One of the most frequent fliers in the world shows how he lost more than 30 pounds at home.
Discovery Channel host Josh Gates has lost more than 30 pounds while adjusting to life outside of it … (+)
Josh Gates has climbed the most remote mountains on the planet, hiked through the thickest jungles and ventured into the depths of its darkest caves. Before the pandemic, Gates spent most of his year overseas filming the successful Discovery Channel series "Expedition Unknown". It was a lifestyle that made the 43-year-old adventurer an expert when it came to sleeping on airport floors and eating meals – any type of meal – on the go.
The result was a lack of regular exercise and a healthy diet, which Gates said made it difficult to lead a healthy lifestyle. Recently, the adventurer of everyone changed his routine and lost more than 30 pounds since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic while accidentally documenting the results on screen. I reached out to Gates this week to see how one of the top aviators in the world rates fitness in the field.
Joe Sills: What is your typical itinerary?
Josh Gates: Before the pandemic, it was overseas more than 200 days a year. We have a really aggressive itinerary on Expedition Unknown. We spend a lot of time out of the country, spending most of the time either preparing for the next expedition or writing, editing and preparing shows. It really is a year-round lifestyle.
Joe Sills: It sounds more like a lifestyle than a job.
Josh Gates: Yeah. It is. When you're out and about, all you do is wait for the show. We're usually not really into tourist destinations. We're out there in the middle of the jungle, somewhere in the desert or at an archaeological site. Everything you do is about telling the story of a legend, mystery, or artifact that we will study this week.
Joe Sills: When did you make the conscious decision to lose weight while you were at home?
Josh Gates: I think everyone during the pandemic has taken one of two paths: Either you weren't looking at your fitness at all, and you're home stuffing your face. Or, like many people, you have become goal-oriented because you can focus on different things.
I sat at home for a couple of weeks and didn't do a lot, and it kind of hit me … I have this time and it's important to use that time. There is so much about this current situation that is tragic, but it is also a real shock to most of us from the routine we find ourselves in. For me, the pandemic was an opportunity to develop a new routine.
Joe Sills: Describe your journey with weight.
Josh Gates: I'm kind of a lifelong guy who is losing weight and gaining weight. I'm a big guy. I've always been a great guy. I go through periods where I'm really disciplined and losing weight. Then I go through phases in which I am very stressed and am stuck in a processing bay all day or cannot find healthy food or eat chips somewhere on the side of the road on the other side of the world.
It really comes down to walking up and down like most people.
Joe Sills: How easy is it to just order takeaway when you are in the processing bay?
Josh Gates: I think this is where most of us get into trouble – with packaged, processed foods. A lot of our weight battles in general have to do with it. Sometimes the simplest food you can get your hands on is the worst for you. It is the richest in saturated fat. It is the highest calorie and truly the least nutritious product.
There's a reason fast food is popular: it's cheap and easy to get.
I have a pointless diet and a conscious diet. My pointless diet is pizza and carbohydrates. I love carbohydrates. I could go forever without eating ice cream and sweets, but pizza and bread are my weak points. I have to moderate that. If you're looking to lose weight, limiting your carbohydrate intake and consuming plenty of fresh vegetables while being aware of your sugar intake will work.
Joe Sills: Have you ever felt constrained in the field from riding that roller coaster and maybe weighing a little more than you wanted to then?
Josh Gates: Yeah I guess and age. Adventures around the world are a game for young men. I'm not in my 20s anymore. But a lot of it isn't so much that I'm out of breath. I still have pretty good stamina actually. I can hike up a mountain and carry a heavy backpack for a long time. It's my knees that aren't as strong as they used to be and my flexibility. It's my core strength.
If you haven't exercised in a while, the first week or two can be miserable. But once you start doing activity again, it's amazing how incredibly quickly you can regain much of that muscle memory and strength.
Joe Sills: Tell me about your exercise routine. What are you doing now to stay fit?
Josh Gates: I think a lot of people are intimidated when they figure out their perfect workout routine. For me it's a much simpler philosophy. It's about moving. It's about being active. I am not trying to get in a certain shape or to train for a certain thing. I'm at my best when I'm active every day and take time every day to jog or go hiking or walking. Even a simple 30 minute walk can do wonders for your day. My routine is a combination of what I eat and what I eat.
I strongly believe in calorie tracking. It's not for everyone – because it takes a lot of attention – but it works for many of us who eat mindlessly. I'm kind of a stress eater, and a fitness tracking app can do wonders for that. It is so educational to see what you think you are eating in a day versus what you actually eat in a day.
Many of the things we eat pointlessly, like a bag of fries or a snack, are not even a satisfying experience. You're just a quick carbohydrate load or sugar burst. For me, it's about being mindful. I have a great relationship with my Apple Watch and calorie tracking app. I use it every day and just let it keep me honest.
Gates turned his office space into a home set for his talk show "Josh Gates Tonight".
Joe Sills: Your new show "Josh Gates Tonight" started right when the pandemic broke out and it's interesting to see your weight loss journey play out on screen every week. How did this show come about?
Josh Gates: It was something of a strange miracle. We were well positioned to film something when the pandemic hit because we do a lot of after shows for “Expedition Unknown” that are already in the wheelhouse of a talk show. We also had lights and cameras lying around, and because I'm already very involved with the show, I have a way to set the stuff up.
We quickly tossed Josh Gates Tonight together into a guest room in my house that had bookcases that looked kind of adventurous and contained some of my artifacts. Then we started talking to people about Zoom. At the time, we didn't know how to translate this on screen, but it has become the norm.
It was a fascinating adventure for me. It's a different muscle to bend over and I have so much fun talking to celebrities and really interesting people while giving people a break every week to have fun.
Joe Sills: As someone whose career is based on the screen, people can assume that you are always comfortable in your own skin. Do you ever find yourself looking back at old footage and not loving the way you look?
Josh Gates: . I guess you can't get too involved or you're chasing the wrong thing. I've just always been a great guy. I've never been an avid adventure guy. But the thing about me is that I am authentically that guy. I travel around the world. I climb mountains. I go to really distant, exotic and far away places. I know that I am going the way. I am that guy.
I have never felt pressured by any network I ever worked for or anyone to change my appearance.
I think we all would love to snap our fingers and be Chris Pratt, but in the real world, as long as I am able to get out and move, have adventures and go to all the places that the show takes us to I feel great doing it.
Making "expedition unknown" is such a challenge. Just to gain access to the places where we examine these stories is it challenging to follow them to the places where these stories take us around the world. This is where my focus really is and I try to be as healthy as possible.
Joe Sills: I think you are a "normal" guy and you inspire other "normal" guys who want to do great things.
Josh Gates: I think that's a big part of the show's appeal. When people see Expedition Unknown, I want to give them the impression that they are on their way. To take someone on a trip and take them around the world, you have to be authentic. What we're not trying to do is come up with this overly heroic version of things.
We go, we have these adventures; But we also want to show all the flat tires and the bad food and the things that go wrong. Part of the show's mission is to keep it real in that sense.
Joe Sills: Will Josh Gates Tonight continue until you can do Expedition Unknown again?
Josh Gates: Like all things right now, it's a bit of a mystery. The show was very well received. The rating is really good so I think we are all very happy to keep doing it for now.
We have great conversations with great guests every week. We had famous athletes like Shaq. We had famous actors, archaeologists and explorers. Neil deGrasse Tyson is coming soon. It's a great way to see the world and have a cocktail with interesting people every week.
Still, I look forward to traveling. This is my thing. It was extremely strange for me not to get on a plane. That was my life. I lived with airlines and on airport floors. My whole life has been based on the strange airport ecosystem. It was a huge adjustment for me. I miss this world. It's what I love to do, so I hope to see the world again soon, but I'm also really happy that the fans love Josh Gates Tonight.
Gates seen here on the Mayan ruins of Belize have built a life around flights and quick chase … (+)
Joe Sills: As the new talk show host, is there a guest that you would find intimidating for an interview? Tell me, David Letterman?
Josh Gates: I would be scared to speak to David Letterman. Scared.
There are definitely guests that I sat down and zoomed on for and I was nervous with sweaty palms. But the longer I do the show, the more I can sit down and find that all people are going through the same thing as the rest of us. All the glitz and glamor of the red carpet that they're usually framed in has been removed. They just hang out. Your kids are in the background and they are just down to earth, interesting people with amazing life stories who want to be entertained.
Joe Sills: Can you give readers a detailed artifact that they can spot in the background of your set? Something that has a cool story behind it?
Josh Gates: I have to tell you that my office on the show is actually my office. It's not a fake sentence. It really is the room that I work in. We redesigned it a bit during the pandemic. It has a lot more detail behind me because we took a lot of my items out of storage and put the back of the room on nicely. But almost everything behind me is real.
There are masks from countries I've been to. There is an architectural piece from a beautiful traditional Indonesian house that was given to me. I've collected a couple of spears. We did an episode about Nefertiti and behind me is a 3D print of her face. I have a lot of Easter eggs hidden on the set that I would like to see if people can see or call. So if you are an eagle-eyed viewer, this is what you can spot.
"Josh Gates Tonight" airs weekly Wednesdays at 9:00 am on the Discovery Channel and can be streamed at any time via the Discovery Channel app. Follow Josh Gates on Twitter (@joshuagates) and Instagram (@gatesygram) to follow his weight loss journey and interact with him on the show.