Like a lot of people over the last several months, physical therapist and YouTuber Dr. Sam Spinelli has found life in lockdown has hugely disrupted his routine, especially when it comes to his health and personal fitness. “I’ll be honest, quarantine has been a challenge for me,” he says. “I’ve fallen off my regular exercise routine, I’ve fallen a lot of my good healthy patterns that normally lead me to make smart choices, my nutrition, and I’ve become much more inactive.”
When seeking to make changes, however, Spinelli points out it’s important not to be too aggressive in your approach or just to focus on the short term, as these “transformations” tend to be shortlived. In his latest video, Spinelli documents his own month-long weight loss journey, explaining the smaller, more sustainable lifestyle changes that he made to lose weight, get fitter, and be able to continue with that progress once the 30 days were up.
Spinelli starts by taking inventory in his kitchen, and finding lower-calorie alternatives to his favorite snacks, including stocking the fridge with protein-rich foods, buying puffed options instead of regular potato chips, and aiming to eat six servings of fruit and vegetables per day. “I’m not actively tracking how many calories I’m eating,” he says, “I’m just eating until a point where I’m content, and then I stop.”
He also finds simply ways to increase his daily cardio activity. “To up my step count, I’ve been going for short, frequent walks,” he says. “I just go out, bust out about 1,000 steps, it doesn’t take too long, I usually get it done in about 10 minutes, and it makes a good dent in the day, and it also helps to break up the monotony.” Spinelli’s daily step count goes from 4,000 to 8,000, helping him to burn more calories — he also notes that generally just moving more helps to ease some of his aches and pains.
When it comes to his workouts, Spinelli says he selected exercises that would be easy to fit into his schedule and not require a huge amount of thought, as these factors make it likelier that he will stick to the plan.
Finally, he sets himself a target of getting a minimum of 8 hours of sleep each night. “For a lot of people, more sleep is conducive to more weight loss,” he says, citing studies which have found links between a proper night’s sleep and ability to manage appetite.
After just one week he has lost a couple of pounds, which he says is to be expected given his reduced calorie intake and increased exercise, but adds that this weight loss will slow down as his body adjusts to the new routine. “I don’t know that this is all fat mass loss, that’s unlikely, it’s probably a combination of fat loss, glycogen loss, and water loss,” he explains.
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At the start of the month, Spinelli weighed 232 pounds, and at the end of his 30-day challenge he had dropped 9 pounds to 223. “I do think you should be active every day, but I don’t think you need to work out every day,” he says. “Especially if you are getting those steps in, that’s usually more than enough for most people, at least if you’re exercising a few days a week in a more formal workout plan.”
Philip Ellis is a freelance writer and journalist from the United Kingdom covering pop culture, relationships and LGBTQ+ issues.
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