Kevin Hart has become a major Hollywood star, and he has the social-media following to prove it. But in addition to the usual stream of photos and videos showing his publicity tours, celebrity pals and personal life, Hart’s legions of followers — 30 million on Twitter and 38 million on Instagram — get regular updates on his gym workouts, most of which leave no doubt that the actor-comedian is in some seriously great shape.
Comedians have long been known to hang out in bars, but Hart appears much more likely to hang from bars, adding degrees of difficulty such as eye-level flutter kicks, clapping pull-ups and using his legs to pass a Swiss ball back and forth with his trainer. But the soon-to-be 37-year-old isn’t just interested in showing off. He’s intent on inspiring as many people as he can to get into better shape.
When told that he had been described by the Los Angeles Times as a “fitness icon,” though, Hart demurred (sort of).
“No, I don’t consider myself as a fitness icon; that’s not what I’m trying to be,” he said by telephone from Los Angeles. “Right now, what I am is someone that motivates. I do consider myself to be a motivator, someone that can inspire and push people to do things they may or may not have seen themselves doing at certain points of their lives. I just take advantage of my platform and try to use it for good. And the best way to use it for good is to be positive and push nothing but positivity out there.”
Hart described himself as “a person that actually practices what he preaches,” and he doesn’t just use social media to reach people. He has partnered with Nike to stage open-invitation 5K runs in cities around the world, and he hosts occasional health festivals, including one in New York coming up July 30, in conjunction with Rally Health, a digital wellness company.
Bear in mind, this is someone who tends to keep quite a bit on his plate. He has had starring roles in two hit films this year with another movie about to land in theaters. Oh, and in April he wrapped up a stand-up comedy tour that had him doing 156 shows in 112 cities, 13 countries and five continents. “I’m in love with the workload,” he said.
That tour ended just in time for him to wing around the world again, doing endless interviews, to push his new movies. So how does someone who has said he travels and works “somewhere north of 12 to 14 hours a day” also find the time to develop a killer core?
“A normal day starts at maybe 5, 5:30,” Hart said. “There’s a gym portion that goes into my day, which is the very start of it. After that, if it’s not doing promotions, nine times out of 10 I’m on set filming. If I’m not on set filming, I’m traveling. If I’m not traveling, I’m in the office, thinking of ways to travel and things to promote. So it’s something that just continues; it’s never stopping.”
A workout is “how I kick off my day,” he added. “I don’t feel right unless I get that in, and if I can’t get to it in the morning, I’ll find time, whether it’s at midday or at night. You know, it just makes me feel like I’m being very productive and staying true to the system that I’ve put in place. I believe in schedules.”
Hart got into fitness about five years ago, when he started to “see people dropping like flies” around him, which led to “a simple math” calculation: “Staying healthy equals a better life span. Being unhealthy increases the chances of a shorter life span. I’m going to go with the healthy side.”
“I think people don’t understand that you really get one life, and when that life is over, it’s over,” he said. “You know, the most freakish ways, the most abrupt ways of passing away are health problems. You look at it and you see heart trouble, you see liver [disease], you see high blood pressure. These are all things that can be prevented. So my thing is, if you can prevent something or do your best to prevent it, why not go 100 percent at doing so?”
Or, to put things more succinctly: “Why help death? That’s my motto.”
Hart is getting some help of his own from a personal trainer, Ron “Boss” Everline, who accompanies him on his travels. Everline normally prefers a no-talking policy with his clients, but, of course, that’s impossible with the highly animated Hart, who shares plenty of clips of himself clowning around in the gym.
As far as advice for those just starting to go to a gym, or even just considering it, Hart thought it boiled down to “moving. Just getting going. Going is the first step.” He added, “Whether you did a little or a lot, the fact that you did it just says a lot for you, and you just make that day your first and not your last.”
“So if you’re just starting out and you want to just simply exercise, then exercise!” Hart said, mentioning that even walking could be an effective starting point. “Get up in the morning and do some jumping jacks, run in place, you know? Do 50 push-ups, do 50 sit-ups, these are all things that are small” — he does between 700 and 1,000 sit-ups a day — “but that put you just in the beginner’s mind set to want more.”
There was one last piece of insight that could be very good news for his fans: “Laughing definitely is an ab workout.” If that’s true, then Hart has been spending far longer than just the past few years helping get people into better shape.
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