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Alumni: Giving U of T more reasons to be proud


Alumni Portraits
Harley Pasternak
Current Industry: Athletics, Entertainment
Master of Science (MSC) 2000, Community Health

If you have noticed lately that Lady Gaga, Hilary Duff and Katy Perry are not looking too bad, give some of the credit to Pasternak, the Toronto-born trainer and author who was seen across the continent on the ambitiously-titled television show The Revolution.

He is not the only fitness guru on the scene. The Pasternak difference has to do with his credentials, including a degree in community health from U of T and a degree in kinesiology from the University of Western Ontario.

The 5-Factor Fitness program lives up to its name. Rather than prescribe lengthy exercise regimens that people are likely to miss, Pasternak stresses short bursts of exercise: five per day, each five minutes. The 5-Factor Diet comprises meals of five ingredients, five days a week.

How many minutes do they take to prepare? Just guess. An offshoot of the original Pasternak program is the 5-Factor World Diet, which assembles healthy highlights from the cuisines of “the world’s leanest and longest-living nations.”

Pasternak’s advice is not confined to private sessions with the stars. He has appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show, the Today Show, the View and other high-volume television outlets. Chatelaine, Elle and Men’s Health have run his features.

Many Pasternak exercises involve his Harley Bar. This workout apparatus should not be confused with the 5-Factor snack bars also sold under his name.

Not all of Pasternak’s work has been in the public eye. He was a nutrition and exercise scientist for the Defence and Civil Institute for Environmental Medicine, a research group that supports the Canadian Forces, from 2005 to 2007.

Pasternak also makes international speaking appearances.

One important Pasternak motif is the integration of exercise into daily life.

“Keep moving,” he says. “Exercise should continue from the second you wake up until the second you go to sleep. It’s not just about when you’re doing your workout – you should be active all day long.”


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