Just months after giving birth to her first baby, Blake Lively is making waves both off and on the big screen screen this summer as a bikini-clad surfer. The post-baby body turnaround story is one we’ve seen many times in Hollywood and, honestly, never tire of. We may roll our eyes and feel a bit baited by headlines like, well, our own above, but the truth is we’ll always click through hoping for interesting details and useful tips we can apply to our own lives. Too often, the details disclosed by the star or their team are less than insightful, and stir more feelings of skepticism and hopelessness than inspiration. Such is not the case with Blake Lively and her go-to trainer, Don Saladino.
Don is the kind of trainer we can get behind 100% and gives us hope that this level of physical excellence can be achieved realistically and healthfully! “Realistically?” you ask, appalled. Full disclosure, even Blake has admitted in interviews that her svelte figure was only a three week state of affairs, after which she came down to a more live-able level. But we digress; bodies like Blake’s are still pretty aspirational when they’re achieved in true health and balance – although wellness goals are never one size fits all.
Make no mistake, Blake worked like a beast to get into shape for this summer’s The Shallows, but we found ourselves impressed and inspired by her trainer, Don Saladino’s insights on what it truly took to get her in the shape of her life. Here’s what Don shared with us about his process with Blake and the lessons we’re taking away to live well every day…
Don’t Drop the Metabolism.
One of Saladino’s big fitness themes is fire. He encourages his clients to think about their metabolism like a fire, and to “get it burning and keep it burning hot all day.” Stoking the metabolism all day long is what Don credits his success working with with both Blake and her husband Ryan Reynolds for the recent Deadpool. “By two in the afternoon, I would expect Blake to have eaten two to three meals with her baby in tow,” said Don. Deprivation is not part of Don’s formula, and he insists that not eating through the day is one of the easiest ways to sabotage your wellness goals.
Take a Holistic Approach.
How is that done? Clearly, fitness is key, but hydration, rest, recovery, and plenty of nutrient-dense food are also vital parts of the equation.”If any of these components are lacking, you’ll be neglecting powerful tools that’ll keep your metabolism burning strong,” said Don. “Fitness alone is not enough – you’ve got to stoke the flame of your metabolism by tending to all of these elements equally.”
High Quality Cheats.
Saladino advises his clients to follow the 80/20 rule. Sort of. The 80/20 rule means that, while training for The Shallows, Blake was required to eat from Don’s recommended diet (see below) 80% of the week and allowed to cheat the other 20%. With one caveat: Don insists that cheats be of “high quality”. Need a burrito? Skip the drive thru and grab it from a taco shop that’s using organic chicken. Chocolate on the brain? Great, just make it a dark bar without weird additives. Don insists this will keep your system strong, clean and capable without the inflammatory, digestion-weakening responses the body can experience otherwise.
While training with Don, Blake’s digestion was a top priority. We love this because when talking about fitness with pros across the country, we find this rarely comes up. When it comes to a svelte, well conditioned physique, balanced digestion is more important than some of us may realize. How we process what we’re eating effects our energy, mood, sleep and, of course, weight.
Hard No’s: No White Foods.
During intense training periods, Don’s clients are allows no “white foods”. That includes white sugar, table salt, white flours like wheat, and, depending on the client, no dairy. We don’t think that’ll surprise any of our readers. The goal of most of this elimination is to quell inflammation in the body.
This type of elimination diet is easy to try on your own. Instead of a traditional “weight loss diet” or detox, simply try cutting white sugar and white flour from your diet for a meaningful period of time and see how your body responds.
Sleep It Off.
For a few decades there, it seemed as though sleep had gone completely out of style. As though it was ever optional, we’re happy to see the wellness world leading the charge on the message that sleep matters. Getting plenty of rest and a full night’s sleep is essential to achieving any weight or wellness goal. Saladino says that a good night’s sleep is the best fat burner of them all. The opposite is true of poor sleep habits.
Be Realistic. Be Good To You.
When prepping to appear in a bikini on screens all over the world, there will be days that require the best workout of your life. However, not every day is that day. As a trainer, Don encourages Blake and other clients to accept that and be ready to adjust to the day’s needs. No time for a perfect workout? Make the twenty minutes you do have count and be proud of the effort you put in one day at a time.
TCM Reader Weigh-In: What do you think? Do you find celebrity fitness inspiring or frustrating? Do you like Saladino’s perspective on fitness as much as we do?