With the right plan and the right discipline, you can get seriously shredded in just 28 days.Read article
If, like millions of fans across the world, you’ve followed the career of the brilliant and brutally honest comedian, Tom Segura, you’ll know that while he’s in the best shape of his career right now, this Cincinnati-born stand-up star was once 50-plus pounds heavier and even made a regular joke about how he would get winded on stage.
With his time eaten up by writing, recording podcast content with his wife Christina P, and of course traveling from city to city to raise laughter in sold out venues from Birmingham, AL, through to Birmingham, England, Segura became a casualty of an all-too-common sedentary lifestyle before he finally decided to make a brave change.
In an exclusive conversation with M&F, the star, who’s latest Netflix special; “Sledgehammer” drops July 4, discusses his victorious battle with the bulge.
It’s ironic that Segura’s 2014 Netflix special was titled “Completely Normal” because during the show (filmed one year before its release), the comedian explained that his life was actually in turmoil. Having visited a doctor, the star was told that tests revealed a catalogue of concerning health matters. Not only was he overweight, but blood work showed that his muscle enzymes were “through the roof.” Being overweight or obese alters our muscle metabolism, leading to an increase of creatine kinase (also known as CK), often indicating muscle breakdown or stress.
A sedentary lifestyle such as that of Segura’s is one of the key driving factors for getting into this state and he reflects honestly in regards to where he was at, 10 years ago. “I was 255 pounds. In the special, I say I was 245 pounds, but I’m lying,” he admits. “I was 255 pounds.” Segura had gradually allowed bad lifestyle habits to creep up on him, and was trying to convince himself that he’d accepted his level of physical health as “OK,” but deep down he knew that he was anything but “Completely Normal.”
“The truth is, I don’t think I was actually very cool with it, but I was just kind of going along with it,” he says of his spiraling weight and subsequent health issues. “I was 34 when that was happening. It’s not a good thing, and I was completely sedentary at that time.” Fortunately, Segura began to change things up. He began working out, and those that go back and watch his 2016 special; “Mostly Stories” will notice that Segura started to appear fitter. His shoulders looked broader, but it was 2018’s “Disgraceful” show that really had people sitting up and taking notice. On stage, he revealed that he had lost 50 pounds, and was visibly brighter and more athletic.
“Everybody has their own number that’s permissible, where like (after that) their alarms go off,” says Segura of how the weighing scales can kickstart our motivation to change. While he’d been training hard, the star’s relationship with food still needed fixing, admitting that he was attacking his workouts like an “NFL linebacker” and telling himself that he could eat whatever he wanted as a reward. As Segura’s weight continued to increase, the 6’ tall comedian could no longer hide his bulging figure and finally realized; “Oh s**t, like this is out of hand!”
“The thing that I’ve learned, is that there is no end number, and that’s what took me a long time to figure out,” says Segura, displaying a maturity towards his current attitude to staying in shape. “Even now, I’m in the 200-pound range. Like, I kind of fluctuate, I would say between 198 and 205. You don’t get to a number and go: ‘we’re done’ … it’s a constant thing. As cliched as it sounds, it literally is a lifestyle.”
Segura was in college when he first had issues with his weight and self-esteem, and learned that drastic changes would bring him the results that he required, but he couldn’t maintain the weight-loss because he was restricting himself in a way that was unsustainable, leading to the weight creeping back on again. As his journey progressed, Segura also dipped into a low carb, high fat, ketogenic diet, and once again found that this reduced his body fat, but while he says it worked for him on a short-term basis, as an individual he feels like he lost out on variety with this method.
So, through his own personal trial and error, Segura has gradually come to understand that getting into shape is all about making a lifestyle change that is long-term and sustainable, and for him this means being able to enjoy treats when he wants to, while making sensible decisions the rest of the time.
One of the biggest obstacles to Segura’s weight-loss is his hectic schedule. Often performing two shows in a single day, Segura would find he and his crew were eating junk food late at night. But these days, the comedian says that when they have two shows, they’ll try and eat between shows now rather than gorge into the small hours. “It’s a very far departure from the way we used to do it,” he shares, explaining that banquets and celebratory nights are not completely off the table, but are enjoyed much more sparingly.
The star also understands that impulsive choices may seem insignificant at the time but can totally derail people’s progress, such as those sugar laden “super” coffees. “Their like, ‘man I love this chocolate swirled thing with, like, caramel’, and.. I don’t know… an elf sh*t in it or something. It’s just like, it’s so crazy what’s in it and they’re like ‘yeah that’s how I get my day started,’ and you’re like ‘holy sh*t, man, it’s like you ate a whole cake!”
Indeed, many of Starbuck’s sweetest coffee’s contain between 50 to 80 grams of sugar while the American Heart Association recommends that men shouldn’t consume more than 36 grams of sugar, 25 grams for women, in a single day. The good news for those who are looking to change up their nutrition is that, as Segura found out, eating healthy on a consistent basis chips away at the desire to eat all of the bad stuff. The comedian says that he starts his own days with yogurt (great for gut health, and calcium) and blueberries (an awesome source of vitamins and antioxidants) rather than “super coffees”. He’s also increased his water intake and enjoys oatmeal flavored with a scoop of protein shake powder. “Now you’ve got an extra 25 grams of protein in your oatmeal,” he says. “I don’t want a sugar bomb now.”
These healthy foods are easy to prepare on the go, even while on Segura’s tour bus and the stand-up guy says that he eats communally with his team and crew, with chicken breast and salmon ranked among their most consumed foods while travelling. One way that is known to increase our ability to stay on track with fitness is to make it a social affair. Fortunately, Tom Segura is in good company here because his personal trainer Shaun Nix is also his tour photographer.
Here is Segura’s training split while on tour. (Depending on the type of gym that is available to him in each city, he may swap the sessions around to fit)
Monday: Chest and back.
Tuesday: 45 – 60 min exercise bike for cardio.
Wednesday: Heavy day – legs, back, and arms, with lifts such as squats and deadlifts.
Thursday: 45 – 60 min jog or exercise bike for cardio.
Friday: Arms, core, and mobility work.
Saturday: Light cardio session.
When at home, Segura also has his own gym setup, complete with a Peloton bike, dumbbells, kettlebells, and a wall mounted Tonal resistance machine. In chatting with the storyteller, it becomes clear that he’s serious about getting his sweat on. “I love it,” Segura enthuses.
Tom Segura has come to realize that mentality is everything when it comes to getting into great shape. The star says that deciding to put fitness plans on the back burner, to a more convenient time, is a mistake because there’s never an ideal time. He also says that he’s noticed how people might blame an old sporting injury for failing to work out at all. And, just as he was experiencing during “The Completely Normal” phase of his life, Segura understands that people suffer with a lot of self-denial about their physical state. “And you realize that most of this is about you going: ‘I am not allowing the excuses to affect this. I’m just going to do it,’” he says encouragingly.
A quick check of Segura’s Instagram account shows that keeping fit and active has become a way of life for our man. Whether he’s mixing it up in Ireland with strongman Pa O’Dwyer or plunging himself into ice cold baths, the comedian is adding years to his career by taking greater care of his mind, body, and soul. And, with his stand-up and podcasting performance level on fire right now, Segura is really at the top of his game. Look out for “Sledgehammer,” his latest Netflix special, streaming from July 4.
“The other thing I would tell people, who are getting into (fitness) is that sometimes you feel that if you are not an expert, like, you shouldn’t talk about it a lot, but I would say the opposite,” concludes the no-nonsense performer. “I would say, if you’re getting into fitness, and diet and stuff, talk about it all the time. Talk about it to everybody!”