With three degrees in the health and nutrition sciences, as well as a former career as a nutritional scientist for the Department of National Defense, celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak is a good source of sound advice on healthy living. The 40-year-old is one of the best at whipping actors and actresses into shape for roles, with clients like Robert Downey Jr., Natalie Portman, Jeff Goldblum, Robert Pattinson, and dozens of other famous actors who having benefited from his experience. But what about for the rest of us? 

In a new interview with Yahoo! to discuss his new book "The Body Reset Diet," Pasternak says the real key to weight loss and good health comes with keeping an active daily routine. And he's not talking about that 20 minutes of cardio you put in at the gym.

Harley Pasternak"I always say that Americans are working out too much, but are underactive. They are sitting all day, driving everywhere, ordering in lunch, and getting automated coffee machines next to their desks so they don’t have to go anywhere to get it," he shares. "Then they are driving to a spin class, sitting on a stationary bike for 50 minutes, and thinking that is enough activity. When it should be skip the spin, and bike or walk to get your coffee. Park a couple blocks away when you get to work. Get off the subway one stop earlier. All those little things are exponentially more impactful than those super high intensity bouts of cardio two to three times a week."

Pasternak adds that he encourages his clients to purchase a fitness tracking device (like a Fitbit or Nike Fuel) and record how many steps they take each day. He recommends anywhere from 10,000-12,000 daily as a standard benchmark. 

"I don’t care if you want to dance in your spare time, take the stairs, walk more, have a walking desk — just whatever you need to keep moving," he says. 

For those who are older, Pasternak says that staying active throughout the day is even more important. 

"I think as you become older it’s not about working harder, it’s about working smarter," he explains. "Resistance exercise is paramount as you age, because it really is the fountain of youth. I think the older you get, the less you can sit — you really have to be moving all day. Not intensity — you don’t need to do wind sprints, you don’t need to spin, just walk."

As for diet, Pasternak is (naturally) a big believer in lots of greens and small amounts of meat and dairy. Also — coffee is totally fine. (Phew!)

"Studies show people who have moderate caffeine consumption actually live longer, healthier lifestyles," he says. "Caffeine consumption can be very healthy and reduce the incidence of certain neurological disorders, increase alertness, and the rate of preferred body fat."

Related on MNN: 

Inset photo of Pasternak: Facebook

Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

You're thinking about exercise all wrong
Think your 20-minute daily cardio workout is enough to balance all the sitting? Harley Pasternak says think again.