Halle Berry’s Longtime Personal Trainer Reveals Her Age-Defying Secret In Exclusive Interview

Peter Lee Thomas is one of the fittest men on the West Coast, so it's no wonder he has garnered an A-list celebrity clientele that includes everyone from Sean "P. Diddy" Combs and Michael Easton to Demi Lovato and Halle Berry.

We caught up recently with the fitness guru to chat about how he determines the best workout for each client and why he and Halle Berry decided to start PHIT Talks on Instagram where they talk about everything health and wellness.

Photo Credit: Riker Bros

Tell us about your own personal fitness journey and why you decided to incorporate martial arts into your training.

I kind of was born into it really. My older brother was into it and my walls were plastered with Bruce Lee and Arnold Schwarzenegger. I had that as my backdrop. They were people I aspired to be like. My brother ended up going into bodybuilding and that led to a series of events. I really wanted to compete with martial arts and boxing and wanted to test myself. That catapulted to where I am today. Really, fitness, martial arts and yoga are facets of the same thing and I started to see similarities between the principles.

Can you talk about some of the fitness routines and nutrition tips you implemented for Halle Berry and how you keep her looking so great at age 53?

It is easy to do with her. She is one of those people, who you look at and say 'give me that vampire juice' [laughs]. There wasn't really anyone who had pushed her before in the realm of fitness and martial arts. I work out with her most of the time. I puposely align myself with people who are better than me. I had always mentioned to her, and knew she is diabetic, that there was this hot diet as far as ketogenic. The diet that she was on already was almost ketogenic. She was already doing intermittent fasting. How cool is that she was able to understand her body? She is on a diet that the Navy SEALs are doing. They align within that approach. The reason I don't subscribe to one channel is that if you already have something great, it has to fit you like a tailored suit. You have to take that balance and make it a lifestyle.

Sounds like she has the discipline of a 25 year old.

A wise 25 year old [laughs]. She has that wisdom. It's like getting lost without GPS back in the day. With fitness, she has gotten lost so many times and now she knows what works for her body. It's fun to see that evolution.

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How do you keep fitness fresh and exciting so your clients don't get bored?

The key is to always have something different. I have to throw the kitchen sink at them. One of my newer clients, Joseph Morgan, who is also an actor, said I tricked him into warming up. The trick is to do it so you don't realize you are doing it. I go outside that box. I like to move the body like when you were 12 years old. It becomes fun, organic and immersive. People look at fitness peripherally; I look at how you can connect. With Halle, I wanted to see if she could bounce a tennis ball like a basketball by balancing it in the palm of her hand and moving like a boxer left and right. Then we would do it with the opposite hand. Then I would take away the ball and put on some gloves. We played a game and she didn't realize it. It was my segue. That's when you realize why it's so fun because it's always evolving.

With everyone's busy schedules today, do you think shorter workouts can be just as effective as longer ones?

I am so glad you asked that. Halle comes in some days and says we have just 20 minutes. It's nice to know that beforehand so we can use some exercises as warmups or as actual workouts. Like we could do 50 jumping jacks, 40 squats, then 30 pushups, 20 pullups and then flip a tire 10 times. That's very high volume, but when you are up against a clock, we play games where she goes then I go. We train in a competitive atmosphere. There are days for that, once or twice a week, for what I call "stress tests." It's positive and good stress to see if you can really do that.

Photo Credit: Riker Bros

There are so many workouts and fitness trends available today. How do you narrow down the one that is best for your client?

That's a great question. There is a whole constellation of ways to move the body today. My approach to moving the body is as nature intended it - almost like a gymnast. Fitness doesn't have to be a luxury. Boxing, for example, was born from fighting your way out of poverty. I think that's really valuable. It's an emotional release. The good part of my workouts are martial arts related combined with high intensity intervals along with strength conditioning. I make sure by the end of the week we have hit every body part so there's a lot of longevity. It's important to be as interactive as possible. Some days we go to UCLA and just run the bleachers. There are other days we look inwards and do softer styles like yoga or moving with your surroundings. Stretching is also huge.

Tell us about PHIT Talks with Halle Berry on Instagram.

One day, we were sitting talking and she looked at me and said that she gets a lot of fitness questions. She said she wanted to do a small TV show to make fitness and lifestyle accessible to everybody. That was our strived mission. We wanted to be as authentic as possible. We are always student researchers even if we wear a black belt, we are not afraid to wear our white belt. As for the name PHIT Talks, she is really clever and knows how to make something fun.

Photo Credit: Riker Bros