• Celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak says that going to the gym should only be used as a way to tone muscles.
  • You can get fit by eating healthy and staying active outside of the gym.
  • If you do go to the gym, you really only need to spend 30 minutes there at the most, since you should only be targeting certain body parts and not doing cardio.

The gym isn’t a place that most people enjoy spending hours in.

And according to celebrity trainer and nutritionist Harley Pasternak, you don’t have to in order to be fit.

Pasternak has worked with Ariana Grande, Lady Gaga, and Megan Fox, but his approach to fitness is something anyone — celeb or not — can conquer.

Here’s how he gets his clients in shape:

Woman Walking in Pink Sneakers
Walking is a great way to burn fat. 

Walking is the most effective way to burn fat.

Pasternak’s motto is, “you get lean in life and strong in the gym.” He says, “The gym is when you can strengthen, tone, tighten muscles. But if there’s fat covering those muscles, no one will ever seen them. And that’s what’s happening outside of the gym.”

So how do you get rid of the fat that obscures muscles? According to Pasternak, walking is the most effective methodWalking burns a higher percentage of calories from fat sources than more intense forms of cardio does, like running.

Homemade Smoothie
Homemade smoothies are healthy and easy to make. 

Eating healthy is more crucial than going to the gym.

Some people use the gym as justification for overeating or eating unhealthy foods. Unfortunately, that’s not the right way to go about exercising. Pasternak says, “If you eat poorly, there is no cardio in the world that can make up for that.”

Pasternak recommends drinking blended homemade smoothies with ingredients like fruit and veggies because they’re healthy but also easy to make.

Woman Lifting Weights
Use the gym only if you want to tone certain body parts. 

If you do go to the gym, you don’t have to spend much time there.

If you’re looking to take your workouts to the next level and add lean muscle tissue to your body, Pasternak recommends going to the gym — but not an insane amount. He says his clients hit the gym anywhere from three to five times a week, and the more often they go, the less time they spend there.

“Their [the clients’] workouts never really exceed 30 minutes because they’re not coming in for us to give them a cardio workout… They’re coming in to target certain body parts.” 

Sometimes, Pasternak will give his clients just one exercise to do for the day. For example, he’ll have them do five sets of 20 reverse lunges. That will take them less than 10 minutes, and Pasternak says they’ll probably be sore for the next few days. “If you do a lot of things pretty well in your life, you really don’t need to do anything a lot,” he says.

So if you’re looking to tone, head to the gym. But if you’re just looking to stay fit in a more general sense, make sure to stay active — as opposed to sedentary — in your everyday life.



Ask the doctors

Q. I have a very stressful job, and recently my blood pressure readings started going up. Could my job stress be the reason why?

A. Yes, chronic stress can affect blood pressure. Several hormones affect your heart’s rhythm, including epinephrine and norepinephrine. When these hormone levels rise, your heart starts to work harder. Stress hormones can also constrict your blood vessels, causing temporary blood pressure spikes.

Chronic stress may expose you to more of these hormones, which can raise your blood pressure in general, even when you’re not in a stressful moment. Doctors diagnose high blood pressure after a series of measurements reveal elevated values, beyond these temporary elevations. Stress can also trigger some people to adopt unhealthy habits that might put their cardiovascular health at risk, including overeating, not exercising, not getting enough sleep, and misusing drugs or alcohol. When you can’t change a stressful job situation, you can adopt some stress reduction techniques to manage your symptoms, such as meditation, deep breathing, or regular exercise. For additional tips to help you reduce stress, consult the Harvard Special Health Report Stress Management, available at

— by Hope Ricciotti, M.D., and Toni Golen, M.D.
Editors in Chief, Harvard Women’s Health Watch


Wherever you work, productivity is probably high on your priority list for a successful day. And while there are many strategies to boost productivity, it never hurts to think about how you can harness the energy of your space to make it serve you in more ways than just providing the space.

With that in mind, we spoke to feng shui expert Amanda Gibby Peters about what things we should be focusing on in our workspace to bring more productivity to our lives:

1. Consider adding a mirror to your workspace.

“Mirrors expand space, bringing it to life,” Peters told mindbodygreen. “When you need to summon the creative muses, work in a room with one.” This obviously works better in an at-home workspace, but if it’s creative energy you’re after, a reflective, space-expanding surface may help bring that to fruition.Article continues below

2. Find a way to introduce height.

“Vertical energy is activating, so use it to boost your productivity,” she explained.

Specifically, Peters recommends working near taller furniture (think bookshelves) or introducing a tall plant to your space. Lighting can also help here: Choose options that send light upward to create vertical shapes, which stimulate the environment to shake things up when “the doldrums start to slow you down,” said Peters.

3. Clean your space.

This one may sound self-explanatory, but there’s good reason to set aside some time to clear up your workspace at the end of the day.

“A clean and clear desk increases productivity and job satisfaction,” according to Peters. And there’s more: “If that’s not motivation enough, take one guess what ritual top entrepreneurs around the world have in common?  A clean desk.” Ending the day with this practice can also bookend it so that the downtime after a busy day can be productive in its own way.

Remembering the power our space has over our lives can help us manipulate those spaces to get what we need from them. But once you’ve spruced up your space, you may want to also think about shaking up your routine in other ways to make yourself not only more productive but happier too. And if you’re still struggling to check off that to-do list, you can try these breathing exercises to help you focus.


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