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Photographed by Joshua Kogan
Interview by Evelyne Verpaalen

The name Joe Dowdell may or may not ring a bell with you, but you have certainly seen his work: the bodies of dozens of movie stars, athletes and models have transformed into the best shape of their lives, with the help of his motivating training and coaching.

Natalie Portman, Eva Mendes, Anne Hathaway, Kate Hudson, Olympian Tim Morehouse, NBA All Star Roy Hibbert, Derek Luke, Chris Noth, Gerard Butler and dozens of Victoria Secret and Sports illustrated Swimsuit Issue models have all worked their butts off in his Peak Performance gym in NYC.

The 10,000 square foot training private facility is located in the Flat Iron area of NYC. The gym has been voted in the top 10 gym in America two years in a row by Men’s Health Magazine.

Besides being a personal trainer and strength coach, Joe Dowdell is one of the most highly sought after fitness experts in the world. His book ‘Ultimate you’, a 4 phase total body make over, was named a fat-loss bible for women and he recently finished working with 50 Cent on his soon to be released fitness book, Formula 50.

Joe Dowdell has also recently appeared as judge/expert on the Bravo TV series, Rocco’s Dinner Party. Miami Shoot Magazine is curious to hear what’s next on Joe’s plate.

MS: Joe, tell me a little about your current projects and things we can expect from you in the future?

I’m working on a bunch of different projects from some new book ideas to a software app to a plan for the future expansion of my brand, PEAK.

MS: How did you get connected with 50 cent? How long did it take you to work on the book?

Basically, I was hired by Jeff O’Connell (the writer) and Violator (50 Cent’s Management Company) to develop the entire strength & conditioning program for 50’s new fitness book, Formula 50, which is due out Jan. 2013.

It took me about a week to develop the entire program, which included a beginner version and an intermediate/advanced one as well. On projects like this, I like to write up an initial draft and then I play around with it before testing them out on the training floor. I think it’s important to go through the programs in order for me to make sure that the program makes sense. Once I got through all of them, I sent them to the writer and he went through all of them as well. Afterwards, we chatted and confirmed that they were exactly what 50’s vision was for the program.

MS: You’ve worked with a lot of movie-stars and supermodels. How much time do they usually have before their shoot to transform their body? And how often do they work out during that time?

Over the course of my career, I’ve had the good fortune to work with a lot of people in the entertainment and fashion industry. Some of these individuals were steady clients for a while and others were project specific. For the ones that were for a movie role or the Victoria Secret Runway show, I would usually have around 8 weeks. In these situations, we typically trained 5-6 times per week.

MS: Do you also give nutritional advice during those weeks? Is it high protein low carbs or something completely different?

I’ve always have my clients work with a nutritionist. I know quite a bit about nutrition but my area of expertise is in strength & conditioning. Currently, Dr. Mike Roussell does most of the nutritional counseling and programming for my clients and athletes. In general, if the goal is fat loss than we typically recommend a high protein-low carb approach. But, like Dr. Mike says, “you need to meet clients where they are at.” In other words, if your client is eating McDonald’s every day, the likelihood of getting them to go Paleo on day one is pretty unrealistic. You may need to start by asking them to include one serving of vegetables at every meal and progress from there.

MS: You recently were on the Rocco’s Dinner Party. How did you get into the show? Did you learn anything yourself from being on the show?

I received a call at my gym from a casting director from LA who had seen me on either Access Hollywood or E! (I can’t remember which one) and wanted to know if would be interested on being on the show. She said it was going to be focusing on healthy food and that two Chefs were each going to be preparing two separate dinner parties for the guests. After the dinner parties, one chef would be declared the winner.

Anyway, it sounded very interesting so I asked who else was going to be on the show. As soon as she said that Chazz Palminteri (Actor, A Bronx Tale) and Jeffrey Ross (Stand-up Comedian, Friars Club) were two of the other guests, I was in. I’m a big fan of Chazz and I think Jeffrey Ross is hilarious.

The night turned out to be pretty awesome. Chazz was a very cool guy and he revealed that A Bronx Tale was actually based on his childhood, which was pretty fascinating. If you’ve never seen the movie, you need to see it. And, Jeffrey Ross was hysterical all night especially off camera.

MS: Who is on your client wish list/ who would you like to transform?

I really don’t have a wish list. I’ll work with anyone who wants to train and is willing to put the “effort” into it. I love working with athletes and I’m currently training a bunch of MMA fighters so I guess I’d just like to continue to do more work in that world.

MS: How do you feel about Protein shakes?

Love them.  I always have one post-workout on strength training days.

MS: How many times do you recommend training a week to see results?

I think that three days per week of total body strength training (45-60 minutes total) is ideal for most clients. In addition to that, and if the client has the time, I like for them to add in 2 additional sessions of interval training. These sessions are usually between 20-30 minutes including warm up and cool down so it’s really not a big time commitment. But the truth is, if you are looking to get lean, your nutrition has to be dialed in or you will not see the kind of body composition changes that you are probably looking to achieve.

MS: What’s your own training regimen?

I train every day for about 30-45 minutes. Depending on the training phase that I’m in, I may strength train 4 days a week (i.e., Lower Body on Monday and Thursday and Upper Body on Tuesday and Friday) plus two days of interval training or boxing. The other weekly training schedule that I’ll use is the following: total body strength training on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and interval training (or boxing) on Tuesday and Thursday. I may also perform an aerobic recovery session on Saturdays. In the Fall, I plan on going back to my Jiu Jitsu training as well so I’ll adjust my schedule a bit differently at that time.

MS: Do you use any apps when you train?

Currently, I do not use any Apps as I haven’t really found anything that I think is any good. But, stay tuned because I’m working with a team on changing that. 😉

Tip for all our Miami Shoot Magazine readers: go to Joe’s website where you can pick up a free e-book called 30 Tips to a Leaner You.

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