How the star uses the reformer to improve his performance on the field.

It may come as a surprise to many, but one of the best ways a man can keep his body fine-tuned and prepped to play sports like football, soccer and tennis, is by training in Pilates. Take actor James Van Der Beek. The 37-year-old, title character in the hit ‘90s show Dawson’s Creek and star of the upcoming CSI: Cyber, works with Pilates pro Nonna Gleyzer not only to maintain a camera-ready physique, but also to also keep his body primed to toss around the old pigskin. 

“I have been training James since 2013,” Gleyzer tells LivingHealthy. “And when we started working together, it had been a long time since he had been on a reformer.” Gleyzer also trains Van Der Beek’s wife, Kimberly. “The beautiful thing about working with him, is that he has the three most important qualities that Pilates requires, which is very rare in a man: he is strong, very flexible and in control of his muscles.”

Gleyzer, who holds a BA in Physiology, personally tailors workouts for each of her clients, so because James likes to play football and basketball as well as perform martial arts, she trains him like an athlete. “We do each exercise 10 times slow and 10 times fast, which helps his mind and body stay physiologically and neurologically connected on the football field. Athletes like football players need to be connected mentally and physically, be aware of their environment, move fast and make very quick decisions. This sort of coordination also gives them an independence because it makes them feel secure in their own body.”

She explains that his workouts consist of a lot of upper bodywork, including the short box exercise on the reformer and the chest expansion on the Cadillac (after the reformer, the Cadillac is the second most important piece of Pilates equipment). Exercises also focus on his abdominals, make sure to keep his core strong, and include a lot of back exercises. Gleyzer also works on strengthening Van Der Beek’s feet and calves so that he can run and move fast as well as maintain balance. 

As for his diet, James’ favorite foods are quinoa and veggie scrambles, eggs, Israeli salad and lots of green, organic vegetables, but he also loves to indulge in a good steak once a week. He also takes L-Glutamine mixed with water after every workout. “It’s an amazing product for supporting muscle tissue and the immunity system,” Gleyzer says, noting that other benefits may include protecting muscle growth and decreasing muscle wasting, improving metabolism and cellular detoxification, curbing cravings for sugar and alcohol, and regulating blood sugar. “It’s super beneficial,” the trainer says. “I recommend it to all my clients.”