With summer in full swing, filled with weekend getaways and beach days, it’s easy to get sidetracked when it comes to keeping a consistent workout routine. But thanks to the Hollywood actress turned Instagram fitness guru Halle Berry—with longtime trainer Peter Lee Thomas by her side—staying fit on your vacation is now easier than ever. From his best nutritional tips and workout advice to his favorite beachside exercises, here, Thomas shares how the beach can be the ultimate workout.
What is your approach to health and fitness during the summer?
Like seasonal food, it’s a great idea to also train seasonally. For one, you won’t get burned out from the usual suspects, with the same workouts day in and day out. Moreover, I think it’s occasionally great to “spot treat,” targeting certain muscle groups that you would like to see further development in or refine for that swimsuit or tank top. Applying extra attention to those stubborn areas while training your entire body as a whole, the way an athlete would, could be something to look into. Nevertheless, if my legs or arms are looking a bit “soft,” I’ll make sure to squeeze out additional work predicated on what’s lacking. Training outdoors when it’s nice out, depending on where you live, can also bring some zest to your workouts.
You and Halle Berry have an incredible fitness partnership; do you recommend working out with a partner or in group exercises?
Working out with a partner is a great way to keep you accountable. It helps keep you out of your head, makes it fun, and keeps the pace perpetuating. It’s also helpful to have an extra set of eyes to ensure good form is being practiced. Group classes with high energy can also lift you up and push you when that second wind is needed.
What are outdoor exercises we can implement on the beach while on vacation?
The beach is filled with incredible resources. I’m not typically a treadmill kind of guy; however, I love running on the beach and in the sand. Several beaches that I’ve visited have even had pull-up bars. Using a beach towel as an improvised yoga mat is also something I’ve done. With all this said, here is a sample of a beach workout I would program for myself: sand dash from one lifeguard tower to another; bear crawls; 10 to 20 vertical broad jumps the length of your beach towel; 20 plank jacks (forearms on the towel, feet on the sand); 10 to 20 pull-ups or muscle-ups, if there is a pull-up bar available; and 20 push-ups. Repeat the above circuit for three to five rounds.
What are you favorite full-body workouts?
Muay Thai, kickboxing, boxing, and BJJ (MMA), in my opinion, are some of the toughest full-body workouts and sports one can do. Burpees or sprawls are another great full-body movement choice I incorporate regularly. Pull-ups are classic and a staple in my program; they never truly get easy. Skater hops are one of my favorite plyometric balance workouts; they’re superfun, and challenging—especially when you clear some distance. Forward and reverse bear crawls are also a full-body workout and very functional.
What does a typical week of workouts look like for you?
In a good week, I like to practice martial arts three times, as well as the same for my strength and conditioning. Sometimes I will put more of an emphasis on one versus the other for that particular week.
When it comes to nutrition, what do you recommend eating before and after a workout?
Upon rising in the morning, I make a traditional Japanese ceremonial-grade matcha with a whisk and bowl. I personally like to train on a light meal, and often observe intermittent fasting while training. I supplement with Master Amino 23 and Can’t Beet This pre-workout. Post-workout, I like to have a three-egg arugula omelet with avocado mash.
What concerns do clients come to you with prior to summer, and how do you help them target those concerns?
Goal setting is very important, and often people think they can get away with getting in shape overnight. Giving yourself some room to prepare for that “summer body” is key. The most common concern I have came across is, “How do I torch my belly fat?” My answer to this is: Stay consistent with your training and nutrition. Avoid refined sugar and starchy carbohydrates, keep alcohol to a minimum, and get good-quality rest. More importantly, start now. Even if you’re not “ready,” just go for it!
Is there such a thing as a “quick workout”?
It’s common to see injuries occur with individuals who scurry to a workout. They don’t warm up properly and just jump right in. I know because I was once a knucklehead who didn’t like to warm up and also skipped stretching altogether. That’s when an injury is waiting to happen.
To avoid all of that, plan out your workouts ahead of time, give yourself sufficient time to work on mobility, and get a nice warm up going where you actually break a sweat prior to training. The hardest workouts I’ve ever done were five, 10, 12, or 20 minutes in duration. When you know what to do and are familiarized with your body’s limit, being in the gym for three hours becomes insignificant.
What is your mantra when it comes to health and fitness?
If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.