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Brett Wilson works out in his custom home gym in Calgary, (Chris Bolin for The Globe and Mail)
Brett Wilson works out in his custom home gym in Calgary, (Chris Bolin for The Globe and Mail)

High flier seeks travel-friendly workout Add to ...

For Brett Wilson, 54, chairman of Canoe Financial and host of Risky Business on Slice Network, summer wraps up playing beach volleyball with his children. Now the well-known philanthropist’s workouts head indoors. His home gym kick-starts fall fitness ambitions, but this frequent flier needs travel-friendly workouts to stay fit.

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My goal

“In Calgary my goal is to work out daily; I get in four workouts a week. When I’m on the road, my goal is to work out every second day. I fail miserably.”

My workout

“My home gym has an elliptical, a multi-gym with eight different stations on it, and then free weights, benches, Bosu and exercise balls. A trainer comes twice a week.

“From 5 to 7 a.m., I do a 15-minute run – 99 per cent of the time on the treadmill. Then I do weights: three sets of three exercises, and I take the third set to exhaustion. I try to include one arm, one core and one leg [exercise] in each of those rotations. I try to combine exercises – you know, lunges with curls – to make efficient use of my time. I do 10 minutes of stretching. Then I go back to bed; I can fall asleep instantly.”

My lifestyle

“I’m on a plane an average of two and a half times a week – my next flight is number 71 in 2011 – and that disrupts my workout schedule because I’m in different cities with different times zones.

“But a typical day for me when I’m in Calgary is, I’m in the office between 8 and 9 a.m. and we run hard for the morning. I usually have people in for lunch and then work to 7 at night. I catch up with family and friends for dinner, movie and unwind.

“My [nutrition]goal is fewer desserts and carbs, and I do try to avoid processed foods.”

My motivation

“If I don’t do things with my physical, emotional and intellectual health to maintain them, the chances of dying sooner go up. I’m hoping to have another 36 great summers.

“Knowing that the camera puts on 10 pounds, and that I’m in front of the camera regularly, I’m constantly wishing I can come down 10 pounds.”

My anthem

Taking Care of Business by Bachman-Turner Overdrive, although spa music plays in the background all day long.”

My challenge

“My travel schedule.”

The critique

John Berardi, who earned a doctoral degree from the University of Western Ontario in exercise biology and nutrient biochemistry, prescribes two on-the-road strategies.

Do high-intensity sprints

“Using a hotel’s treadmill, Brett can do this routine: Start with a five-minute warm-up by walking on a low incline. Hop off, and then fire it up to 10 per cent incline and set the speed at eight miles per hour. Straddle the treadmill, take hold of the rails, and then jump back on as the belt is going. Sprint for 20 seconds, jump off to rest at the side of the treadmill for 10 seconds; repeat five times.”

Mr. Berardi explains: “It’s not a death race, but the first rep feels challenging, then fatigue accumulates – an average trained person lasts five minutes doing that. It’s so time-efficient and burns a ton of calories during exercise, as well as in the post-workout burn period, and shuttles nutrients to lean muscle, so Brett can lose fat. That workout’s about 12 minutes. As he gets better trained, he can increase incline, speed or do an extra rep.”

Skip breakfast

Mr. Berardi, president of PrecisionNutrition.com, says that because Mr. Wilson is a conscientious dieter with a specific goal, intermittent fasting will spur on fat loss.

“This flies in the face of what everyone believes, but even if Brett works out in the morning, he should even skip the post-workout shake. It works like this: He can have coffee and green tea in the morning, but his first meal is lunch, then a snack and dinner. A longer fasting interval on the road makes travel easy, for productive mornings, and time so he can do sprint intervals. In four months all muscle’s maintained, and he’ll lose 3 per cent body fat.”

Interviews have been condensed and edited.

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