Describing the newest Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover model as “very spunky, a real go-getter,” Justin Gelband had only the best things to say about Kate Upton when we spoke this afternoon. The 19-year-old is making a splash this week in a barely-there string bikini on her first Swimsuit Issue cover, just a year after earning the Rookie of the Year title from the publication.
When the personal trainer first met Kate a year-and-a-half ago, he says she walked in with serious goals and objectives. “I want the best trainer there is,” she told her agency, and that’s how the two started working together. Upon meeting her, Justin recalled thinking “This is a superstar.” How right he was!
The creator of a workout method he calls Model Fit says he customizes every workout and nutrition plan for each client, whether a Victoria’s Secret model, swimsuit model, or the moms he trains in his New York studio. Before divulging Kate’s fitness plan for the swimsuit shoot, he was clear that while anyone can get Kate’s results, no one should try to mimic her methods to get them.
“Get the best body for you,” he told us. “Be fit for you, don’t worry about what everyone else is doing.”
So, if you’re still curious, Justin says he and Kate worked out five days a week for the three months leading up to her Sports Illustrated shoot. “She loves movement and motion,” he said. Based on that, he ran Kate through circuit training workouts that resembled an obstacle course. He described a workout as starting with a light run on the treadmill, then kickboxing that lead to stretching with elastic bands to work her back and legs, followed by quick feet movement, work on the BOSU and core board, then step ups, and finally the use of a step ladder.
Justin said their circuits could include eight to ten exercises with a thirty second rest period, and then they’d start again, sort of. “We don’t do the same things twice. Each time we change the angle.” For instance, if she did a standard jog on the first round, the next he might have her jog sideways, backward, or on an incline.
“Kate worked her butt off,” Justin told us. He says she “exercised the right way and ate the right things for her body type,” something he is passionate about for his clients.
“The more you change your exercise the better off your body will be because you’re working different muscle groups,” advised Justin.
He told us it’s important to “functionalize your program to work for yourself,” going back to his advisement to do what’s best for you and not the model on a magazine. It’s that focus on customized workouts that suit the whole of a person’s needs (from weight management to their day job as a model or a sitting at a desk) that makes his “model fit” methods work. Couple that with his use of the Blood Type Diet and you’ve got some keys to his, and his clients’, success. “[The Blood Type Diet] allows your food to digest better,” said Justin. “Then the blood generates more cells and energy.” The program, created by Dr. Peter D’Adamo, identifies the best nutritional plan based on your unique blood type,
Justin is an unlikely candidate for a “celebrity trainer,” a title he humbly laughed off in our interview. An exercise science graduate from Rutgers, he headed out to LA after graduation where he says he “happened on” his current career. He was giving swim lessons and working at a pool with overweight kids, when two women approached him about working as a personal trainer. He took them up on it, and managed an introduction to actor Josh Duhamel. That lead to an introduction to Topher Grace and Anne Hathaway, and from there it “trickled.”
He jumped at the chance to work with Angela Lindvall after the birth of her son Sebastian; and has since worked with many Victoria’s Secret models. He moved to New York to begin his accidental career as a personal trainer to the stars, which gladly put him closer to his parents back in New Jersey.
His plans are to one day return to focusing on kids’ health, as he’d like to “put together a foundation, but it’s going to take a little while.” He also mentioned a TV show and book that are in the works. “I want to teach people to get in shape for themselves.”