It doesn't need to be summer for you to want to have a "beach body."
Kenta Seki, Celebrity Trainer, has had plenty of experience getting his clients into tip-top shape, having appeared in more than 100 fitness DVDs and on TV, offering fitness and workout tips, as well as featured in various publications, like Shape
Kenta joins host Lisa Davis to share his top five tips for getting (and keeping) a beach body.
- Work on your diet
- Drink more water
- Change up your workouts
- Love yourself, love your body, through its varying phases of transformation
5 Ways to Jump Start Your Beach Body Workout with Kenta Seki
Lisa Davis (Host): Hi, I’m Lisa Davis – so excited you’re listening to Talk Fitness Today. Here we’ve got the hottest and best in everything fitness, and I am so excited to have the wonderful Kenta Seki on the program. He is a celebrity fitness trainer based in Las Angeles. He’s a protégé of fitness guru Jillian Michaels. He appears on the E! reality show “Just Jillian,” and he is fabulous. Kenta, how are you?
Kenta Seki (Guest): What’s up, Lisa?
Lisa: Great to have you on to talk about fitness. By the way, I Tweeted that you were coming on the show, and a friend of mine messaged me and said, “Oh, my God. The body on that guy. Woohoo!” [LAUGHTER]. I mean, seriously Kenta, you are gorgeous and in such great shape. It obviously takes a lot of work, and I’m sure, and dedication, which we’ll talk about. Our topic – I was about to say title – is Five Ways to Jumpstart your Beach Body Workout. All right, so let’s talk about this because it is hot. Give us some advice. What are some tips?
Kenta: Oh, gosh, well, of course, let’s start by exercising [LAUGHTER] if you’re not exercising already. That’s a great way to increase your metabolism, so make sure you’re doing a mixture of cardio and strength training. Whatever that means to you, there’s all different kinds of ways to do cardio and strength training, any type of resistance training, just as long as you’re being active and having a mixture of both of those. That’s always my first one, make sure you’re being active.
Number two, just make sure you’re working on that diet. Don’t be cheating. Make sure you're eating as much healthy food as possible. Things that I like to watch out for are just making sure you’re not eating too many bad carbs – all the white bread, white sugars, things like that. I also like to decrease the dairy just a little bit as well because it takes a little bit longer for your body to process. Those are the main things I like to focus on as far as food goes – a higher protein diet, less bad carb diet.
Lisa: It’s interesting, I had surgery about six weeks ago, and I have not been able to exercise, and tomorrow is the day -- and I know when this airs, I will already have been exercising for a few weeks. It’s been really tough. I’ve actually lost weight because I’ve been eating so clean.
Kenta: Everybody gives different percentages. Some people say 70 to 30% -- 80 to 20, whatever it is, it’s definitely a lot more about your diet than it ever is about your exercise. Make sure you’re first and foremost focusing on that diet and eating as much healthy food as possible.
Lisa: Number three, you’ve got, “Drink more water?”
Kenta: Oh, gosh, yes. Everybody needs to drink more water. It’s almost across the board, everybody’s not drinking enough, so I always recommend having a bottle with you. I’m that guy that’s always walking around carrying his water bottle because I need it and drink it probably too often now. Drink more water. It doesn’t even necessarily have to be water – I recommend green tea sometimes. Green tea is great because the added caffeine helps stimulate your metabolism. Coffee sometimes – two cups a day max is what I recommend. Definitely not as much sugar or carbonated drinks. That’s also what I recommend. Just water is always the best way to start. Drink as much as you can. What I like to say is look at your body weight in pounds and cut it in half. Let’s just say you weigh 120 pounds and you cut that in half, that’s 60. That’s how many fluid ounces of water I’d recommend that you drink a day, so that’s about eight cups a day, on average.
Lisa: That’s great. I’m on my second, and it’s still morning, so that’s good. I definitely need to up that. Now, we’re going back to the beginning when you were talking about the strength training, and there was the cardio – so what types of strength training do you recommend for what types of things? For example, if you want to build muscle, versus you want to build flexibility, versus you want to build strength and flexibility, body weight exercise versus weight training – talk to us about this.
Kenta: All of the above. Definitely, if you can get in some Yoga if you can get in some Pilates, and you can get in some boxing – just mix and match. Often if you stick to just one type of exercise regimen, that’s when you end up plateauing, or you’re getting bored, or you could end up getting injured because maybe you’re avoiding some other body part or some type of modalities that are really important for your body.
If you can, even if it’s just once a week, throw in something different, just so that you keep your body guessing and that you keep getting different types of results. I love Yoga. I get in some Yoga as often as I can. I’ve been doing it since I was nine. If people can get in a little bit of Yoga, even if it’s just a few minutes a week, that could definitely help. This week, just to change it up, I’m actually starting to try a little bit of boxing. I miss boxing, so I’ve been trying it, and I forget how fun it can be. The Stairmaster – get off the treadmill, try the things that challenge you. That’s always the thing that I see people say, “Oh, I don’t like to do that because it’s too hard.” Generally, things that are really hard are the ones that get the best results. I’d say try different things especially if they’re challenging for you.
Lisa: That is good advice. All right, so we’ve got increasing your metabolism through cardio and strength training, changing your diet, drinking more water, doing workouts you enjoy, right? You talked about that – switching it up. You’ve got to prevent boredom. And then you also hear about plateaus, right? If you’re always doing the same thing, you’re like, why aren’t I getting any stronger or losing any weight?
Kenta: Yeah, exactly. Changing things up is the best way to prevent plateaus. If you’re sticking to one thing, a lot of times your body – it’s healthy and natural for it to adapt. That’s not a bad thing. It means your body is healthy, but if you want to prevent that from happening, especially from it happening soon,
keep your body guessing by doing different things. And once again, doing things that will really challenge you. Always change it up.
Lisa: I have to say, I loved your most importantly – when I’d asked you to tell me about some of this – about the five ways to jumpstart the beach body workout – “love yourself, love your body as it’s varying phases of transformation, don’t compare yourself to celebrities in magazines or people in your gym. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to be perfect.” That is right on, Kenta. I love that.
Kenta: Oh, thank you. It’s true. It’s totally fine and healthy to have body goals and aspirations and see people that you look up to, but I just don’t want people to become depressed about that if they’re not there yet. It’s totally fine to have those goals, but just realize you’re still human, and you’re beautiful and have so many other benefits and amazing things about you and qualities about you rather than just your physical body. Yes, keep striving to be as healthy as possible, and to get your body to look as good as you want it to, but at the same time, don’t let that bring you down. Stay positive. Fitness is a journey. It’s always a journey, and you just have to stay positive the whole way and love yourself the whole way because that’s what it’s all about.
Lisa: That is so true. And I think that, again, accepting where your body is – and maybe you’re not meant to be skinny. I don’t think skinny is that healthy anyway unless you’re meant to be that way, right? I think it’s about being fit, about being strong, about feeling good in your skin, about being able to do the activities that you love. Now, on Talk Fitness Today, there will be lots of shows where we’re really focusing on building muscle. People who are already in the mix and who are already working out, but I think for people who are new to it, or they just want to get a little fitter, I think what you’re saying makes total sense. But even if you are trying to get bulkier, you still have to love yourself, right? Now, talk to us about your routine because like I mentioned in the beginning, you are amazing, and your muscles are beautiful. What do you do, Kenta? Take us through some of workout days.
Kenta: Well, thank you. It’s really always been a challenge for me to maintain any size because my genetics are much skinnier than what I’m really at. On top of that, I’m also a vegetarian, so it’s very hard for me to gain weight and also to maintain the muscle. I have to make sure I’m always taking my supplements. I have to make sure I’m always taking in a minimum calorie count per day. That was really the thing that changed it all for me, was finding out how many calories I need to be taking in a day. I found out I wasn’t eating enough. What I did was I wore one of those body trackers that found out how active you’re being a day or how many steps you’re taking a day, and I found out I was burning way more calories than I thought just from my active lifestyle. In order to gain weight, you have to be eating more than you’re burning, so I found out I need to be eating at least a thousand extra calories a day. For me, that just means a lot of extra shakes, a lot of extra protein, and just making sure that my calorie intake is balanced between my carbs, sugars, and fats – carbs, proteins, and fats.
Lisa: I’d love to have you back to have you talk about strength training and being a vegetarian. There’s a whole lot there. We’re definitely going to have to talk about that. Now, when you said supplements earlier – let’s talk about this because I’m going to ask you a bunch of questions now that I ask every guest. Let’s start with supplements – you brought it up. I would have brought it up because I think it’s important. What do you take?
Kenta: I’ve been taking multivitamins since the 7th grade.
Lisa: How cool [LAUGHTER].
Kenta: Yeah, since I was a kid I always – that’s why I became a vegetarian. I was thinking about just making sure I have my vitamins and minerals. I think a lot of people take a daily multivitamin, but it’s important to make sure that your multivitamin includes minerals, as well. You want to have your calcium and potassium and everything else in there as well, not just your vitamins A through D. Vitamins and minerals – I make sure I take that every day.
Let’s see, I take an extra iron just because as a vegetarian there’s not always a lot of iron in multivitamins, so you need to take an additional iron supplement, so I’ve always taken that. What else do I take? I take my BCAAs every day – Branched Chain Amino Acids – it just helps your muscles recover and function more properly because I do a lot of heavy lifting. I take that – it has some glutamine in it – I really take a lot of supplements, just in case. I’m always the kind of guy – you’re better off, why not? Especially if you’re taking good brands and making sure they’re from a healthy source and a pure source. Glutamine to help my muscles recover. I take probiotics just for your gut health and digestive function.
Lisa: Yeah, so important.
Kenta: Let’s see, what else do I take? I take my daily protein shake.
Lisa: Do you use a rice protein or pea protein? What do you use since you’re vegetarian?
Kenta: Well, I’m vegetarian, not vegan. I still do use whey.
Lisa: Oh, okay, yes.
Kenta: Oh my gosh. I was vegan for a full year, and that was so hard to maintain my weight during that time. God bless anyone that’s doing that. I know the struggle. Whenever I can, if there’s something that’s going on – protein that is non-whey, I go for it, but I prefer whey protein as my daily shake just because it’s shown the best results with my body. I do that about one to two a day. It’s a mass gainer shake, so they’re actually about 600 calories each shake, and that’s before I add any peanut butter, or fruit, or bananas, or anything like that to the actual shake. If I do one or two of those that’s at least 1500 calories extra a day, just from my shake, which is definitely what I need for my size.
Lisa: How many hours a day do you work out?
Kenta: Let’s see, on a good week, I go six days a week between an hour to an hour and a half – that’s my personal workout, not factoring in any classes I teach, or clients I’m training, or just any other general activity. My actual workouts themselves are an hour to an hour and a half. And then, sometimes I like to throw in a class, so maybe I’ll get an extra hour to an hour and a half of Yoga in there, kickboxing, stuff like that.
Lisa: And what’s your backstory? How did you get into fitness?
Kenta: Oh, wow, I’ve been into fitness since I was a kid. I got into Yoga when I was nine-years-old. My sister was doing Yoga, and I decided it looked really cool, and I just started practicing it with her. Not thinking about it, I started going to studios, practicing at studios, and – actually, one of my friends was teaching at a studio when I was about 16-years-old. She went on vacation last minute and was like, “I can’t go. Kenta, can you sub for me?” And I was like, “Well, I’m only 16, but okay.” I ended up subbing a Yoga class at 16, and I got really into it. I made it my senior project in high school -- was Yoga.
I started teaching it right out of high school, and from there, when you start doing Yoga classes, people start asking for private sessions. I started doing private Yoga sessions. I slowly started adding in dumbbells and balls, and before you knew it, I got certified as a personal trainer as well. I started doing personal training, and I was introduced to Jillian Michaels from the Biggest Loser, at the time. I was featured in some of her DVDs. She and I just hit it off really well. I’m still working with her to this day. It’s been over five years. I’ve been on so many of her DVDs, and I’ve been in a total of over a hundred different DVDs from different companies. I’ve been in a bunch of magazines, TV shows, so it’s been an awesome experience. It really has, and it’s still going.
Lisa: It sounds like it. What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given in terms of health and fitness?
Kenta: Oh, wow. Enjoy the journey, not just end result. There’s always ups and downs, and if you’re waiting for that end goal, you’re never going to be happy because it’s going to take – it’s always a journey. You may think you have it, but then something always inevitably comes up, and you may slip a little bit. You can’t let that bring you down. Still, remember that the entire journey of fitness is a process. It takes time, and you’re going to have ups and downs, and it’s going to be totally fine. Again, that’s why I’m all about just loving yourself because if you don’t then it’s just always going to be – it can be a really bad feeling. You don’t want fitness to be a bad thing in your life. Enjoy it and embrace it, and understand that there’s going to be ups and downs.
Lisa: If you’re looking for expert health and fitness tips you can trust, plus inspirational stories of mental and physical transformation, “What’s Good” is your new favorite spot online. On the road to becoming your best self, swing by WhatsGoodByVi.com for some helpful pointers. Okay, let’s get to our next question. What would you tell your younger self when you were first getting into fitness? I have a feeling it might be what you just talked about, but I don’t want to be presumptuous – about enjoying the journey, and not being too hard on yourself.
Kenta: Yeah, that really would be what I would say, is honestly just enjoy the journey and don’t be constantly just focusing on the end result. Again, enjoy every day, every day at the gym, every rep you’re doing. Enjoy the process.
Lisa: What was a turning point to take you to the next level? You had taught Yoga, you became a trainer, but then was it meeting Jillian or was it there was something in yourself? What brought you to that level?
Kenta: When I had heard from Jillian, and I had her people reach out to me asking me to be on her DVD, I was shocked at first because I always assumed fitness models are these shredded, ripped, perfect bodies. At the time, that’s just not where I thought I was. And then afterward, when I got in the industry, and I started to meet more people and understand how the industry works, I was like, “Actually, I’m not that bad” [LAUGHTER]. My body’s actually a lot better than I thought it was. I’m able to maintain it a lot more than I thought.
It’s more than just the physicality of it. It’s also how you are as a person and what you’re capable of doing -- and your form, your creativity – there’s so many other qualities to it, so I think it was just understanding that I’m more than my body and I have other qualities to bring to the table. When I embrace that, that’s when I really was able to go a little bit further with my career because I had more confidence in myself. Again, it comes right back to loving yourself. That’s when I really started to understand --
Lisa: I really like that.
Kenta: Yeah, that’s when I really started to understand what I was capable of doing and how far I could go.
Lisa: All right, Kenta, what’s in your gym bag?
Kenta: I always have my water. I always have that big – I have a Swell Bottle as in my big bottle of water in there. I always have a towel. I always have gliders just in case I want to do something different with my workout. They’re the easiest little things to throw in there to maybe slip into your workout. I have a jump rope –
Lisa: What is that – for people who aren’t familiar, what’s a glider?
Kenta: Gliders are just like little disks that you can slide around on the floor with.
Lisa: Oh, cool.
Kenta: You can use them on carpet or hardwood floors, and you can do anything from lunges to abs to squats -- any type of total body weight exercise on them. They’re a lot of fun. If you don’t have just the gliding disks themselves, you can use a paper plate on a carpet, or a towel on the floor just to slide around. It adds a different level of resistance, and it changes up your workout. I always have gliders. I always have a jump rope. It depends on where I’m going, but I always have bars. Oh, my gosh, yeah, of course. And I always need food, because you never know when you’re going just to need to throw something in your body. Every two to three hours I try to have something, so I always have something to eat.
Lisa: What are your favorite bars?
Kenta: I need – I like things that are organic or as healthy as possible, so just as pure ingredients as possible. I always look on the back and the less ingredients, the better because that way it’s much less processed. You can trust the ingredients. Generally, anything with nuts. I love a lot of nuts in them because it’s a higher protein count for me. Yeah, any type of bar, really. If I can, I like to get my hands on a really heavy calorie bar, too. If I can find one that’s 300 calories or more, I’ll take it. That’s for my goal [LAUGHTER].
Lisa: Oh, that’s a – yes.
Kenta: Definitely for my clients and other people I always recommend 150 or less in their bars. Always, a general rule of thumb, the less ingredients, the better and the more organic, the better.
Lisa: Yeah, I agree. If you could share just one more thing with the audience, what would it be?
Kenta: Take time sometimes, and just breathe. Slow down. Don’t be in such a rush. If you can, download a meditation app, or just take some time to just – whenever you can, sit down, close your eyes, breathe in and out through your nose. Calm yourself so that you can jump back into life with more zest and excitement and don’t be taking things too seriously. That applies to everything, especially in fitness and self-love.
Lisa: Oh, that’s fantastic. This has been so much fun. I love having you on. We’ve spoken before. Kenta, you’re such a good role model. Actually, I’m going to ask you one more question. What is your primary motivation?
Kenta: As a trainer or for myself?
Lisa: Yeah, for staying in shape and as a trainer – both.
Kenta: Well, as a trainer, my primary form of motivation is to pass on anything positive to other people. Whatever I’ve learned as a trainer – and there’s a lot of things – I try to get the most positive things that can help make the process easier and better for other people and just push that on to them. At least that way, I can help make the world a better place. I genuinely do mean that. I’ve seen how great fitness can be when it’s used right and when it’s done healthily. If I can help other people with that, I am all for it, so that’s in that sense.
And then, for myself, my primary motivation again, is just to be happy with myself as well. Again, it’s always a journey. There’s always different things to learn and different things to do and the more experience I get, the better I can be for myself so that I can be better for others.
Lisa: That’s awesome, Kenta. Tell us all the ways we can find you on social media.
Kenta: My biggest following is on Instagram. You can find me at Kenta Seki. You can find me on Facebook or Twitter, or my website, KentaSeki.com. If you want to work out with me, you can follow me on Fit Fusion. Fit Fusion is an app by Jillian Michaels. It’s on AppleTV. It’s also on Amazon, and it’s partnered with AT&T U-Verse and a bunch of other major companies. I have two workouts on there that you can follow along with me. That’s FitFusion.com.
Lisa: Oh, okay. I have got to check that out for sure. And I have Tweeted many of your little videos, and it’s really, really great. You do some really, really cool stuff with those weights and body weight exercises – all kinds of fun stuff to see. I want to thank everyone for listening to Talk Fitness Today. I’m having a blast. I hope you are too. Take what you learned, put it into action. Check us out on Twitter at TalkHealthy2Day. Thanks, so much, and stay well.
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