Ever since Chris Pratt posted a picture on Instagram showing his dramatic 60 pounds (27 kg) weight loss that he has achieved in a short period of six months, everybody is wondering whether the same is possible for an average person. One of the reasons, people particularly started paying attention to his transformation is the fact that he never really had a history of being lean, muscular and athletic. Just like a regular non-celebrity living a stressful routine, his body weight fluctuated dramatically throughout his life.
In fact, Chris found himself rejected for the part of Duke in G.I. Joe: the Rise of Cobra (2009), for not having an action hero quality about him. He nailed the audition for Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) in the first 20 seconds. However, until Chris read for his part, even the director James Gunn admitted that he failed to visualize the actor with enough charisma to play the lead, owing to his chubby face and body.
With a multi-million dollar movie at stake, Chris committed himself to get into the best shape of his life by working out three to four hours a day under the supervision of celebrity personal trainer Duffy Gaver and nutritionist Phil Goglia. One might argue that not everybody has access to a team of experts or the luxury of time to recover from long, strenuous workouts. Nevertheless, Pratt’s example conveys some basic lessons that might help one to lock down the fitness goals and acquire them a lot sooner.
Your Fitness Goals Must be Time Bound
The absence of a plan and a corresponding deadline is what makes most people feel as if they have all the time in the world to achieve their goals. Not holding oneself accountable is one of the main reasons that people usually quit in the third or fourth week of trying to make a healthy change.
In an interview, Chris made it very clear that one cannot just transform within a month. It takes 6 to 8 months or even longer, depending upon the body. When you look back, eight months is not a long time. When you look forward, it feels a lot. Nevertheless, time is going to pass whether you do something during that period or not. So, whom do you want to be like in eight months from now?
Clear Your Head to Make Space for Your Commitments
Making a big change in life requires a strong sense of purpose. For Chris Pratt, it was a multi-million dollar movie and a chance to build a brand new image in Hollywood. What barriers to a more fulfilling life do you intend to break?
Your sense of purpose should be deeper than simply wanting to look like a certain fitness model. It will keep you going when the workouts start feeling too hard or the healthy food begins to taste bland.
Spare Some Time and Money for Professional Advice
In 2012, Chris Pratt worked extremely hard to get fit for the role of a navy seal in Zero Dark Thirty. He was eating too little and working out far too much to the point that he eventually had to get a shoulder surgery because he did not have the proper coaching.
If you are feeling overwhelmed with too much information or completely clueless about where to start, it would be worth your money to book a couple of sessions with a nutritionist to create a diet plan or get your fitness assessed by a personal trainer, to get started with a manageable exercise schedule.
Drink More Water
It is surprising how people tend to underestimate the importance of hydration, despite it being a convenient starting point to clean up an unhealthy body. Those who start including exercise in their daily routine, particularly need to drink a lot more water to avoid cramps, fatigue and keep their joints lubricated.
Pratt had to drink an ounce of water for every pound that he weighed as prescribed by his nutritionist. Considering his starting weight was 290 pounds, he nearly had to drink 2 gallons of water every day!
Natural, Whole Foods is the Way to Go
If you feel inundated by the idea of revamping your food habits to subscribe to a certain diet, then simply add more natural and unprocessed foods to your daily meals every day. This means cutting out on the cereals, candy and refined grains.
Chris swears by the Paleo diet. By eating 4000 calories of unprocessed food that included lean meats, fish, nuts, leafy greens, regional veggies, fruits and seeds, he lost a lot of weight. Chris restrained from being in a starvation mode, once he achieved his goal weight.
Get Rid of Your Weakness
Most people struggling to get fit, knowingly or unknowingly, develop an over reliance upon some kind of comfort food, drink or ingredient that plays havoc with their natural fat burning process. It could be too much of white bread, candy, fruit juices, diet soda, ketchup, frequent cups of coffee with creamer and added sugar or too many processed additions with trans-fats.
Figure out that one big correction is required in your daily diet. Pratt’s weakness was beer. What is yours?
Start with Strength Training to Build a Firm Foundation
The instinctive reaction for losing weight quickly is to start spending an hour on the elliptical machine or treadmill every day. Of course, everybody requires some kind of cardio as part of a healthy lifestyle. However, if you are really out of shape and have a lot of weight to lose, chances are that after the initial drop in pounds, your body may become too weak to handle the daily stress of cardio overkill.
Three to five sessions of weight training every week, will not only give your metabolism a boost but also help you stay injury free. It will make your joints and muscles strong enough to bear the onset of your cardio sessions.
Duffy Gaver made Chris Pratt follow traditional bodybuilding splits for the first two to three months of the training. They focused on strengthening different parts of the body each day, although, the body part splits changed every other week. Chris had already built a strong foundation while training for Zero Dark Thirty, so he probably built a decent muscle size quickly.
Men and women new to resistance training, might need to weight train consistently for six months or more, to alter their body composition in terms of muscle to fat ratio and enhance athletic capabilities in the long term.
Intensity Makes a Huge Difference, But it May Not be for You Just Yet
Whether we talk about high intensity interval training, CrossFit, P90X or Insanity, there are plenty of grueling workout formats that generate intense after burn by revving your metabolic rate for the next 24-36 hours and hence get you to do more in less time. These however, may not be your ideal options if you struggle with walking lunges, 20 consecutive push ups or find yourself out of breath after a thirty-second sprint. Without any solid lean muscle foundation, getting started with HIIT right away will burn you out or cause injury.
So, ditch the boot camp sessions in the beginning and learn to work out by yourself while focusing primarily on the form and technique. Regular weight training will ensure your ability to gradually increase the intensity of each cardio session. The long-term plan should be to do shorter, but a lot more demanding sessions of cardio to eventually measure up to advanced methods of metabolic conditioning. CrossFit and P90X became a part of Chris’s routine only in the later part of his training regime, when he was much closer to his goal to get that defined, shredded look.
Forget the Scale, Worry about Your Symmetry
Getting fit should be about a lot more than watching the pounds disappear on the scale. Stop obsessing over doing millions of crunches or checking your weight every couple of hours. Progress may be visible through the changes in inches all over your body. It may also be visible in the leanness of your face, the improved quality of your sleep, better posture, increase in the repetitions of different exercises you can do with ease or the improvement in the time of your sprint.
Spot reduction might be a myth, but you can always lift weights to create a more balanced musculature all over your body. Compound movements and bodyweight exercises done with self-awareness will reveal weaknesses that you might want to focus upon and correct.
To Keep Your ‘New Body’ for Life, You Need a New Lifestyle!
Old habits might die hard but you simply cannot regress to an inactive, lazy lifestyle for too long and hope to see continuous results. To keep your long-term goal of lifetime fitness intact, you need to continuously set short-term goals to be motivated. So explore and experiment. That is the fun part of the process of creating a change. When regular cardio became a bit of a drag, Chris made sure he stayed active by going for a swim, dabbling with kickboxing or mountain biking. If nothing else works for you, just consciously start walking more often.
Losing fat and gaining muscle the legitimate way might be a lengthy process, but it is well worth it. Entitled as Man of the Year 2014 by GQ magazine, Chris claims he is through being a Fat Pratt. He insists he is forever committed to staying lean and ripped now because it offers him a sense of absolute control, apart from blessing him with a seismic 2014.