DWTS star knows a thing or two about fitness

Published on Tuesday, July 19, 2016

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DWTS star knows a thing or two about fitness

Michael Rosenthal

If you watch Dancing with the Stars, you've probably noticed that Maksim Chmerkovskiy (simply "Maks" to his legion of fans) is in great shape. Part of it can be attributed to hours and hours on the dance floor, but that's only a small part of the equation. Maks is not only fit, but also amazingly strong and healthy. He takes his health seriously and that means subjecting every food, fitness, and lifestyle choice he makes to a simple litmus test: Will this help me meet my goal of living to 120...or will it detract from that goal?

"I truly believe I can make it to 120, and I want it to be an active and vibrant 120," says the 36-year-old dancer, choreographer, and television personality. "It's not just about quantity of life, but quality of life. This lifestyle is what allows me to even consider a 45-city tour at my age. Also, I want to be able to play basketball with my kids when they're teenagers and still kick their butt — I don't want to be an old dad.

"To do that in the future, I have to make friends with my body right now," he adds. "If I get out of its way, and help it do its thing by giving it the right nutrients, it will take care of me in return. It will reward me. It will just live. Yeah, things come to an end — but they don't have to degrade by the time you're 60."

According to Maks, "Once you make up your mind that great health is important to you, the choices become, if not easy, then at least doable. You don't have to be a celebrity, you don't have to be rich, you don't have to have a chef or a personal trainer. You just have to make it a priority to give your body what it needs, and only what it needs."

How do you do that? Maks shares his "best odds" secrets to help you:

  • Educate yourself on what to eat and why.
    Your body is smart and will regulate itself when you get out of the way — but that means learning how best to feed it. Do some research. Don't limit yourself to "mainstream" resources as many are driven by big food manufacturers with their own agenda. Learn which nutrients you are missing and supplement them.
  • Make a conscious decision to stay well.
    No matter how often you wash your hands during cold and flu season, you'll never be able to shield yourself from every germ. What you can do is follow a best odds regimen to strengthen your immune system so you get sick less often.
  • Try to maintain a healthy body weight without yo-yo dieting.

"People just don't bounce back from rapid weight change," he says. "Your hormones get out of whack, and then you are screwed. This is no different from smoking. You're killing yourself when you let yourself get really fat or when you lose weight too fast or in unsustainable ways—and it's unnatural to kill yourself."

  • Find a doctor who believes in prevention — and don't go only when you're sick.

"We need to use our doctors to help us stay healthy, not just to try to fix what's wrong. We can show up when we are not sick, and if enough people start doing that, doctors will have no choice but to start getting more involved in prevention."

  • If it's man-made, don't eat it.

This is not as hard as you might think, he says. Processed foods are an addiction, and when you're hooked on them, it's hard to imagine quitting. But once you do, you won't want to go back.

  • Cut way down on wheat, sugar, and corn.

Grains are inflammatory, says Maks — wheat in particular. "Bread is full of sugar, which spikes your insulin and forces the body to work hard to level it, leading to diabetes. "It's best if you can cut these things out altogether," says Maks. "At least eat them as little as possible. Instead of wheat, use spelt flour. Instead of white sugar, eat raw honey. There are all kinds of great alternatives out there that taste amazing."

  • Pay attention to what's REALLY in your food — especially those old familiars you take for granted.

Ketchup is a good example. Most of us eat it because we always have. We grew up on it and we love the taste. But once we know what's in it — tons of sugar, sodium, and artificial preservatives — how can we in good conscience keep eating it and feeding it to our kids?

  • Throw out your microwave.

"Many people believe cooking with a microwave oven is inherently dangerous as it changes the molecular structure of your foods and zaps their nutrients. But even beyond these issues, taking this one step can squelch the temptation to eat processed 'convenience foods.' "

  • You don't have to be a gym rat — but you do have to exercise.

If you're trying to lose weight, you have probably heard that food is 90 percent of the battle. And while it's true that you don't need to live at the gym, it also doesn't mean you get a pass on exercise.

"Feeding your muscles is pointless if you don't let them do anything," he says. "Find an activity you enjoy, and one that meets your needs, and make it a part of your life. Try dancing. It's fun and gets you moving."

  • Tap into your competitive nature.

"We are afraid to admit that human beings are competitive by nature," he says. "It's an old-school belief but it's true. For most people it's not enough to just say, 'I want to lose 60 pounds.' There has to be a bigger reason and that reason is competition. It's, 'I want to be better than her,' or even just, 'I want to be better than my old self.' It's powerful; it works, so why not use it?

  • Talk to your future self.

"I like to pretend I am talking to myself 20 years from now," he says. "I think, What would that conversation be like? And I know that my 55-year-old self would say, 'Thank you for taking care of me. I'm still here. I'm still loving life. I get to golf, travel, and hang out with my beautiful wife, my kids, my family. I'm happy and healthy and that's because of the choices you made 20 years ago.'"

Source: DeHart, DeHart & Company



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