Don’t have three hours a day to spend at the gym? Not interested in bulging like a bodybuilder? Unmoved by promises of “fat-blasting, ab-chiseling monster workouts”? This is the column for you, fellow regular human with very little free time.
Simon, Montclair, N.J.
Weight: 190 pounds
Goal: To look good on his wedding day
His Time Commitment (or Lack Thereof): “I commute into Brooklyn from New Jersey, so that eats up a lot of my day,” Simon tells us. “It’s at least 90 minutes each way, so alongside my work hours — normally a little before 9 a.m. till around 7 p.m. — there’s not much left over. I really, really can’t bring myself to get up at 5 a.m. to work out, and by the time I get home, all I want to do is eat dinner and curl up in a ball on the couch. I don’t get enough of a lunch break to work out then, either.
“I also have to meet with clients after hours a lot, which brings me to another reason for my current weight: These evening client meetings tend to involve a fair amount of drinking. I’ve recently tried switching from beers to vodka sodas in an effort to curb the calorie intake, but between the booze, the drunk munchies that come with it and the fact that being buzzed makes me feel unsafe going to the gym (you only fall off the treadmill once before figuring out it’s a bad idea), I’ve kinda let myself go.
“Finally: I’m getting married in three months, and the run-up to the ceremony is going to wreck my body (and eat into my workout time). The bachelor party weekend is in Chicago (steak, pizza, beer…). Plus, there are other parties and dinners with friends who can’t make the wedding but want to hang out and celebrate. Not to mention, there are still some tastings left to decide on the reception menu. I don’t know how to get through all that without piling on another 10 pounds.”
Exercise He’s Actually Willing to Do: “I’m saving every penny I have for my upcoming wedding — which again, is in just three months — so I’m trying to avoid paying for an expensive gym membership. Any workout I can do at home would be way more useful to me (especially with the few waking hours I get at home).
“Physically, I’m still pretty healthy (despite carrying a little extra baggage), but I tore my rotator cuff on the right side when I played water polo in college, so I still have to be a little wary of working that shoulder too hard. I’m also somewhat flat-footed, so jogging/running isn’t ideal.”
What He Wants: “I’m going to be embarrassingly honest: I want to lose 25–30 pounds so I look good in my wedding photos. I know how narcissistic that sounds, but these are photos that are going to be plastered all over Instagram, and they’re photos that (hopefully) my kids will look at one day — I’d like them to think there was at least a time when Dad looked cool. While I’m at it, we’re going to Mexico for a week on honeymoon, and I wouldn’t mind having something approaching a beach body for that. And finally, I want to look good for my (soon-to-be) wife — it’s important to me that she knows I at least made the effort.”
Run to the Altar: “For the time you say you have, I would recommend two things: Run one mile per day and keep to a strict diet,” says personal trainer Lalo Fuentes. “Start by switching between running and fast walking every quarter mile; as soon as you feel comfortable, increase the distance to half a mile at a time, then run the full mile when you’re ready.
“After you’ve been running one mile for a while, you can increase the intensity by running at a faster pace. Start with your normal speed for the first quarter mile, then increase the pace once your body is warmed up. This process should take you no more than 10 minutes, maybe 12 or 15 minutes during the first week. Do this five to six times per week all the way to your wedding day: Not only it will make you lose some weight, it will help you clear your mind and feel a sense of well-being.”
Get Some New Shoes: “Having flat feet isn’t the problem you think it is,” Fuentes explains. “The reason people believe flat feet is a handicap for runners is that they don’t choose the right shoes: Flat feet tend to pronate excessively when you run or walk, so to prevent any injuries, make sure to buy the right running shoes that prevent overpronation. Listen to your body, and you should be okay. Make sure to also foam roll your legs before each run, and to make a full stretch after your runs. Taking care of your body before and after your workouts will prevent possible injuries.”
Stop Having Fun: “Avoid eating pizza, pasta, rice, bread and any fried food,” Fuentes instructs. “Instead, go for vegetables, grains and fruits. Make sure your meals are well-balanced: On every plate, you should have a proportioned amount of lean protein, good fats, healthy carbs and fiber. Have a good breakfast, drinks lots of water and keep it light at night. Try to reduce your meal portions progressively, so you don’t feel hungry.”
No, Really, Stop Having Fun: “Cut alcohol completely from now until your wedding,” Fuentes says. “When you go out on meetings, order soda water with lime: Sometimes, just the social aspect of having a drink in your hand and sipping it as you talk with people is enough. By the end of the night, you’ll be both hydrated and fresh for your morning run.”
Does This Advice Make You Confident You Can Lose All the Weight You Want to Before the Big Day? “Honestly,” says Simon, “the advice is so simple that it’s actually a relief — if it was some complicated workout I might give up after two or three attempts, but if it’s just getting out and running a mile or so every day, yeah, I think I can do that.”
Do You Think You Can Drag Yourself Out for a Run Before Work? “Again, yeah, it’s easy enough that I don’t have to think about what I’m doing at that time in the morning. I mean, I’m going to hate it, but at least I can do it.”
How Is the No-Carbs, No-Booze Diet Going to Affect the Run-Up to Your Wedding? “Speaking of things I’m going to hate! I don’t think this part is going to happen. I’ll do my best to cut back, but like I said, with all the parties and dinners in the next three months, it’s going to be impossible to stick to a diet of salad and water. Apart from anything else, the guys at my bachelor party would crucify me…”