When we look at the fitness levels of stars like Daniel Craig, Chris Pratt and Halle Berry we all think - well that’s out of reach for me right? Well, today we have the right-hand man to 007 himself, Simon Waterson sharing his secrets on how he gets his Hollywood clients into shape. Focusing on his three key tenants: performance, nutrition and recovery. And you might just be surprised at how simple it is to fix your fitness mindset.
Of course, his clients work hard in the gym and keep their nutrition in check. But Simon notes that the key is self-compassion throughout, “Don’t kill yourself in the gym and be over intensive. Don’t be in a calorie deficit. Don’t starve yourself. Don’t diet. Do all the things that are really kind for yourself”
That additional stress garnered from dieting can be physically and mentally draining in itself. Why do you think most diets don’t work?
And the same goes with the gym. It's easy to come down hard on yourself when you're not being as active as you might like.
But missing a session or not performing at your best every time is part of life.
When we look at Hollywood stars we don’t see the missed sessions or quick McDonalds run on the drive back from a shoot. But the reality is they have ‘off days’ just like all of us: after all, they are just human.
Simon hammers this home with his clients and says that no matter where you are in your journey, everyone should cut themselves some slack. Some deviation from an otherwise healthy diet or a week off of training to spend with loved ones isn't going to move the dial long term. But a constant negative mindset will. It’s that negativity that aggregates over time and can cause more harm than those little things you beat yourself up for.
Often when we think about optimal fitness, we think of a rigid routine. One that takes discipline to stay on track. And whilst this works for some people, for most of us, that’s not the case.
“If you remain flexible with your workouts it gives your sustainability. Do something rather than nothing keeps you on the road constantly.”, Simon says on flexibility. He works with his clients to ensure the workouts and nutrition he programs for them work for their lifestyle, not against it. And for most of them, that means short workouts which can chop and change and simple nutrition which doesn’t see them carting round boxes of chicken, rice and broccoli everywhere they go.
Having this ‘something is better than nothing' approach allows you to see your day in a much more measured way. Valuing all types of activity (walking, climbing the stairs or cleaning) and squeezing in workouts that work with how much time or indeed how much energy you have. You might have had a bad night's sleep so smashing an hour-long weights session is just going to detract from your day. Or perhaps you’ve been pretty sedentary most of the day - an evening run might be just the thing you need to keep you on track. This active everyday mindset will see you moving towards your fitness goals without it feeling like a chore or effort.
Catch some z’s
We all know the importance of sleep for our everyday health. But it has an especially large part to play in our physical fitness. Simon is a big proponent of sleep, “Sleep is the be-all and end-all of everything. It’s where all of the repair is done…I think sleep and napping are really important.”. He noted how he encourages all of his ‘athletes’ (clients) to nap daily. Not only helping with their energy and therefore giving them more fire in the gym but to reap the benefits of their hard work. For muscle growth and adaptation, the key phase of sleep is ‘Non-REM’. This is when your blood pressure drops and the body somewhat shuts down (deep sleep). As less blood is needed to be supplied to the brain, there is more available to transport nutrients and oxygen needed to rebuild muscle tissue. So if you’re not into napping make sure you’re getting at least 7-9 hours of sleep - especially if you’re going through a recomposition period.
Don’t over commit
We’ve all done it. We start a new year, new program or join and gym and have lofty expectations for what we want to achieve. We push towards those goals and then tail off. Simon says the key to preventing this from happening is having realistic expectations, “People have expectations that are beyond what they’re ever going to be able to achieve. Set yourself micro goals and then macro goals.”
And when you’re setting those goals, make sure you’re not just focusing on aesthetics. Having aesthetic goals is all good but mixing them in with some measurable fitness goals is a good way to go. If you’re working to be a fitter version of yourself, the aesthetics usually come as a nice side effect of that progress.
“Everything is aesthetic but what’s perfect for one person is completely different in someone else's eyes…the aesthetic is important but we have no barometer on how we’re feeling on the inside - you can’t take a picture.”, says Simon on goals.
With his clients, Simon works on specific aesthetic goals based on scenes (think Daniel Craig’s infamous walk out of the water scene or the unveiling of Chris Evans Captain America) mixed with fitness goals such as being able to jump over the bonnet of a car or have the stamina to hurl a shield multiple times.
Finally, we have sustainability. In alignment with his points on flexibility and being kind to yourself: rigidity and a punishing diet are simply not sustainable. “Treat yourself like a toolbox - whatever works for you on that week stick to it. It then becomes sustainable, once it’s sustainable you get longevity and that’s when you start to see results”, says Simon on how he approaches transforming his clients.
A diet and daily workout plan might work initially but when it doesn’t fit into your normal life it will no longer give you the results your after. Instead, crafting a lifestyle that incorporates fitness is key. Make healthy choices, move when you can and give yourself a break. It’s consistency and a move toward a lifestyle change that will continue to drive you to a healthier and happier you.
With so much fitness and diet information out there, it’s great to see those at the top of their game offering advice which is reasonable and practical. To check out Simon’s full PepTalk, why not sign up for our subscription service? Or, if you’d be interested to have him talk about all things fitness for your business, get in touch.