Country singers aren’t known for taking their shirts off or displaying their chiseled abs and chest, but when you are named the fittest man in country music by Men’s Health magazine, you know you got the goods to show it off and Kenny Chesney has been doing it for years. In the newest issue of Men’s Health, Kenny talks about his routine to stay fit despite his demanding tour and music schedule.
“You’d be amazed at what you can do in a short amount of time to get a burn in, to feel healthier, to feel like you’re not staying the same. I have to train to do my show the way I want to do it. I’m not one of these guys that just stands there behind the microphone. I work really hard to give the fans the best possible concert.”
While Kenny may be the fittest man in country music, he may also be the shortest standing tall at 5’5″… which is actually the same height as Patrick and I. Kenny was fortunate to give the mag his tips on staying in shape including his full on-the-road workout.
Chesney’s “Goin’ Coastal” tour will take him all over North America this summer—from Philadelphia to Cuyahoga Falls to Indianapolis to Vancouver. But no matter how busy his schedule, Chesney never misses a workout—even if has to make it a quick one. “You’d be amazed at what you can do in a short amount of time to get a burn in, to feel healthier, to feel like you’re not staying the same,” he says.
So what if you just have 10 minutes? Try this pushup drill that Chesney uses when he doesn’t have a minute to spare. “Start with 10 pushups, then rest 10 seconds,” says Meng. “Then do 9 pushups, and rest 9 seconds; do 8 pushups, and rest 8 seconds, and so on, until you work your way down to 1 pushup.” Warning: This isn’t easy, so if needed, start with fewer pushups. Of course, as your fitness improves, you can also do more. “At one point, Kenny got to where he could start this drill at 24 pushups,” says Meng. “Do the math: That’s 300 pushups in 10 minutes.”
“I hate doing legs,” says Chesney. “I’ve always hated it. I dread it. I’ll walk into the gym knowing I’ve got to do them, and I try to get in the right frame of mind. But even after all these years of working out, I still hate it.” Sound familiar? If so, remember this: Syracuse University researchers determined that people burned more calories the day after they did lower-body resistance training than the day after they worked their upper bodies. “Leg muscles—like your quads and glutes—generally have more muscle mass than those of your chest and arms,” says study author Kyle Hackney, Ph.D. (c), C.S.C.S. “Work more muscle during your exercise session, and your body has to expend more energy to repair and upgrade them later.”
If that’s not motivation enough, ask yourself: Have you ever regretted a workout? Chances are, the answer is no. After all, when was the last time you heard someone complaining that they took the time to exercise? Which is why Chesney reminds himself to focus on how much he enjoys leaving the gym after he’s finished a hard workout. “I love the way I feel when I’m done. I know I’ve accomplished something and I’m in a good mood the rest of the day because of it.” And that’s a notion that’s supported by research, too. Georgia State University scientists found that it takes just 12 total sets of weight training—for example, 2 set of 6 exercises, or 3 sets of 4 exercises—to leave you feeling more energetic after a workout.
“I grew up with a family where everything revolved around food. I love to eat,” he says. “But I’m very conscious of what I put in my body now.” Each morning, the singer fuels up for the day with a nutrient-loaded breakfast of scrambled egg whites, grilled chicken, sliced tomatoes, and a whole-wheat bagel. And his favorite healthy snack? Grapes.
But perhaps the most important component of Chesney’s diet is that he leaves room for a bit of indulgence. That’s because he designates Sundays as his cheat day. “I eat whatever I want,” he says. “If I want a chocolate-covered double cheeseburger, I’ll eat it.” The rationale is simple: If you know you always have one day to enjoy any kind of food you want, you’ll be more likely to stick to a healthful diet the rest of the week.
For more of Kenny’s tips and workout regimen, visit MensHealth.com.