Celebrity trainer Alex Fine on Instagram, celery juice and training his friends
Alex Fine is a former college athlete, rides bulls in his spare time, acts as director of health at a CBD water company, creates fitness and nutrition programs for high profile athletes and celebrities (take several 'Riverdale' cast members, for example) and isn't slowing down anytime soon. From the role of social media in his personal life to his gym bag essentials and his love for celery juice, we sat down with the 25-year-old trainer, thanks to Premier Protein, to pick his brain. Keep reading for our full conversation.
AOL: So you do a little bit of everything -- you ride bulls, train celebs and work with a CBD water company. What else do you want to do in 2019?
Alex Fine: I want to produce movies and docuseries, so that's what I'm doing now at least.
Are these films fitness focused or about anything in particular?
Anything. This year I also want to spend a lot of time traveling with friends, and it works out because a lot of my clients are close friends. I wouldn’t really want to work with anyone I wouldn’t want to spend an hour with, so that's why I love doing what I do now especially. It took a minute to get to that point, so now it's just having a good time this year.
What is the number one place you are trying to visit this year?
I'm trying to go somewhere different. Somewhere that doesn’t have any American culture to it. But I also want do some cool things I’ve never experienced, like I’ve heard about knife fighting in Japan or swimming with orcas in Norway or going to Sri Lanka -- somewhere different.
Sounds pretty exciting. You have a major Instagram presence and a lot of famous faces make appearances on your feed. What role does social media play in your career and the personal training world?
It's funny, social media plays a role in my life with media sort of things, but with my job everything has been referral, word of mouth. No one's really contacted me through Instagram for a private session. It's usually that one of their assistants has [reached out] or their manager has talked to my manager about it. But [social media] hasn’t done anything for me directly.
You’ll see on my page I never really post workout or instructional videos and that's just because I still want to keep it how I am. I just post whatever I like doing that day. I don’t really use it as a business tool like I should, but I use it to look at memes and just like cool travel pics or food recipes. I try to stay away from being corny as possible *laughter.* I mean, I am corny, but I'm not trying to ever not be myself [online] because what's the point then?
Who are some of your biggest professional inspirations — clients, other fitness facilities you admire, etc?
So it's not really anyone in my field or anything. I mean I respect everyone, but it's more like I look up to whoever works the hardest. Like people around me that work extremely hard and never stop. Peter Berg is one of hardest workers I know and he never stops working. You’d think he only does movies, but he does a lot of the commercials you see that you would never know about, and TV shows, documentaries. It's just like he has all of this success, but he never stops — it's pretty motivational I think.
What are your favorite, go-to things to eat before and after a workout to make sure your body is properly fueled?
It depends. In the morning, I work out and it's just cardio, I'll have celery juice and *skeptic murmurs through the room...* Yeah, people say it's nasty, I like the taste! Maybe it's just the color of it, [but you need to] join the wave on celery juice!
I chug CBD water. I’ve had four shoulder surgeries and broken over I think like 30 or 40 bones, I have arthritis and I'm only 25 so I need to take care of myself a little bit better. But I drink a lot of CBD water -- that's Hemp Hydrate -- and then around 2 o’clock I'll have my first meal, which is usually just a smoothie that I make. It usually has a protein like Premier Protein. I like the chocolate, it's low in sugar and carbs. And then I use the CBD water as a base. So I use Hemp Hydrate, then whatever kind of fruit I'm feeling that day and then sometimes I add avocado if I'm feeling a little weird. [Editor's note: Alex makes his own celery juice, and recommends not to add anything to it other than ice and to drink 16oz on an empty stomach in the morning].
I guess we're going to have to buy a juicer and try this celery thing. When you’re heading to workout — what are some of your personal gym bag essentials?
My gym is actually at my home. I turned my house into a wellness center, so when you see the guys training [on Instagram], it's usually at my house. So the gym bag that’d I'd bring if I was leaving my house... It’d be Hemp Hydrate water, an extra pair of socks, because my feet sweat a lot, and, this is going to sound crazy that I know about this, but Tracie Martyn face wash.
If I haven’t eaten that day I'll do a ready-to-go Premier Protein drink, which is easy so I don’t have to make a smoothie. We'll assume I have time for a shower, so extra clothes. If not, then there's this thing called like man body wipes or something someone sent it to me — they’re good. And I always bring three t-shirts because I sweat so much after the shower.
For people that are brand new to working out, where do you suggest they start — with a trainer? Taking a class at the gym?
People are going rip on me for this, but don’t hire a trainer when you first start. Like if you need to get to something in a certain amount of time, let's say you’ve never worked out and your wedding is in 30 days, then I'd say go and get a personal trainer right away. It's got to be a good one though, there are a lot of bad ones just like in any profession, so you have to go to a good one.
But for someone starting out, I suggest just walking. A lot of people don’t even walk enough and it's a huge thing. Get a Fitbit, and I suggest you do 3 weeks, even if you don’t workout, of walking over 15,000 to 16,000 steps. That's a lot, but by burning that many calories from walking a day, you’re going to lose weight if you have a semi healthy diet. And the diet thing is huge apart of it. Like 10 years ago the diet was pretty hard, but being in LA and New York or even when I go back home to Ohio or Tennessee, you can go get a smoothie or like an organic chicken salad anywhere now even in middle-of-no-where Nashville. The options are there and I suggest just cutting back on the calories and being cognizant of that. You have know a small bar from the gas station that you don’t think is a lot is 350 calories or a package of M&Ms also has the same amount of calories as two chicken breasts and broccoli like a full meal. It's also being cognizant of your calories and upping your cardio.
And the internet has made it so accessible to find a workout. If you want to start working out, you can find a Youtube video or an app that gives you a workout, but I pretty much have gone by how I feel. The way I personally train is different from what I suggest for people just because my way is intuitive, especially with myself. I just know how I feel and what I need to do or how I look and what I want to change and how I need to get there. It's never been a set program of Monday is chest and Tuesday is back and Wednesday is legs. It's just however I feel, that's what I go with.
We're only a few weeks in 2019 and it can be hard for people to stick with their fitness resolutions. What tips do you have for finding the motivation to hit the gym?
Motivation is huge. That's the biggest key to success. That's what the common denominator is for every successful person -- self motivation. It's not motivated by anyone else, and you have to find a kind of dark place in yourself where you’re like, "I'm going to do it no matter what.” Self motivation is the biggest thing.
I could tell you a bunch of things and you might be inspired or motivated within an hour or a day or a week, but it's not going to last. The only thing that sustains is you.
I'd suggest setting a goal for yourself whether it's the whole year and being realistic about it and doing 3 days, or not even joining one gym and just doing a Classpass and doing whatever. Just being active and eating less calories. You've got to be honest with yourself.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
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