Mark Lawson, formerly General Hospital’s Dustin Phillips, stays in great shape, not just to play fit characters on TV and in movies. The actor says that exercising has a variety of benefits for his personal and professional life.
Mark Lawson discusses his fitness regimen
In the latest issue of Soap Hub’s Wellness Wednesday, we talked to the fan favorite about physical and mental wellbeing.
Soap Hub: What’s your favorite fitness activity?
Mark Lawson: I am quite a devout kettlebell practitioner. I have been studying the kettlebell since 2005 and have achieved a remarkable rank as a certification in this community. I get full-body training 3 to 4 days a week with the resistance with the “bell”. And I use my peloton or rowing machine to do cardio workouts twice a week.
You’ve been training at home for years – something people are doing more and more now.
Yes sir. Friends have called me the “nostrodamus of home fitness” because I’ve been training at home for eight years. It takes some learning and a small investment, but the rewards you deserve will pay off for the rest of your life. Even with just one kettlebell at home, you can get stronger, get more agile, get better grip strength, and perform better movements.
What is the connection between a healthy body and a healthy mind?
I recently told a friend of mine that I know it might look like I’m just lifting weights because I sometimes have to take my shirt off for my job, but it’s also my therapy and it’s for stress management. That is supported by science. The more I practice coping with the stresses of life [the less I have]. It’s so intertwined – mental health and physical wellbeing. It’s great to be someone who loves cardio. However, I never foresee an emergency in which I will have to walk for two hours at a time. It is much more likely that I will have to pick up one of my children and take them somewhere to safety. Preparing for worst-case scenarios enables me to prepare for the “more moderate bad-case scenarios” with greater concentration, grace and clarity.
What do you think of “Cheat Days”?
It is beyond the scope of any professional training I’ve been doing since 2004 to discuss overeating. That is, I consider it more of a “cheat meal”. (laughs) I indulge myself during the week that I wouldn’t report to my nutritionist – if I had one! I eat pretty well 80% of the time and I indulge myself 20% of the time. Personally, I don’t believe in excluding any of the food groups or any of the macronutrients … or completely eliminating carbohydrates. Eat in moderation.
What advice would you give to someone looking to start using kettlebells?
Start with a moderately weighted kettlebell. Learn how to do the basics: squats, presses, rows, hinge – this is the swing or deadlift of the kettlebell. Start with the deadlift. Also try weighted carries. There you grab the bell by the “horns”, hold it to your chest and go for a walk. This is great for cardio, grip strengthening, and core training. One of my mantras is to train like you have to carry a baby to an emergency room. I get ridiculed for the hype, but I think this is how you can get someone to get involved in a way that has depth and meaning and encourages people to come back for more.
People want instant results. How important is it to give him time before you see profits?
It’s okay if you don’t see immediate results. You want to be aware of the little things that you notice that aren’t as sexy as looking great without a shirt or abs. Ask yourself, ‘Do you feel happier and healthier?’ and ‘Do you feel physically connected?’ As you exercise, you can become more aware of your breathing and notice how it may improve. Another big problem people face is that they are obsessed with the scale. You can blow your butt and the scales may not move, but what has changed is your body fat percentage and muscles. You can be exactly the same weight on the scales, but you can also look in the mirror and be happier. You cannot be committed to the scale.
You can check out Lawson’s kettlebell workouts on the following Instagram posts and follow him @themarklawson. As always, consult your doctor before embarking on a new fitness or diet program.
Lawson’s current project is a role on the Aftershock podcast, which is available on iTunes. The show is a fast-paced thriller about a massive earthquake devastating the west coast and lifting a mysterious island out of the Pacific. Aftershock stars Sarah Wayne Callies (The Walking Dead; Prison Break), who is also the series director, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan (The Walking Dead; Grey’s Anatomy). General Hospital (GH) airs on ABC weekdays. Check your local listings for airtime. To find out more about what’s up in Port Charles, check out the latest news on GH spoilers.