Going on a diet or a strict detox is something that we don’t really believe in here at Lumity, because we firmly believe that all of us are fine just as we are. But with a miserable January now firmly out of the way and the over-indulgences of the festive season being not too far in the past, we have been wondering how to easily shed just a few extra pounds and start exercising to get a dose of those lovely stress-fighting happiness endorphins.
There’s nothing more miserable than spending these cold winter days up here in the Northern Hemisphere being hungry so we decided to ask an expert how to cut back on calories without ending up feeling fed up.
Gunnar Peterson, who has trained many Hollywood stars over the past two decades as well as record-breaking Olympians, says: “The one thing I tell people if they want to lose weight is reduce your calorie intake significantly at the end of the day.
“So reduce your dinner by forty percent, your lunch by thirty and your breakfast by twenty percent.”
Sounds like a simple enough diet because of course we burn the lion’s share of our calories during the daytime, and better yet – there’s no need to mess around weighing out portions of food: “You can do it by eye, so there’s less food on the plate, but it’s really just common sense,” he insists.
And, he explains that you can have your cake and eat it: “Don’t deprive yourself of the delicious stuff though and if you fall off the wagon, say if you go on holiday for a week and eat lots of calorific food, remember you can’t do a lot of damage in one week, so pick yourself up and carry on.
“On the whole, try to make informed choices about what you eat; if you try to stick to good, wholesome food with lots of fruit, vegetables and quality protein you can’t go wrong. Steer clear of processed food and think about what you’re putting in your body – lots of refined sugar, salt and fat will make you feel terrible. ”
Being well-rested is top of the list if you want to find the motivation to exercise regularly he says: “Another good tip is to get lots of sleep, if you’re rested you’ll have the energy to get up and go to the gym. “The best motivation is if you decide to do it for yourself, doing it for someone else won’t work as well. Do it for you.”
And, rather than fretting about what you weigh, the Hollywood trainer insists that you can do weight loss by eye too: “If you want to know if you’re getting results, try on a pair of your favourite jeans.”
But, if you can’t do them up, don’t start fretting because he points out that our body weight changes throughout the day: “Try on your favourite jeans at the same time of day as your body fluctuates throughout the day.
“So many people get demotivated by what they weigh and scales cause untold emotional damage when in fact it’s irrelevant. It’s not about a diet or how much you weigh.
“It’s about how good you feel.”
We certainly agree with that. What about tips for those of us who want to kick up our gym workouts a notch or ten?
“I always say, ‘Ask yourself how hard you’re working’ and if you’re able to read the newspaper while you’re on the treadmill then you’re not working hard enough,” says Gunnar, who is known for his full body transformations, and helped Angelina Jolie get in fighting shape to kick villains into touch during the Tomb Raider movie franchise days.
“For fitness goals aim as high as you can, vow to do the best you can, that way you’ll be very happy with your results,” he adds.
“Make every second spent working out count. You can’t beat old-fashioned cardio that works your whole body all at one time like rowing or press ups.”
If you’re hoping for a quick fitness fix there’s good and bad news: “There are no short cuts when it comes to fitness but if you work as many groups of muscles in your body as hard as you can then you really don’t need to spend hours in the gym,” he underlines.
And, get ready to welcome a new best friend into your life, who you can even watch TV with: “At home you can get down on the floor and do press ups and you can also do squats. I call squats the king of exercise, I tell my clients to see them as their best friends. They work the biggest muscle group in your body called the glutes.
“For people who say they don’t have time to exercise, it’s just not true! Everyone can find an hour three times a week.”
And it’s not just about finding time to spend in the gym: “If you feel good it changes all other areas of your life in a positive way.. Your relationships will be better if you’re feeling confident and you’ll feel better sitting in an office all day if you’ve got up early and done something that is just for you.”
Did you enjoy this? Here’s how to start running like ‘superager’ Irene Obera, this is what we lovingly call ‘the lazy girl’s guide to wellness’ and here’s how to keep up the motivation to go to the gym.