Yet there’s one thing they all have in common: Gunnar Peterson.
The Beverly Hills-based trainer has a long list of famous clients with whom he has worked over the past 27 years. Sylvester Stallone, Angelina Jolie, Kevin Durant, Tom Brady, Bruce Willis and Matthew McConaughey are some of the names that he rattles off the top of his head.
Wilson got to know Peterson through his fiancee, Ciara, who has been working with the trainer for seven years. Every year, after the Seattle Seahawks‘ season ends, Wilson and his team come up with a plan for how he can get the most out of the months before the offseason program starts up.
This year, that meant Wilson setting up shop in Los Angeles. He was joined by several teammates for throwing sessions at USC, and Wilson worked closely with Peterson and another trainer, Ryan Flaherty. The three came up with a routine best suited to meet Wilson’s goals, one of which is to maintain the durability he has enjoyed through the first four seasons of his career.
“Both of those guys are great, great friends,” Wilson said. “But ultimately, they really get me ready to go. I started using Gunnar this year, and he’s trained a lot of athletes and a lot of people. Just the explosiveness that me and Ryan and Gunnar try to train, and we’re all in sync too. So the explosiveness that we work on, the mobility, the core strength, the arm strength and all that, is really valuable.”
The sessions with Peterson would last 60 to 90 minutes, and the two trainers would constantly swap notes to make sure they were on the same page.
Wilson has not missed a game or a practice since he entered the league. He has started 74 straight games (playoffs included), has been sacked 195 times and has run the ball on 462 occasions. Yet every time the Seahawks have needed Wilson, he has been on the field. And he believes that by working to strengthen his lower body, he can continue to reduce the risk of injury.
“The leg strength is a huge part of throwing,” Wilson said. “I’m really starting to figure that out. The more I figure out my body, the more I figure out little things of how to play for a long time. I want to play 15-plus more years, so a big part of that is taking care of my legs and getting stronger, but also getting more flexible, more mobile. That’s a big part of it, especially the way I play. I want to be able to get away from guys but also move efficiently. Move efficiently inside the pocket and all that. So a lot of that’s leg strength.”
Peterson helps actors and actresses get ready for specific roles. He aids musicians who want to look a certain way for videos, album covers or before they go on tour. And he works with athletes who happen to be spending their offseason in Los Angeles.
“For Russell, the goal is performance on the field,” Peterson said. “It’s not the aesthetic. It’s not getting your body-fat percentage down. Those are byproducts, for sure. But if it doesn’t lend itself to more efficacy on the field, then it’s probably not going to be in the workout.
“It’s keeping it moving,” Peterson continued. “He works at a fast pace, very little rest. … The pace of the workout should mimic the pace of the game, so that from a conditioning standpoint there’s nothing on the field that challenges him.”Wilson said Peterson usually shut the gym down for his one-on-one sessions, so he doesn’t remember ever running into any actors or actresses there.
And he sounds serious when he says he wants to play 15 more years, which would put Wilson at 42. In addition to the training, he has talked to both football and baseball players who have had extended success late into their careers.
“You have to take care of your body,” Wilson said. “You have to invest in taking care of your body because it pays dividends in the long run. I think that’s what I’ve learned. Getting the stretches, getting the massages, getting the, I call it ‘prehab’ work, where I get the work before you ever need it. That’s what I believe in.
“I feel great. Whenever somebody asks me how I feel, I tell them I feel like I’m 18. I’m not sure if that’s the question they’re trying to ask, but that’s what I have in my head.”