Jake Steinfeld is a world-renowned fitness professional who was one of the very first celebrity personal trainers. The “Body By Jake” guru has helped thousands of people get the body they’ve always wanted with his motivational books, line of work out products and his inspiring “don’t quit” attitude.
Now the former bodybuilder, who has worked with the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tom Hanks, and Stephen Spielberg is hitting the screens with a one-man show in which he shares funny tales about growing up as an overweight child with a bad stutter, and the unconventional way he got into the fitness industry.
In advance of the show's premiere, we caught up with Jake to find out his advice for a great physique and which celebrity dropped the “f” bomb on him to try and get out of her workout session!
Shape: What can viewers expect from your show, No Expectations?
Jake Steinfeld (JS): It’s a one-man show that I did in Las Vegas in front of a sold-out crowd at MGM Grand where the likes of Frank Sinatra, George Carlin, and David Copperfield have performed. It was an honor to be on that stage. People who came thought it was going to be a nighttime fitness show, but I tell stories about overcoming adversity while growing up in Brooklyn and Long Island, and you’re going to laugh your ass off. The show is called No Expectations because no one had any expectations for me. But I like it that way as the bar had been set low. People will be able to connect with my story.
Shape: What are your 'golden rules' for staying in shape that you've learned from your years of as a fitness professional?
JS: Moderation. Absolutely moderation. I’m 55 so I’ve been doing “Body By Jake” since I was 19. I love to eat, which is why I train. I train so I can eat. The other word is patience. That’s an overall note.
Shape: Your classic poem is ‘Don’t Quit’—what’s your best advice for Shape readers who sometimes feel like giving up?
JS: The worst thing you can do is give up on a workout program or relationship or yourself. Failing is not death. When it comes to fitness, it is the products or programs you are using that failed you. You need to find something that works for you.
Shape: You’ve been a fitness professional for over 30 years and trained countless celebrities—do you have any funny celebrity stories?
JS: I trained Bette Midler who is just the greatest. I remember going to her home back in the day. I was the first person to go to celebrity homes and make personal training a career. I’d make Bette do pushups and sit-ups and she’d say, “Oh f**k off Jake.” But she’d look at me and flip me off and give me 75. Or I’d ring the buzzer and she’d say, “I’m not going to work out today—I’ll pay you double.” So I’d wait outside, and sure enough, she’d come out to get her newspaper and I’d be waiting outside her gate with the newspaper in my hand and then she’d tell me to come in and work out.
Shape: In your opinion, what's the best exercise and diet routine to shed unwanted pounds?
JS: It’s the one that you find that works for you. You can’t do it on your own. When it comes to weight loss places like Shape.com are great. And fitorbit.com is a place where you can get a real-life personal trainer online. You choose from a number of them and that trainer does a daily routine and eating plan personalized just for you. It’s important that you have professional help.
With the Foundation for Governors Fitness Councils I’ve put fitness centers in elementary and middle schools around the country, working with Coca-Cola who has stepped up big time and understands the challenges. They’re funding Live Positively Fitness Centers around the country. In September Chris Christie is opening three fitness centers in New Jersey, we’re opening three in Georgia, three in Delaware, and three in West Virginia.
Catch Jake Steinfeld’s No Expectations one-man show online at SnagFilms.com this Thursday, June 27 at 7 p.m. ET.