Kathy Kaehler

by Charles Platkin, PhD

For thirteen years, she appeared on the Today show as the fitness correspondent while training such celebrities as Julia Roberts, Michelle Pfeiffer, Cindy Crawford, Jennifer Aniston, Denise Richards, Claudia Schiffer, and Kim Basinger. In addition, her work with Kim Kardashian has lead to a downloadable workout series entitled, Kim Kardashian Workout Video…Exercises Fit For a Princess, while providing fitness and wellness content as well as a weekly blog as the Fitness Correspondent for Firstwivesworld.com. The fitness industry has also recognized Kathy’s contributions and she was recently inducted into the Fitness Hall of Fame.

Diet Detective: Hello Kathy, thanks again for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk to us and our readers — we appreciate it. My first question for you is how you get started being a personal trainer?

Kathy: I got started as a personal trainer when I was hired by Jane Fonda to be her personal trainer at her very private spa in Santa Barbara in 1988.

Diet Detective: What do you think is the one most important thing that makes or breaks a diet/fitness program?

Kathy: What makes a diet and fitness program is behavior modification. What breaks it is a program with a focus on getting somewhere for an event or for getting in the skinny jeans.

Diet Detective: What makes it so difficult for moms to keep to a diet and exercise routine?

Kathy: Schedule is why it is so difficult for moms. It is always changing and this puts a tremendous strain on the focus.

Diet Detective: What’s your motto?

Kathy: Put it on the daily list and check it off!

Diet Detective: What makes what you do different from other fitness experts and trainers?

Kathy: I am the best there is to creating a fitness program that will leave you wanting more. With 25 years of experience and training I share my secrets with my clients. I have the unique ability to change lives in a positive way through exercise and dietary changes.

Diet Detective: What do you do when you “fall of the wagon?”

Kathy: I never fall off the wagon. Exercise, being active and eating good healthy food is how I lead my life. I make this a choice in how I live and can’t imagine it any other way.

Diet Detective: Tell us the biggest secret that trainers typically don’t tell their clients, but should?

Kathy: I tell my clients the truth and sometimes that may be something that they would rather have me not tell them. Reality can be hard to swallow sometimes but it is the only way to move forward from where you are. I don’t keep any secrets.

Diet Detective: What do you do each day? Do you train at a specific gym or move around a lot? What is a “day-in-the life” of a celebrity trainer?

Kathy: I have clients that start at 6AM. I teach fitness classes five times a week in Los Angeles in a private community. I train in my home gym some of my celebrity clients and I also travel to their homes. I do an extensive pool workout for myself and I spend my afternoons with my three sons doing homework, making dinner, laundry, dishes, and walking my two dogs. Red, my English Bulldog puppy and Bull, my big black lab.

Diet Detective: Out of all the celebrities you’ve trained, who is the hardest working and why? What can we learn from her/ him?

Kathy: Kim Basinger is the most committed workout gal around. She pushes hard at every workout and when she is not with me she works out on her own. Her drive and focus to keep fitness and nutrition her top priority along with her daughter is truly extraordinary.

Diet Detective: Do you think that women need to exercise and train differently then men? If so, how?

Kathy: While it seems that we should, I really don’t train men and women any differently. They may be able to lift heavier weights and some exercises may be more geared for one sex or the other but we all need cardio, strength, and flexibility.

Diet Detective: How do you get someone motivated to stick to a fitness program?

Kathy: I just tell them the benefits of exercise — improved quality of life, reduced risks of disease, burn more calories at rest, better attitude, sleep better, clearer skin, and better sex. The last one is the one that usually gets them!

Diet Detective: In all your years of training what do you consider the best non-weight related exercise? Can you also explain how to do the exercise?

Kathy: The pushup. You train shoulders, chest, and triceps. You can do it anywhere and it can be made easier or more challenging.

Start on the knees with the arms supporting the upper body. Body should be straight like a board. Lower the chest until it reaches a few inches off the floor. Exhale as you press back up. To make it more difficult extend the legs and hold yourself up with the toes.

Diet Detective: What is the worst strength training exercise for women? Or one that is the most frequently done incorrectly?

Kathy: Upright row. I really am not a fan of this exercise. I don’t use it very often and when I do it’s with a band, never with a weight.

Diet Detective: What’s your favorite “junk food?”

Kathy: I guess my favorite would be the potato chip.

Diet Detective: What’s your favorite healthy lunch?

Kathy: Salmon bowl from Whole Foods or a plate of fresh baby spinach with warm lentils, chopped tomatoes, fresh garlic, and some goat cheese with a drizzle of olive oil.

Diet Detective: What do you consider the world’s most perfect food?

Kathy: The egg. Any way you make it, it is the most natural and untouched food.

Diet Detective: Who do you respect most, or who motivates you?

Kathy: I have many that fit into this question. I respect Jane Fonda for her work in my field, Jack LaLanne for his endless career, and my parents for their continued support. I motivate myself. I am very competitive and this keeps me going forward.

Diet Detective: If you had to choose a specific song or band to get you excited for your workout, what would it be? What other songs are on your iPod?

Kathy: I am inspired by old Janet Jackson, Madonna, Chaka Khan, Donna Summer, and most of all the disco favorites.

Diet Detective: What do you do to reduce stress/relax/center your mind? Do you participate in an organized relaxation activity such as yoga, meditation, or tai chi?

Kathy: I just started getting involved with meditation. I also have acupuncture weekly and a facial every other week.

Diet Detective: What’s the most bodacious chance you’ve ever taken?

Kathy: I created a workout video program for my client Kim Kardashian just before her scandalous sex video was released. The workouts have sold tremendously well. She has also donated to women’s charities with some of the proceeds and continues to inspire women to love their bodies no matter what shape they have. This was a chance that some thought to be risky for me but it has only created a wonderful relationship that has taken my career to new and exciting places.

Diet Detective: What was your worst summer job?

Kathy: I delivered airline tickets to customers of a travel agency.

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