In Art Of Coaching Podcast

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Okay, on to the show.

Gunnar Peterson might work in LA but he’s in no way “Hollywood”. On the contrary, we brought him on to help us dismantle some leadership BS.

Do leaders wield influence? Yes. Are they held to a higher standard? Yeah. Are they accountable to people other than themselves? Absolutely. And it’s for these reasons that we’re talking to Gunnar about the need to set expectations and boundaries around time, create routines and habits to juggle life and work, and be authentic in a world that wants to pin you with a label.

We also discuss:

  1. Why he’s okay being called a “personal trainer” (when many in coaching aren’t)

  2. The difference between living in Hollywood and “acting Hollywood”

  3. How to grade yourself on your use of different communication platforms

  4. Communication as a way to clarify boundaries and set expectations

Gunnar is a Beverly Hills-based personal trainer whose clients include celebrities, professional athletes, and everyday people. Gunnar is also the Los Angeles Lakers’ Director of Strength and Endurance. With over 28 years in the fitness industry, Gunnar’s dynamic approach, boundless energy and (sometimes risky) humor only add to the effectiveness of the experience his clients enjoy. With a client list as diverse as his training methods, Gunnar emphasizes strength training modalities that can be transferred from the gym to daily life, from training camp to championship game.

Connect with Gunnar:

Via his website:

Via Instagram: @gunnarfitness


Gunnar Peterson  0:01  

I am super happy when I see somebody who I’ve spent any time with or read any good things about succeeding, I’m happy for that person, I’m having my life, I’m having my successes. I’m not constantly looking over the fence, what are they doing? How are they having that success, I’m excited for them, I’m happy for them that they landed that person that they got that gig that they got that endorsement. I’m happy for him, good for them. And I think if you come at it from that position, you’re setting yourself up, whether it’s you believe in karma, or however you see it, but I think you’re putting a good vibe out there, as opposed to just denouncing that person or talking trash or saying why they shouldn’t have that or why they’re not qualified or why it should be you. That’s a lot of sour grapes, and, you know, got a need to add to that collective.


Welcome to the Art of coaching podcast, a show aimed at getting to the core of what it takes to change attitudes, behaviors and outcomes in the weight room, boardroom classroom, and everywhere in between. I’m your host, Brett Bartholomew, I’m a performance coach, keynote speaker, and the author of the book conscious coaching. But most importantly, I’m a lifelong student interested in all aspects of human behavior and communication. I want to thank you for joining me. And now let’s dive into today’s episode.


Brett Bartholomew  1:32  

Being able to read the room, the moment you walk in is not something that comes naturally to many people. Being able to understand behavior in general is not something that comes easily or naturally to most people. And being able to adapt your communication style based on what others find interesting, or polarizing is something that comes naturally to us. It’s hard to understand what makes other people tick. And it’s even harder sometimes to know what makes us tick, because we don’t all engage with some level of self reflection. Even that term itself can invoke images of this kumbaya kind of exercise. But it doesn’t have to anymore, guys, we have created something simple, straightforward, super practical, that you, your staff, and anybody can do, it’s 100% free, you just go to It is a simple drives assessment. And if you know anything about drives, or my work in the past, we’ve talked about the research backing these this is not just another term for motivation. This isn’t some esoteric term for inspiration drives or subconscious influences of behavior that underpin a large part of our physiology and the decisions we make and the behaviors that we employ. But if you don’t educate yourself on them, it’s going to become really hard to bridge the gap when you’re dealing with people in your day to day life and knowing how to interact with them. So again, you can do it from your phone, it’s super easy. The one thing I always hated about, you know, classic psychometric tests or personality tests, there’s always like 150 questions or the questions didn’t have much context, or the answers were really weird. And they were what it was called forced choice questioning. We’ve created something way, way, way more simple, easy to implement. There are six primary drives. So again, go to right now. 


Brett Bartholomew  3:22  

And our guest today is somebody that excels at this being able to read the room, being able to stay within the bounds of who he is, and understanding not just who he is, but how he approaches things in an unapologetic yet ethical way. Gunnar Peterson out Gunnar Peterson is a Beverly Hills based personal trainer and his clients include celebrities, professional athletes, everyday people. And he is also the director of strength and endurance for the legendary Los Angeles Lakers who won the NBA title again this year. So he is widely recognized for his expertise and functional training, as well as his commitment to developing and implementing fitness techniques that have really lasted the test of time, right. And this is something I appreciate about Gunnar is he doesn’t fall into these fads and these nuances and he has fun with stuff, right? So you know, there’s so many people in every kind of industry that take themselves too seriously. And there’s a balance, you need to always take your work seriously, but yourself, not so much. You’ve got to be able to arrange that. And today that’s what we’re talking to Gunnar about is expectations, the experience that you cultivate. Now within that you get a good idea of the values of this individual and the brand that He cultivates, right? And so when it comes to expectations, knowing how to manage them in your own life, the people you work with the people you work for, right? We all answer to somebody, we don’t always get that how to guide so I’m super excited to be able to bring you this episode. Gunner is a good friend tells it to be straight, and he gave in depth thoughtful answers here instead of things that beat around the bush. So turn the volume up and get ready. Ladies and gentlemen, Gunnar Peterson


Okay, off the cuff.


Well listen, you know what, you know what? I hope you know that. I hope you know that I hit record right there.


Gunnar Peterson  5:08  

You’re not the scariest person I’ve talked to today. So we’re good 


Brett Bartholomew  5:11  

who is let’s start with that you guys you’re diving right in with a conversation unfiltered with myself and none other than Gunnar Peterson I need to know the scariest person you talk to today.


Gunnar Peterson  5:22  

It’s not the scariest, it’s the one that it’s the person who comes packing the biggest punch. And you know that the biggest punch they’re packing is not the biggest punch that they have. So if that one stuns you, but you recover, you just got to stay here because you know, the next one’s gonna be big or could be it could be


Brett Bartholomew  5:41  

and I’m glad that that’s where you started. Because a big thing that we like to talk about on this podcast is kind of dismantling leadership BS, right? And they’re, you know, like, I think you’ve been in the field, how long now? Have you been a coach and a business person and everything else that you are how long?


Gunnar Peterson  5:56  

It’s funny you say that? I’ve been doing personal training, strength conditioning coaching for 30 years, okay, but a business person. My usual disclaimer with, especially with trainers is, in my opinion, this this this, but remember, I’m a trainer, not a businessman, right? And I make that claim because my brother is a freakishly successful business person, my dad, phenomenal, you know, Mount Rushmore business guy. That’s not me. And if they ever heard me say, Well, I’m a businessman, they would literally laugh until they fell off their chair.


Brett Bartholomew  6:30  

No, but here’s the thing. You are a power broker, right? Like you do wield influence whether you want to use that term or not the definition, Well, yeah, it’s not about a term that you use. It’s what you are like, nobody works with the Los Angeles Lakers. The movie stars, you have the business people you have the people you have everybody that you have, right, you have a wide range of influence, and whether you want to admit to that or not, with your humility, and all those things. That’s the bottom line is somebody who is the definition here. You know what, as a matter of fact, we’re going to pull this up and use it.


Gunnar Peterson  7:00  

But it’s not humility, if it’s real. I don’t see it that way. And I choose to look at it like, I don’t see myself as a power broker. I see myself as I’m smart enough to surround myself with super high achievers, people who are ambitious, have drive zero, quit. It puts me in the right space that I want to be in when I call a buddy, let’s say and I go, Hey, what’s going on? They go on nothing. Just chillin. And I go, What are you doing? They go, nothing hanging out. That literally gives me anxiety, I can feel my heart rate go up, it makes me think I gotta get off the phone, that there’s something that I associate that with not being productive, not moving the ball forward. And maybe that’s not right. Maybe they’ve worked all day. And they’re just decompressing. And I should allow that. But it’s usually the same person. And not much, you know, just chillin that I don’t want to be around that that’s not where I want to go at this stage of my life.


Brett Bartholomew  7:55  

Well, and that’s what I was getting into, right. So the thing that we don’t really allow for on this show is like, and you have the choice to hop off. Now, if you want to given this. We don’t do the typical, like standard leadership stuff like hey, just work hard in your industry. Look, people in the eye, shake their hand, remember their name, we know these things matter, right? But you also have to deal with some Machiavellian bullshit in this world. You have had your fair share of that you live in, you know the part of the country that is notorious for this right? How do you just talk to me briefly and please don’t do the talk to me briefly about how you’ve navigated men able to read the room wear different masks and Sir not just survive, but thrive in this environment where everybody wants to take your face off. Everybody wants to label you, you know, people aren’t loyal, some are all these


Gunnar Peterson  8:41  

hang on because what I love about your stuff, whether it’s your book, or watching your presentation in person, and you know how I feel about your book, because I mean, I’m sure if you follow your sales receipts, you’ve seen that I’ve bought cases of your book that I handed out literally like Halloween candy. So that but I would say, as good as your book is, you in person are are better. And your word choices is specific and pointed, and on point and on target. So going back to what you just said, I wear these different masks. I don’t think so I think I wear no masks. And I think that’s why it works. I think what you see is what you get, I think I know where I’m from. I know my family. I know how I was raised. I know what I expect of myself, I know what’s expected of me, from my parents from my brother from the nuclear family, and I can’t ever sell that out. So that’s why maybe I’ve been able to survive because why there’s always a return to normal. I know where my normal is. I’m not going this way. You know, if we go to a party and someone says you want a shot at tequila, I’m like yes, someone’s Hey, you want to do some mushrooms? I’m like, no, because I know my line. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do them. If you’ve had great experiences with that now Knock yourself out. That’s not my thing. So and I have that with everything, whether it’s a business deal. I know my borders, I know my parameters, right. And I wouldn’t call them limits because they’re self imposed. But I know where I work well and where I think I can use something to thrive.


Brett Bartholomew  10:19  

I like that answer. And I appreciate that. So I’ll be interested in the follow up to this right and this is why we do it unscripted, because we’ve got to have these kinds of direct real answers. We had a guy a tremendous guy on name’s Steven Pock and he’s been in the military worked in intelligence now works at Facebook, trying to make that technology safer, because we all kind of know the pluses and minuses of social media and what have you. And this guy tried to do right by it. And I asked him a question. I said, you know, you came up in the military and intelligence yet now you work at Facebook, you know, when you guys hire somebody? Do you look at the background and judge kind of by industry and what have you and I phrase it more eloquently than that at the time. But the point was, is how did you get plucked for this job? You know, and he said, Listen, you know, one thing that we do pretty well is we don’t really care about the background, we just care. Were you a rockstar at what you did. So let’s take somebody like you right now. You’re not afraid to use the term personal trainer for many people. They can feel like oh, you know, there’s this kind of thing and strength and conditioning. Oh, like I’m, you know, personal trainer strength coach, which one’s better hierarchy? Yet, you have your hand and this is what I meant earlier by powerbroker. Even though we may not like the word you have influence, right, you have wide reach wide network beyond that of your title, right. The Appalachian have a personal trainer is not all that you are. How have you been able to overcome that bias of somebody just seeing you as a weight room guy? Right? Oh, there’s just a weight room guy. What do they know? You have a wide sphere of influence? How have you overcame that label?


Gunnar Peterson  11:45  

I think I don’t worry about the labels. There’s a guy. It’s funny, you said that I have. I struggle with social media, right? and I get told all the time how I’m doing it wrong. And okay. I look at it. Like somebody said to me just this weekend, yeah, but you kind of post on the fly, you don’t really have a plan. And I go Yeah, I’m sorry. 


Brett Bartholomew  12:04  

I’m the same way.


Gunnar Peterson  12:05  

I’m sorry, I’m too strategic. I’m not strategic enough for you. And I just you know, but I was going to do a thing I was going to do a trainer appreciation post or strength coach appreciation where I was and you’re on my list, 


Brett Bartholomew  12:19  

Thank you I was coming after you the crowbar, he’s ready to take out your knees.


Gunnar Peterson  12:24  

But I was going to just put people that and one of the things I was going to write and I have this in my little notes thing was this person because they do this this person because it is and then I was gonna say I don’t need some list that was put together by some algorithm of who’s trained whom over the years or who has X amount of followers or you know, who’s had XYZ successes. I was gonna do it literally by the contact that I’ve had with people and the contacts in my phone. So people that I literally I know and I have one guy who’s a friend and over the course of in over the course of the last couple basketball seasons, he’s a strength coach in the NBA and he said to me, I’m nobody’s personal trainer. And I said, hey, hey, I mean, you may not realize that but you kind of just slapped me and he was gonna auto mean that about you. I mean, that’s fine. If you are I go on, thanks so much for allowing me to do that. But for him, there was a real delineation between personal trainer and strength coach, and for me, there’s not nor has there ever have been. I mean, I look at it like you’re working people to get, you’re putting together a program, hopefully a continuing program, not a one off for people to be able to get better at what they want to get better at whether it’s professional basketball, professional boxing, professional tennis, amateur tennis, making a lacrosse team in college, making the lacrosse team in high school, someone who’s postpartum and trying to drop the baby weight a guy who’s been, you know, chained to his desk for 25 years, he looks up. He’s made $60 million. But he realized he’s also gained 60 pounds and so you know,  that’s how I look at it. You know, you call it what you want. Well, please don’t call it Life Coach. But that’s another cycle. 


Brett Bartholomew  14:24  

You don’t want to you don’t want to be called that Gunnar Peterson

 and life coach.


Gunnar Peterson  14:29  

I just don’t think I’m in the position to coach your life. 


Brett Bartholomew  14:32  

Right? Yeah, 


Gunnar Peterson  14:32  

I think you know, I think I’ve got my struggles and stressors as do you as do everyone. So I’m not. And I don’t want to be that and I want to solve all those problems for us why we don’t talk. I just tell when I speak to trainers, just listen, you don’t have to weigh in and they say what should I do? And you say, I don’t know. Talk to me about it. You let them air it out and talk it through at the end of the day. They’re going to come up with the answer that they might have already had when they walked in, but it’s not for you to say you’ve got to dump that girl or my gosh, man, you have to get a divorce immediately. That’s not up to you to say, you know, I would invest all your money in Pfizer, no, those are not for the trainer to say you should be saying, Let’s go next set, or we’re going to bump the pace on this next run. Those are to me what the strength coach slash trainer should be saying. So it’s funny that my buddy and he is a good friend, but he makes it he was very he was standing pat on Don’t call me a trainer. I’m nobody’s trainer was aware. And I was like, whoa, okay. that’s just a name, right? that’s just a name. That means nothing to me, call me what you want? 


Brett Bartholomew  15:40  

Well, it kind of goes into I don’t know where you stand on this. But to me, it it goes into, and I’ve talked about on the show a lot. There are a lot of people in our industry that try to create, they’ll try so hard to create these separations with this scarcity, bias, they’ve got to do anything to make themselves look different. It’s like, when you interact with people in other industries, of course, every industry does that to a degree. But the more you try to pound your chest and try to make it seem like you’re something different, or something nuanced, or you know, something special, it’s like, you’re actually you get nowhere by trying to prove your value, as opposed to providing value, you know, but you’re in a loud  city man, you know, 


Gunnar Peterson  16:14  

but two things on that you hear, I learned this one in high school, you don’t get taller standing on someone else,So by knocking anybody else’s stuff that doesn’t make you look better. So I don’t need to do that ever. I always keep it positive, you can always take something good from what somebody else is doing or not doing. That’s one. The other one is have you ever gone to a fitness trade show? And I go to those and I comb those aisles? I don’t just gloss over them. I go through and I try to meet and understand and see the products. Is there anything I can pull to make? My I mean, it starts higher, it’s can I make my clients experience in my gym better? Can I make their workout more efficient? Is there something that’s more effective as a training tool, and then there’s something that’s fun and could make the activity more enjoyable, I look at all those things. But what you see it a lot of those trade shows everything. A lot of the things there are geared towards client retention. You know, this will help you as a gym owner, retain your clients, this will help you as a trainer. What’s that


Brett Bartholomew  17:18  

like Some nuanced. So there’s things there that you’re talking about, like in terms of retention, that help with engagement, not just like


Gunnar Peterson  17:25  

this, on this piece of cardio equipment, it has this and this. And the user interface is such that psychological profiling tells us that the person will want to do it again. It’s like the rat with a pellet bar. And I go, how about just a great workout and a great attitude and a positive experience overall, I mean, great service comes down to me the strength and conditioning, maybe not at certain levels, they don’t see it that way. But really, you’re in a service industry. 


Brett Bartholomew  17:52  

Now time out, pause, I want to know certain levels. we’re not letting you zip over that. Because you’ve been in team and you’ve been in private and you’ve been in different aspects. When you say certain levels, I unpack that a moment, because I like where you’re going with this experience and knowing because you do have to create, I don’t care if you’re in college, I don’t care if you’re in pro, I don’t care what business you’re in, right, because we have listeners that have nothing to do with fitness and strength conditioning. Experience is a universal theme. But I want you to unpack what you were saying with that a moment ago.


Gunnar Peterson  18:18  

Well, I think some, in my experience, some of the high school strength guys that I’ve met, or the college strength guys that I’ve met, they would vehemently deny that they are in a service industry. And for them, it’s they create a workout and they put the athletes through the workout. And that’s just that and it’s their little, you know, kingdom and what they say goes they are judging jury and bang, bang, bang, here we go knock this out. They don’t want to hear from you. They’re the only voice in the room. You know,  they’re the only actor who’s miked up on the set and you’re like, I don’t see it. I don’t work like that. Whether I’m working with kids or or college level or there’s an interaction, it’s not equal. I mean, I am running the workout because I’ve set the program and you’ve come to me for that. But you’re definitely going to weigh in whether it’s, this is too heavy. This is too light, I need a second. I can go now. Whatever it is, there’s gonna be there’s a dialogue. It’s not a monologue. So that’s what I meant by that, I think at some level, and if those people had been employed at that level and had any success at that level, for any period of time, I understand why they think it’s okay. and but I don’t agree with that. So it’s not how I would run it and you could say, right, well, then you’d then they would run roughshod over you and you wouldn’t, you would lose control the weight room, maybe, maybe, maybe,


Brett Bartholomew  19:48  

and it’s so much crap, man. I mean, it just is like, you know, these things aren’t that different, like, you know, having done stuff in the college side, and I’m sure someone can be like gloom where you’re just a GA okay, I still ran you know, six seven teams, what have you done the private done this, like, it’s all different variations of the same thing. And it gets so exhausting because I think to your point people miss the bigger picture of like, what’s the experience here? Right? Like think about this right? How many college strength coaches or high school strength coaches have you heard, and this is educators in general and any feel, Oh, attention span and accountability and this and this and this? Listen, most of these kids don’t have an issue with attention span, they’re playing video games for, you know, two, three hours, they’re on their phone, they have this, you’re not always doing a good enough job engaging them. And then what I had somebody say to me one time, because they heard me say that at a clinic is they said, Alright, then, you know, buy in guy, why don’t you tell me how to coach all 150 of my athletes, and I go, I don’t know your athletes, do you? You know, that’s part of like, if you know your athletes, as well, as you want to tell me that you do right now, then you should have an idea of how to engage them, you know, but like, don’t sit here and put me and I’m like, I’m now supposed to give it here. Yo, here’s a list, right? And I just throw out. Like, here’s how you coach every one of them. Now, if you want to have a conversation about these things, we can problem solve together. But I’ve just never seen an industry. So hell bent on trying to fight one another and blow everybody up and draw different. It’s like, get over it.


Gunnar Peterson  20:07  

I agree. That’s why I said, Yeah, that’s why I said, I tried to have that dialogue and keep it open, I was gonna do a series of trainer appreciation posts. Why? I don’t know, just because I think it’s cool to be see, to recognize other people in the industry. I take phone calls from trainers, I have trainer, I don’t take meetings in the middle of the day with a trainer who’s you know, coming in from Arizona, or Ireland or something. But I will say come by and join me for a workout in the morning. it’s not good use of my time to block out a client hour or a potential client hour to sit and meet with you. Because it’s not good for me, it’s probably not good for you, but come by catch a workout or talk to me while I’m working out. But that’s a better use of time.


Brett Bartholomew  21:52  

Can I ask you something on that just while you’re on that? So today, I had posted something about that of I had a good friend reached out to me. And he had said, Hey, would you mind helping me the project? And I love this guy, right? I get along with him just like I get along with you. He can call me anytime. And I said, Listen, you know, I don’t have the time to commit to this right now. And he’s like I hear you mate would only take you a little bit right, like maybe 48 hours at most in total. And I’m like, because it was essentially writing an excerpt for something. And I said, you know, I would love to, but again, I want to be honest, like I’m a new dad granted my kids 10 months, I’m getting my doctorate. I’m working on a new book, I’m coaching I’m doing things like this. I just can’t. And it was you know, friendly way. Right, like pulled out the big time card. And this must have happened to me like 30 times this year. 


Gunnar Peterson  22:36  

He pulled out the big time card on you. 


Brett Bartholomew  22:37  

Yeah, right. Like, 


Gunnar Peterson  22:39  

that’s, one of my biggest pet peeves when you call me out on that. I mean, I want to glove up, I need to try that. And I get angry because it flies in the face of who I know I am. And if you had any idea of how many people I step up for, how many things I let jumped the queue in my life. And the fact that I was emboldened enough in this moment to say, Hey, I can’t right now. I’m just being straight with you. I can’t. And you’re gonna call me on that. How many other people at your level would have even returned the call?


Brett Bartholomew  23:15  

Well it’s that and it’s like the professionalism. Right. So another tool we use, and I know you’re very organized, we use Calendly. Right. And so like, we did it to schedule this call, if you get if you’re like, let’s say you say, Hey, Brett, you know, let’s connect, I send you a Calendly link. And the nice thing about it is Gunnar, it’s respectful to you because when it shows up in your timezone, and then you get to pick any time, right? Even when I started using something like that people would say, Oh, this and this and this couldn’t, couldn’t you just drop it, I go, Listen, you are now texting me 20 times back and forth where you could just click the link, seen what it was and pick the time that work. It’s called being organized. And we live in this world, right on one side of the equation is hey, do the one thing prioritize protect your time. But then on the other side, people just want your time constant. Like you said, somebody may want to come in and drop by from Arizona or LA and say, can I shadow you? Can I do this? And it’s like, if you say no, They take that personally where you might be saying,


Gunnar Peterson  24:07  

I’m automatically a dick. 


Brett Bartholomew  24:09  

Yeah, you’re a dick. 


Gunnar Peterson  24:11  

that guy is an asshole. He thinks he’s so cool. he’s gone Hollywood, I’m like have gone Hollywood, dude. I could have 3:45 Four in the morning, have I gone Hollywood? I want to work early. I’m staying in shape. I’m taking care of wife kids. I stay in contact with my brother. Almost every day I call my mom and my dad every day. I manage my clients. Here’s my schedule. I mean, this is what this looks like bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang bang and the scratches out or where somebody called back after they locked in something and changed it and I do. I mean, I’m managing a ton of things. I walk in right on time, every time. So now I’m a dick because I didn’t let you jump the queue. Come on,


Brett Bartholomew  24:49  

 and that’s what I was going to ask you is so you have an executive assistant or an assistant. 


Gunnar Peterson  24:54  

I do all my own scheduling. 


Brett Bartholomew  24:55  

Okay, but do you have anybody on your team that helps you kind of man like that helps you man. At any part of your day, anything like that logistically,


Gunnar Peterson  25:02  

I do, I have a great girl, Kaylee Davis and I send her stuff literally round the clock. I said, Turn your phone off, because if not, it’s going to ring. And it’ll look, that’s just how I work. And I’ll say, remind me to schedule Brett’s podcast, remind me to lock that in, make sure I do this. I sent her some in the middle of the night last night. And I said, So and so has a birthday coming up. We need to do a disgusting pornographic cake for this person, make sure we get it by Thursday. And she’ll walk in eight o’clock and say got the thing about that. We’ll do that. Make sure we post this at this time. So that helps me wrangle it all right. It’s like shepherding all my little extraneous thoughts. But it doesn’t mean that I’m exempt from having the thoughts and getting them in, you know, funneling them through it


Brett Bartholomew  25:51  

literally, no, but what I mean by that is that, to me, is always looking, I would never reach out to somebody because I ended up hiring an assistant a few years ago. And then you get guff from that. So it’s like, let me get this straight, you get guff for having an assistant trying to schedule your time trying to do this, but you’re trying to win, you’re trying to turn pro right. And in terms of a metaphor, right, trying to become more professional, you balance that. And so I was just going to ask you how you handle that, because I don’t think you feel there’s not a lot of strain coaches, there’s not a lot of personal trainers that have those kinds of systems in play, right? Like they’re just there’s not, but it’s critical to being able to wear those hats. And when you talk about creating a good experience for your clients, or anybody that you work with? I mean, how much has that helped you? I mean, if you just ran around and lived life that Gunnar Peterson way where nobody helped orient these things, and you weren’t able to admit your weaknesses, or you weren’t able to say hey, no, I can’t at this time or what have you? How much is not protecting your time, sir, to screw those things up? And more importantly, what kind of monster do you become if you let other people start running your time?


Gunnar Peterson  26:48  

Well, what would happen is things would start slipping between the cracks. And, and then I would get instead of the one email that says, Oh, your big timing, me I get six of those. And then I’d get three people out there talking and say, you know, guy doesn’t return my call. And, I do return calls, I gotta say, I will say, I’m a little slow on WhatsApp. Although I have more people that use it every year, it seems. But I just don’t for whatever reason, it’s not an icon I click on, I have someone who sends me a lot of things on there. And they’re the things that aren’t business. So sometimes I don’t open them because they’re 12. So if that number goes up on my whatsapp thing, I don’t see it and then somebody will circle back and send me a text, I’m graded on text, I would give myself an A on text an A minus a B to B minus on email, and a strong C minus on text on a phone.


Brett Bartholomew  27:44  

I like that grading system. That’s  good content, I would give myself if I can play like I hate email. So I’d give myself now I have my assistant help with that. And it’s mainly just because I’m done with my time and over extended, I’d probably give myself a D on email. If you reach out to me on Facebook Messenger on Twitter, I’m absolutely an F. Just because there’s too many social media things you have to right like you at some point, you got to cut it off on Instagram, I think I’m very good for most part on texts on the bat. And now on the phone. I’m the best, right? Like if it’s immediate, direct and personal. I have a communication pyramid.


Gunnar Peterson  28:17  

And that’s why I’m on text because I can jump in between in a five or 10 minute break and go but up, put up put up, get you back even if I’ve just batted it back across the net. And it gave me nothing tangible. I also and this is not a great because I don’t want to come across as aggressive. This is a suggestion for Apple. Give me the option to mark unread a text message. Yeah, because once I open it, I can’t put the blue dot back. And then there’s a chance that it gets lost now, email an email I can read Mark it unread. And then I know to go back to it. 


Brett Bartholomew  28:52  

Yeah, one of smy neighbors works for Apple. I’m gonna go over there and pound on his door right now and be like, listen, 


Gunnar Peterson  28:57  

I know Eddie queue up their, dude, guy, so I’ll run that up the chain, but that is hard. I tried to stay on top of those things. Look, we’re all human to it. I don’t know. I never write. If I write someone and they don’t write back, I just assume they’re busy or they don’t want it I might circle back later but I might not and I will just leave it all but I don’t hold that against them and I don’t then judge their character that’s the part that I find incredible.


Brett Bartholomew  29:23  

It’s funny you know you and I got on this and I like there’s so many things we can talk about brand experience all this but really I think a lot of the tone of this and appropriately so especially with what’s going on this year is expectations. Right? Like people 


Gunnar Peterson  29:34  

manage them. manage them 


Brett Bartholomew  29:36  

Right? You know, and  you being a dad and also having How old is Monroe now?


Gunnar Peterson  29:41  

Oh, good call that you knew her name. Monroe is 10 months old.


Brett Bartholomew  29:47  

Same old same age as my son.


Gunnar Peterson  29:49  

Yep. And I’ve got Zane who is four and a half and I’ve got Sloane who’s 16 Jack who’s 21 and Henry who’s 22


Brett Bartholomew  29:58  

Yeah, yeah. And so like, that’s a good point with expectations, right. But I think one thing that’s helped like right now, if I look at my phone, I think I started today with 29 unread texts. And none of those people are not a priority to me, it just means that I’ve gotten better at managing my time and my energy of just saying, Hey, if you know me, and I didn’t get back to you, you know that I will, I guess that you’re not a priority, but like, I have other things that I’ve got to do. And you wouldn’t respect me if I didn’t do those things. And that’s just what that is, you know. So with that, you know, expectations. And I think, experience, what have you, you manage a lot of people in your time, right? Like you’ve had trainers come and go out of your facility. Do you have like, what’s your staff look like now in any of your ventures Like,  


Gunnar Peterson  30:42  

I have one guy there, Brad Siskin, who is a tireless worker, and delivers quality hour after hour? And I mean, that guy, I keep looking at him, like, is he gonna just die one day right there, he just keeps cranking he’s, and then I go, Oh, yeah, but that’s what I used to do. And I still do the same. But I’m seeing 6 7 8 people, Brad seeing 9 10 11 12 people and I used to do the same thing. Brad is younger than I am, Brett doesn’t have kids, we’re coming at it from a different thing. And but that’s also how my gym is set up. I didn’t set up my gym to have 3 5 8 trainers, maybe down the line, I’ll do a facility that accommodates that. But right now, that’s what we have some of that’s parking. A lot of that’s privacy that worked in my other facility. And that’s what the people that come to us. Like, whether it’s consciously or subconsciously, in fact, I have, sometimes I have another trainer rule through a friend or something or a military friend that I’ll allow, you know, like a really Reyes type, and they’ll pair in a workout or some other guys. And the people that are the regulator will look and it’s almost like, who’s in my house? And I have to explain who it is and why they are an exception. And you know, I don’t apologize for it. Especially the military guys. You know how I feel about that. So yeah. So that’s I mean, there’s no stamp. 


Brett Bartholomew  32:06  

No,the reason I bring that up is and that’s helpful context. I’m glad that you didn’t like you gave a good in depth view. But I mean, you’ve worked, whether it’s you said his name was Brad, correct? 


Gunnar Peterson  32:16  



Brett Bartholomew  32:17  

Okay, whether it’s Brad or people that you just worked with, or around or in conjunction with in the past, we all have to have difficult conversations. And one of our audience questions was essentially, you know, essentially, during this time, they’ve had some staff that has underperformed and what have you, they haven’t been as open to, you know, they’re able to train some people in person still, but they also have to do some more stuff digitally, right, because we’re recording this during COVID. And that’s how their situation works. But they’ve had to, they were to staff that they had to let go. There’s another staff member that’s just kind of not on board with things, and it’s kind of gotten comfortable. And this person admittedly, is just like, Listen, I’m a pretty direct, no nonsense balls to the wall coach, but I still hate having these kinds of staff discussions. And one person accused me and my wife, who obviously is a co owner of the gym, about being all about the money at this time, how do you manage these things? And I know how like I manage this, but this show is not about me. And I’ve talked about this in any way, shape, or form. Can you just address any difficult discussions you’ve had to have? In the past? Obviously, you don’t have to give names anything like that. But just how you go about even mentally framing that up? And maybe it’s direct, maybe you go Ari Gold on him? Right? Or maybe it’s there’s an art to it. But can you address any one of those in context?


Gunnar Peterson  33:24  

Yeah, sure. I would have all of I would have all of the trainers in your facility independent contractors or staff employees, however, you’re structured there, I would have them read art of coaching, I would have them read the conscious coaching.


Brett Bartholomew  33:41  

 I appreciate I didn’t pay you for that.


Gunnar Peterson  33:44  

No, no, I’m telling you because how you have that, I can’t just say here’s how you have that conversation. Because Who are you talking to? 


Brett Bartholomew  33:52  

Right? Get to know your audience. 


Gunnar Peterson  33:54  

Know your audience read that room, what the person you’re talking to, is probably going to fall under one of those archetypes or not, but they’re going to be a part of one or a part of another and then that should dictate assuming you’re engaged in your conscious that should dictate your approach because some guys you can’t just go out and go hard on him. But other guys you can you can fly off the handle, get their attention, then pull it back. I’m not saying you create like Stockholm syndrome with a but you can definitely I’m direct with it. And I will say no, no, I don’t need to apologize to anybody who came before Brad. I wasn’t my best before I was under different stressors. I went through a divorce


Brett Bartholomew  34:40  

that’s what I want to know. How did you handle the good, right wrong or indifferent in the past Value grown?


Gunnar Peterson  34:46  

I think there were times when I was great with it and it fell on deaf ears and I think there were times when I was less than great. I mean, I don’t want to say I was terrible shitty, but I was less than great and, but also sometimes things built up and part was probably passive aggressive on it sometimes I’m shocked at how do you not know that this isn’t working? How do you just walk in here every day and not feel what I feel? And I feel like I’m a pretty giving open, generous, approachable. Business Owner, person, Father, how do you not get that if there’s a problem? Let’s talk about it. And if and usually I’ll lay it out there and I’ll say, hey, everything’s cool. Everything’s cool. I’m like, Okay, I said that because it’s not. And maybe that’s the passive aggressive part that I should have said, hey, something’s not cool. What’s up? And now I’m that way, And I’ll address it. I mean, my call Brad this morning on my way to the gym. 5am. And I said, we were talking on the phone. He got there a little early this morning. I ran a little late because a little one. And I said, Everything cool. You sound like a little and I know he moved this weekend I go, alright, you sound kind of down. It’s not just your natural Monday, low energy self. And I was kind of poking the bear a little bit to see it. He goes, dude, I’m fine. Just get in here already. And I liked it. He just flipped it on me. Right? Because he knows. Yeah, I think it comes down to read the room how you handle it. So for your person asking the question, Who are you talking to? Are you talking to a seasoned vet who’s digging his heels in because this is where he feels he is in the hierarchy of your business. And he wants a certain level of respect, accord him that respect. And then tell him what you need back Be straight with him. Make sure maybe leave with a compliment, hey, you’re appreciative of all the work he’s done. And you understand that this is tough times for everybody. It’s uncharted waters, we get that. But the business can’t suffer. You know, the show must go on. And I say it all the time. You know, suck it up. Brad has my mic. I work something has Crohn’s. And that’s a challenging, you know, hand to be dealt. And sometimes I’m like, dude, suck it up junk tape, I don’t care what it is get out there. You got six people left today. And he kind of laughs and I’m downplaying the severity of it. Because I don’t want him to wallow in how tough the situation is. Because we’re acknowledging it’s tough. Now, let’s push forward and get through the day. And we do every day and the dude rises to the occasion like a champ. And I think because I’m there, and he knows I’m not going anywhere.


Brett Bartholomew  37:24  

And I always I appreciate that. I think that’s something that appreciate that reflects in the way you communicate as well, when I lived out in LA. I didn’t I didn’t know this, you know, but I mean, I should have expected it right. But there’s a reason Billy Joel wrote goodbye to Hollywood, you start realizing how many people reach out to you, because not because they really want to check on you. But because they kind of want something for you, you know, from you. And you were always just barely Oh,


Gunnar Peterson  37:47  

I don’t see no, no,


Brett Bartholomew  37:49  



Gunnar Peterson  37:50  

no, wait a minute. I gotta get out my text just from today.


Brett Bartholomew  37:56  

But, I just remember like, when you reached out, you know, it was like, we hadn’t had really a ton of interactions or anything, but you just you hey, I appreciate this about you. If you ever need anything, just reach out and I was like alright you know, and I didn’t say this about you as my wife. But like, some of these people could be like, Alright, now wait, here it comes. Here it comes like you have your own thing, right? So it never came you were just always very direct. You’re almost like somebody that grew up in the Midwest in the Midwest, we’ll just say that. Like, you know, you kind of filter out all the bullshit but I mean, think of you you’ve been with teams that have won championships, right? Just involved recently with that you’ve trained the who’s who and you’re right, it’s never really changed you and I kept waiting. Because I’ll admit when I moved to LA you hear you hear the legend of Gunnar and you hear the legend of Gunnar just like you hear it from all of us. I’m sure there’s some people that like me. There’s some people that wait wait for me to have a horrible presentation or wait, wait for me to say that right?


Gunnar Peterson  38:46  

They just are in a line outside right now. 


Brett Bartholomew  38:49  

Yeah, but I’m just sitting there and I’m like, no G has been super consistent. And I would rather have somebody that like you were talking about with Brad. I would rather have a consistent smart asks Am I dickhead that you always know what you’re gonna get? Because you’re always authentic. Then somebody’s like, hey, what? What weather are we today?


Gunnar Peterson  39:04  

Yeah, right right. What’s the temperature thing? No, no, I don’t get that. I think those people are out here I think


Brett Bartholomew  39:14  

Hey, guys, quick interruption for a moment. I have to let you know this until November 27 of 2020. All of my digital courses are 50% off. It’s the first time we’ve ever done this. All you have to do is go to It’s in your show notes. And you can use the code grateful 50 Again, that’s Grateful 50 These are masterclass style produced courses. You get lifetime access, you don’t have to rush to take them. They are your toolkit if you are interested in becoming a better communicator and better understanding the psychology of people that we deal with on a day to day basis. And let’s be honest, we all deal with a wide variety of unique individuals including ours. else. And if you’re having trouble in your career, and you feel like you’re trying to get unstuck, and you’re navigating uncertainty, we have courses for that as well. Again, this first time we’ve ever done it, it’s only until, November 27 2020, use the code, grateful 50 and you’ll get 50% off. Alright guys back to the episode


Gunnar Peterson  40:26  

so put it put a different look on this. I think that success is polarizing. I don’t think when you do well, at any level, whether you’re just getting by and you managed to just get by for 10 years, 15 years, 20 years, I think that that can be polarizing. I think some people go by never liked that, dude, he’s a dick. I don’t care how well he’s doing. Or if you take it higher, like if even if it’s smoke and mirrors and you come across like you’re doing really well. I think that can also be polarized. I don’t think that that means everybody gets on the bandwagon and rejoices your successes. I learned a long time ago, it’s way easier to say, oh, once when you hear some good news about someone, a guy, a girl, you know, gets,gets a great job lends a great client has tremendous success training, somebody who their physique is showcase and then they give all the credit to that trainer, instead of going now I’ve seen her train she sucks. Instead of being that person. It’s way easier just to say, Oh, I’m happy for them. Good for them. good for them. I say that I say good for them all the time. And I’ve trained myself to say it. You know, it’s like, years ago, I worked with Mike Tyson. Great time fun time for his fight against Brian Nielsen in Denmark, and there was a guy. And I always say Yes, sir. No, sir. That’s just how I was raised from the south. That’s just what we were taught. And I heard a guy said to me, he stopped me outside a gym, outside the gym in Arizona one day, and he goes, You always say, Yes, sir. Are you military? And I said, No. I said, I was just raised like that. And he said, I see. I said, you know, it’s more of a southern thing. And he goes, Uh huh. And he was kind of looking me up or down. And I said, also, my dad taught me that. You can say, sir, but think, asshole. And he kind of looked at me. And he smiled. And he goes, Yes, sir, you can. And for the rest of the training camp, and through the fight. Anytime I saw this guy, he’s like, how are you Sir? I go. I’m good, sir. How are you? So we went back and forth, right. And it became like a funny thing. Yeah. But there was a mutual respect, albeit at a distance. So I think you can say about somebody, good for them. And over time, you start to mean it good for them. I can’t train everybody. I can’t have everybody wants to. Correct. So I am super happy when I see somebody who I’ve spent any time with or read any good things about succeeding, I’m happy for that person. I’m having my life, I’m having my successes. I’m not constantly looking over the fence. What are they doing? How are they having that success, I’m excited for them. I’m happy for them that they landed that person that they got that gig that they got that endorsement. I’m happy for it, good for them. And I think if you come at it from that position, you’re setting yourself up, whether it’s you believe in karma, or however you see it, but I think you’re putting a good vibe out there, as opposed to just denouncing that person or talking trash or saying why they shouldn’t have that or why they’re not qualified or why it shouldn’t be you. That’s a lot of sour grapes. And, you know, we don’t need I don’t need to add to that collective.


Brett Bartholomew  43:45  

No, no. I mean, again, it’ll sap you and talking about expectations. I think that’s the thing that people just have to realize you don’t need to train everyone. You don’t want to train everyone listen, like there’s more than enough like out there. And I mean, I used to when we moved to Atlanta, people were, hey, you’re expensive here, you know, you could train more guys, like you did in Arizona, if you just dropped, you’re gonna go, I don’t want to train everybody. Like, I don’t want to be the guy that’s running, you know, 300 400 guys off in the off season. And like, that’s not my goal anymore. Right? You evolved, you worked with musicians, right? Like, they don’t always just want to be making music. Some of them become producers, some of them become this. I enjoy my time training athletes, but I’d much rather now be the guy that quietly, you know, takes a certain number in the offseason of guys that are really serious. I’m not gonna sit here and say, Hey, let me get my cinematographer. Let me make a bunch of IG videos for you guys. And let’s play you know, all this music in the background. Let’s run the hype farm out here. Like that’s not my goal. You know, and I think that comes into expectation.


Gunnar Peterson  44:42  

But that doesn’t mean that’s a bad goal. 


Brett Bartholomew  44:44  

And that’s what I’m about to come to, like expectations going into what will it take to make you happy because at one point, that very was, you know very much was my goal. I liked running. I liked having these big grievances to the energy of it, you know, I’m 25 to 30 It’s like there’s so much of this and A lot of that was from the college side. So I loved that environment, it was a lot of fun. But as you go through different things in life, right, whether it’s you’re married, you’re moving, you have different experiences, you find different interests and what have you, you start having different understanding of what makes you happy what that future looks like. So you’re right, it’s never about that. It’s just know what is gonna fulfill you within that moment. Own that, don’t worry about the rest of people own your shit. And leave it, leave it be.


Gunnar Peterson  45:26  

and if you believe in what you’re doing, then keep doing it. Let it unfold, and see if it took you where you thought it was gonna take. See if it takes you where you thought it was gonna take you? And if it doesn’t either adjust your course. Right? Or stick with it and enjoy the ride.


Brett Bartholomew  45:44  

Yeah, yeah, I think that’s well put. One other thing I want to ask you about is, you know, you have a routine you mentioned you wake up very early, you have a routine, but there’s it sounds like there’s some flexibility there you kind of shoot from the hip when you have to, and people will jump the queue to use your terminology, what are three non negotiables? And they don’t have to be the three I hate when I get on a podcast and somebody’s like, what’s your favorite movie? Or what’s this, like What are some like three of your non negotiables that when you lay your head down at night, you’re like, that was a good day, as long as I get these three somewhere within the day, right? Like it’s a pretty solid day.


Gunnar Peterson  46:20  

I never miss my workout, that’s I have to do that. And that’s probably, you know, not to get into the psychology not to dabble in your lane to


Brett Bartholomew  46:31  

you can dude 


Gunnar Peterson  46:33  

But I mean, I know because I had this conversation once with a guy, super successful entertainment guy out here, I was a fat kid. So in my mind, I think I kind of operate from fat kid position at all times. So if I get my workout in, as a rule, the day is going to be good. If it’s not good, it’s definitely going to be better than it would have been. I don’t behave the way I want to see myself behaving if I don’t get my workout in. So that’s one. The other one is if I don’t spend time with my family and connect with my wife and kids, and sometimes it’s a tech, now they’re older, some of them. It’s a text, sometimes it’s some time with the little guy to text with my wife, if it’s to sit down and interface with my wife, it’s just our time. And it can be it can some days it is and I know you’re married, you get this, sometimes it’s five minutes. And you realize I got five minutes with my wife today. But that’s a good five minutes, I’ll take that five minutes. But when there’s no connect, and then it’s just can I that I feel like I could have been better today. And the third one is a work related thing. I’m in a routine I’m OCD about prepping my workouts for the clients. And when I know, my workouts are prepped, and I print them out, and they’re written, and they’re stacked on my desk in the order in which I peel them off and crank them out. And I know I delivered on that front, the workouts are thought through, I don’t wing anything, obviously I wrote them. So I reserve the right to adjust on the fly if I see something’s not working. But when we execute those, and they go smoothly, and they fit the person’s energy levels, and they fit within the allotted time. And they leave on an uptick, that I just feel like, Man, I did great at work. I did great for myself, I do great by my family. You know, if I die in my sleep tonight, I’m cool with that,


Brett Bartholomew  48:42  

yea no, it’s well thought out. I think that’s a good list. Can I ask And if this has changed over the years or not? Can I ask when you say you know, getting your workout in? Has your definition of what that workout has entailed changed over the years? And I can give you an example of what I mean by that. If that’s not clear. 


Gunnar Peterson  48:56  

No, it’s clear, but I want to hear the example anyway. 


Brett Bartholomew  48:58  

Yeah, I mean, like, I know, even just me what I’m 34 Now, you know, when I had not much else in my life other than just, you know, strength and conditioning, right? I wasn’t married and I didn’t have external things going on, like I do now with like another book or, you know, a PhD or anything, right, even just as podcasts when, when that was my main thing, right? I knew what training looked like. And it was like, I think the lowest at the lowest level, it would have to be like a complex and some hill sprints, which is still a pretty relatively like, you know, I don’t want to use intense in terms of the word intensity, right? But intense training session, right, you’re gonna get your heart rate up and you’re gonna sweat a good bit. Now. I mean, I’ll be honest, there’s some times where it’s like, if my day is packed and it’s that and it’s ugly. If I can go out I can get like a solid 60 minute walk in like also consider that I’ll consider that movement not so much a workout, but I may even just go out on the Aerodyne and do like 2030 minutes where it can always be okay. Like what am I a knockout eight by eight, you know, like on squat, back squat. And so, you know, trying to delineate what we’re going to check the box off that old me would have been like yo, that is Not a workout. But me now it’s almost like you I mean, you’ve trained lots of actors and actresses, right? I look at it this way. Gunnar, like I have to play, I have to prepare for the role that I am now. Right, Brett Bartholomew is the owner of a company five remote staff and these things, I’m not going to be able to train the way that I used to now I can still train my ass off. I had a friend come in from LA, the other night. And we did 10 by five, bent over row deadlift and jammer, like we’ll still get after it. But there’s other times where it’s like, yeah, we’re gonna check the box, I’m gonna do what I can with the time that I have, and whether it meets somebody else’s definition of a workout or not, they can kiss my ass.


Gunnar Peterson  50:35  

Yeah, no, no, I’m not trying to meet anybody else’s definition of a workout. Again, I’m a planner, man. So I know, let me add a couple. That’d be so we tackle on a couple of things to that. So I know pretty much what I’m going to do tomorrow. I’ve already thought it through. Sometimes I write it down. Sometimes I see something in the gym. Sometimes I see like a piece of equipment that I haven’t used that in a minute. and it’s not because the equipment has failed me or is no longer attracted to me, it’s because probably where I placed it. And it’s like out of sight out of mind, then I go, Oh, I gotta pull that up to the floor. Or I see something on Instagram. And I’ll usually shoot that to Brad. And I’ll say, hey, let’s play with this tomorrow. Let’s play with this and see if we can incorporate it tomorrow. Or, I realize something is no longer in the flow of the workouts. And then I’ll move that to the downstairs gym. And I’ll play that way. So I know what I’m gonna do. That said, I’ve been on a routine lately of steady state cardio, with some intervals toward the end of it, a stretch and a lift, the lift might be 6 7 8 9 10 movements three times through,  it might be 6 7 8 sets of deadlifts and then five other moves two or three times through. It might be full body, it might be bias towards a push one day bias towards a pull one day, I always do something lower body and if it’s back to back, it’s going to be quad it’s going to be knee dominant or hip dominant, it’s going to be unilateral, it’s going to be movement, I’m going to change the plane of motion, it’s going to be something like that. But I also know that it might be something at home, like you said, I have big dogs. So it might be a 20 minute walk with the dogs. And then it might be an obstacle course of my kid. And then it might be ropes and climbing the tread wall in a circuit type fashion, right 100 ways on the ropes, and then three times around the tread wall, back, back, back back. Whatever it is, it’s planned out so that when I’m done, I check it off. And there’s that go into the psychology of it. I did what I said I was going to do I did what I had planned. So there’s that feeling of accomplishment. If it’s a date that’s down. I know that before because to me, and I tell this to people, so I have to follow my own advice. Take the day off whatever the day is acknowledged. That’s a day off. And now it’s about recovery, right? So give it the term recovery. So if taking a day off makes you feel like you’re a loser or you’re underachieving call it a recovery day. and if you want to take a walk, call it an active recovery day, so you really can’t beat yourself up about it. But nothing worse than waking up. Having a plan for a workout, missing that window and then saying I’m gonna do it at noon, I’m gonna do it at two, I’m gonna do it before I’m gonna do it after work, and constantly chasing it because to me, you’re now stressed about something that you might not get, you’re jacking your own cortisol levels up, you’re storing body fat at a higher rate, if you would just acknowledged it was a down day, exact same thing would have happened during the day. But you’d be way less stress and your body would actually benefit from it now. You’ve been stressed all day. That’s super negative for your body. And you’re not giving it you’ve probably earned it anyway. Yeah, like take take the day, nothing. There’s no reason you can’t take a day off. Now, if you string 12 of those together, you might want to branch out from your approach. But a day off here and there no big deal.


Yeah. And I think structuring your environment in a way, whether it’s home or what have you, where you know, that physical cultured aspect of it is ingrained. I know that’s something that that helps me a lot too. Because, again, having been on the other side of that I used to be almost addicted to training. It was a way that I dealt with anxiety. You know, when I was a teenager, obviously, how I got hospitalized. And so I had to find that medium, right? And I had to find a way to say okay, when’s enough and I think a lot of times as a strength coach, as a professional, it helps you taking the rules off that a little bit. I’ve found that the more stress that I get with other things, the more I even kind of revert back to some circuit training because it’s almost, you know, I don’t do a lot of meditation and what have you, but it is meditative because you’re in constant motion. So there’s Some days just follow some high low sequencing, if I want to go heavy, I’m going to pick three exercises, knock those out because, again, then I can keep my concentration focused on that no matter what’s working in the background, I got that. If I want to keep something a little bit more down or what have you, GPP I’m just doing a big circuit. That’s that’s what, but I also I don’t know if you ever got into this, I used to fall 


Wait, wait, wait, go back real quick. You just said, you know, you go back into that addicted to training. So I would pick that apart, not in an argumentative way. But to understand it to be there’s a word choice, right? You’re addicted to it. So that’s a bad thing. You also have you had, like you said, hospitalized, you’re at a different level with that. What I hear that I go, I’m not going to say I’m addicted to training because that gives us that puts it in a pejorative light. I want to put it in a positive light. How about I’m disciplined about my 


Brett Bartholomew  55:48  

No, I was saying, Then I was saying when I was hospitalized, like I was not, that wasn’t discipline, when when I was hospitalized, I was very much like exercise became like a drug to me.


Gunnar Peterson  56:00  

Right. And I think it’s a drug to me, but to me, it’s a prescription drug and it’s been prescribed by someone who has the authority to know that it’s the right prescription and that key and I think it’s the right drug for me. I don’t take I mean, I take very few supplements I take like chloro fresh might ACU and that’s it. I mean, I mean, I take a caffeine pre workout drink, but I don’t drink coffee, so I’m not really doubling down on that. You know, I have sugar like m&ms or Reese’s Pieces every now and then Hershey’s Kisses. But I don’t like I don’t fall into I don’t have a lot of those traps a lot of those vices. So if my training keeps me on point, and I keep all or most of or a lot of the bad stuff at bay, or I can do it in a controlled way. Why wouldn’t I? If the training becomes my policeman, right? If that becomes my that’s the guideline that keeps everything else on track? Why wouldn’t I use that 


Brett Bartholomew  57:08  

as an anchor? 


Gunnar Peterson  57:08  

Yeah, why? Yeah, it’s my anchor. Exactly. x


Brett Bartholomew  57:11  

No, I was saying, same language. What I’m saying is then at that point, my life when I was a teenager, I had no other outlet, right? Like when I, And now you know, I’m much better at managing that I’m saying the same thing. I can manage kind of high low sequencing, I miss days here and there, and you’re able to define within the context of what what you need to get done that day, I can look at my wife and see if she hasn’t gotten a bunch of sleep that night, and what have you because of the baby. And I’m like, Alright, I may not be able to smash what I may not do workout A  tomorrow, but I got workout B and I know though it’s gonna be it’s got to be more sustainable.


Gunnar Peterson  57:45  

Yeah, I used to sometimes I do this, especially if you’re on the road, or you go out and you have a couple of drinks, or one more than you need or something. The next day, I used to joke about it and call it machine Sunday, everything I do is going to be on a machine fixed path. You know,  that’s just what I need to do just to move the blood. I’m not looking for gains, I’m also you also have to go back it up another way. What are you training for? 


Brett Bartholomew  58:13  



Gunnar Peterson  58:14  

Are you training for hypertrophy, you know, then you’ll know when to pull back? Are you training for cardiovascular strength? Are you looking to improve your spirit? You know, what are you training for is going to dictate how you train?


Brett Bartholomew  58:26  

Yep. Also, within that expectations,


Gunnar Peterson  58:28  

I’m looking to, I’m training to look I’m in LA, right. So I have to say I’m training to look a certain way, because that just fits the narrative out here. But I’m training to be able to get through my day, I’m training to be able to handle the block of clients that I have, I’m training to be able to come home and play with my kids, I’m training to be able to stay awake, you know, X amount of hours, I want to train for that. 


Brett Bartholomew  58:51  

So that’s I’m glad you brought that up, because and I want to be conscious of your time. So I’ll say this. One more question.


Gunnar Peterson  58:57  

I blocked this out. I appreciate the highlight of my day


Brett Bartholomew  59:00  

when I was talking to one friend that just left the collegiate side. And you know, that can be fairly extreme. I mean, I know when I was in the collegiate side, I loved it at the time. So again, I’m not denigrating it, like you would almost if somebody from another staff came, it was just like, Alright, let’s go and you don’t want to try to like kill each other. And you just like, have this competitive thing. Now, I always have that mode. If somebody wants to come visit, like and say the house like my buddy did, I’m like, alright, I’ll take it there. Right, but I don’t I don’t shoot for it now all the time. But anyway, my friend like he keeps trying to train like that, and he’s in a different part of his life. And I said, what you’re doing is maladaptive. You know, you would never train your athletes like this. You would never do your training like somebody for the wrong sport, man, I go now, you’re out of that field. You have so many other competing demands. I don’t need to explain to you of all people gunner, let alone him. You know, the physiology of this. And I’m like, It’s maladaptive. You’re not playing you’re not training for the right role. You’re not training for the right season. And he’s like, Well, I just feel like I don’t want to lose that part of myself. And I said, So out sounds like an identity crisis. 


Gunnar Peterson  1:00:02  

It’s fear based 


Brett Bartholomew  1:00:03  

you’re right? And that’s,


Gunnar Peterson  1:00:04  

and that’s not gonna work out long term that that’s not going to work out, God forbid he’s gonna get an injury, something’s gonna happen. Yeah, that’s a fear based way you can’t train like that you cannot train like that. But I also, you know that my brother would joke and he’s like, you know, show me a good loser I’ll show you a real loser. So I don’t but I don’t compete like that if you come in and you want to throw it around, you got dude that’s all you’re lifting. Yeah, man, that’s all I’m lifting. But here’s the difference. I lifted yesterday, I’m lifting tomorrow, I’m lifting the next day, you might come in here and smash it this one day with me but long term who’s in this I had a kid years ago kid who train with me a trained at my facility for a while. And he said to me something he was talking about, he goes, you don’t have any intensity in your training intensity. I don’t I mean, I have exactly the amount of intensity I need. And I’ve had it I was 16 years old. And the kid I’ll tell you how I know that. And we were going to be sorted. And it was kind of he wasn’t very gracious, let’s say and right and started like picking apart what i do that i This and that I eat chocolate or that I’ll have a tequila that all trained with what he considered less intensity than was required to be someone in my position, whatever. And we went on and on. And finally I looked and I said, let’s table this discussion. Here’s the deal. You have to live 16 more years, just to tie. And that’s if I die right now,Which is not happening. So before you start knocking my approach by intensity levels, which you don’t see there’s an ebb and a flow to them. Look, Mike, you all of us are on a big macro cycle, whether we want to acknowledge it or not, because you could look back and and recognize Well, what I did today, I’m training a lot harder than I did during the thicker part of the pandemic or maybe not, maybe you’re training less now than you did that, I don’t know. But whatever, you know where your cycle is, throughout the year, and that’s on you, unless you’ve hired somebody to manage that right. If you’re a client, then that’s on the trainer to manage that cycle. You can’t write even the best car, the highest level race car, you can’t drive it flat out all the time, it has to go into the shop, it has to have worked on it, you have to change the tires change the brakes. So that’s the same with your body, right? You have to get the pullover every now and then and service it. So, you know to knock somebody else’s you don’t know where they are in their cycle of training in their life cycle. They’re things that goes on 


Brett Bartholomew  1:02:46  

it’s such a dumb thing to think about what other profession right like, what other like you think Trashman or I always use the example of like the dentist or who did I go see the other day, like, you know, go into anything like, let’s say you’re a math teacher, do math teachers come out each other and like you’re not studying equations as hard as you used to? You are


Gunnar Peterson  1:03:07  

the one fraction suck, 


Brett Bartholomew  1:03:08  

right Like, and it’s so funny that like, I mean, I’ve sat through conferences and heard other strength coaches said, they’re like, Dude doesn’t even come down and train in the exhibition hall. I’m like, you might be like, Oh, what are you talking? I can’t sit at these tables anymore. You know, life is short. And these conversations get ridiculous and professionalism is important. It’s just so as having a full life. Oh, my God, you eat chocolate. Heaven forbid, you’re relatable. Like I’m sorry. Again, from somebody that’s been that OCD kind of person. Nobody wants to hang out with that. Like nobody wants to and it’s just a again, that’s cool. If that’s your expectation and that fits but man, it what environment are you creating? Think about that, gee, if you train yourself into the floor, and you talked about, hey, I want to go home and I want to interact with my kids and my family. You know, what are you going to be able to give to them? What are you going to be able to give to other people when you 


Gunnar Peterson  1:03:56  

So look, what I do in my training. And I’ve learned this through the evolution of my training. Like I’ve been hitting the weight room for 40 years now. regularly. I know that my training, services my life. Right my training enables me to work hard at my job. Execute the things that I’ve put in front of me, right like you can’t be upset that you’re busy. I always say to people, isn’t that funny? Like, you caught it. You’re excited about it. And then it comes like I’m so busy dude, I can’t like Weren’t you trying to be busy? I thought that’s what the goal was when you shot out all those emails and you followed up on all those things. I thought you were trying to be busy and now you’re busy. You’re complaining about it. So my training allows me to fulfill my work obligations, come home and be present and have enough energy to be the right kind of dad and husband or I’m not going to grade myself on that. That’s for others to do but I feel good Would about it, and to enjoy the other things that you work, wouldn’t it suck to work so hard and to have the wherewithal to do certain things, but then physically not be capable to do them at that time


Brett Bartholomew  1:05:14  

I see you see it all the time in our field, you see a lot of people that break down because they don’t stop


Gunnar Peterson  1:05:17  

all the time. And I had a guy, and I talked about this, I had a guy who came to me and we talked about goals years and years ago to train. And he said, What I went to college, he went to Princeton, he said before, when he before he went to school, he ran the 40. And this, he benched this, He squatted this, and he said, and then I got, I went to college, I buried myself in school, and I got out and I worked. And he said, Uh, now I have $100 million. And I can’t do any of those things. And I go, so success on one level, and I wouldn’t say failure on the other. But now let’s shore that up. And we worked at those goals. And I thought interesting that those were the goals he had set for himself. So now we had some real goals to work towards that he wanted to get those numbers back. If it’s a numbers that move the needle for you, that’s great. Doesn’t do it for me. But it’s good to have something to shoot for, right? You don’t want to get to the number that you want in the bank account, and then not be able to do all the things you wanted to do whether it’s, you know, you wanted to hike in the foothills of Everest, you wanted to walk the Great Wall of China, you want to go to the beach, but now you’re uncomfortable taking your shirt off, you’ve got now you’ve just traded one for the other. Yeah. And to me, that’s a I mean, I don’t want to say to fail, but to me, that’s, you didn’t think that through


Brett Bartholomew  1:06:38  

that’s paradox. It’s just different. Right? Like, it’s like it’s contrasting. So within that you talked about, you know, losing something or sacrificing something in that I’m, I’m often asked, you know, we’re talking about communication. And I tell people like becoming a better communicator, is not about being able to use big words. It’s not about being able to give fancy speeches, anything like that, you know, communication does a lot of things, right. Like, if you have better communication, we know you have better relationships, generally, you have lower stress. What do you think are the big things for you? Like, what is good communication bring to your life? Or if you want to address it the other way? You know, how do you know when communication is going poorly? How do you know when that’s impacting your life? We know it from a fitness standpoint, right? If I’m not in shape, right? Like I’m going to feel winded, I’m going to feel empty, I’m not going to feel all these things. But talk to me about the commodity of communication, what you feel like being better at communicating really brings to your life.


Gunnar Peterson  1:07:30  

I think it gives you fuller relationships, I think you go back to the expectation management that you talked about earlier, if I can communicate what I plan on doing for you if I can communicate what I expect from you. And if along the way, you’re not meeting that or I’m not meeting that I can address it, you can address it, I think we’re going to be more fulfilled in our relationship, whether it’s a client, trainer relationship, husband, wife, or just friends, you know. I have one friend, he’s been my my best buddy for 30 years. And he’s always been the guy who, if I say you want to meet for a movie on Friday, he’d say yeah, and I’d say okay, let’s meet at the mall at seven. We’ll meet outside the thing and we’ll find a movie. Okay, cool. I didn’t have to call him Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, tomorrow, he just show up at seven always. And if he couldn’t, he called me Tuesday, say, Hey, I can’t make the movie, something else came up and I say, Oh, come on, cancel, and he’d say I can’t do it. I wouldn’t cancel. You know, I can’t do that I can’t make the movie. Or if I’d even ask him, Hey, do you want to do this? And he’d say, No, I have another friend who used to be late, or he wouldn’t show and then he called me and say, Dude, I’m trying to get there. But this, and I don’t say go off on it. But I would express my disappointment. And there may or may not have been expletives in that disappointment. And then he would say, How come you never yell at the other guy like that? I’d say, because he doesn’t do this make because he manages my expectation. He tells me when it’s a yes. When it’s a no. So our relationship, our friendship has flourished over 30 years, because we’re just straight with each other like that. And it’s very, very easy. Because we’ve paved that road now. So it’s an easy thing to handle. And I think if you do that in all of your relationships, you’re just going to be better off communicated comms, you can wind so many things back and it comes down to the communication. It does. How did you communicate that? And were you clear? Did they understand? And it doesn’t mean you know, you lord over them. Do you understand? Right? It’s not that it’s did I make myself clear was Did I say that? Right? Did you get that? You know what I mean? And but you wait for an answer. It’s not the throw away. Filler. You know what I mean? Know what I mean? It’s not that it’s, do you know what I mean? Does that make sense to you? And if they’re looking to go yeah, go really because I’m not sure if I express literally take ownership of it’s on you to express what you need. And if it comes back, right, and so it’s just like queuing and exercise. Does that make sense? Because the way I queue it for you, I might say that to somebody seven different times, and they look at me like, I don’t know what that means. And then I have to find another way to queue that, so that they get the most out of that exercise. same with same with anything.  No, no, are you? So that’s you as the person communicating that’s on you. Make sure it’s understood. It’s easy to do we all get it. We all we all understand. There. No, you’re right. It’s though there are no stupid questions, just make sure everybody understands what’s expected of them. Easy. 


Brett Bartholomew  1:10:40  

And I appreciate that. Especially because, you know, I was going over something earlier today that talked about, it was a 2013 article that investigated interpersonal conflict at the highest level of sport competition. And they looked at the European Championships, World Cup Olympic Games, what have you. And they said that findings revealed that conflict had been experienced by nearly 75 participants, right. And that was N equals 90, who occupied roles either as coaches, as athletes, as managers, or what have you. And here’s the important thing. They said that even though those conflicts were short lived, and only happened a few times during those major events, it affected them their decision making their ability to perform their ability to focus. And so you just thinking that, you know, taking communication for granted, if you’re somebody that does, you have no idea just how the smallest dose of miscommunication and conflict can screw everything up short term, long term and what have you. And I just have to tell you from something that I respect about you as we wrap, I appreciate the fullness of your answers. And this is just candid on the air shit. You know, when I’m a podcast guest on some other folks shows, and I always, you know, enjoy. I’m always honored by it. But I’ll admit, sometimes I get irritated when people come on, and they just they don’t really listen to the answer. It’s not a conversation, right? It’s like, hey, what’s the number one this? What’s your favorite? That’s a gun? Or what do you think about this? Right? They don’t think about it. But as a host, sometimes it can also get equally deflating when somebody just kind of gives a brief answer. And it’s not necessarily it’s fine, if it’s brief, and it’s clear, and it’s thoughtful, and what have you. But sometimes people say very little, or they say nothing. Like, I appreciate the fact that you go in depth, he gave multiple contexts, you can tell that you wanted people to learn things from this. So just from one person to another, I really appreciate that about, you


Gunnar Peterson  1:12:22  

No, it makes it I mean, again, it doesn’t have to be mutual admiration society, but I wouldn’t have done this if I didn’t have that for you. And the stuff that you put out like, you’re one of not a lot of people who goes out of their way to make the field better. And you said it early on. There’s a lot of infighting, a lot of negativity, a lot of bashing. I don’t know, who needs that, like, what are we talking about? I have to do. in the NSCA, right, the CSCs is coming up to renew the certification, right, the strength conditioning, and I need the CPR cert again. Like I have to go through the CPR thing again and again and again. And it’s not changing anything. And okay, I got it. It’s part of the game. So I have to play the game. So I SKD works for me, I said, let’s find somebody who will come to the gym and do it, and we’ll pay them. And then I said, I don’t know why off the top of my head. Let’s reach out to a bunch of trainers and say, Hey, this is probably as much a pain in the ass for you as it is for me that I don’t know if they’re even certified. I don’t know if what governing bodies, they’re certified through. But at some point, it probably doesn’t hurt you as a trainer to re up and have the little card that says you did your CPR cert. And she said just reach out to him. I said, Yeah, let’s just reach out. Now. I fully expect some of them to blow me off. I fully expect some of them to, you know, you’re wondering how much is that going to cost? What’s it going to cost me? I just want to offer because A think it’d be fun to get us all together. And then I said to her, let’s see if we can get the person to come do it on a Friday at like 330. Hopefully we can knock it out in an hour, an hour and a half. And then let’s go down the street and we’ll have a beer together. Now, I don’t I have no idea. I’m gonna circle back to you now that I’ve shared this with you. And I’m gonna tell you, I’m gonna tell you what it’s gonna be. But I’m going to ask maybe eight trainers out here that I know. Some I know I’ve never really hung with. But I know that they do great work in the field. And I just want to do that because I think it’s got to be a community that comes together, right you have team owners that get together in sports, you have head coaches that have symposiums and conferences, why shouldn’t we get together as you know, Bert Soren does a great thing down at sore necks with the somersault and you just get you get a lot of good minds in there. And even if you could dismiss 98% of the stuff you hear if you take away 2% better and you go 10 years in a row, that’s you got 20% better and it’s probably way more than that, but you got that much better. That’s Good thing to promote it to push and to encourage I think,


Brett Bartholomew  1:15:03  

yeah, no, I agree. I agree wholeheartedly. Well, gee, I’m gonna let you go. But I want to know how can people support you? Where can they support you? What’s the preferred way for them to reach out if you want them to reach out? Feel free to fire it all out. We’ll of course have it in the show notes, but I want to give people the opportunity to support your work.


Gunnar Peterson  1:15:21  

And I’m on Instagram, Gunnerfitness and the website’s And, you know, I don’t sell anything, and I’m not talking anything. I’m just out there cranking away and we’ll see. We’ll see what happens. I’m enjoying it. How about that? I’m still enjoying it. The fact Are you still training people like yeah, I’m still. Why would my it’s what I do. It’s such a funny thing in this industry. You would never say to your duck, I get people say that she’s still doing the training thing. And I’m like, it’s like, you might just say to your friend who went to law school, you’re still doing that whole lawyer thing.


Brett Bartholomew  1:15:50  

I just don’t know what to talk about. And that’s kind of like when people asked about the weather they don’t know what the hell does say you know, cuz they’re not really thinking a good questions to ask. So they just go for the superficial stuff. 


Gunnar Peterson  1:16:00  

But it’s the only field you would say are you still doing the fill in the blank thing? Yeah. Even your friend isn’t electricity still doing that electricity, you know, he’s doing just


Brett Bartholomew  1:16:10  

like you’re still doing circuits over there. What are you doing?


Gunnar Peterson  1:16:12  

Yeah, exactly. Well, so that’s what I do. I’m out there. But thank you for having me on. I appreciate it again you make the landscape so much better and fitness and just keep cranking on


Brett Bartholomew  1:16:25  

That’s it guys. Until next time. The art of coaching podcast Brett Bartholomew Gunnar Peterson will talk to you soon.

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