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Oprah's trainer on exercise, diet, and motivation

Posted by Elizabeth Comeau  October 25, 2012 11:52 AM

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If you've ever watched Oprah, then you know Bob Greene. Greene, 55, is probably best known in his role as her diet and fitness guru, but he's also an author, exercise physiologist, and certified personal trainer.

I got a chance to chat with Greene by phone, who is in town today to give a talk and sign books as part of Tempur-Pedic’s Celebrity Speakers Series at the new Tempur-Pedic store in Natick, about how he started working with Oprah, what's he's doing now, and more.

Here's my Q&A with him:

Q. You must hear the excuse "I don't have time to exercise" a lot, what advice do you have for folks who feel like there aren't enough hours in the day for a workout?

A: Oprah is literally the busiest person I know, she has a grueling schedule and is always on the go—people want to make it about money and say she can hire a trainer or a chef and while, sure, that may be true, she still has to put in the time and do the work.

Ironically, I find that most people know what they should be eating, and how they should be moving. But the truth is that when I look at people who have been successful with a healthy lifestyle, they are people who've had some revelation about themsevles or their life or both. That’s usually what’s required for permanent change for their life— it's really a journey of self discovery. People who pay attention to those things—the person willing to make a hard change -- is the most successful. I've never seen anyone successful that didn’t make at least one very tough choice in their life -- hate your job? Have guts to change it. Bad relationship? Then get out of it. They all made some drastic paradigm shift.

Q. What’s your exercise/diet routine like?

A. On the cardio side of the equation I do an hour a day, or sometimes I’ll also take a long bike ride later that same day, then every other day I do strength training, so really for about an hour and say 25 minutes a day I'm committed to exercise. On the eating side, it’s really following the "20 years younger" diet. I eat a lot of superfoods -- a heavy percentage of those coming from veggies, a good source of protein, and a healthy starch like brown rice.

Q. I'm dying to know, what's Oprah's favorite exercise?

A. You know, she's really very consistent, she hated everything. She's joked about that on the show. I would say in all honesty, that being outdoors and hiking, is her favorite. She’s very fit, and even when she was heavier she was still very fit. She would climb very steep hills for a good workout. I still meet up with her during the summers in Hawaii, and we'll go climbing volcanic graves and bring her dogs and she enjoys it because it doesn't feel like a workout, she just loves being outdoors.

Q. How did you start working with Oprah?

A. I had a program in Miami, before I met her, where we had folks do TV specials about our weight loss program, work with seniors, athletes -- we had a wide range of clientele, and most teams in area did rehab there. Then, I opened a spa in Colorado and hired a medically-oriented staff in this ski town -- opening week Oprah checks in. What’s ironic about the whole story is that I didn’t own a television, and had never had seen the show.

Want to ask Greene questions in person yourself? He'll be at the Natick Mall
in the 1st Floor Level Atrium from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Free copies of Bob’s book “20 Years Younger” will be given out to the first 50 attendees of the event.

Staying fit is an important part of staying healthy. This blog will offer exercise tips from experts as well as share the personal journeys of Globe staff members committed to fitness. No matter your age or energy level, we invite you to join in and share your own story. How do you find time to work out? What are your daily challenges? Let us know and read along -- and together, we can all get moving.


Elizabeth Comeau is a social media marketing manager at She will be blogging about her personal fitness journey and using a device called a FitBit to track her weekly goals and progress (see below). Follow her journey and share your own. Read more about Elizabeth and this blog.

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