Celeb trainer David Kirsch’s training advice is inspired by two tiny stars

KidsShot1_439 Although he’s built a career sculpting celebs like Jennifer Lopez, Liv Tyler, and Kate Upton, being a single dad made fitness and wellness expert David Kirsch realize firsthand just how important—and often tricky—establishing a family wellness routine can be.

“I knew I was meant to be a parent the way I [knew I] was meant to be a trainer,” says Kirsch, whose new book, Ultimate Family Wellness, is hitting stores the day we chat, and he couldn’t be more ecstatic.

Kirsch has written four other books, including the bestseller The Ultimate New York Body Plan, but this is the first time he’s teamed up with two very special collaborators: his (insanely cute) twin daughters, six-year-olds Emilia and Francesca. (“This book is extra special,” explains Kirsch, who, after more than 20 years building his fitness empire, decided to make his longtime dream of having a family a reality through surrogacy.) You could say they’re his star clients now.

And they’re getting him to think differently.
“The moment [my daughters] were put in my arms, my life was instantly changed,” remembers Kirsch. For starters, “I could no longer hard-fast the ABCs of nutrition I’m famous for. It’s not black and white; I was learning to be a little more malleable, less rigid.”

He embraced the challenge, creating an accessible wellness plan that works for even those with even the craziest of schedules. Ultimate Family Wellness is full of five-minute workouts that can be done anywhere and nutritious recipes that are easy for kids to help prep. His thinking is this: If parents see results quickly, they’re more likely to embrace healthy living.

And then there’s the female factor, which Kirsch addresses from a body positive point of view: “Ninety percent of my prominent clients have been women,” he says, noting that he’s seen a lot body image issues come up. “Girls are thinking about those things when they’re four or five-years-old. Right there, I saw I have a responsibility.”

Read on for more observations and tips from the fitness pro and his pint-sized collaborators. “It’s my writing and philosophy, but it’s our book,” he says. Consider yourself Kirsched. —Larkin Clark

(Photos: Luciana Pampalone for Ultimate Family Wellness)


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2015-01-31 16.28.31 Healthy habits start early. “The reality is, kids are active the moment they’re born,” says Kirsch. “We are the reason they become inactive. Parents need to get healthier—we have a responsibility and we need to lead by example.” Being the single dad of daughters also influenced his writing of the book. “Ninety percent of my prominent clients have been women. The body image issues and questions models have—what they’re eating, how they look versus how someone else looks—girls are thinking about those things when they’re four or five-years-old as well. Right there, I saw I have a responsibility.”

(Photo: Luciana Pampalone for Ultimate Family Wellness)


2015-05-16 17.18.47-2 Wellness doesn’t necessarily mean going to the gym. “The 5-5-5 concept [5 days, 5 exercises, 5 pounds] is really important to me: You can do a 5-minute circuit and change your mind and body in a spiritual way, so the choices you make and foods you eat are infinitely better. You can do it anywhere—in the office, on vacation. I don’t use any machines and it doesn’t need to cost any money. A little goes a long way.”

(Photo: Luciana Pampalone for Ultimate Family Wellness)


2015-01-31 16.00.15 Prepping healthy meals—yes, even with kids—is easier than you think. “The food part is hugely important,” he says. A key to keeping things from going the frozen dinner route? “Five ingredients and no more than 15 minutes to prepare. Have your family cook with you!”

(Photo: Luciana Pampalone for Ultimate Family Wellness)


2015-05-16 10.20.26 It’s okay to break the rules, but do so mindfully. “Full disclosure: At a Halloween party, [my girls] disappeared and I found them with their friends eating bags of candy,” Kirsch admits. “But I took a deep breath and walked away and let them have a good time. Are they always making the right choices? No. If left to their own devices, Francesca might want to have a burger and fries every day. But I expand their palates and expose them to healthy foods.”

Did someone say healthy spaghetti?! Yes, Jamie Oliver—get his very family-friendly, whole foods-packed, weeknight-ready recipes.

(Photo: Luciana Pampalone for Ultimate Family Wellness)


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