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Steven Sabados: ’My workout is lacking a spiritual side, the mind and body thing.’ JENNIFER ROBERTS FOR THE GLOBE AND MAIL
Steven Sabados: ’My workout is lacking a spiritual side, the mind and body thing.’ JENNIFER ROBERTS FOR THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Power Crunch

TV host Steven Sabados' workout needs a wellness redesign Add to ...

After three seasons of pulling out paint swatches to help Canadians find solutions to home-decor challenges, Steven Sabados, co-host of CBC-TV's Steven and Chris, found himself looking grey. In the middle of the duo's Better Choice Challenge initiative to inspire more than 25,000 viewers to make small well-being changes daily, he felt as though his own head was "never above water." The DIY authority wonders why his health lacks vitality.

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My goal

"Being 44, part of it is health, energy and flexibility. You don't want to wake up in the morning feeling creaky."

My workout

"I try to work out everyday. I have a home gym and I have a few gym memberships, but I don't do scheduled classes. Every Tuesday at 6 p.m.? That'll never happen.

"I do body-weight and free-weight exercises. My routine is a mishmash. I used to have a trainer. I still remember that. I pick up techniques from watching other people's workouts. If I ate a lot that day, I'd say, 'Okay, I've got to do sit-ups for an hour.' Or I'll do legs - until that hurts - then I move on."

As well, "I try yoga. But I'm a bit manic, a bit of a workaholic, so my workout is lacking a spiritual side, the mind and body thing."

My motivation

"All my life I didn't have to work out. Then you hit your 40s and you widen out. In my 50s, I'd love to be in the best shape, feeling great and looking great. I look at my father, who's 72 and in the best shape. He prides himself on his physical strength. I remember watching him at home exercising and thinking, 'When I grow up, I'm going to look like that.' But it doesn't happen just by genetics."

My lifestyle

"I eat very well because I cook every day. I make dinner and pack lunch from that for the next day for Christopher [Hyndman, his co-host and partner]and me. We don't go to food courts or restaurants. We have a huge lunch and dinner.

"Breakfast is a monster shake with supplements from our naturopath. Once a week, we go to the Inside Out Health Solutions Clinic for an IV with saline, serotonin and vitamins."

In addition, "I've been gluten-free for two years. I don't have to go off cakes and cookies, just go gluten-free and have corn pasta instead of wheat."

My anthem

"My iPod has high-energy club stuff. I love the eighties; they were a good time."

My challenge

"In my mid-40s, it's just maintaining and energy, vibrancy. I want a workout that lets me bounce out of bed - except Saturdays and Sundays, or if we have a hangover."

The critique

Jason Crandell, yoga instructor and creator of two Yoga Journal DVDs, sees the telltale signs of a body shutting down. He identifies three ways Mr. Sabados can power up his energy with less effort.

Banish the binge

Mr. Crandell is impressed with how Mr. Sabados is integrating nutrition therapy into his diet. But the teacher suggests food-product packaging may be tricking the host's taste buds, granting him permission to binge. "The calories are the same in wheat or corn pasta, and the word 'natural' doesn't mean less calories in cookies or cakes, so Steven should consider the notion that just because he cooks and eliminates all allergens doesn't mean he can over-consume anything," he says.

Unclutter the mind

Mr. Crandell observes that Mr. Sabados's Type-A response to getting out of a low-energy cycle is to work even harder. This undermines one fundamental part of his lifestyle: He is highly creative, but the mind needs restful situations to be productive. "Steven's in a situation to always perform, so it's important to soften, to yield, to not try so hard," he says. "It's fatiguing to be under your own and others' scrutiny."

If Mr. Sabados wants to work smarter, Mr. Crandell says, he should rest his mind daily. When he counterbalances work with activities that are not psychologically taxing, he may feel a burden lift, drawing in new energy and inspiration.

Switch to restorative yoga

Another way to get rejuvenated is through more yoga, Mr. Crandell says. He understands Mr. Sabados's reluctance to attend classes, as what most people like or dislike about the practice is the personality of the teacher.

"I recommend Steven take a lot of classes with different teachers and give it a fair try and explore his options," says Mr. Crandell, who adds that Mr. Sabados would benefit from two 60-to-90-minute classes a week. If necessary, he could hire a private instructor. "Steven could start with hatha, an all-round yoga class, or follow vinyasa, which is more vigorous. Date around!"

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