your a$$)

    Favorite ingredients: quinoa, avocado, TJs crunchy PB with flaxseed (crack in a jar), black beans and apples

  12. Yaara on July 24, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    Trainer: Mike Donovanick–(he’s amazing! I have his Extreme Burn DVD–HIIT circuit-style training); Bob Harper; or of course Chalene!!

    Fave Moves–spiderman push-ups; Low Jacks–( a la Zuzka); Mountain Climbers; Santana Push-ups–(from ZWOW 9–love!!!); Dive-bombers; and of course Burpees

    Fave Foods– Zucchini–obsessed with Zucchini noodles; egg-white omelettes; Jazz apples; Greek Yogurt; Spinach; Cocoa Powder

  13. Julie on July 24, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    I’ve worked out with Chalene Johnson! Her class is huge but everyone is into it that you get sucked in. I liked her Hustle class more than TurboKick… and I’m a Turbo fanatic.

    5 favorite exercises: any lunge with a twist, side squat with weights, lying down tricep extensions, planks when I can do them, and burpees, which I used to hate but am much better now.

    5 fave ingredients: sweet potato, Greek yogurt, peanut butter, spinach,

    • Julie on July 24, 2012 at 9:20 pm

      …and my last ingredient, EGGS. It’s a staple.

  14. Sarah on July 24, 2012 at 9:24 pm

    I’ve worked out with Tony Horton before, and he is even more incredible live than on the DVDs! Such an infectious energy! I’d love to workout with Shaun T. someday!

    Favorite moves: tricep dips, burpees, renegade rows, medicine ball push ups, prison cell push ups

    Favorite foods: kale, peanut butter, oatmeal, Greek yogurt, asparagus

  15. Sarah Shaffer on July 24, 2012 at 9:46 pm

    Hey Gina, do you have an suggestions for finding the Kirschbar’s to purchase? I’m having a hard time finding them. Thanks for your help!

    • Fitnessista on July 25, 2012 at 12:22 pm

      i don’t- i had never heard of them until the interview!

  16. Abby @ Change of Pace on July 24, 2012 at 10:39 pm

    Great interview! With his credentials, I think he might be my choice for a celebrity trainer!
    My five foods: berries, flax toast, milk, spinach, and bananas.

  17. little windmill yoga on July 25, 2012 at 3:02 am

    Shiva Rhea or Tara Stiles!!

  18. Melissa (Better Fit) on July 25, 2012 at 3:36 am

    Really interesting interview, Gina! As a trainer myself, I love to read other trainers’ perspectives and approaches (including your blog of course!)

    My favourite exercises: Back squat, Overhead side lunges, Shoulder press, Pushups and Bent over row

    Foods: Oatmeal, black beans, avocado, almond butter and popcorn… not all at the same time! 🙂

  19. Sophie on July 25, 2012 at 5:46 am

    David is an inspiration and you did a fantastic job with the interview. If you get time, I’d also like to know the answer to Sarah’s question above 🙂 Thanks a lot!

  20. Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin on July 25, 2012 at 7:10 am

    Hmm I don’t know much about celebrity trainers, but I once did a Jillian Michaels video with my roommate and it totally kicked my butt, so I’ll go with her!

    My 5 favourite moves: Lat pulldown, push ups, hip thrusters, chest press, and seated rows.

    My 5 favourite healthy ingredients: salmon, bananas, avocado, kale, and sweet potatoes!

  21. Jen Correa @ Mom's Gotta Run on July 25, 2012 at 10:08 am

    My fav trainers are Bob and Jillian! By far! Favorite/Least Favorite move: The Burpee! My team did a 30-day 6-minute burpee challenge. My PR was 73 burpees in 6 minutes.

  22. sabrina on July 25, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    Trainer – Harley Pasternak
    Moves – switch lunges, medicine ball pushups, sandbag clean and press, sandbag bent-over rows, and burpees
    Foods – sweet potatoes, avocado, almond butter, brown rice protein powder and spinach

  23. Katie on July 25, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    Trainer: Jillian Michaels
    Moves: Squat jumps, reverse pushups on a bar, jump lunges, wall sits, and burpees.
    Foods: Sweet potatoes, almond butter, cottage cheese, salmon, and brussel sprouts.

  24. Elizabeth M. on July 25, 2012 at 6:06 pm

    If I could work out with a trainer I would pic the girls from Tone it Up! Whenever I do their workout videos I feel like I am just having fun. Then I wake up the next day and I am so sore I want to cry a little haha.

    I am loving combo moves, like lunges with a twist and bicep curl, I feel like I am getting the most bang for my buck!

    I am getting really creative with quinoa, I love it!

    I have a degree in journalism and the BEST interview technique I use on an almost daily basis is to always cover who what when where why. Just tweak it little to be about the person you are interviewing. Like, tell me about yourself. Or, when did you know you wanted to do… it’s a GREAT way to get people talking 🙂

  25. Erica @ Love the Leap on July 26, 2012 at 11:09 am

    For the celebrity trainer, I have to agree with you and go with Chalene Johnson!! I’ve been doing her workouts for almost 5 years now and would LOVE to workout with her in person. Shaun T is also up there.

    My favorite workout moves right now are single leg deadlifts with reverse fly, pushups with feet on medicine ball (crazy core work!), sumo squats, mountain climbers, and plank!

    Favorite healthy food- peanut butter, vanilla greek yogurt, raw almonds, sweet potato, any kind of fish 🙂

  26. Eucalya on July 26, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    i think your interview was great, and I really like David Kirsch! xxx

  27. Tiffanie on July 30, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    Trainer: Chalene Johnson….I have worked out with Chalene and she is incredible. Her energy is through the roof and keeps the entire class that way. I would do it again in a second!
    Moves: jump lunges, tuck jumps, burpees, planks and inch worms
    Foods: Sweet potatoes, peanut butter, cottage cheese, greek yogurt, chicken

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