Trainer to the Stars Sees Dairy as Key to Fitness

  • Article
  • 3 min read August 6, 2019

Celebrity trainer and cookbook author Harley Pasternak isn’t above sneaking a few greens into a smoothie to make every sip count—for him and for his kids.

Whether his clients seek weight management tips or ways to just eat better on the go, Pasternak includes dairy in his arsenal of advice.

He took time out of a recent busy summer day to chat with Dairy Good and offer lifestyle tips for both celebrities and the rest of us.

People are bombarded by all kinds of fitness and diet advice. How do you keep your clients sane?
That’s a good question. Clients are always asking me about new fad diets and supplements, and I say, “Would you want your kid to eat that way?” and “Do you see yourself eating like this for the rest of your life?” I think you have to ask yourself those questions.

What advice do you give people to help them appreciate how they look and feel?
Focus on the process—don’t weigh yourself. Sleep seven hours, unplug from tech, walk 12,000 steps a day, eat protein and fiber five times a day, and try to do five minutes of resistance exercise each day—minimum. Resistance exercises can include a lunge or a hip bridge or a plank. As a product of that, you’ll look better, and you might change your weight. But you want the process to be your goal.

For many people, summer means more fresh fruits and veggies. Do you have any tips for great-tasting, healthy smoothies and salads?
I’m a big smoothie guy, more than a salad guy. I like to hide some of my nutrients in there. Not just for me but for my kids as well. I put some spinach or mustard greens, avocado, or cucumber in there, and they’ll love it. I’ll use a whey protein or a fermented dairy like a quark or a skyr and add nuts or an avocado and some edible berries. People can find some of those recipes in my book, The Body Reset Diet.


What makes dairy so essential to our diets?
I think dairy is one of the most convenient ways to get quality protein in your diet, and has not one, but two kinds of protein: casein and whey. They’re both helpful for satiety, boosting metabolism, and for cell growth. It’s an easy way to get calcium and vitamin D in your diet. And whether you have yogurt or another fermented product, dairy can help with your gut health.

How does dairy fit into your health and wellness routine?          
I like to start my day with an apple pie smoothie. I use two percent or one percent milk as a base, and I’ll use a strained yogurt, an apple with skin, a frozen banana, a palmful of almonds and a pinch of cinnamon. We’ll even sneak a few greens or spinach in there for my kids as well.

For lunch I’ll do an open-faced Reuben. I’ll throw on some light Swiss cheese. Or I like whipped cottage cheese with French onion soup mix to dip some veggies.

What’s your favorite pre- or post-workout drink or meal?
I don’t really have one. Most people are training for weight management as opposed to athletic performance, so I’d rather tell people to hydrate. I’d say look at your day and figure out where your meals are. For an athlete, I’d do a protein shake with whey an hour or so before. Maybe some higher-carbohydrate fruit like a banana after if you’re replenishing your carbohydrate stores after a long, exhaustive training session.

What’s your advice for incorporating whey protein into a training regimen?
Whey protein is a supplement of convenience. You can add it to your smoothie, you can add it when you bake things. It’s a great way to add protein to a meal that’s otherwise difficult to add protein to.