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Beach Body Week: ‘Thor’ Trainer Duffy Gaver

May 8, 2011

Chris Hemsworth (Thor) achieved his cut physique with the help of trainer Duffy Gaver

Based on the box office totals for the weekend, quite a few of you went to go see Thor over the weekend. Actor Chris Hemsworth played Thor, and he didn’t always have that swoon-worthy physique that was featured front and center in the film.

Chris bulked up with Duffy Gaver, a personal trainer who has worked with scores of actors including Brad Pitt, Tobey Maguire, Sam Worthington, and many more. Gaver is the owner of Catalyst Fitness Training Center in Santa Monica.

Recently I got to speak with Gaver about training Hemsworth, and fitness in general. This will be our final segment of  our week-long feature on fitness. The first thing I asked him about is how he assesses the needs of his client, and if that process differs whether it is a star trying to get in shape for a role, or if it is just your average joe who shows up at his facility.

“I would assess everybody the same. So whether it’s a movie star or average joe guy they get the same treatment, you’re going to assess them for what they are regardless. Do they need muscle added?  Do they need to drop muscle? Do they need to drop fat?  Do they need to gain fat?  I know that sounds weird, but I’ve had clients who request that, and how do we go about that in the most healthy manner?

Where it starts to differ from joe average is that with a lot of these clients we are up against a wall, time wise. We have a particular date that a huge bit of machinery is in motion towards. They will show up on that day shirtless or sleeveless or however it is, and they will be toned.” Duffy said.

So what type of turnaround is he typically looking at when he gets a client training for a movie or show?

“It varies. I’ve had people say ‘Hey, in six months I need to look like this’ and I have had people call up and say, ‘Something has come up and I’ve got a week to get in as good of shape as I possibly can get in. What can we do?’  I say, well, we can get do whatever we can get done. Let’s put in the time, let’s be disciplined about it. You put in the hard work, and we’ll get the best that you have. That’s really all you can do. It all comes down to you, whether you are an average joe, as you put it, or the biggest star in the world. The onus is on you. You’ll do the work, or you won’t. You’ll get the results, or you won’t. You’ll be disciplined, or you won’t”

My clients do have things at their disposal, but they also have things taken away. As much as they might have a gym at their disposal, they may also have meetings all day long, and a million different balls in the air, career wise.  So I would say it is more of a level playing field in that aspect of resources available; but demands placed on my clients. There are gyms everywhere, and it doesn’t take that much equipment to get pretty fit, especially if you are just talking about beach fit. You don’t need a bunch of heavy weights and machinery to get beach fit. Some discipline on your diet and some calisthenics will get you pretty beach fit in no time.

Really it comes down to effort on your part. You are either going to stop eating badly, or you’re not.  There are a million books on how to eat well, and it’s not that complicated-chicken, broccoli and brown rice is a pretty good basis for a diet. Then you can toss some fish in there and lose the brown rice in the evening and you will probably be on a healthy road to fitting into a bikini.

Then toss in some fitness. Fitness doesn’t have to be complicated either. You don’t need a full blown gym to be fit. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s very first book on how to get fit for a bodybuilder is this antiquated thing now, but it is still the truth. What are you doing going to a gym and trying to bench a bunch of weight if you can’t even do push ups?  If you can’t do a lot of air squats, what are you doing worrying about going in to do leg extensions and leg curls?

If you are going in the direction of beach body, almost every woman will say that she needs her butt and legs in better shape, but they don’t do squats. It’s the most ridiculous thing in the world. If they just did air squats, and I am talking really well performed air squats-and do as many of those as they can for 30 seconds, try that five times, I’m betting you that their legs and butts would shape up for summer. ”

As for the different body types, Duffy says a lot of times women fall into two categories: women who are skinny who need to gain muscle, and women who are muscular who need to get lean. Everyone else is somewhere in the middle.

“If you just solve the two problems-the muscly ones, go run and swim and watch your diet. You won’t have to worry about muscles and you’ll get fit for summer. The lean ones-go work out. It doesn’t matter what workout you do-mix it up. Follow someone around. Go to the gym. Ask what they do for their butt. The truth is, before trainers were around, that is what everyone did.

Everybody keeps looking for fitness, like it is going to be on the cover of a magazine, or it is going to be in the gym, but the fact is it isn’t in either. You either get your head around that, or you don’t. If you don’t, then go spend a bunch more money and stay out of shape. Or, stop spending money, stop reading articles, and start doing the stuff you already know that you can do. For your average, out of shape person, if you can just do a basic calisthenics routine, you will be more fit than you were before.”

If you would like to find out more, visit Men’s Health this month. They give a breakdown of Chris’s workout.

Duffy Gaver served as a Navy Seal and Marine in the armed services, and is certified in the following:

  • Future Fit Personal Fitness
  • National Council for Certified Personal Trainers
  • Crossfit Personal Training
  • Elite Fitness Traing Programs

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One Response to “ Beach Body Week: ‘Thor’ Trainer Duffy Gaver ”

  1. Matt on May 10, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    Rockin interview Shannon!

    Duffy sure seems to know what he’s doing. I heard that at one point Hemsworth gained too much muscle to even fit into the Thor costume and had to slim down. I’d love to get him on my site some time and pick his brain a little! :)

    I agree a lot with what he says too about fitness. People tend to complicate things by thinking they have to make these huge changes, and then point out that they’ve failed because getting fit is freaking hard and takes too much time.

    Remember the words of the wise Seneca “It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that they are difficult.”

    Best wishes!

    -Lean Muscle Matt