Ten Minutes With Donovan Green
Fitness Trainer Extraordinaire
photo by Kelly Campbell
Donovan Green is a noted fitness trainer whose clients include TV personalities Joe Scarborough and Dr. Mehmet Oz. On the Dr. Oz show, Green demonstrates the workouts that provided the basis for his book, No Excuses Fitness: The Thirty Day Plan to Tone Your Body and Supercharge Your Health. A native of Jamaica, he has lived in Fairfield for three years and recently opened Shock Studio and launched a website, Project Slimdown. We sat down to find out more about the man who motivates so many.
Why did you decide to become a trainer?
My family left Jamaica and moved to the Bronx when I was young, and I was a chubby kid who got bullied and beat up. My uncle got me started in the martial arts, and I learned to love physical fitness. I realized my big love was helping people learn the importance of exercise, and I’ve been a trainer for over 15 years.
Your basic theme is “no excuses.” Please explain.
The first and most important step to a more healthy and emotionally positive lifestyle is to stop making excuses. I don’t care how young or old, out of shape, tired or busy you are. You can find a million excuses, and the only one that is acceptable to me is if you are dead.
Describe your work with Dr. Oz.
Dr. Oz is like a locomotive—there’s no stopping him. He is always saying to me, “What’s next?” He is an athlete and likes to push with all he’s got. There’s no phoniness with him—what you see is what you get.
What is Joe Scarborough’s approach?
He is also an athlete, a former football player, and he gets the job done. Joe is always saying, “Yeah, baby!”
If it was up to you to ban one item from the grocery store, what would it be?
Soda. Drinking soda increases your weight, spikes your blood sugar, damages brain function, and increases the risk of diabetes. It is loaded with chemicals, artificial sweeteners, or high fructose corn syrup.
What is the best food in the grocery store?
Green leafy vegetables like parsley, kale, and spinach that are high in iron, folic acid, zinc and minerals, which strengthen the blood.
What is the most beneficial kind of workout?
The best way to burn fat fast is High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT. The idea is to increase your heart rate in a short amount of time. The movements should bring your muscles to maximum exertion while doing anaerobic activities such as bench pressing, dead lifts, or sprints. Your workouts should not last more than 20 minutes.
What’s one of your quick tips?
Take the complexity out of working out. If you can’t get to a gym, jump rope, which is one of the best forms of cardio. Or do a workout on the stairs in your home—take them two at a time and do push-ups on them.
What do you say to your clients to inspire them?
I tell them to picture what they will look like in three months if they follow my program. But eventually, most of them forget about the visual or the vanity, and start to focus on health and living longer.