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Oprah’s Trainer Reveals Sleepy Success Secrets

Written on May 21, 2012 at 9:21 am , by

Greene wants you to get your beauty sleep! (Photo courtesy of Reggie Casagrande)

We know you’re a busy girl with a lot of things to cross off that to-do list. When you’re crunched for time, what’s the first health factor that gets short-changed? Sleep. But Bob Greene, famously known as Oprah’s trainer, wants you to pause before deciding to skip out on those z’s. After all, they may be the key to your weight loss success. Greene chatted with us to explain why sleep is so important, then let us in on how Oprah’s slimming down these days.

What are the important concepts expressed in your book, 20 Years Younger?

The book is a strong exercise program geared toward anti-aging. I’ve never been a fan of “diets”—that’s perceived as a temporary way of eating. I’m about a lifestyle change. Here I explain that when you get a solid amount of exercise, be mindful of what you put in your body nutrition-wise, take care of your skin and get enough sleep, you’re going to be so much happier.

Out of those four things, what do you see sacrificed most?

Sleep is most ignored by people, but it’s tied to everything.

How so?

Sleep is so much more important than we ever give credit. When you’re not getting adequate sleep, and most people aren’t, it increases your risk of virtually every known ailment. It’s the easiest thing to fix, so you have to ask yourself if you’re willing to do that.

But what’s the big deal if you miss some beauty sleep?

If you’re not sleeping, the hormone that’s responsible for laying down belly fat spikes, so it’s intimately tied to weight gain. If you don’t want it to spike and protect your body from being more prone to multiple diseases, then you need sleep.

Keep reading to find out all about Greene’s experience training Oprah!

How long have you been Oprah’s trainer?

In the old days, I lived in Chicago with her and I saw her twice a day, every day of our lives. That was for five years, from 1993 to 1998. She had originally met me in Colorado, asked me to move to Chicago for two months to work with her, but five years later I was still there. She needed that control in her life, where I would stop her meetings so she could get her workout in.

Did you continue training her after 1998?

It was more remote after that. I wasn’t seeing her every single day, but we’d consult over the phone and she’d reach out to me whenever she felt she needed to. Once in a while we would train over the weekends, usually when she came to Florida, where I was living next. So I was still working with her, talking quite often, but not side-by-side like before.

And is that how is it now?

She contacted me, said she’s getting ready for a movie [Editor's note: Watch out for The Butler, co-starring Jane Fonda and Forest Whitaker!] and asked if I would consider working with her like the old days. So for more than six weeks now, I’ve been seeing her almost daily, at least five times a week.

How has that been? Is it like the old days?

It’s almost as intense as it was 15 years ago when she lost 60-something pounds with me. She’s already down two dress sizes!

What’s your favorite thing about training Oprah?

It’s so transcendent. She’s like a family member to me. I’m helping somebody who is beyond a friend, and in some ways, even beyond a family member. It doesn’t get more rewarding, especially when she readjusts her life to show results. She’ll knock you off guard with how down to earth she is.

Bob Greene is a spokesperson for Tempur-Pedic.