Gigi Hadid pretty much has the most admirable figure in the fashion industry these days. Going from curvier to lean and toned in the past few years, this girl knows an efficient workout – and it shows. The girl-of-the-moment and “Model of the Year” is now also the face of Reebok’s latest #PerfectNever campaign. And who’s behind these incredible results? Meet Rob Piela, celebrity trainer and creator of New York’s reputed Gotham Gym.
Here, he shares practical advice on achieving solid workout results, and spills the beans on everything from self-defense to smoothies, Gigi’s workout regime, and building endurance. Read on for his tips, tricks, and must-know insider info.
On Gigi's Training Program
“Her training program depends on when and if she is traveling. When she’s in New York, it’s usually daily for about an hour… but her schedule is chaotic. She’s sometimes in four different countries in a week. She’s thinner now, so we don’t do as much cardio because she’s not looking to bulk up, but definitely not looking to lose any weight. It kind of goes based on how she’s feeling. We usually box. A typical strength-training program, I imagine, would bore her. She’s competitive and very athletic, and likes to be challenged. Singular playing with motions and movements are okay, but I think she is more advanced than that.”
On a Self-Defense Move Every Woman Should Know
“I think the elbows are pretty good. They’re pretty tough, they’re strong bones. If you were to punch someone, there’s a likelihood that you would break your hand, but with your elbows, you’re pretty safe for throwing it… and they hurt if you hit them.”
On the Ultimate Moves to Achieve Her Body
“For glutes, I would say the donkey kicks where you go on all fours. Generally speaking, a lot of girls don’t want to build their quads, so while squats are good for your glutes, they are also building your quads – but you are not building that during donkey kicks. It’s a good exercise and you can also take it anywhere in the world, while you’re traveling or in a hotel.
For the same reason, I think bands are good for your arms. It gives constant resistance while also affordable and especially handy for when you’re traveling or watching TV while doing it. For the arms, try bicep curl-ups and tricep press-downs. In terms of ab exercises, they’re all very effective, but I would pick bicycle kicks as it gives kind of a multilayered exercise.”
On Gigi's Exercise Goal
“She first came to me just to keep fit… I remember, it was about three and a half years ago. It was a fun session and we got along right away. She’s super nice and easygoing, and she’s really into boxing. I think her first post after the training session was “I just found my new addiction” or something along those lines. For us, it instantly took off as boxing a lot, which we incorporate all these other exercises with. We don’t just box for an hour straight. We would box, then do some donkey kicks, then box and do some bands, then box again and do some bicycle kicks. She’s a tremendous athlete.”
On an Emergency Two-Week Shred Program
“I would say you’d have to see a nutritionist. Reduce your calorie intake and increase your amount of exercise to burn calories. Calories in versus calories out is what matters. In terms of exercise, a lot more cardio just for the simple fact that you burn more calories. It’s easier to burn calories for a longer period of time. In terms of reducing size, you wouldn’t get the same results from weight training for two weeks as you would with cardio.
I love to run, and jumping rope is really great. Cardio refers to where your heart rate goes, so whatever you like that brings your heart rate to a certain level. Personally, I love to run, but it’s not for everybody. The thing I don’t like about an elliptical, personally, is that my legs start to go slower naturally about three minutes in. I never feel like I get a good workout, but other super fit people I know keep their heart rate really high when they’re on it.
I think rowing is also great, and roofing is a good form of cardio if you do it fast enough and keep your heart rate up on a certain level. A lot of people have misconceptions that one form of cardio is better than another, but it’s not the case. Cardio is referring to the level where your heart rate is. I think jump rope slims your legs a bit more – there is no flexing or extension of the knee. It’s not a fact, but my personal opinion.”
On Gigi's Exercise Pet Peeve
“Tough question, and it kind of depends on the day. I would say abs. She doesn’t really block it very much, but if I had to think of one thing, I guess it would be abs.”
On How Her Body Has Changed Since Working Out Together
“She’s gotten thinner. I think it’s a combination of working out and her travel schedule as she’s always running around. She never sits still, so I think that’s part of it. We’ve added a bit more resistance to her workout regime to make sure her muscles stay toned because she’s not one of the very, very skinny girls. She’s strong, she’s tough.”
On Post-Workout Meals
“It depends on the goals of the person, really. If someone is looking to build lean muscle, they would take in some sugar afterwards to get the glycogen levels up and protein to help rebuild the muscle. A smoothie is pretty ideal because it’s an engineered perfect balance of food. Carbs, fat, protein, and sugar – the nutritional content of smoothies is great. I personally like to eat, though, so would much rather have quinoa, salmon, and salad.”
On Models Wanting to Achieve Smaller Hips
“If they’re chubby, there’s something we could do about that, but if there’s nothing but bones there – unless you want to go shave the bone down – you’re in trouble. In my opinion, people should be confident and feel empowered. I think Gigi is a good example of that – she, at times, has been more curvy than she is now but it has never held her back.”
On the Key to Endurance
“I think it’s just: keep going. There is undeniable science behind it if you really want to monitor your heart rate, but personally, I’ve never gone into that. I think it’s a matter of feeling good and keeping going, not pushing yourself too far or too little. I’ve been training people for over 20 years and those always in the best shape are the ones who are consistent – never the ones who are killing themselves, and never the ones who don’t work hard. Even if they do 20 minutes one day, the consistent are always the ones in the best shape.”