Say hello to David Kingsbury – fitness trainer to the stars.
David Kingsbury has trained Hollywood stars including Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence. Helping them to achieve weight and body targets for some of the top Hollywood film roles. Thrive chats with him about those 5am starts at Pinewood studios, healthy carbs and of course getting that perfect body.
When you get the call to sculpt the body of Hollywood actors into a superhero, where do you begin?
It all starts with a meeting with the director/producer or even the actor themselves, if they have a say in the character. They’ll say “we want them to look like X in two months” and they’ll show me a picture of a guy with huge shoulders, massive beefy biceps and a tiny waist like a classic comic book drawing, or they’ll tell me that the actor needs to lose so many pounds. What you can achieve with someone in a short space of time depends a lot on what they have done before. Their ‘training age’ is how many years they have been training. This paired with their training style gives me a good idea of how they will respond to exercises.
On some projects, I’m given specific measurements by the studio that we have to achieve. It is pretty high pressure. It’s not always so rigid, though. With some actors, we simply try to take it up another notch each time in terms of muscle and definition.
Have you always had a passion for health and fitness?
And if so, where did this passion come from? Absolutely. I always have loved sports and have been incredibly active my whole life. I qualified as a trainer when I was 18 and have been working in the industry ever since. My passion for sports has seen me do just about everything, from competing in cycle stage races in Europe to Muay Thai matches in Bangkok. I actually moved to Thailand when I was younger to train in martial arts.
How do you think health and fitness has changed you personally – in a physical, mental and spiritual way?
It is hard to say if it has changed me as I have always done it. But I do know how important it is to me. It is my meditation, escape and focus. I wouldn’t know what to do without it.
There isn’t a one size fits all approach when it comes to training your body. Everyone is different.
What does your typical day look like when you’re working at your gym at Pinewood Studios, UK?
Although I have my own gym at Pinewood, I haven’t been there much over the past few years. I have been mainly between Shepperton Studios and Warner Bros Studios for the last few films.
With the nature of my work, no day is the same. We can be flying to different countries, working from a location in a trailer gym or sit around at the studio all day waiting. There is always a lot of waiting. I am always up early though – around 5am. I get my training done early, so that I can be free for when they need me for sessions.
Typically, I will have one training session before shooting begins, then I may fit in another at the end, depending on how many people I am training at the time. I can be working with anywhere between 1 and 18 actors.
There’s been such a backlash towards carbs recently, what’s your thoughts on incorporating carbs into a healthy diet?
I like carbs. I use carb cycling for most of the people I work with from the go. If I don’t use it straight away, it will always be the aim to get onto a carb cycling plan. I will use low carb plans for some people though to give them a kick-start if they are in need of it. There isn’t a one size fits all approach here and it is where I say my custom plans are a good way forward to get something right for you, your goals and body type.
It’s a simple one, what’s your preferred choice when it comes to protein?
That one’s simple – Fish.
Exercise is my meditation, escape and focus. I wouldn’t know what to do without it.
If you could offer 5 simple exercises for our readers to incorporate into a busy day what would they be?
Exercise should always be a daily occurrence. It doesn’t always have to be flat out gym training. Just being active is hugely important.
1- Walking – it’s the best thing for health.
2 – A resistance move – I like 90 seconds of push-ups first thing in the morning.
3 – Stairs. Always choose to take the stairs.You’ll be surprised how small changes likethis can make a difference.
4 – Deep bodyweight squats. Keep the hips mobile and posture solid.
5 – Band pull aparts. You just need a little band for these. Stand with your arms in front of you holding the band and slowly pull your arms apart until it touches your chin. They are great to boost posture.
And don’t forget to throw a monster gym session in the mix, too – when you can.
What’s next for you in 2016 and beyond?
We are expanding at the moment with the film work, I currently have several trainers working with me on film productions and this is an area I want to continue to grow. I’m working on three films right now – but, sadly, I’m not allowed to tell you which. Sorry!
The other main push now is online training; I have offered custom online training plans now for around four years. The results have been amazing, people are really seeing a positive difference in their health, body image and general wellbeing.
From inside Thrive Magazine / Issue 11 – Autumn – Get your full copy here
Thanks to David Kingsbury for this Q&A. Find him at: www.davidkingsbury.com