Whether you’re looking to blast a fast five pounds or lose those pesky final five, Harley Pasternak has the solution. In fact, the Canadian trainer behind famous bodies like Kim Kardashian, Megan Fox, Katy Perry, Behati Prinsloo and more literally wrote the book on it: his latest, 5 Pounds: The Breakthrough 5-Day Plan to Jump-Start Rapid Weight Loss (And Never Gain It Back) (Penguin Canada, 2015).
“I travel a lot, and my clients travel a lot,” says Pasternak. “So, I wanted to create a program that was independent of me as a person, because a philosophy and a program is bigger than a personality.”
Enlisting the help of four PhD students in Canadian health sciences programs, Pasternak compiled “every weight loss study published in the last 30 years.”
As it turns out, that meant going through thousands of tricks, like drinking cold water, taking the stars and fidgeting. From that they narrowed it all down into the book’s Top 5.
“What are the five biggest bangs for the buck? What are the five easiest things you can do every day that yield the greatest results?,” Pasternak adds. “We came up with these five daily behaviours.”
1. Walk at least 10,000 steps a day
Losing weight is easy when you weave fitness into your everyday activities. A counter will help you keep track, and motivate you to step it up. Pasternak recommends the Fitbit, which he credits for helping him “break the chain” that once bound him to his treadmill. “I don’t even use the word ‘exercise’ any more; I just say ‘movement.’” Embracing movement as part of a moderate, day-long exercise strategy is far more effective than the “over-exercising but under-active” habits Pasternak sees in many Canadians. The bottom line? Stop sitting all day only to hit up an intense spinning or boot-camp class at night and incorporate movement into your day, all day, wherever possible. If you work at a desk that means getting up every half an hour or so for a quick stretch, stroll or secret squat.
2. Sleep at least seven hours
We all know that shut-eye is good for us, but there have been many studies suggesting a link between getting enough of it and maintaining an ideal body weight. Research shows that lack of sleep leads to overeating and under-exercising, which are two key factors in keeping your weight in check. In a post for People, Pasternak suggests cutting out caffeine after 2 p.m., keeping your bedroom tech-free, being active all day and shutting out extraneous noises with earplugs in order to clock a full night’s zzzz’s.
3. Unplug for at least one hour
When’s the last time you ditched all electronic devices for at least an hour? Well, you should be doing that at least once a day according to the book. “The best time is before you go to bed,” says Pasternak, but whatever hour (or more) you choose, make sure it is cell phone, tablet, computer and television free. Pasternak is also a fan of charging your phone in the kitchen to keep it–and its tempting, sleep-disrupting capabilities–far away from your bed.
4. Do at least five minutes of resistance exercises per day
“I’ve changed the workout paradigm into doing one exercise a day,” says Pasternak, bucking the idea that you need to spend 45 minutes to an hour on multiple machines. The book details seven exercises that require minimal equipment and can be completed in as little as five minutes. You do a different exercise each day, and “the idea is that you’re not doing these exercises to lose weight or burn fat–that’s what the steps are for. You’re doing this to sculpt, tone and tighten.” Check out this video for some Harley-approved exercises.
5. Eat protein and fibre five times a day
“Canadians are supposed to get 30-35 grams of fibre a day. The average Canadian is getting 12-14 grams. That’s why I partnered with Metamucil: The idea is that we can give people convenient fibre.” The easiest way to start? Make sure that you work a healthy breakfast into your routine.