In January 2020, Hollywood actress Rebel Wilson declared it would be her ‘year of health.’
By November, she’d lost four stone and reached her goal weight.
And now lockdown is starting to lift and people will actually be able to see all of you (say goodbye to PJ bottom Zoom calls), plus there’s a heatwave on the horizon and the very real chance of a holiday, it’s time to knuckle down and follow in Rebel’s footsteps.
But where on earth do you start?
Personal trainer Jono Castano is the man responsible for Rebel’s incredible weight loss and he’s bringing an exclusive six-week Body Transformation programme to the UK through fitness platform LIVENow.
‘It’s amazing how many people Rebel has inspired,’ says the Colombian-born former football player who owns Acero gym in Sydney.
‘I was doing a Men’s Health cover with one of her friends and he said she wanted to start training. She had declared 2020 her year of health and when we met, we clicked and the rest is history.’
Jono says that because of Rebs (as he affectionately calls her) age and weight, he started her on very simple moves designed to get the heart rate up.
‘My training style focuses on HIIT, but what I mean by that it’s about getting your heart rate over 120 beats per minute. With Rebel, we kept the moves simple with regressions of moves like squats, planks and lunges. When someone is starting their fitness journey they really struggle with range of motion and you don’t want a lot of impact on the knees either, so it’s best to stick to the basics.
‘The better she got, the more we progressed the moves. That’s what training is all about, progression. Now you might see her since lifting tyres and all those crazy kinds of things.’
If the thought of flipping tyres seems completely out of your fitness league, Jono says that kind of training isn’t unachievable, however it does take time.
He’s keen to stress that if you haven’t trained for a while, or if you’re just starting out on your fitness journey, it’s important to get some guidance. ‘I would 100% get yourself a trainer,’ he states.
‘Or join a transformation app, as there are so many out there now offering tips, technical points, etc.
‘However, in terms of motivation, a PT is there with you every step of the way. For us, it’s a 24-hour job and I’m always texting clients to check in and see what they’re eating, how much water they’re drinking and how well they’re sleeping. My job is to push them towards their goals.’
Jono is well-known for his body transformations and has worked with several high-profile models and actors in Australia.
‘If you can get these pillars on track then you’re going to be killing your transformation,’ he says.
‘Think about whether you’re getting the most from your training, knuckle down your nutrition whether that’s a surplus or deficit, factor in recovery and stretching, and think about why you are doing this, which is the most important thing.’
He’s also big believer in not leaving anything out and incorporating all training disciplines (HIIT, endurance, strength training etc) and finding a balance. ‘The diet word is such a killer for me,’ he states.
‘It’s not a lifestyle. People who do these transformations in a really restricted number of calories, what happens afterwards? If you can get amazing results on 1,800 calories, then you can do that after the programme, too.’
He suggests just 45 minutes a day for training. ‘I feel like that time-frame is something everyone is able to put aside. That gives you enough time to hit over 400 calories with a good heart rate. I feel 30 mins just isn’t enough and even an hour, for me personally, it’s too much.’
If you’re feeling motivated reading all this, that’s because Jono is really passionate about what he does and he goes out of his way to help clients succeed. Rebel is case in point. So how can you find a trainer just as enthusiastic here in the UK?
‘Pop down to your local gym and see how the trainers work with someone. Are they interactive? Is the client enjoying it? Are they being pushed? A lot of trainers are just on the phones and don’t really care. Body language is a big give-away.’
Jono’s six-week transformation programme will consist of three 45-minute high-intensity workouts per week, as well as a weekly live Q&A session where you will be able to submit health and fitness-related questions for him to answer, plus a nutrition plan and recipes.
So, what results can you expect from this? ‘It depends, what you are calling a result?,’ he says. ‘Do you want to just move better, or are you looking for numbers on the scales? That’s a key thing for me when I speak to people. Results aren’t just based on losing weight.
‘It can simply be managing to put aside 45 mins for yourself that day.’
Don’t expect insane results in a short period of time, either. ‘What a transformation programme teaches you is structure and the fundamentals of nutrition and training,’ he adds.
‘We put ourselves under so much pressure to get instant results, that when we don’t see them, we stop training. It shouldn’t be six weeks and you’re done. It’s about kickstarting a new lifestyle and mindset.
‘After the six weeks, you should be thinking about a new challenge and new goals. Where can you progress to next?’
Jono suggests trying this mini-circuit at home.
‘Do 45 seconds on with 15 seconds rest/transition to the next exercise,’ he says. ‘Take a one minute break after you’ve completed the first round. Complete four more times.’
1. Explosive squats
‘This exercise will get your heart rate up and burn the legs. Start with feet slightly further apart than hip width, squat down then explode up into a jump. When landing, make sure knees are soft to land back into a squat. Repeat.’
2. Walk out, push out
‘This exercise combines a lot of upper body muscles and each rep has quite a bit of time under tension. Performed with speed it will definitely get you out of breath.
‘Start in a standing position, try to keep your legs as straight as possible and use your hands to walk out to a push-up position. Then push-up and walk your hands back to your feet to finish in the standing position. Repeat.’
3. Commando jacks
‘This exercise will challenge your balance and also your core strength. Start in a plank position on your elbows, push up with your right hand then your left hand keeping your torso as still as possible, then returning back down to your elbows. Repeat.’
4. Get ups
‘Another leg burner as the legs are the largest muscle group so when they are working, you are burning more calories.
‘Start on your knees, use your right foot then your left foot to come to a low squat position, then return to your knees with your left and then your right. Repeat.’
5. A 90 degree hold
‘Not the most comfortable position to hold and that’s why it’s challenging. Get in to a plank position on your hands with your knees bent at 90 degrees and an inch off the floor. Hold.’
Jono’s healthy summer lunch
Now you’ve got the exercise plan sorted, why not work on healthy nutrition?
This simple dish takes just 20 minutes to make, and is packed with protein, healthy fats and vegetables.
150-200g of beef mince
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp tomato paste
¼ cup of stock/water
1 red pepper, diced
1 tomato, diced
½ avocado, diced
½ iceberg lettuce, shredded
Sea salt for flavour
1 tbsp extra virgin
olive oil (more to
Add 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil to the pan and sauté the onion until it starts to brown.
Add the mince meat and brown all over.
Add the paprika, cumin, and tomato paste and cook for 1 minute.
Add the stock/water, a good pinch of salt and mix through. Cover the pan and leave to simmer for 8-10mins.
Pop the contents of the pan into a bowl and add the rest of your ingredients as desired.