After falling into a fitness rut 18 months ago, comedian Gerry Dee topped 199 pounds. He knocked the rust off his 40-minute workout routine, but it took too much time away from his family. Encouraged by a chat with an NHL star athlete, the 43-year-old started a new regimen of shorter, more intense workouts before starting to film Mr. D, his new TV show on CBC. This training tweak accelerated fat loss, but he worries that if he keeps munching chips, he’ll start heading back toward 199, which won’t be funny.
To get to 175 [pounds]– I’m 183 now.
“I’m a recreational squash player and I work out at home. We have a Bosu ball, treadmill, a full multi-gym, massage roller, and a back thing you can hang on upside down.
“I condense my workouts into upper body and lower body. I try for five days a week. I do push-ups on the Bosu on an incline, I do front lat pull-downs, some curls, planks in 10-second intervals of six because I was told the 60-second plank is no longer good, but I break for three seconds after every 10. I run the treadmill on an incline of eight, and the most I can do is a mile at a speed of six for 12 minutes.
I had a nice chat with Mike Cammalleri when he played for the Montreal Canadiens, and he suggested doing 20-minute workouts with intensity and try to keep it consistent. It was enough to hear from one of the best athletes in the world that I don’t need to go for hours, and I just started to do it in smaller doses and try and do it every day.
“When I get stronger I add another 5 or 10 pounds, do more reps, or stay on the treadmill longer.”
“I’d like to eat five meals [a day] but I sometimes skip breakfast. When I do eat it, I’m pretty good: I have a shake, some oatmeal, my wheatgrass, my apple cider vinegar, and my Biosteel [a sports recovery drink] but by the time I get to 1 o’clock I feel I can reward myself with a burger, fries, and a shake, sometimes.
“Every night, my wife and I ask each other, ‘What do you want to eat for dinner? I dunno, let’s just have pasta.’ We have a two- and a four-year-old and they eat at 5:30, but I’m up to 1 a.m. and am starving at 11 — last night I grabbed a handful of spicy chili Doritos.”
“ Remember When by Alan Jackson, Hanson Brothers’ Mmm Bop, and Sad Eyes. I wish it wasn’t true, but those songs get me going. Every song reminds me of a time in my life.”
“Having kids. I’ve seen a lot of friends gain weight in their 40s. I don’t want to be a heart attack victim.”
“I’m doing apple cider vinegar, I’m doing wheat grass, I’m doing Greens+, I’m doing liquid chlorophyll, I’m doing oregano, I’m doing Biosteel. People say green-based supplements are the best things you can take. Is taking three together too much?”
Mathew Benvie, fitness trainer and president of Evolve Fitness in Halifax , offers his advice.
Get nutrients from foods
“All supplements Gerry is taking can be replaced by a diet of whole grains, lean proteins, healthy fats, fruits and vegetables,” says Mathew Benvie, fitness trainer and president of Evolve Fitness in Halifax. “Gerry needs to eat breakfast consistently – the shake and oatmeal are perfect, but add a glass of ice water to get the metabolism running – and curb the late night snacks or stick to something low-carb like a handful of almonds. Eat a lower carb supper. Try a stir-fry with a lean meat and lots of vegetables.”
Switch to multimuscle moves
“As for the workouts, compound movements that involve multiple muscle groups maximize time and efficiency. Do upper body pushes [push-ups, bench press, shoulder press] upper body pulls [pull-ups, rows] lower body pushes [squats, lunges] lower body pulls [deadlifts] and core. Run on an incline of eight for one minute, then an incline of one for one minute as recovery, and repeat 10 times for a total of 20 minutes. As Gerry gets fitter, he can increase the speed or incline to make it challenging.”
This interview has been condensed and edited.
Special to The Globe and Mail