This story originally appeared on Business Intern.
I’ve been in the sports world for as long as I can remember. When I was barely 3 years old, my father used to take me to the gym. I played for an elite hockey team as a teenager in Sweden. Become a personal trainer felt like a natural progression.
At 21, I became a certified personal trainer and slowly built my following in Stockholm.
I worked a lot for free at first
I started out as a young, unknown trainer working many free hours and saying yes to everything. Unfortunately, that’s the nature of the industry.
I slowly built my client list with successful athletes, entrepreneurs, actors and artists in Sweden.
My first high profile client was Sweden’s answer to Jane Fonda, a trainer known for her fitness videos.
Even though it was lucky that we were connected, I somehow got lucky. I was very aware that some gyms had a more prominent clientele, so I trained at those gyms where I met those kinds of people.
I naturally gravitated towards very ambitious and successful people because I was ambitious myself.
I found a niche helping celebrities prepare for their tours
When I started working with artists in Sweden, I realized that nobody considered them as athletes.
I created a program to help performers focus on tailored movement and breathing. I would analyze everything involved in an artist’s show – song lengths, dance moves – and create a perfect practice plan for them to execute.
My first musician client was E-Type, a European pop star. I happened to be working the day he walked into the gym, and the owner thought we’d be a good fit.
Working in this niche, I evolved my offering from trainer to celebrity life coach
I specialized in this kind of training in Sweden in the early 2000s. I was traveling with the artists and realized that I was only training them for an hour a day in the gym. The rest of their life was chaotic and could be unhealthy.
As a result, I became a “lifestyle” coach in 2008 to help artists structure themselves and adopt healthy habits.
I give advice on things like their performance at night. I suggest to them when they should wake up, what to eat for breakfast, that they do mental and physical warm-ups before the show and how to decompress afterwards.
Being an artist is extremely difficult work. I could not do it and I am a structured and stable man who leads a healthy life.
Networking and luck got me my first gig in Hollywood
I had only worked with small Swedish actors until I connected with Skarsgård for “The Legend of Tarzan” in 2014.
We had two mutual friends in Sweden and I had worked with artists he knew. It was by pure chance that I was able to sit down with him to discuss the film. He introduced me to the director, David Yates. We got on well and I got the gig.
When Ben Affleck saw “Tarzan”, he wanted to hire me as a coach to play Batman in “Justice League”. My career in Hollywood snowballed from there.
A big part of my success in hollywood is reputation and networking. I have now worked with some of the biggest names in music, from Styles to Spears.
What does my work schedule look like with superstars
Sometimes I work with several clients at once – in one day I worked with Eric Prydz, Kendrick Lamar and Baby Keem. But for intense film training, I can spend months training a client six days a week.
I get involved in a movie very early in production, before most of the other characters are cast. It’s just me and the main character that I train.
The average actor takes three to six months to train for a film; then the shooting takes four to six months. I travel with them and help on set during the filming period.
Unfortunately, when you go full time with an actor, you lose some of the clients you have back home. I have a small team that trains my clients while I’m away, but some clients leave.
It can be hard to be away from your life, your family, your home, and your bed for so long. You put everything on hold to go with one person to one place.
What I do on set
During the shooting, I am responsible for all the physique of this person.
Once filming has started, I travel with the actor, hire him a chef, create his daily menu and make sure he eats well. I help with movement coaching. I will teach an actor to look like a boxer, to show off certain muscles or to express a certain physical emotion.
When I was coaching McAvoy as The Beast in “Glass,” I would stand off-screen and give comments like, “Your traps are jumping” or “You look really animalistic when you do that thing.”
With Skarsgård in “The Northman,” his character had to swing a sword and an axe, so we worked to make sure he had flexibility and mobility in his shoulders for those stunts.
Diversify my fitness business
I have so many projects. I start a nutrition-coach app and launch my own line of supplements, and I continue to work with musicians and actors.
I worked on the new Michael Jackson movie, helping Michael Jackson’s nephew, Jaafar Jackson. I’m also going to do a summer festival tour with Lamar. There is plenty to do.
I’ve been blessed to be surrounded by successful people who are the best at what they do. I love training people with so much ambition, whether they’re CEOs or rap stars.