“I consider myself a magician,” says Eric Fleishman to Bodybuilding.com. His methods promise results not in months or years but in days, through only three things — diet, exercise, and sleep.

Eric the trainer on building a hollywood movie star body
WELL-BEING - Mylene Mendoza-Dayrit (The Philippine Star) - August 7, 2017 - 4:00pm

Last week at a fitness convention in Las Vegas, our table was surprised with a visit from the biggest guy in the room—Eric Fleishman, popularly known as Eric the Trainer. He had a Herculean build with huge muscles rippling through his whole body and an equally big personality. You would never have guessed that he started his fitness journey as a “98-pound loser” growing up on the farm in Maine. 

A late bloomer, he was picked on for being a scrawny kid. He was so small that he has said in interviews that the girls in his class looked more like his babysitters than his peers. Where he grew up, not much importance was placed on physical appearance so he learned to appreciate people for what was within. “From an early age, I learned to look within a person to find their beauty. It’s a skill I’ve based my entire career upon,” he shares.

Everything changed when he first stepped into a gym. Eric finally had his growth spurt in his sophomore year in college and decided to start working out to fill his lanky frame. He fell in love with the gym and called it magical. “The gym is a place where the underdog can come in and emerge the hero,” he adds.

Needless to say, he found his true calling. As a kid, Eric Fleishman would have been the most unlikely person to end up pursuing a career in fitness. Between then and now, he has trained hundreds of people as a personal trainer in New York, later on running a successful personal training business in LA. 

His clients include TV and film actors and actresses, including cast members of Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead, musicians, and athletes. He also stars in the reality TV series Celebrity Sweat, which follows the diet and exercise regimens of your favorite stars and pro athletes. 

His specialization? Building a Hollywood movie star physique. “The physique of a movie star is very different from that of a bodybuilder,” Eric explains. “We make people look better overall. After they’re through with our program, they have better skin, too, and just come out better- looking.”

After the convention had finished, we had the pleasure of being invited to his private gym in LA. The gym had three separate areas: a traditional indoor gym, a combat training area, and an outdoor gym simulating the famous Muscle Beach. The address of the gym is a secret to keep out paparazzi and other onlookers as many celebrities train here.

“I consider myself a magician,” Eric says to Bodybuilding.com. His methods promise results not in months or years but in days, through only three things — diet, exercise, and sleep. “Of these things, sleep is the most important.” He claims that the version of yourself that sleeps at 10 p.m. and wakes up at 6 a.m. is healthier and better-looking than the version of yourself that sleeps at midnight and wakes up at 8 a.m. “Sleep is the most important part of any fitness program because it’s when the body changes and grows,” he emphasizes.

His office shelves are filled wall to wall with action figures of superheroes and celebrities. The walls have framed magazine articles and autographed photos of bodybuilders, including Arnold Schwarzenegger and even Disney characters like Hercules, Tarzan, and Gaston. Each photo, including those of the Disney icons, had personal dedications to Eric the Trainer. “We’ve worked with everyone in here. We like looking at these figures and using them as the inspiration for the physiques of our clients,” Eric explains. 

Whenever he takes on a new client, he usually sits down and asks them, “In a perfect world, what would we accomplish?” Afterwards, he and his team would prescribe a personalized program for the client, including exercise, nutrition, and sleep. 

How someone is trained depends on how they want to look. Most women want to be long, lean, and beautiful. Meanwhile, for men, there are three options – “sleek ninja” which is a smaller frame of lean muscle mass like Bruce Lee, “lord of the jungle” which is broad shoulders, pecs, and a small waist like Tarzan or “the Incredible Hulk,” which is massive and covered in muscle.

Eric’s abounding energy and unique techniques have kept his clients happy and loyal to him for years. He has over 20 years of experience in the fitness industry and he’s not going anywhere. “If you’ve ever spent time with someone who loves what they do, it’s a world of difference from the norm,” Eric says. 

As he personally experienced the life-changing power of fitness, today he does everything he can to teach other people to do the same. While he may look very different now, he retained the spark of magic that he had years back when he first entered the gym as a scrawny kid. “The gym is my world, and I’m happy to share it with them,” Eric concludes.

“See you in Manila next year,” he says as he ushers us out of his magical cave.

* * *

Post me a note at mylene@goldsgym.com.ph or mylenedayrit@gmail.com.

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