Stephanie Smith

Justin Gelband is one of my favourite trainers in the world. You may have heard of him before, he trains a lot of celebrities and Victorias secret angels and has even been dubbed the "model whisperer" by the New York Times. His outlook on health and wellbeing is amazing and his style of training is just incredible. I first started training with Justin in 2014 when I was living in America. He was my trainer but also my mentor and my friend. He helped me understand quite a lot about the modeling industry in New York, and even told me all about the incredible hard work, time and effort the Angels go through not only leading up to the fashion show, but all year round. Justin's style of training has stuck with me to this day. I incorporate it into all of the different sessions I do, and is definitely my go to style of training when I have little space or equipment. His training has improved my posture not only whilst exercising but also in daily activities. It is probably the one style of training that really changes my body when done correctly. I was recently back in NYC and got to train with him again. It was so good to remind myself of some of the moves and to be taught new sequences to take home with me. I really hope you enjoy reading this incredible mans interview, I certainly enjoyed asking him these questions!


How many years have you been a trainer for? Was it always something you wanted to do?

I have been training for 18 years, I started as a swim coach/instructor for kids and always knew that I wanted to change people's lives in some sort of way. I wasn't sure whether it would be through swimming, or personal training, or even nutrition, because at one point I did want to be a nutritionist. Once I got into personal training and being a life coach, I knew that that was my path in life. I like to give people the opportunity to understand who they are, where they came from and how to be the best that they can be with the body that they have been given.

Your style of training is so unique, I notice changes in my body almost instantly whilst training with you. Why do you think it is that there isn't more trainers out there like you and with a style like yours?

I don't like to put down other people's way of training. It's not that people don't know how to become 'that trainer' it's that they don't always take the time to really learn about the body, the mind, and how exercise is about: no.1 the brain-body connection, no.2 how to assess each individual's body by knowing every injury or illness that they have/had, what is their work environment (do they sit all day, do they stand, do they lift), help them gain strength to withstand any types of pressures their body may be put under on a daily basis. Training schedules need to be unique for every unique individual.

People have gotten to know your name because of a lot of your clients being supermodels or famous in some way… There are obvious positives to training people like that, but what are some of the negative sides to training them?

At the end of the day, whether it's Miranda Kerr, Karlie Kloss, Irina Shayk, Candice Swanepoel etc, each of them are individuals and at the end of the day they are who they are but I approach each session no different to the next person. Their lifestyle is what keeps it interesting and exciting for me. They're always on the go, constantly flying in and out of the city and work long hours, it's inspiring seeing how dedicated they are to their training. I have learnt a lot from them... every individuals lifestyle is different, even the girls, they may be in the same industry but they're all very different. For so long society made out that you would have to do drugs and starve yourself to be a model or to look like a model. I started training models because that all goes against what I am about. I have taught each of these girls and everyone of my clients that cardio, nutrition, proper sleep, proper hydration and proper understanding of how their body works best for them is how to go about it. People have said that I only work with these types of people to become famous, for me it's never been about that. I wanted to prove to everyone else that models, can eat right, can exercise right, and can be the best they can be in their own bodies and to get rid of that negative stereotype that 'models are all a certain way'. The biggest negative that has come from training these girls has been the fact that I have been stereotyped as just a 'celebrity model trainer'.

What is your Health and Wellbeing motto you live by?

Be the best that you can be with the body that you yourself have been given. Everybody is different, and every BODY is different, so what's good for one, is not necessarily good for the next.

What is your favourite type of food?

Traditional Brazilian food. Rice, beans, bit of potato salad, lean cut meats (particularly lamb) I basically love all meat as long as it's fresh and organic. It's extremely hard to eat well and eat fresh in america, this kind of dish is definitely something I enjoy best when I am in Brazil.

How many times a week do you think someone should train/exercise, and do you think it's important to keep to a certain style of training, or to mix it up and do different things?

People will disagree with me on this, but I will say, 7 days a week you need to exercise. But what do I mean by exercise? It means moving. It doesn't mean you have to run, it doesn't mean you have to be intense… for me it's about mixing it up with functional training, pilates, yoga, and your preferred cardio, but cardio can be a brisk walk, anything as long as you're doing it for 20-40 mins. Exercise is about quality not quantity. Use the environment that you're in to the best of your ability. Get creative, you don't need a gym. Change up your exercise routine, don't let yourself get bored, keep it interesting.

Because of your clients, you're needed in New York city most of the time, but if you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?

Brazil or Australia. I've always wanted to go to Australia, and I know that when I do I will be tempted to stay. There is so much to see there and so many people to meet, and to be in a society that is so health conscious.. it's a dream. Having a beautiful Brazilian family and spending a lot of time in brazil, it's one of the places that I love, I call it my home.

Do you have anything exciting happening over the next year or so that you can share with us?

I am going to the Olympic games, I will be going to the Olympic training center to work with the trainers who work with the paraplegic athletes. Then this fall I will be going to Paris to train some of the girls for the Victoria's Secret fashion show. From September to December every year is always my time to shine.

Lastly, I know a lot of trainers look up to you, what would be your main word of advice to them?

If you're going to become a trainer you really need to understand the education and the science behind the body. Apply functional Science. Learn that there is no particular protocol or exercise that works for everybody and understand that everybody is different and to focus on each client as unique individuals. I believe a trainer should expand their knowledge by learning about all the different ways to exercise, not just one style of training. Educate yourself on the body, the mind and different styles of training.