How To Get Fit Without Ruining Your Life
Illustration by Mr Adam Nickel
Training hacks that will make you fitter and happier – without skipping meals and losing friends.
Perhaps you’ve flirted with the idea of getting fit, only to balk at the unappetising prospect of a life spent subsisting exclusively on sad-looking chicken breast and broccoli in plastic tubs, where your only friend is the gym receptionist. To find out whether there really is an effective (and less-depressing) alternative, MR PORTER asked Mr Kemo Marriott (@kemomarriott), the London-based founder of Holistic Motions and the Brotherhood Training Club – who has extensive experience coaching wealthy, time-poor individuals – whether it’s possible to gain without becoming a loser. Scroll down for five surprising facts that might inspire you to get fit.
You don’t have to go to the gym every day
Pumping iron on a daily basis is all well and good if you’re a professional athlete who eats and sleeps optimally, or a juiced-up-to-the-eyeballs bodybuilder. Otherwise, not only is it unrealistic for those of us with other jobs, it can even be counterproductive. Training adds to your “allostatic load”, AKA the wear and tear on your system from chronic stress (AKA “work”). Mr Marriott’s Brotherhood Training Club prescribes just two sessions per week: “That allows for recovery not just from your workout but from the stresses of your daily life, which take more of a toll on your body than you’re aware.”
You don’t have to spend all day in the gym, either
“A workout doesn’t need to last any longer than 30 minutes,” says Mr Marriott. Indeed, some of his Brotherhood Training Club sessions – including “Bolt”, which consists of 100 burpees, 100 split lunges and 100 climbers – can take less than nine: “Apart from the time benefits, high-intensity interval training shifts your body into burning fat for fuel, providing great physique benefits – as long as you stay in a calorie deficit, of course.” You’ll also need to be fairly fit and willing to push yourself far harder than watching TV on the elliptical for an hour. But the harder you go, the sooner you can go home.
In fact, you don’t have to go to the gym at all
“It’s amazing what you can do in a small space with no equipment,” says Mr Marriott, whose Brotherhood Training Club includes bodyweight workouts than can be performed anywhere: “Your house. Your office. A car park.” For example, do as many press-ups, burpees, split lunges, tuck jumps and climbers as you can in two minutes, resting for the same amount of time between each exercise. Resistance bands, a pull-up bar or a TRX will deliver bang for minimal buck, as will being more active throughout your day – even just walking. An hour in the gym will only go so far if you sit on your glutes for the other 23.
You can eat what you like (within reason)
A Tupperware party is no fun for anyone. “Life is stressful enough,” says Mr Marriott. “Why add to it by weighing your food and tracking your macros? Simply ensure that you’re eating a wide variety of minimally processed, whole foods, and enough protein.” Not only will your productivity, energy levels and happiness thank you, but you can even allow yourself the odd indulgence, which in turn makes you less likely to fall off the wagon. “This is the approach that I take and it allows me to be far more intuitive with what I eat,” continues Mr Marriott. “I respond to how I feel, rather than what the scales tell me.”
You can let your hair down
Abstinence makes the abs grow more defined, but all workout and no play makes Jack a dull bro. “Why should your social life suffer?” says Mr Marriott, a dance music fan who recently got back from a few days (and nights) in Berlin. “Have a drink here and there. But here and there.” It’s worth remembering that alcohol is not your friend. “It depresses brain function and impairs balance, reaction time and accuracy of motor skills,” adds Mr Marriott. “Personally, knowing this makes it easier for me to avoid it.” Keep in mind the cautionary tale of Mr Will Ferrell in Old School, and only do one – or two…