Everyone needs a little motivation to get back into a fitness groove after the holidays — but trainer Gunnar Peterson tells PEOPLE that finding inspiration should be as simple as flipping through a calendar.
“Look to the summer,” says Peterson, who counts Sofia Vergara, Khloe Kardashian and Matthew McConaughey among the hot bodies he trains. “The summer months should motivate you to stay in shape during the winter months.”
Of course, it may be difficult to imagine stripping down to a bikini while cozying up in sweaters and scarves, but Peterson says not to make the weather (or a busy work week) an excuse. “Don’t just go, ‘I don’t have a treadmill or the treadmill is in the garage — or I am snowed in and I will just wait to get out,’” he says of not having easy access to cardio equipment or a snow-free pavement to pound. “That’s not an option.”
Instead, clear some space in the living room, warm up with a quick jog in place and some stretches—and then set aside 30 to 45 minutes for an easy at-home workout that follows these three principles.
Think like an athlete.
“Put together your moves based on high, then low,” says Peterson. “Do something standing immediately followed by something where you are down either on your back or on your stomach or on all fours. Something standing and then something down, and then something standing and then something down — like they do in football conditioning.” Peterson says this helps get the heart rate up in a way isolated, anaerobic exercises do not: “You’re getting an aerobic benefit from the way that you sequence and pace them.”
Try simple moves, but keep moving.
Keep the high-low concept in mind — and make the number of repetitions easy to remember. “It’s the year 2015, so do 20 squats, 15 push-ups, 20 jumping jacks, 15 crunches [and repeat] — but go from movement to movement,” says Peterson. “Push the pace; reduce the rest. Your downtime should be just as long as it takes you to get in position to do the next movement.”
Peterson says to alternate that workout with one that incorporates some household items to help engage other muscles. His recommended sequence: Start with 20 arm curls holding a water bottle in each hand while balancing on one leg (to engage the core). Then, put a broomstick securely across two chairs and, while on the floor face-up under it, hold the broomstick with an overhand grip above the chest and do 15 little horizontal pull-ups. Next, do 20 sumo squat presses (with the feet pointed out) — and while lifting up from the squat, drive those water bottles overhead with a pressing motion. Finally, return to the floor and do 15 hinge crunches (crunch and reverse crunch, meaning curl the hips off the floor, at the same time so that the upper body and lower body are coming together). Repeat.
Eat after breaking a sweat.
“Try training on an empty stomach if it is just this kind of resistance training workout, so that your body fat is sacrificed as a fuel source,” says Peterson. “Then immediately post workout, make sure you take in all three of your macronutrients [meaning protein, fats and carbs].” His ideal post-workout meal? Egg whites, quinoa, spinach, and a little bit of avocado. And, of course, it goes without saying to down plenty of water.