Dearborn native lands gig as trainer on ABC diet show
Rob Sulaver was a kid with too much energy. “And, you know,” he says, laughing, “that can sometimes be a problem.”
As an adult, it’s anything but — especially if you’re Sulaver, who cashed in on his childhood stamina and, in 2012, launched his own fitness brand.
Now, he has Hollywood knocking on his door.
In addition to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s praise (“The Terminator” himself selected Sulaver to serve on the Board of Advisors for Schwarzenegger.com because “he’s one of the smartest and best in the business”), Sulaver, 31, is featured on ABC’s “My Diet Is Better Than Yours.” The reality show, currently streaming via OnDemand, is centered around a weight-loss challenge — with a twist. Contestants have the option of changing trainers based on how satisfied they are with their results.
The Dearborn native appears late in the reality series’ eight-episode run, assisting show participant La’Tasha Givens in dropping more than 50 pounds and slipping comfortably back into her wedding dress. For Sulaver, a certified trainer, coach, sports nutritionist and athlete, it’s just another day on the job.
Before launching Bandana Training after moving to New York eight years ago, Sulaver was a Big 10 Division I wrestler for the University of Michigan. His father, Randy, was his wrestling coach at Dearborn High School, where Sulaver graduated in 2002. As for his older brother, also named Randy, Sulaver calls him his “super hero.”
But his passion for fitness is more than just “in our blood,” Sulaver says.
“I knew I wanted to combine my love for athletics sand training and nutrition with my passion for performance and people. I never really knew what that career looked like, but it’s kind of been a winding road to get to this point where it’s all sort of slamming together.”
Jaime Maser has known Sulaver for five and a half years, first as his client, then as his publicist. Maser made the transition two months ago because Sulaver helped get her “in the best shape of her life.”
“I’m such a believer in the process and the product after being his client for so long that I wanted to spread the love,” she says. “His philosophy on fitness is to help everyone tap into their inner athlete. There’s a mutual respect for each other and our work that far surpasses the four walls of the gym.”
Sulaver may very well be “hardcore,” as Maser says, but his butt-busting workouts are peppered with encouragement and wisecracks. He even rewards clients who crush a fitness milestone with one of his trademarks: a bandana. Its “symbolic” significance goes back to college, when he and his teammates wore bandanas to honor athletic influences such as Hulk Hogan. Sulaver is now the CEO and founder of Bandana Training, a nod to his UM roots.
And sure, the former self-proclaimed “hellion” is a TV star these days. But, Sulaver says, he’s not opposed to returning home. In fact, he praises Detroit for its comeback and is even considering opening a fitness center downtown one day. Or he could end up in Los Angeles. Or he could stay in New York. Sulaver says he’s keeping his options open.
Still, though: “Detroit,” he notes, “is definitely on the radar.”
Chris Azzopardi is a Canton-based freelancer.
Streaming via OnDemand and ABC.go.com