- Getting good results from a workout is about being consistent and sustainable, said Winston Duke’s personal trainer.
- A combination of cardio and strength training is ideal, even if it’s just walking and bodyweight exercise.
- Be skeptical of fad diets or expensive products, and find what you enjoy the most instead.
If you’re trying to get fit for the New Year, forget the trendy Instagram routine and focus on sustainable tips you can stick to year-round, according to Winston Duke’s personal trainer.
Consistency is the key to good results, said Percell Dugger, NYC-based strength and running coach who has worked with the “Wakanda Forever” star.
Dugger’s work focuses on making fitness more accessible — he launched the wellness creative agency, Fit For Us, working with Black wellness professionals to address health disparities and efforts to improve health accesss, including community workshops as well as partnerships with national brands like KIND Snacks and classpass.
“I think it’s really important to name that the wellness and fitness industry hasn’t been equitable nor has it been designed to support the health of black and brown folks,” Dugger said.
He said working with Duke was important because the actor, as a Black man with a larger stature, represents a powerful representation of people who aren’t often celebrated as more stereotypical depictions of superheroes or leading roles.
“My role as a coach is to make everyone feel seen, specifically the folks who are made to feel invisible, who don’t often feel seen when they see characters on screen,” Dugger said. “He’s a great reflection of that and the beauty of it is he’s doing it without necessarily trying to do it.”
He said working with Duke didn’t involve any unusual exercises or techniques, but basic fitness foundations, like coordinated effort and strength training. That’s an approach he recommends for anyone, rather than trying to copy the exact moves that helped build M’Baku, the character Duke portrayals, or workouts from any other superhero or influencer.
“Attempting to train like a celebrity is a great way to be disappointed,” he said. “If I’m so sore and beat up the next day I can’t get up and go to the gym again, was it really worth it?”
Plenty of fitness products and services are more interested in taking your money than helping you get lasting results, Dugger said.
While social media doesn’t always tell the whole story, one red flag is if an influencer or service shows a ripped trainer or flashy routine, but doesn’t actually let you see the coaching in action.
“Do you actually see them in the gym with someone training people, correcting the technique and helping them move well?” Dugger said.
It’s also worth reaching out to potential coaches to see if they’re responsive, supportive, and otherwise feel like a good fit for your goals, he said.
A simple way to start improving your fitness is to think about how often you’re active in a typical day.
“Step one is a check in, asking yourself, how frequently am I moving around, and when I move around, how am I feeling afterward?” Dugger said.
To add more movement to your routine, walking is a great, accessible place for many people to start, according to Dugger.
“I love for people to get out there and get some miles in or even half a mile,” he said. Anything that gets people moving around and strengthening the heart is great.
Aerobic exercise like walking and running is linked to evidence-based benefits like lower risk of disease, more energy, and better mood. Even just adding 2,000 steps a day can help, research suggests.
Add some strength training, even if you don’t lift weights
For even more benefits for your mental and physical health, consider incorporating resistance training exercise, whether it’s learning to lift weights or trying a bodyweight workout.
“Strength is probably the most undervalued element of long-term sustainable health,” Dugger said. “I would definitely establish a relationship with strength training but it doesn’t have barbells, kettlebells and dumbbells.”
Exercises you can do with minimal equipment include squats, lunges, wall sits, and push-ups. More challenging body weight exercises like pull-ups can even be scaled for beginners.
Regardless of the specific exercises you do, consistency is key, so explore movement that you like enough to continue long-term, according to Dugger.
“Whatever you enjoy doing, do that and do it often,” he said. “The most revolutionary thing you can do for yourself is to prioritize your relationship with movement through whatever means bring you the most joy.”