Increasingly, one-size-fits-all diets and fitness regimens are on the way out (phew), and leading wellness experts are more likely to encourage clients and followers to eat intuitively and listen to their bodies when it’s time to hit the gym—but what, roughly speaking, does a more flexible approach entail? And how does one ensure results—without being too fixated on results, of course?
Trainer to Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds Don Saladino has shaped his practice around customized, intuitive approaches, and his overall fitness philosophy is quite inspiring, especially for those us whose fitness routine is always in flux (apparently, that’s not such a bad thing!).
Saladino proves that avoiding over-exercise and working toward an impressive goal aren’t mutually exclusive. In other words, you don’t have to go boot-camp style to get your results. In fact, Lively credits Saladino with helping her get back into shape after her first baby, a 14-month-long process to lose 61 pounds (apparently, slow and steady is effective and sustainable!).
Saladino explains that it’s vital to adapt your fitness routine to your lifestyle and what your body needs on a particular day: “Gauge how you are feeling that day. More intensity does not necessarily mean better. Not every exercise is for everyone and this is the problem with most group training. The idea that the more you sweat, the better the training is completely false. Sweating is not the result of how good of shape someone is in,” he told W Magazine.
There’s no “right” number of days a week to workout, he continues. The amount of fitness that will benefit you depends on several factors—“what the person can handle, stress levels, etc. You can do a lot with training only three days a week,” he says. “If you are not recovering from four or five days a week, then this means that three is better.”
Rather than aiming for a certain number of hours on the mat, consider focusing on the quality of the workout. “My workouts focus on performance and physique, which means the workouts begin with breathing and foam rolling. I then lead them into a dynamic warmup which focuses on corrective work, followed by strength circuits. We finish with energy systems work, which is a fancy word for cardio. The most important thing here is to gauge intensity by how the client is feeling that day. The coaches that try to push 100 percent all the time are usually the coaches you should steer clear from.” Noted!
During weeks when you’re incredibly busy—or just not up for a long session—there’s no shame in doing micro workouts. “Sometimes ten minutes a day is all we have and all we can handle. Just getting the body moving is a great reset for the mind and body.”
Saladino’s wellness philosophy doesn’t stop with physical fitness; he explains that proper hydration, adequate rest, and well-rounded nutrition are important to looking and feeling your best. “If any of these components are lacking, you’ll be neglecting powerful tools that’ll keep your metabolism burning strong,” he says. “Fitness alone is not enough—you’ve got to stoke the flame of your metabolism by tending to all of these elements equally.”
While he acknowledges that overly restrictive eating doesn’t always have the results its proponents promise, Saladino encourages his clients to avoid white foods (i.e., refined grains—white bread, white pasta, etc.) and opt for high-quality cheats such as dark chocolate. So if you think of diet in terms of the 80-20 approach, consider making that 20% whole-food treats (vegan almond banana protein cookies, anyone?).
How do you customize your fitness and wellness routine?
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Photo: Blake Lively via Instagram, Lauren Kirchmaier