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Don Saladino
Graphic by Don Saladino
November 3, 2022
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What if we told you that you could wake up with vibrant energy, keep a clear head, sleep better at night, and ultimately live a longer life? We'd wager you'd be begging to know the secret sauce, no? Well, according to fitness coach and entrepreneur Don Saladino—who has trained A-listers such as Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Jake Gyllenhaal, Anne Hathaway, and Hugh Jackman—the key is to build and maintain muscle mass. "It's going to increase your metabolism if you do it the right way," he adds on this episode of the mindbodygreen podcast.

Saladino is known for helping people enhance their strength and performance in short periods of time—and keep that strength long term. Below, find his easy tips that will transform your workout regimen:

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1.

Train for at least 20 to 30 minutes.

"If you want to put on muscle more efficiently, you're going to want to do some form of resistance training," says Saladino. Now, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, we believe the best type of movement is the one you love—period, end of story. So if you love yoga or going for a run? Please, by all means, carry on.

However, if you are curious about how to put on muscle (which is crucial for longevity down the line), Saladino says resistance training is key. "Think of resistance training as body armor," he says. "It's protection." And if you're just starting out, he recommends training for 20 to 30 minutes, two days a week, if you can. "[That's] a very bare minimum," he notes. See here for a strength-training workout you can do at home, or check out the video below to watch Saladino demonstrate his favorite moves in real time. (Check out our favorite adjustable dumbbells here.)

2.

Focus less on reps, more on form. 

It's not that Saladino doesn't care about reps at all—but if you're simply going through the motions just to reach a set of 20 or 25, you may be thinking about it all wrong. "I can assign to someone three exercises, and in time they will earn the right to push themselves to the point where they're going, 'Oh my God, I cannot do anything else,'" he says. Meaning, strength-training does not have to be complicated.

Take pushups, for example: "Your glutes should be tight. Your lats should be tight. You should be trying to create tension in the body as you're moving," explains Saladino. "You should be envisioning that a tornado is blowing over your body as you're going through that pushup, and your body's not moving—you're creating this level of stability." Sounds much more difficult than pumping through a set of 10, no? 

The same goes for a plank: "How much tension can you create in the plank for 10 to 20 seconds? You should be in that plank position trying to rip the floor apart, trying to squeeze your glutes, trying to squeeze your lats. This is how you create tension. This is how you can change your body composition and strength level," adds Saladino. In short—form often trumps volume.

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3.

Ease into it.

You can't expect to jump right into an advanced training program; finding your groove takes time and commitment. "Take a minimalistic approach," says Saladino. "If you hate training past 22 minutes, then make sure you find a program that's 20 minutes long… Find a minimalistic approach where you can allow yourself to be successful." 

See, once you develop some consistency, it's easier to slowly build upon those habits rather than introducing all of those changes at once. Take baby steps, if you will. "See if you start making some better choices, and then you know what? The proof's in the pudding," Saladino adds.

The takeaway. 

Maintaining muscle mass doesn't have to feel complicated. With just a few intentional moves, you can increase your strength and keep your muscles youthful for the long haul.

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We hope you enjoy this episode! And don't forget to subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or Amazon Music

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