As a stuntman with credits including Deadpool, Lucifer and The Flash, Tommy Europe has to stay in shape. His life depends on it, after all.
Tumbling down stairs and crashing through windows requires many of the same athletic skills Tommy displayed as an all-star CFL defensive back from 1993 to 2003. Let those skills slide, he says, and a lacklustre leap or clumsy fall could cause serious bodily harm.
That’s one of many motivators Tommy uses to stay fit and active. Here, he shares two more that any guy can use to keep fitness plans on track — no fireproof jumpsuit required. If you can’t stay motivated to lose weight or can’t stay motivated to work out, keep reading…
Let goals become habits
“Set fitness goals and make sure they’re realistic,” Tommy advises, adding that this doesn’t have to mean targeting a set amount of weight loss or bench-pressing a certain weight. Rather, the goals can be small, easy habits that lead to better overall health and fitness. “Sticking to a schedule builds healthier habits that become automatic,” Tommy adds. Here are three awesome examples:
Goal: Drink five tall glasses of water each day
Space them out throughout the day, starting when you get up and finishing with a final glass a few hours before bed. Drinking water fills up your stomach, making you feel less hungry. It’s so simple, yet so effective for losing weight. Another plus: Your brain and body need water to work properly, so drinking lots of it will also help make you sharper and more energetic. And last but not least, scientists at Loma Linda University found that men who drank this amount of water were 54% less likely to suffer a fatal heart attack than those who drank two glasses or less daily.
Goal: Walk to lunch three days a week
Walk 10 minutes to a park bench with your packed lunch, or choose a restaurant that’s a few blocks away. Walking briskly for 30 minutes burns around 250 calories, after all, with guys who walk five city blocks in a day lowering their risk of heart attack by 25 percent. As a personal trainer, Tommy often advises his commuter clients to park farther from their offices than they normally would so they can get some quick and easy exercise by walking to their desks. “Then they start pushing themselves to beat their walking time each day,” he explains. “It’s amazing what this little trick can do.”
Goal: Switch off an hour before bed
Shutting down your smartphone and other handheld electronics before bedtime has been shown to help you get to sleep more quickly and snooze more soundly, which in turn helps you feel well-rested. As Tommy says, “You need that energy so you’re not always dragging your butt out of bed when it’s time to move around.”
Find ways to motivate yourself
“Excuses disappear when you’re a self-starter,” Tommy says. “When I don’t feel like training, I kick myself in the butt by simply moving around a little bit: Climbing stairs, walking, nothing too intense. It could be for as little as 10 minutes. As soon as I get the blood flowing, then it’s like, ‘Yeah, I can do a workout now.’”
Just getting up and moving around is one of Tommy’s main motivators, but there are plenty of other ways to get your motor running. Here are a few:
Keep gear in your vehicle
Fill a backpack with exercise clothes and pair of runners, and put it on the shotgun seat of your car or truck. You’ll never be caught unprepared, and it’ll remind you to get moving on your lunch break or after work. Think of it as a “trigger” for your new healthy habit!
Phone a friend
Enlist a buddy or two to switch from meeting at the pub to going for an evening hike, bike ride or run. After all, a University of Pennsylvania study found that exercising with a friend produced more weight loss than going it alone.
Make a game of it
You don’t need any motivation to watch the big game on TV, so use big plays as motivation to get active. Here’s how it’s done.
Apps for the win
Dozens of free (or cheap) fitness apps help track, monitor and motivate you in your fitness goals. Here are five keepers.
Photography by: Ken Cheng
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Adam Bisby is a Toronto-based freelance journalist and father of two. He’s been covering men’s health for over 20 years. As well as researching and blogging for Don’t Change Much since 2015, Adam’s award-winning work has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, and National Post newspapers.