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Is a Revenge Body the Best Way to Mend a Broken Heart?
Celeb trainers reveal why folks are hitting the gym more and more after break-ups.
Revenge is a dish best served up in the gym. And as many recently single ladies and gentlemen prove, one of the best ways to get over an ex is by getting under a stack of weights.
From two of the Kardashian sisters to a couple of Housewives, it's clear more and more people are pursuing what's called a "revenge body." The post-split phenomenon is exactly what it sounds like: The brokenhearted heads to the gym and puts his or her fitness first — and in the process, reminds the ex of what they are missing out on. Heartbreak can be a painful emotion for anyone, but celebrity trainer Gunnar Peterson says that if splitting from that special someone will finally get you fit, he's totally on board.
"Khloe [Kardashian] probably sparked that — or if nothing else, kept that fire alive or threw some gas on that already existing fire — when she really ramped [her workouts] up and then put a book out [Strong Looks Better Naked ] that highlights that," Gunnar told The Daily Dish. Khloe has famously stepped up her fitness game after some very public break-ups, including from her ex-husband, Lamar Odom, as well as boyfriends James Harden and French Montana. She often is spotted hitting the gym with her sister, Kourtney, who parted ways from longtime partner Scott Disick in 2015. In fact, the buddy system is a great way to get back on track, trainer Harley Pasternak explained. "Find an accountability partner. When you email them every night, or they email you, it's great to focus on the components of life that you want to take back control over," he told The Daily Dish. "Make it all about you now. And then reconnect with friends and people that have similar interests to you."
The Kardashian sisters getting their workout on.
Khloe and Kourtney have a crazy commitment to fitness.
"In terms of whether [the revenge body] exists, whatever it takes people to get on track or to turn it around or to make some changes or adjustments, I'm all for it," Gunnar added. "Over time you lose any kind of anything that's motivated by anyone else, really — unless it's your kids — and you do it for yourself. But if that's what it takes for your jump off, then I'm all for it. I think that the perspective [that the gym] helps you obtain is unlike anything else. I find it to be therapy that makes you more lucid, more coherent, more in the moment than just about anything."
In fact, Harley has another term he likes to use to describe the trend. "It's really not 'revenge'; the word has a negative connotation. I would call it a 'reset' body. You're resetting yourself," he said, adding that no one should feel guilty about making them self a priority after a break-up. "Sometimes you have to be a little bit selfish to make yourself feel great [and] look great. I think it's definitely a catharsis. I think when you've had something in your life happen that's out of your control then this is the one thing you do have control over."
Khloe shows off her post-break-up bod in a skin-tight orange dress. Clearly she took back control.
As of late, The Real Housewives of Atlanta's Cynthia Bailey and The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills' Yolanda Hadid have also headed to Instagram to flaunt their leaner bikini bods after their separations from husbands Peter Thomas and David Foster, respectively.
And even the guys are getting into the action. After his split from wife Jessica Parido, Shahs of Sunset's Mike Shouhed hasn't been shy about posting shirtless selfies in the gym."I'm happy in my life from where I've come," Mike told us. "It's been a very hard year for me... Physically I feel great. At 37, I'm in the best shape of my life."
So, does Gunnar see more women or men getting into the revenge business? "Maybe nobody wants to admit it and nowadays, it's safer to say, 'I'm doing this for me...' I think a guy would just say, 'I just want to stay healthy and I just want to hang out with my boys,' but deep down they're, maybe, trying to get that revenge," he explained. But, everything in moderation, he warns. "Again, I'm not a huge fan of that. I don't mind if it's your jump off, but after a while if you're grinding in the gym saying, 'I'm going to show them,' it shows me there's something innately unhealthy about that. You're using the negative to the fuel the positive. Turn that around and say, 'I'm doing this for me. I want to be the best me in the next relationship I get into. I want to make sure I'm healthy physically, as well as emotionally, and I want to be able to bring my A game. I don't want to carry that baggage on to that next flight.'"
Gunnar also has specific advice for gym newbies who are using their recent heartache as a reason to get in shape. "Hire an expert or join into a group, instead of rolling into a gym on your own and thinking you're going to figure it out because, after all, it's just running or it's just lifting weights," he said. "I think the gym is a great [social outlet.] When I say 'social outlet,' I don't mean you're gonna go in there and hang out. There's a famous quote, and I'm not going to get it right so I'll paraphrase it: When like-minded individuals come together for a cause great things happen... or something like that."
Further proof the revenge body trend isn't over quite yet: Khloe will host an upcoming E! show with just that title, set to debut at a later date. “Looking great is always the best revenge. It’s so exciting to be able to mentor these people through their full-body makeovers and I can’t wait to see the incredible results at their final reveals!” Khloe said in a statement late last year. As for Khloe's influence on those looking to get in shape, Gunnar added, "Listen, if you get one person off the couch who gets up and does something positive whereas before they would have stayed on the couch and potentially done something negative, I think you're doing the right thing."
But those looking to get a little revenge might want to do some homework first. "I think that they need to have a plan of attack. I think the worst mistake they can make is doing too much too quickly," said Harley, who will also appear in Revenge Body With Khloe Kardashian when it airs. "Becoming a raw vegan and running a marathon is not a great way to get your revenge body... Walk your way tp the revenge body... Sleep your way lean." Another piece of advice? "Push somehting heavy, pull soemthing heavy, or lift something heavy." Fair enough.
Check out some of Bravo's best bikini bods, below.