As one of the country’s most high-profile fitness experts, Don Saladino is constantly asked about how he transformed Hugh Jackman into Wolverine, created Blake Lively’s killer leg workout or sculpted Ryan Gosling’s washboard abs. When he came to South Florida for a few days to consult with a client, PGA golfer and Garden of Life brand ambassador Morgan Hoffman, we jumped at the chance to learn more about the man who, in his spare time, trains celebrities, athletes and New York City policemen.
Don met with Garden of Life’s four certified personal trainers in the fitness center and talked about everything from kettlebells to quads. We also learned that he’s the owner of Drive495, a state-of-the-art, 15,000 square foot golf and fitness training facility in New York that he opened with his brother, Joseph, in 2006. With a staff of 10 strength coaches, 15 golf pros, three physical therapists and a full-time nutritionist, Don and his team offer a customized holistic approach for each individual client.
“Everything is about helping people reach peak performance,” he said. “We’re always looking for any weak link or inefficiency in the body and tailoring workouts to improve those areas.”
Along with getting some great exercise tips, we were interested in Don’s views about nutrition. What he shared was his belief that properly nourishing the body is a daily commitment and that consuming organic foods should be a priority.
“I don’t like to be the food police, but quality matters, and organic is the best way to keep chemicals out of your body,” he said. “Other than that, I tell my clients to eat as soon as they wake up and not to skip meals because it’s bad for the adrenal glands and hormones. Ideally, it’s not a good idea to go more than three hours without food during the day, so we work with people on planning meals in advance. In addition to clean eating, I’m a big believer in supplementation, including plant-based proteins, because they are easier on the digestive system.”