TV’s Most Famous Nerd Surprises Finnish Coach with Strength, Shares Three Tips On-Camera

TV’s Most Famous Nerd Surprises Finnish Coach with Strength, Shares Three Tips On-Camera

Jani Parkkinen, from Jyväskylä, found himself among A-list celebrities at a top-tier New York gym. Hollywood superstar Ryan Reynolds had overheard a conversation between Parkkinen and Don Saladin, the owner of the famous Drive495 salon, discussing how to excel in front of the camera. Reynolds chimed in with his own advice, telling Parkkinen not to apologize, to speak slower than he thought necessary and to steal the show if he needed to.

Through his experiences at the elite gym in 2017, Parkkinen became a personal trainer for Finnish NBA star Lauri Markkanen. The Drive495 gym, however, closed its doors for good in the spring of 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A book by Parkkinen and Kari Räisänen, “The methods of the masters”, which was released on Tuesday, documents Parkkinen’s experiences, including his encounter with Reynolds.

Parkkinen, a 36-year-old former basketball player, had joined the company of these megastars through a three-month unpaid mentoring program, which he undertook to learn about coaching, physiotherapy, and the business side of the industry. He was likely the first mentee in this program who did not have a U.S. passport, and also the last, as the organizers found it hard to secure a work permit for a foreigner.

During his time in New York, Parkkinen lived with his spouse, Ida, in a 40-square-meter studio apartment in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn, with a monthly rent of $2,500.

While celebrities were primarily trained by owner Saladin, occasionally other coaches, including Parkkinen, would step in. Among those whom Parkkinen trained was actor Blake Lively, wife of Reynolds. Besides Reynolds and Lively, other celebrities who frequented the gym included Jake Gyllenhaal, Scarlett Johansson, and Hugh Jackman.

Parkkinen was particularly surprised by the strength of actor Jim Parsons, best known as Sheldon Cooper from the TV series “The Big Bang Theory”. He was amazed by the amount of weight Parsons could lift, and described the whole experience as incredible.