How to Start Your Fitness Journey

New York-based David Kirsch has trained superstars like Anne Hathaway, Heidi Klum, Jenifer Lopez and Jimmy Fallon, but despite his now star-studded rolodex, he didn’t always plan to be a trainer. He started out as a lawyer but between the influence of his father, who was an “old school” bodybuilder when Kirsch was growing up and his entry into a natural bodybuilding show as an adult, he decided to pivot and pursue his passion. After the bodybuilding show, “I was hooked,” he recalled. “The science behind physical conditioning, nutrition, and the mind-body connection were of great interest to me. Certifications followed, and I was intrigued and excited to jump in the health and wellness industry.” Six books and thousands of clients later, Kirsch is well-respected in the industry he loves. We caught up with him to chat about summer health and fitness.

You were an early proponent of connecting mind and body for weight loss/health. Tell me a little bit about what that means. How can people put that into practice?
Connecting mind and body - a principle founded in Eastern Philosophy is an integral part of realizing and living your best life. Thinking, eating, moving and living optimally all rely on the importance of mindfulness. A strong mind and body connection will improve focus, productivity, energy, and mental health and wellness. Whether it’s overcoming a health setback, conquering a physical challenge in the gym, or helping you be mindful with your eating habits.

We are coming up on summer. What are your best tips for safely working out outside in the heat?
‘Sun’s out - shedding the layers’. Hydration, sunblock and picking the right time of day to do exercise are the most important elements to consider when training outside. For example, if going out for a run, try to do it early in the day before the sun is at its highest, generally speaking, I would avoid excessive cardio in the middle of the day. Hydrate, hydrate and hydrate, moisture-wicking sport attire, and ample amounts of sunblock applied to your face and skin frequently. Good protective sunglasses and a hat or some other head covering. Nothing beats one of my Booty Butt Camps on the beach, but being sun-safe and proper hydration is key.

Should you be changing your workout up in the summer vs winter? How can you make it fun in these carefree summer months?
I love taking my workouts outside when it warms up. I love getting on my bike for hours, going for an invigorating run with my daughters, swimming, tennis, or anything to be outside, get my heart rate up and get some natural Vitamin D.

Let’s talk nutrition. For someone at the start of this journey, what are some basic things they can put in place right away to start feeling healthy again.
The first thing I say to people getting started or reconnecting with a healthy lifestyle is to review what's in the refrigerator, and what’s in their pantry. When I wrote the “Ultimate New York Body Plan”, I talked about following your ABC’s - which stood for alcohol, bread, and processed carbs. Essentially, reducing those things would help you get on the right track, although as I look back on the stringency of those rules, I still advise people to eliminate ultra-processed foods, minimize the consumption of processed foods, and limit consumption of added sugars. The key to healthy eating is to focus on a balanced approach to eating fruits, vegetables, grains, lots of greens and protein, whether it be plant-based or chicken, turkey, fish, and the occasional red meat. One absolute no – diet soft drinks, artificial sweeteners.

What’s the best fitness advice you’ve ever received? What’s the best fitness advice you give?
There isn’t a one size fits all approach to fitness. We all come to fitness for different reasons, different body types, and different objectives, regardless, be very mindful to ‘listen to your body.’ With a clear mind and body connection, your body will help guide you to optimal health and wellness.

The best fitness advice I’ve ever given, is a mantra that I live by and share with all of my clients and followers: “Greatness is within all of us to achieve. The secret lies in our ability to achieve it.”

You’ve developed a line of supplements. Each body is different. How do you figure out what supplement regiment is best for you?
My supplements line was developed to address deficiencies in our daily nutrition. Busy lifestyle - work, family, responsibility, and life often get in the way of our possibly balancing our daily nutrition. Whether for increased energy, focus, strength, and stamina, proper supplementation can help keep you on top of your game.

You’re a dad to two little girls. Tell me about working out as a family. Any tips for modeling healthy behaviors to kids?
Well, now you’ve got me talking about my favorite subject – my daughters. Being a single dad to 14 year old twins is the ultimate blessing and responsibility! Body image, a healthy attitude about food, and healthy relationship to natural movement and exercise are all essential ingredients in raising healthy, happy, balanced children. Many of the most famous models and actresses in the world over the last three decades, I realized that I’d be ahead of the game if I naturally, 'organically exposed’ my daughters, Emilia and Francesca, to my healthy lifestyle. Daily walks, bike rides, tennis, soccer, softball, swimming, and just running around in the park were constants when they were growing up. The kitchen was never off-limits. We cooked together, we baked healthy treats together, and we indulged in the occasional sweet together. Being a parent, you quickly realize that things and rules are often not just black-and-white. I quickly learned the art of compromise, and the importance of there being a consistent unifying message. Most of all, raising healthy, happy kids, is ensuring them that no matter what, your love and support is unqualified, and there’s nothing they’ll do that will ever change that

For someone just starting a fitness journey, how much should they be moving their body every day? Should they focus on cardio/strength training?
This is a very subjective question and would depend on one’s age and overall physical health and conditioning. I would conservatively say that one could start with light walking outside with proper walking sneakers. I think the combination of cardio and strength training is the way to go. If you’re totally new and starting your fitness journey, you might want to start with some light stretching, gentle yoga.

You’re a prolific author. Do you have any more books coming out anytime soon? What else is next for you?
That’s a great question! I love writing and I feel there may be one or two more books inside my head. What is next for me? Continue to share my passion for health and wellness through different platforms; developing additional supplements that compliment my best-selling ThermoDeluxe; and let’s see where else the universe takes me.

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