Paul Goldberg currently works with the Colorado Avalanche hockey team and continues to train athletes in many different sports. He is a certified strength-and-conditioning specialist and a registered dietitian. He is also the author of a new book called The Lean Look
Diet Detective: Hey Paul, great to have you aboard, and we look forward to hearing your thoughts on nutrition and fitness. The first question is why? Why did you become a nutritionist and a trainer? Most people pick one of those professions – you’re an expert in both? Also, how did you get into this area – what was your motivation?
Paul: After high school, before becoming a college athlete I was trying to gain lean muscle through training on my own. I consulted a strength coach for my training and a Registered Dietitian for my nutrition questions. I found a whole world of science and application I had never known about. Once I got to college, I had a terrific advisor, Karen Jensen, who suggested I peruse both professions and put them together to separate myself as a strength and nutrition professional.
Diet Detective: What makes what you different from other fitness experts and trainers? And can you tell us about your new book “The Lean Look?”
Paul: I feel my diverse experiences with athletes, the general public, health, nutrition and medical gives my a little more to offer than an average trainer. The book reflects that. Matt Fitzgerald and I talk to our readers the way we talk with our clients. We give them the science and information they need about training, but we do it in a creative, easy to understand format. It’s a no-fluff book that tells it the way it is. You need to work at it to be healthy and here are the steps you need to follow to get it done.
Diet Detective: How do you get a body designed by Paul Goldberg? What do you need to do each day?
Paul: You just hit the nail on the head. “What do you need to do each day…” Consistency is paramount in being healthy and fit and it doesn’t happen over-night. Be aware of your goals at all times and look at the big picture. Don’t throw in the towel if you slip up a little or have a tough day. Health and fitness is a life-long quest, but it needs to be a daily requirement.
Diet Detective: Tell us the biggest secret that trainers typically don’t tell their clients, but should?
Paul: One of my favorite sayings “Nothing works if you don’t”. I don’t care who you are or what you do; you must work at things to get better. The level of your commitment is related to how you perform and achieve things. Another secret, you don’t need supplements to be fit and healthy. I work with 25 elite NHL athletes on a very successful team, all year long. We eat food! Not pills and powders! I use the science of food to educate them then show them the practical applications. Food first and always. I will say we utilize recovery drinks after practice, workouts and games. They are a carbohydrate-protein mixture, plain and simple. But they are used for a purpose…recovery from exercise.
Diet Detective: What specific foods promote muscle development? Also, how do you lose just fat (as opposed to losing muscle mass and water weight)?
Paul: First you need to fuel your workout, so clean burning complex carbs are a must. Whole grain breads, whole wheat pastas and pancakes, 100% real fruit juice. Then you need to have clean protein to rebuild. Salmon, tuna, chicken. Low-fat milk, cheese and beef. Legumes, nuts and beans. Timing is crucial as well. You need nutrients on board and in you system at the right times to promote optimal growth and recovery.
Diet Detective: In all your years of training what do you consider the three (3) best non-weight related exercise (e.g. lunge).
Paul:All you need is gravity to get a great workout. Any push up, pull up or core exercises are great on their own if you have no equipment available. I’ve done pull ups on trees, door jams or under bleachers before! Lunges, wall squats and step ups are at the top of my list too. Multi joint exercises with great benefits, if done properly.
Diet Detective: Best strength training exercise?
Paul: For athletes? Olympic movements (Clean, push-press, Snatch, etc), squats and lunges are the core of my workouts. For general fitness? Squats, lunges and shoulder press variations. Again, multi joint with more bang for your buck.
Diet Detective: Worst strength training exercise?
Paul: Any exercise done with poor form. Period. Straight-leg dead lift sends shivers down my spine when I see it done wrong. It’s a trip to the hospital and a life of back pain if you do it incorrectly.
Diet Detective: Your typically day?
Paul: Practice day; 6am, Feed and dress my kids. At work by 8 am. Do my workout. Players start arriving to workout around 9:30am. Practice at 11:00a. Injured players with me in gym. Final workouts over by 2pm. Train clients at another gym 3-5pm. Wrestle, feed, bathe and put kids to sleep 8pm. Game day: same but I have 12-4pm open so I try to see the kids or workout outside if possible. Game 7p. Workout the players who aren’t playing. Home 11pm. Repeat.
Diet Detective: What’s it like working with star athletes? What are the key differences in training an athlete versus the rest of us? What fitness secrets have you learned that you can pass to us?
Paul: There is no difference. They have goals, dreams and emotions just like we do. The only difference is they are thoroughbreds. They are built to perform with their bodies. They only clear separation between elite athletes and a general public is the work load and skill development athletes can achieve. I’ve worked with plenty of clients who have tremendous athletic ability but never used it or even knew they had it. No secrets though. I expect that if you’ve asked me to help you with your workouts or fitness goals that you are as committed to it as I am.
Diet Detective: What food do you always have on hand (e.g., gym bag, fridge)?
Paul: Fruit and water.
Diet Detective: What’s in your refrigerator right now?
Paul: This incredible chicken and pasta salad with pesto and tomatoes.
Diet Detective: Okay now a few very quick one word or one sentence answer – pick only one of the choices please. (fyi: also, “depends” is NOT an answer – I’m looking for a real commitment here.) Yoga vs. Pilates vs. Stretching?
Paul: Lots of cross over between them. Stretching – free and you just need time and your body to do it.
Paul: Free weights any day of the week!
Paul: Toughest question of them all. ALL are important. Strength training – you can incorporate all 3 into it if you want.
Paul: Physio ball – gravity and balance are tough challenges.
Paul: Are you kidding? ANYTHING out doors is better!
Diet Detective: Your favorite “junk food?”
Paul: Hands down – Peanut M&M’s.
Diet Detective: What’s the worst thing about your job?
Paul: Time away from my kids.
Diet Detective: Which historical figure can you relate to most?
Paul: Great question! I would have absolutely loved being in Lewis & Clarks Core of Discovery team.
Diet Detective: What do you do to reduce stress, relax and center your mind?
Paul: Mountain bike and camp for a week days by myself.
Diet Detective: Your worst summer job?
Paul: Buss boy at a hotel when I was 14. I hate being inside!
Diet Detective: What’s your motto?
Paul: Motto? You can’t give yourself a motto. Didn’t you ever watch Seinfeld? As cheesey as this sounds, there is a song by Lynard Skynard that everyone should hear. “Simple Kind of Man”. Says it all.
Diet Detective: As a child you wanted to be:
Paul: A great father and a leader.