Celebrity trainer Mike Ryan never specifically set out to become known as the “Naked Trainer.” The problem was, he just didn’t think he looked as good in clothes. At photo shoots, photographers would try to put him in suits. But the fewer the clothes, the better the pics turned out. It became his “thing.” Trust us, you want to check out his Instagram feed. The 54-year-old Venice Beach-based trainer is highly sought out by celebs including The Rock and Priyanka Chopra Jonas, and by actors, like American Gods star Ricky Whittle, getting ready to shoot their first nude scenes. (Pro tip: If you want to make your butt “pop,” it’s all in the glutes, so get ready for some squats!)
Mike’s only half joking when he recommends that his clients train naked.
“I always tell people, the reason we train is because we all want to look good naked. You want to wake up, you want to see yourself and be proud of your physique. You want to just basically feel good about yourself naked. You don’t want to hide behind clothes, you want the clothes to accent your body.”-MIKE RYAN
But of course the naked truth, especially for GXB+, is deeper than that. “I was going to start a hashtag #FortifyYourBody,” Mike says. “This whole crisis is a wake-up call to start watching your health and your eating habits. I mean, we’re 50 and we’re basically getting targeted for this epidemic, so we really need to take our health to the next level and watch what we’re eating, and we really need to up our exercise game.”
Here, Mike shares his surprisingly simple tips for looking great naked, and fortifying your body and mind while you’re at it.
Mike recommends taking a photo, on day one of your health journey. “We’re always our hardest critics,” he says. So if you can’t silence that inner voice, put it to work. “When you see an actual picture of yourself, and you’re like, ‘Oh boy, I don’t want to look like that,’ use it as motivation. Two or three weeks later, you’ll take another picture and 99 percent of the time, people are like, ‘Wow, I’m really starting to make a turn. I feel good.’ It’s exciting. It’s self-propelled motivation. They realize, ‘I see myself naked. I’m starting to get these results I want, and I’m actually enjoying the journey.’”
Leave your ego at the door
Don’t be hesitant to start a new type of exercise at any time, at any age. Just start it. “Everyone always wants to wait until Monday,” says Mike. “There’s no waiting for days anymore. You just gotta go now.” If you’re a beginner, pace yourself. “Don’t try to do 25 Marine-style push-ups right away. Start with push-ups on your knees.” Then, start to push yourself (see below).
Variety is the spice of life
Mixing it up doesn’t just keep your muscles on their toes. It safeguards against injury. “We’re not 18, we can’t run 8 or 10 miles every day,” says Mike. ”So you run a couple days, then it’s always good just to walk on the treadmill or on an incline or just take the bicycle out or ride a stationary bike. When you have variety, you’re shocking your body to bring out a positive response.”
But don’t forget weight training
“Everyone says, ‘Well, I run, I do yoga,’ and I say every form of exercise is great. But weight training will actually strengthen your skeletal structure. You become a stronger, more formidable person. So when age comes, you’re going to be like The Hulk. At 54 I’m still trying to lift as much as I can, train as hard as I can, because I just want to be, like I said, this formidable beast that at 90 people are gonna say, ‘Oh my God, that guy’s amazing.’”
Start your day with cardio, if you can
If you have a perfectly flexible schedule (sign us up, please), do your cardio first. “In an ideal situation, if work never got in the way, I would get up and do some sort of cardiovascular exercise, like walking or a good jog, on an empty stomach. It speeds your metabolism, and all the food you have in your storage cells from the previous night is ready to burn,” says Mike. “Weight training is better to do about an hour after a meal. You want to have that fuel ready.” Second best scenario: do your cardio or weight training at any time.
Getting older isn’t about slowing down your body, but instead teaching it new things. “Challenge yourself and your body will rise to the occasion,” says Mike. And getting back to that perky butt: “Make sure your workout mix includes some type of exercise like squats that maxes out your largest muscle, the gluteus maximus. This has the greatest effect on your body. Then include arm and core workouts. This is a must!”
Eat like someone is going to see you naked that night.– Mike Ryan
Don’t get intimidated by all of the complicated, niche diets out there, advises Mike. “You can go online and just be overwhelmed. There’s Atkins, Keto, Paleo, I mean it’s too much for me. A simple rule of thumb [for any meal] is a healthy protein and some vegetables, with a moderate serving of carbohydrates. Eat protein-rich meals and avoid refined sugars, excessive carbs, grease, junk and fast foods. Eat like someone is going to see you naked that night. Believe me, you’ll make different choices. Good fats are especially important for aging skin. They keep your skin supple and your hormones roaring.”
And practice moderation when it comes to alcohol
“You always want to cut back your alcohol, because it prevents your body from burning fat,” says Mike. But he understands that these are particularly stressful times. So if you need to indulge, do so with moderation. And stay away from mixed drinks, which tend to be high in sugar. Check out more drinking tips from Mike in Alcohol and the Corona 15: Strategies to Indulge Without the Bulge.
Finally, have fun!
“When we were kids we loved to play and run around, and there was nothing better than getting sweaty. All of a sudden as adults, play turned into a four-letter word called work. Now I gotta work. Now I gotta work out. Somehow it lost its fun connotation. But deep down inside, your body loves exercise. It’s the only thing that releases an endorphin, a feel-good hormone, because your body craves it,” says Mike. “You can drink, you can watch TV, you can watch Game of Thrones one-hundred times, and your body’s not gonna release a feel-good hormone. It’s only gonna get that when you exercise. The body loves this, let’s push it because that’s what it wants to do.” And after all, there’s nothing sexier than having fun and feeling good.
We hosted an Instagram Live with Mike where he shared more tips – in the buff! – watch below for more tips and great banter with Mike:
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Celebrity Trainer Mike Ryan has worked with the likes of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Priyanka Chopra, Arnold Schwarzenegger – however he's most known as the Naked Trainer thanks to his amazing physique at 54 and provocative "action" shots on social media. We chatted with him about his best practices to look great in the buff. #fitnessinspiration #over50andfit #fitover50 #ageless #allageless @mike_ryan_celebritytrainer
Editorial Director Linda Friedman started her career in magazines at InStyle, Teen People and Us Weekly, then became editor-in-chief of E! Online, where she kept up with the Kardashians for over 5 years. That’s a lot of breaking nails, er, news. She is particularly proud of #BUILTBYGIRLS (a movement encouraging young women to embrace technology to fuel their dreams), which she helped create at AOL’s millennial platform Cambio.com. Linda recently followed her own passion into the health and wellness space, heading up digital content and social media at Forks Over Knives and CANN Media Group, a B2B cannabis and CBD media startup. Linda lives in Calabasas (coincidence, she swears!), where she loves running the stairs, playing tennis and hiking with her husband and two teenage sons.