ben bruno working out with

JUST BECAUSE celebrity personal trainer Ben Bruno works with some of the most notable names in Hollywood and sports—Justin Timberlake, Kate Upton, Chelsea Handler, Kelly Oubre Jr., and Giancarlo Stanton, just to name a few—doesn’t mean that he believes celebrities should somehow work out any differently than the everyday person looking to up their fitness game.

With a focus on functional movement and strength training with longevity in mind, Bruno has started to spread the word (on IG + TikTok) to the masses that the key to “better gains” is doing less, listening to your body, and operating in a sustainable fashion.

He took us through his routine and philosophy, and even gave us a totally doable workout you can do at home.

Working Out With Celebrity Trainer Ben Bruno

BEST FITNESS ADVICE YOU’VE EVER BEEN GIVEN: That long-term fitness success is a balancing act of pushing your body and listening to your body. Some people tend to err on the side of being lazy, and those people need to push harder, while other people are too gung-ho about overdoing it, and should instead listen to their body better. There’s a saying in our world that “exercise is medicine,” which I believe to be true. Most of the side effects of exercise are better than most medicines, but just like medicine, the devil is in the dose.

I tend to tell my clients that the training sweet spot is a consistent 7/10-level, which is right where you want to be for an energizing workout vs. a depleting one.

SOMETHING YOU ALWAYS KEEP IN MIND: Time is a great teacher. Most of the dudes that get into training in their early 20s are just meatheads. The people who hire trainers don’t usually have the same mindset as their trainers. I used to be someone who wanted to deadlift and squat at the max, and none of my clients have ever cared about that.

Most clients just want to get leaner, move better, be out of pain, and so, for me, being someone who has trained for 17 years and lifted hard for 20 years, time has been a good teacher to give me a sense of what worked in my 20s no longer works now. And my clients are all 10 years older, so I’ve realized that when a lot of people set out to train, they do it for aesthetic reasons, but over time, they get funneled into wanting better longevity and optimal living. You realize if you don’t take that moderate approach, life has a way of brining you back down.

WHO WAS YOUR FIRST HUGE CLIENT? Before I moved to LA, I first started building my reputation by training some young talented hockey players—Jack Eichel + Chris Kreider—who, at the time, were just young guys who happened to workout at the gym I worked at. Little did I know they’d become some of the best players in the NHL.

When I came to LA, I specialized in sports training, and ended up working with Taj Gibson in the NBA, and in one summer, I went from one basketball player to 12 guys in the NBA, and then became known as “The NBA guy.” One thing led to another, and then I ended up with a host of celebrity clients—my first being Chelsea Handler.


ben bruno gym

HOW HAVE YOU EVOLVED YOUR METHOD OVER TIME? It’s become a lot less hardcore. I always tell young trainers that there’s a word for trainers who try to impose their hard ways on clients and that’s unemployed. To generalize, most men who start out to be a trainer are just people who love to crush workouts, but people that want to hire a trainer have more moderate goals, and don’t enjoy the gym necessarily. My method is way less macho and way more practical and sustainable.

BEST TIP FOR SOMEONE WHO IS JUST STARTING THEIR WORKOUT JOURNEY: Start slower than you think you need to. Most people come out the gate over-zealous and then overdo it, which is a great way to hate fitness. If you haven’t done anything for a while, envision what you think you should do and cut it in half.

If you’re not passionate about it, if you start fast and you’re too sore, you’ll hate it and won’t stick to it. Tale as old as time—people always joke that they’ll set a resolution to go every day. I’d say it’s better to go two days a week for 30 min instead of over-committing. Undercommit and bump up as you go along. Fitness is life-changing for people who haven’t done it, but mentally, in terms of confidence and one’s relationship to food, a good routine of strength training is life-changing for the better.

GO-TO EXERCISES FOR ENDURANCE + STRENGTH: I primarily focus on compound movements, so that would be movements that use multiple muscle groups at once. My style of training isn’t body building. We do full-body workouts. We don’t do chest day, back day, leg day. We pair upper-body movements with lower-body movements that also have the synergistic effect of cardio. For lower body, squats, lunges, split squats, dead lifts, single leg squats. For upper body, it would be dumbbell presses rows, pull ups, pull downs, and for core, we prioritize core stability over things like sit ups. For the average person, sit ups are the go-to for abs, but they can really be tricky for your lower back, so we focus on stability with exercises like planks.

WHAT DOES A BEN BRUNO PRE + POST-WORKOUT LOOK LIKE? My pre-workout depends when I work out. I prioritize my clients’ workouts over mine, but ideally, I’d work out in the late morning, but usually it ends up being around lunchtime, so my egg or oatmeal breakfast end up serving as my pre-workout. And I always have a protein shake. OWYN has become my go-to because it’s pre-made, and I can just toss one back before I work out or while I’m working out (if working out later). It’s plant-based protein, so I don’t have to worry about being bloated during my workout in the same way that I would with whey or another dairy-based protein.

Post-workout, I’ll either have another OWYN, or my lunch, which will consist of some sort of protein and healthy carbs.

ben bruno owyn

FAVORITE HIGH-PROTEIN SNACK: OWYN and then really nothing else. I am not a huge snacker. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a shake throughout the day. Sometimes, if I’m really in the mood, I’ll reach for cold cuts like sliced turkey, but I have found—for me (everyone should find what works for them personally)—I keep my goals of being lean and strong in check by eating in a way that sustains me throughout the day (which usually means no snack).

HOW DO YOU SPEND YOUR DAYS OFF? Could go several ways. Sometimes, they consist of literlaly not getting off the couch, or I’m someone that always thinks of other ways to modify different exercise variations. On off days, I’ll mess around and try different things that I’ve been wanting to test out to see if they’re cool or not.

I normally follow a pretty regimented training program, but on my days off I’ll free-wheel it, or I’ll hike, golf, or do something else outdoors. I set a goal four years ago to try getting 10,000 steps per day, and I found—for me—it’s pretty addicting. My wife and I always walk together. I don’t notice a huge difference in my fitness, but it takes discipline, and makes me feel good about myself for doing it. Any goals you set are meaningless unless you sustain them, so I take a lot of pride in keeping it going.

THE IDEAL RECOVERY ROUTINE CONSISTS OF… Well 1) sleep 2) stretching + mobility work 3) nutrition and getting ample protein in your diet (which is why I like OWYN) 4) things like breathwork, which are extremely powerful

A lot of people major in the minors, but the things I mentioned are just the majors. Some people really like cold plunges or saunas, which I would just say are “dealer’s choice.” Same goes for massages, or “this, that, and the other thing.” They’re nice, but they’re not necessarily foundational.

When you’re talking about recovery, your training programming is inextricably linked to that. If you’re always training too hard, then it’s too hard to recover. Instead of pointing to ice baths, I’d point to the volume in your training that’s creating a recovery deficit.

celebrity trainer ben bruno

BEST WORKOUT WHEN YOU’RE TRAVELING: I tend to try—if it’s a vacation—to get OUT of the gym, and be outdoors and explore. I love if I’m in an area by the water because I love to swim. The longer I’ve been a trainer, I’ve learned that I don’t love training as much as I used to, so I look for other ways to get fitness outside of the gym. When my clients travel, I always say “The weights aren’t going anywhere.” Although, if I’m traveling for work for a consistent period of time, I’ll try to do shorter, full-body workouts on the road.

THE ONE THING YOU WISH EVERYONE KNEW ABOUT BUILDING LEAN MUSCLE MASS: That it’s all about consistency over time. You can do the hardest workout you want, but you’re still probably going to look the same the next day. It doesn’t happen that quick. The best way is to do it sustainably because the one thing that will kill your gains is getting hurt.

Fat loss is like a roll of toilet paper, the body is only going to change at such a rate. I like to think we just rip one square a day, which doesn’t seem like that much day-to-day, but after a couple of months, the roll is gone.

WHAT IS THE FITNESS PHILOSOPHY YOU LIVE BY? I think there are three non-negotiable parts of fitness that lend themselves to longevity and aging gracefully—strength, cardio, and mobility.

Fully-body strength training done in circuit fashion checks a lot of boxes and is an efficient way to achieve a lean but strong physique. There’s a lot of wiggle room if you hate weights but like to run, but i still think it’s beneficial to do some weights. What’s non-negotiable is that your fitness addresses those three facets, but what is negotiable is how you divvy it up. As I get older, my goals are to be the guy when he’s 60 to seem 50 by maintaining mobility.

Old people who can move well have a better quality of life. Strength declines over time so I want to fight that. And you want cardio for a good heart.

ANYTHING ELSE YOU WANT TO SHARE: People assume celebrities have access to different tricks. My clients are just really consistent with the simple things that we just know we should be doing. Most people who are struggling with their fitness assume they’re not where they want to be because they somehow don’t have access to some kind of “elite” knowledge. But that’s not their barrier. It’s simple, but not easy, and hard to do consistently—especially when you don’t feel like it.

People who make fitness a part of their daily routine do much better than people who rely on doing it when they feel like it. An old mentor of mine had this thing, “Out of every 100 workouts you do, 25 will suck, 25 will be great, and 50 will be middle-of-the-road, punch-the-clock-workouts,” so if you wait for those 25 where you feel great, you won’t get fit. Just keep showing up.

Ben Bruno’s At-Home Workout

You can also access other complete mobility routines, strength workouts, and accompanying nutrition information on Ben’s app, Bruno Strong.

Below workout can be done with or without weights.

Circuit 1

01 | 3-Way Lunge*- 3 sets of 4/side
02 | Side Plank Press out- 3 sets of 8/side
03 | Prone Overhead Press- 3 sets of 10

* Each rep consists of a reverse lunge, forward lunge, and lateral lunge

Circuit 2

01 | Reaching Single Leg Romanian Deadlift- 3 sets of 8/side
02 | Hollow Body Pullover- 3 sets of 10
03 | Single Leg Hip Thrust- 3 sets of 8/leg

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