© PHOTOGRAPHED BY TARUN VISHWA
6 tips to lose weight before summer hits
(Belated) summer 2019, here we come
What’s that? You didn’t start a workout routine? Of course you didn’t. No one did, because resolutions are impossible. But if summer’s arrival has you feeling behind and panicked, you’ve got two options: Say “Screw it, it’s nice out, time to kick back and enjoy the sun,” or realise that this is actually the best time get in shape: The days are long and beautiful, which is great for outdoor and indoor exercise alike. (Think about it: Spending an hour at the gym right now only uses 1/15th of your daylight hours, as opposed to basically all of them in winter.)
For help sticking with a schedule this time around, we spoke with Gunnar Peterson, celebrity fitness coach and the Los Angeles Lakers’ Director of Strength and Endurance, and Joe Holder, performance specialist and health consultant to a lot of people you probably follow on Instagram. Use these six tips to get you primed for summer 2020.
6 tips to lose weight
1. Build progressively. Successes will compound.
“Figure out some things that don’t overwhelm you at first, that you know you can improve, and really focus on those,” says Holder. “And then build from there.”
This doesn’t have to be complicated. It just has to be consistent. For example, commit to drinking a gallon of water a day, every day, for seven days. The second week, stretch daily for fifteen minutes. Even though your primary goal is no longer water consumption, you’ll probably still drink more of it during that second week than you would have before—and you’ll be stretching, too. Good habits add up.
But beware: Failures add up, too. “A lot of people have one bad day of eating, and they throw it out the window,” says Holder. “And then one day becomes two, two becomes four, and then it’s two weeks later and they’re like, ‘Holy shit, I haven’t done anything, I might as well just give up.’”
Fight this off, he suggests, by thinking longitudinally: “‘What am I going to do today that will get me to tomorrow—and then get me to where I need to be two to four weeks out?’ That [helps me] understand that if I just take care of everything in this moment now, I’m actually getting to where I need to be.”
2. Try new things at the gym. It’ll build your confidence.
Once you’re comfortable, explore everything your weight room floor has to offer, instead of just everything you know how to do already. (A trainer may be able to help you learn and/or avoid catastrophic injury.) “We have so much equipment, and I like to get [my clients] engaged in it,” says Peterson. In an analogy only a true fitness guru could make, he compares explains depriving yourself of using the full range of equipment to watching the dessert cart go by and not being able to take anything.
“Then they have that resentment: ‘I don’t fit in, I don’t belong,’” he explains. “I go, ‘Hell yeah, I know you can do it. Let’s go.’ And you drop the weight off, or you reduce the duration, or something, and they go, “Oh, that’s cool. I’ve never been on one of those. I felt that.’ And that’s when you’re like, ‘I got this guy. This guy is really gonna start cooking now.’”
3. Always be adding.
Peterson calls this “ABA.” He doesn’t mean adding duration to your workout, because eventually, you’ll just become Sisyphus rolling a kettlebell up a sand dune. Instead, he advocates for adding one more good choice. Have one less glass of wine at dinner. Add one hour of sleep. Add one quarter mile—or even one minute—on the treadmill. One more set on your favourite muscle group—or one more set on your least favourite muscle group. “Play the game,” he advises. “It’s just a game. It’s just adding and subtracting.”
4. Be thankful
If a workout didn’t go as well as you had hoped, let it go. You showed up, and that’s a win. Peterson offers the same mantra he imparts to kids: “Happy for what we have, not unhappy for what we don’t.” Besides, focusing on what you didn’t accomplish causes an uptick in cortisol—the stress hormone. When trying to get stronger, he warns, “That’s your fucking enemy,” which is probably not a mantra he imparts to kids.
Gratitude, says Holder, also means reframing what “success” looks like for his clients. Hint: It does not have to look like Ronaldo’s stomach.
“Figure out other metrics besides weight loss or aesthetics,” he suggests. “Are their energy levels improved? Have they had more mental clarity? Is work now easier for them? Are their clothes fitting better? Has their skin improved? Create as many benchmarks as you can for yourself.”
5. Time outside the gym is just as important as time in the gym.
“Working out should be the easiest part of your workout plan,” says Holder. It’s the decisions that take place elsewhere—the one to get a single drink instead of three or four, or to turn off Netflix and go to bed, or to forego the snack you really want—that are harder. You’re more likely to achieve your fitness goals if you think of your routine as a 24-hour task.
6. Remember: time is a construct.
This whole “If I didn’t hit my Memorial Day finish line, what’s the point?” attitude? Lose it. Let Peterson’s words of inspiration carry you home (your new home, which is the gym): “There’s no ‘finish line.’ It’s fake. And here’s the other thing: there’s no starting point. It’s fake. [It’s a] man-made fitness anniversary. So start whenever you want, and never finish.”