Mario Lopez’s Trainer Shares Her Healthy Secrets


(Photo courtesy NBC)

Remember AC Slater? We’ve been crushing on him since the early ’90s, which is why we perked up when his trainer, Kirsty Dunne, reached out to talk to us about healthy weight loss.

As a celebrity trainer and creator of the OTG3 Cleanse and 21 Day Metabolic Shape-up program, Dunne knows a thing or two about looking and feeling your best.

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“Being healthy and fit is in my DNA,” Dunne tells Yahoo Beauty. “Growing up, I was very active playing basketball, dancing, and swimming. I also worked at a local health club and was inspired to help others live a healthier lifestyle. I picked up my first textbook on anatomy and training science and I never put it down!”

While Dunne has always been active and healthy, she was pushed to help others after losing her stepfather to cancer when he was just 50. “It was a real wake-up call,” she says. “He had been living an unhealthy lifestyle, and losing him inspired me to create my mantra for fitness and nutrition coaching. I wanted to impact as many people as possible and work with them to inspire change from the inside out. This doesn’t just come from a cookie-cutter program — it comes from understanding the client’s lifestyle and connecting with them.”

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Scroll down to see more from our chat and to learn how to get in shape the healthy way.

Who are some famous clients you’ve worked with over the years?

I have trained players from the L.A. Lakers using my combined sports nutrition and training program. I have also worked with Beto Perez (the founder of Zumba) to create new functional training moves — even the strongest fitness icons hit plateaus and need to be inspired for new workouts! I have also worked with Mario Lopez in L.A., where I was featured in his celebrity training book.


(Photo: Courtesy Kirsty Dunne)

Can you tell us a little about your 21-Day Metabolic Shape-up program?

The 21-Day Metabolic Shape-up is an easy-to-follow three-phase program that reprograms your mind and approach to nutrition by simplifying your lifestyle – no dieting, extreme workouts, or gyms needed. This simplified plan aims for long-term results and is perfect for anyone with a busy lifestyle. The program includes body-weight training and on-the-go nutrition plans that are ideal for anyone tired of dieting and quick-fix gimmicks.

Can you explain the difference between healthy and unhealthy weight loss?

Healthy weight loss is when you nourish your body, focus on wellness, and aim to lose one to two pounds per week — without feeling deprived.

Unhealthy ways include trying every diet, fasting, overtraining, and stressing the body. This affects the biochemistry of your body, which results in a slower metabolism and negative health implications.

What are your thoughts on diets?

Diet is a dirty word. While some "diets” may work for some people, I know what has worked with my clients, and that is to focus on natural nutrition and reprogramming the mind. I strive to help clients achieve a healthy eating plan that identifies bad habits and reinforces positive, healthy choices. The results of this method are extremely successful, long-term, realistic, and healthier.

Do you have any nutrition advice?

I believe that we should consume more foods that are pH-balanced and more alkalized. In an industry of processed foods, our bodies are consuming synthetic chemicals that they don’t know how to digest, which results in undigested toxins — the more natural you can eat, the better. Foods higher in natural enzymes stimulate metabolism and deliver more nutrients.


(Photo: Courtesy Kirsty Dunne)

What’s a healthy amount of weight to lose within a certain time frame?

I usually stick with one to two pounds weekly. This will help avoid muscle tissue from breaking down and lowering your BMR (resting metabolism). When you see claims like “10 pounds in 10 days,” generally it’s water weight called glycogen that is being lost, which can make up around six to eight pounds. This means that in 10 days, if you lose 10 pounds, you will most likely gain most of it back. I also recommend that my clients don’t solely rely on scales and numbers.

How do you know if you’re doing things the healthy way?

You feel energetic, strong, and can maintain your everyday lifestyle. Losing weight the healthy way is about feeling confident and strong, not about focusing on the numbers on the scale. The key is to develop a healthy body image and a new lifestyle approach.

Are there any warning signs for unhealthy weight loss?

Yes, definitely. Feeling tired, dehydrated, or any physical symptoms that are not normal to you can indicate unhealthy weight loss. Weighing yourself every day, dieting, overtraining, and any extreme approach is not healthy.

Which is more important: Diet or exercise?

While both are equally important, nutrition can be a great base measure, because eating healthy and fueling your body right will deliver more effective results in your exercise. Fueling your body with healthy, nutritious options is key for proper recovery during workouts. Once you master both, it’s all about balance.

OK, but a lot of us are on a budget. Any tips that won’t break the bank?

1. Prep food in advance.

Whether it’s veggies for the week or tomorrow’s breakfast, prepping food in advance is a key step in the right direction toward eating healthy. Plus, it’s also a good way to make sure you’re eating what’s in the fridge to minimize waste and save money.

2. Have a shopping list.

If you head to the store with a plan, you will avoid buying unnecessary food, and it will save you time later when deciding on meals. If we don’t plan ahead or have healthy snacks readily available, we snack on anything, buy something on the go, and end up eating more often.

3. Don’t shop hungry.

This will prevent you from buying too much food or unhealthy snacks. Cravings when hungry can result in expensive, unhealthy choices.

4. Use workout bands


SKLZ 15-Pound Resistance Cable Set, $25 (Photo: SportChek)

I always incorporate bands into my workouts - you don’t need a gym membership to be fit. Bands are great when used properly. They deliver total-body toning and intense cardio workouts at home or in the park.

What’s your biggest piece of advice for someone getting started?

Dig deep into your motivation for losing weight and focus on nourishing your body without dieting. Focus on performance goals instead of the aesthetics of weight loss. When you feel a sense of accomplishment for running an extra kilometer or doing extra pushups, you will feel more motivated, and results will come with that.

We all need a little motivation sometimes! I highly recommend that you join a scheduled class or start a healthy plan with a friend or loved one. When you have a support network, it keeps you more accountable.