John Peel is a former NCAA® Division I football player for the University of Utah. Upon graduating, he relocated to Los Angeles, where he worked as a celebrity trainer for eight years. Since then, he’s moved back to his home state of Arizona, where he lives with his wife, daughter, and three pups. Using his extensive knowledge and fitness experience, he opened up his own personal gym called the Sweat Garage. Here, he specializes in circuit training and transforming the body and mind. John’s workouts are fun, fast-paced, and very dynamic. You can always expect a good sweat!
John is one of iFIT’s most popular trainers, donning his iconic smile and positive attitude while globetrotting the world. After hosting a successful first-ever iFIT Retreat, John talked with us in-depth about his career as a personal trainer, cherished iFIT memories, opinion on motivation, and how he balances it all. Get to know one of our “OG” trainers!
You’re a top iFIT Trainer and community favorite—so much so that many members call themselves “Peelies”! What does it feel like knowing you’ve had a positive impact on so many people?
It’s always so humbling to me when I receive the outpour of comments, compliments, and life-changing stories. It’s something that I take a lot of pride in and never thought in a million years would come to this. The “Peelies” still makes me laugh since I don’t know where it came from. Someone started saying it, and a lot of members ran with it. I’m not one to thrive off of attention, so I’ll have to learn to embrace the title at some point.
After playing D1 football, what led you to become a personal trainer? Were you always interested in fitness growing up?
While I was playing football at the University of Utah (GO UTES!), I took a lot of pride in taking care of my body. Facing knee and back surgeries, as well as a handful of concussions, I was forced to figure out the importance of recovery and resilience. Football is a very rough sport, and it taught me that mental toughness can be built by experiences.
During these setbacks, I learned that I loved training my body to be strong and my mind to dig deep when our “plan” was thrown off track. I fell in love with the process. That’s where I found my passion for training myself, which led to helping others build confidence in their health.
How did you make the transition into celebrity training?
“Celebrity trainer” might be my least favorite title. I have been given incredible opportunities to work with folks who may be celebrities, but for me to call myself a “celebrity trainer” would take away from everyone else I’ve worked with in my 13 years of training. No disrespect to my celebrity clients and friends that I’ve trained, but I don’t think those two words belong together for me.
You’ve been an iFIT Trainer since 2009. Since then, you’ve traveled the globe, challenged your body, and changed people’s lives. Describe one of your favorite iFIT memories.
It’s been about 12 years since I started working with iFIT. Some call me the “OG” of iFIT, and if that means I’m the “old guy,” they’re probably right! In all honesty, the experiences of traveling the globe have been life-changing. Being able to submerge myself into cultures that I never imagined has affected how I see the bigger picture.
A good example of this would be the Pura Vida (pure life) lifestyle we experienced while filming in Costa Rica. The Pura Vida lifestyle runs deep, and the locals truly live by it. It can reference anything from “hello,” “goodbye,” “love you,” or just a simple gesture to let someone know that good vibes go a very long way. I’ll revisit Costa Rica for its people any day of the week! Pura Vida, iFIT!
From the frozen tundra of Antarctica to the tropics of South America, you’ve been all over the world filming iFIT workout series. Is there a location that stood out from the rest?
From places like Antarctica to Thailand and all around the globe, I’ve been fortunate to see a lot of the world. The one place that stood out to me the most has to be Antarctica. Not because of the weather (we all know I’m not a “cold weather” kind of guy), but the experience. It wasn’t just seeing thousands of penguins, seals, and orca whales swimming next to our boat, but also the people who journeyed with us.
We embarked from the southern tip of South America and made our way through the Drake Passage. I experienced some of the roughest waters in the world with not only an incredible film crew, but all walks of life. Bucket lists were being checked off left and right with the other passengers on the boat, including a boy who was part of the Make-A-Wish® Foundation. His wish was to experience Antarctica, and we got to be a part of his journey. It was life-changing to see that a place we went to for “work” was where this boy wanted to go more than anywhere else in the world while fighting for his life. We sometimes forget how lucky we are to have our health, and we take it for granted. That alone kept my trip to Antarctica at the top of my list forever.
If you could choose a destination to film your next iFIT workout series, where would it be?
If I could choose the next location to film, it would be Australia without question! Some of the most diverse locations and terrain lies down under. It’s not just Bondi Beach (which is still incredible) and massive bugs (which I’ve still yet to see in person over there). I would love the opportunity to show the iFIT community its beauty!
You recently led the first iFIT Retreat. What was that experience like?
I had the honor and privilege to lead the first-ever iFIT Retreat at the immaculate CIVANA Wellness Resort. It was hands down my favorite experience I’ve had with iFIT, and there have been thousands of experiences (remember, I’m an OG).
Being able to finally connect with members and see the expressions on their faces while telling me their “WHY” was on another level of gratitude. Hearing their stories, cooking together, having fun at night after a rewarding day of work, and learning new points of view will become memories to look back on forever. It’s hard to explain, but I would lead a retreat as often as possible if I could.
Despite being on a rigorous schedule, you seem to make time for all the important things in life. How do you juggle being a personal trainer, a father, and a husband?
Juggling the schedule can be a little tiresome at times, but that’s for anyone going through this journey of finding balance. My “tired” is just as important as the next person’s “tired.” That’s why it’s rewarding and authentic when I know everyone joining my classes is probably tired somewhere in life, but they’re still finding a way. We just have to find a way. I’m glad I can do it with the support of my wife, baby girl, and this community right here. It’s a full TEAM effort.
What does your pre-workout routine look like? How do you get your mind and body ready to work?
When it comes to my pre-workout routine, I’m pretty structured. I always start with a large glass of ice water to start the day. Then, I implement my “go-go” juice. That may be a scoop of pre-workout or some coffee. It keeps me focused and engaged during those grueling moments in a workout.
I then spend about 20 minutes warming up my hips, hamstrings, and psoas. These are major components for me to pay attention to. If I don’t, setbacks occur due to my previous back surgeries. So, maintenance before the grind begins is where I dedicate a lot of my pre-workout routine.
What’s your take on motivation versus willpower? When you’re not feeling as motivated, what helps keep you focused on your goals?
Motivation can come and go. We have all been there and probably often. You’ll hear me talk about it a lot during our workouts. It’s the main reason why I’ll mention to think of someone you love or someone you’re doing this for. If that’s on your mind, there is zero chance you’re going to quit. You may curse, scream, yell, or hate me in that moment, but you won’t quit on my watch. Trust me, I practice what I preach, and all those things come out 100% of my workouts, too. You’re not alone! Just dig deep and smile when it’s challenging.
You’re always on the go, filming new content to bring to the iFIT family. How do you eat healthy and stay on top of your nutrition when you’re away from home?
Being on the go makes it really challenging to stay as strict as I would like with my diet. I always make sure to bring a few essentials I really enjoy that I know will satisfy some cravings. Protein bars and protein powder are always good replacements for a “bad” meal. I say that lightly because you know how much I love my cheat meals, but only in moderation and not every day. Life’s about balance. I would be lying to you if I said I hated sugar, carbs, and adult beverages. I love them all in moderation because I also love being healthy, feeling on top of my game, and being ready to run through a wall when that time strikes.
Whether John is one of your favorite iFIT Trainers or one you’ve yet to work out with, you can walk, run, hike, and bike with him in these popular workout series!
- French Polynesia Beginner Cycle Series (The origin of John’s classic “Pineapple!” reference)
- Costa Rica Beginner Cycle Series
- 5K Training Series Part 1: Vietnam
- Niagara Hiking Miniseries
- Costa Rica Walking Series
Disclaimer: This blog post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. iFIT assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article. Always follow the safety precautions included in the owner’s manual of your fitness equipment.
Opinions of iFIT Trainers are not necessarily the opinions of iFIT.