To a résumé that includes international supermodel, champion bodybuilder and elite personal trainer, Coloradan Gregg Avedon now adds CEO.
“Stereotypes,” a fortune cookie once humorously divulged, “are a real time-saver.” But, alas, every joke contains a kernel of truth. Consider men who earn a living from their smoldering handsomeness, protuberant biceps and corrugated abs. “Male model” doesn’t exactly suggest “Mensa member.” Nor does a movie like Zoolander debunk the cliché of male models as narcissistic dimwits.
“I think Zoolander’s hilarious,” Gregg Avedon says with a laugh. “I wasn’t offended by it at all, because I know people like that.” The 56-year-old model also knows those people are nothing like him.
In addition to a 33-year modeling career highlighted by more than two dozen covers of Men’s Health and clients such as Gianni Versace, Dolce & Gabbana, Trussardi and other major fashion houses, Avedon is a bestselling author, champion bass fisherman, sought-after personal trainer, accomplished photographer and, above all, devoted family man. He and Tracy, his wife of 30 years, have been together since they were students at Miami Sunset High School.
After spending their lives in South Florida, in 2017 the couple relocated to Floyd Hill, a neighborhood one thousand feet above Evergreen, Colorado. Their children Kevin, 27, and Tess, 24, have left the nest for cities along the Front Range Urban Corridor, which unfurls distantly through a picture window in the home’s main room.
A light dusting of bluegrass music fills the house, and photographs of the family dot the walls, as do striking landscapes and animal images taken by Avedon—a graphic design major at the University of Florida who claims as a distant cousin the legendary fashion and portrait photographer Richard Avedon. Not displayed: any of the thousands of professionally taken solo images of one of the most recognized faces—and physiques—of the last three decades.
That Everyman ability to empathize with others makes Avedon an incredible personal trainer, according to client Jim Hyatt, an eminent residential and resort landscape architect whose international clientele also includes several prominent Cherry Hills Village families. Hyatt started working with Avedon two years ago at Nick’s Pro Fitness in Evergreen (Avedon also trains clients at Absolute Personal Fitness in Lakewood.)
“He really wants to help people,” the 64-year-old Hyatt says. “His level of understanding and caring is a level above what I experienced with previous trainers, and his knowledge of physiology and nutrition is off the charts. When you work with him, he’s fully engaged, laser-focused and personable. It’s an inspiration just to be around him because of how professional he is.”
A MODEL LIFE
Avedon’s humility and drive stems from being a shy, skinny son of a Great Santini-type father. After getting his “butt kicked” trying out for the high school football team, the 15-year-old walked into the weight room “and became completely obsessed. I got to school early to help the coach set up the weight room and lifted between classes and for three hours after school ended.”
A passion for health, wellness and fitness kicked in, as did a sense of self-confidence and self-discipline. “I realized I didn’t like team sports—or relying on other people,” he says. At 17, he won the first of the 22 bodybuilding competitions he’d enter during high school and college. He quit competing after graduation to pursue a career as a commercial artist. Then a chance encounter with a modeling agent at a Miami mall forever changed his career trajectory.
But it didn’t change him. While circumnavigating the globe for photo shoots rewarded him with lifetime platinum elite status on numerous airlines, it did not turn him into a high-living jet setter. “It was always about being professional, making a living to support my wife and kids at home,” he explains.
If a shoot in the Seychelles or Bahamas wrapped days sooner than scheduled, he says he’d forsake a few all-expense-paid days in paradise in favor of catching the next flight home—even if he had to charter it.
“And unlike 98 percent of the models who want the free meal, I’d never go to dinner with my clients or other models,” he explains. Instead, when checking into a hotel, he says he’d always find the closest gym and shop for food—two yogurts, four pieces of fruit, a bag of lettuce and two cans of tuna per each day of his stay.
“I’d eat in my room with food I can control,” he says. “When I was traveling all over, if I could control my nutrition and my sleep, I looked better, I functioned better and I felt better. And that was more important to me than partying and screwing around.”
He treated his clients with respect and demanded it in return. “A lot of clients think ‘Oh, he’s just a model,’ but I think it was different for me,” he reflects. “Most models start younger, never went to college—they take the abuse, suck it up and keep going—but because I started modeling after graduating from college, I was in a different place. I had clients and photographers who would treat people like crap, but they treated me well. I think they sensed they couldn’t get away with treating me poorly.”
His multifaceted professionalism endeared him to his clients and peers, contributing to unprecedented longevity in a business notorious for its fickleness and obsession with youth.
He’s bringing his essential message to market with the first product in what he hopes will
be “a house of brands, not a branded house.” The product, Multioxidant, is a comprehensive multiple-antioxidant supplement created to shield you from the cell-damaging free radicals that cause aging, inflammation, discomfort and disease.
“I’ve wanted to do this for 20 years, so I’m personally formulating it, making sure it’s everything I want it to be,” he says of the “mildly chocolatey-tasting powder” that can be scooped into a smoothie, protein shake or a glass of water. Multioxidant contains therapeutically dosed amounts of astaxanthin, alpha lipoic acid, glutathione, CoQ10, Vitamins A, C, E and K, and dozens of multisyllabic nutrients and cruciferous compounds with high ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) values.
Its creator practically levitates with excitement as he expounds about the benefits of each, as well as details on uptake enhancement, ATP replenishment, anti-calcification, cellular protection and more. He clearly knows his stuff.
“I’m really serious about this,” he says, noting that a Multioxidant cream is on the way. “The whole idea is not to confuse people. Look, you want cellular health? Here’s your product. Protect yourself from the outside-in as well as the inside-out. It’s a great one-two punch.”
A ONE-MAN BRAND
Incorporating protein smoothies, soups and variations on recipes from his books Muscle Chow and The 14-Day Get Lean Diet, Avedon maintains strict eating habits and workout regimens while home in Colorado. He and Tracy eat together, but rarely the same food. In restaurants, Avedon frowns on people who draw attention to their diets with countless questions and substitution requests. “I keep it simple. I fly right under the radar. I know how to order.”
“Just two days of not eating right can make a model look different, but Gregg prepares his body for every shoot,” raves the fitness photographer Jason Ellis, who counts numerous magazine covers with Avedon among the 500 he’s shot. The model also figures prominently in Aging Evolution, a film Ellis is directing.
“He’s so in tune with everything,” Ellis continues. “Beyond having a keen awareness of his body and facial expressions, he’s a good role model as a human being. You just feel good when you’re around him. He really understands the essence of life.”
That essence, Avedon explains, “is about longevity, being healthy, looking good, feeling good and achieving balance in everything. I’ve always thought that wellness doesn’t need to be that difficult. You don’t have to be so pretentious about the whole thing. Just. Chill. Out.”
If Multioxidant scores a knockout, a line of athletic and muscle-building products “using only supplements I believe in” will follow. And after that? “A book tying all of this together with my philosophy.”
That philosophy has kept Gregg Avedon on top of his game for four decades and counting, and his book is certainly one from which we could all take a page.