Derek Pratt & Cassie Costa Don’t Believe in Summer Bodies – Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Either 

The athletes and founders of DC Fit aren’t spending their spring slimming down for summer, but doing this instead.

Staff Writer
Staff Writer
 min read
March 15, 2024

For many of us, spring is the season we start thinking about our “summer bodies.” We’re flooded with content surrounding summer slim-downs; we’re bombarded with products claiming to get you “bikini-body ready;” and we’re made to feel that enjoying our soon-to-be summer is contingent upon having a body that looks a certain way. 

If you feel like that’s kind of a messed up way to approach healthy living, we’re right there with you. And so are athletes Derek Pratt and Cassie Costa

“Fitness is both of our lives. We’re very passionate about feeling good and pushing our bodies to the max,” says Pratt, explaining that for him and girlfriend Costa, looking good and feeling healthy isn’t seasonal, but a year-round pursuit.

“My fitness is my show of self-respect and my dedication to myself as an individual,” Pratt continues. “The first thing I do every day when I wake up is go to the gym and do cardio. It’s a mindless thought; it’s instilled in my day-to-day life and for me, it’s just about building up those habits.” 

Pratt explains that to truly live a healthy lifestyle, it comes down to finding ways to include fitness throughout daily life instead of focusing on quick fixes like crash diets with a short timeline in mind. “Look at things like working out and eating clean as tools to grow and develop rather than just thinking ‘I need to work out to be in good shape, and I need to eat clean to get a six-pack’ just because it’s spring and summer around the corner.” 

Not only is this a much healthier approach to fitness, but it’s also more sustainable and allows you to create habits that’ll continue well past June, July, and August. After all, if you’re going to do all that work to get shredded, would you just want to abandon ship once fall rolls around? We didn’t think so. 

With that said, if you’re looking for a few ways to live healthier, amp up your workouts as summer approaches, and continue to maintain your fitness year-round, Pratt and Costa have a few recommendations.

Find Your Why 

To truly embrace living a healthy lifestyle (and avoid falling for the quick fixes), Pratt recommends “finding reasons why you want to look and feel better, and how those things can help benefit your day-to-day life – and not just physically. It’s more about feeling good and when you’re feeling good, everything else kind of goes along with that. I feel like when I’m internally feeling great, externally I’m doing better and I feel better. I’m happier, and people can tell that.” 

From feeling better internally to being a better person externally, there are endless reasons to prioritize fitness year-round, not just for a few weeks in the spring or summer. 

Create a Routine That Works for You 

While Pratt and Costa are full-time athletes, they realize prioritizing fitness can’t be an all-day event for most people. 

“The average person doesn’t do this for a living, so they’re not able to be at the gym the way we can at any point of the day,” Pratt acknowledges but says this doesn’t mean you can’t “start slow and just pick something you want to start with. For instance, set yourself up with a morning routine or even a night routine where you just say a few things that you want to do for the next day. As long as you get those one or two things done, you feel like you’ve been productive.”

Image courtesy of Derek Pratt & Cassie Costa

The co-founder of DC Fit says that he “thinks a lot of people look ahead and they want to do all these different things – eat healthy, get more energy, have better sleep – they need all these different things. I could be the same way, too; I want to buy all these different things just so I could be completely healthier, but I think what’s important is not to stress yourself out with those dynamics of being healthy, and just start with something small, like a morning routine.” 

Costa adds that health looks different for everyone, and while one routine might work well for one person, it might not work for another. “He [Pratt] goes to the gym first thing in the morning. I prefer getting up, having a slow morning, having my breakfast, and then going to the gym.” 

She continues, suggesting that whatever routine you choose, it’s important to “pick something that you actually enjoy. Is it swimming, or is it Pilates? Whatever it is that you actually enjoy that’s movement, do that.” 

Now creating a routine that works for you doesn’t mean you can’t jump on board with pre-made training programs. It just means that it’s important to find a program, trainer, or type of exercise that fits your lifestyle and schedule. That 75 Hard that your friend is doing? It might not work for you. The keto diet that helped your brother lose 25 pounds? Well, that doesn’t mean you’ll find it enjoyable, sustainable, or practical. 

Bottom line: don’t pick something you’ll have to drag yourself through for a few weeks until you hit your goal. Instead, focus on starting small and finding something you genuinely enjoy. As Pratt and Costa stress, living healthy should be enjoyable, not a chore. 

Hold Yourself Accountable 

While giving yourself six weeks to sculpt a six-pack is incredibly unrealistic, having checklists and goals to keep yourself accountable is still going to help you out along the way. 

Pratt says that combining “baby steps, starting slow, and having those reachable goals” will be key in helping you accomplish your goals, whether it’s spring, summer, or fall. Not only will these three steps help you reach your initial goal, but they’ll also help you strive for more once you hit the finish line. 

“You might not be paying attention during your journey, but as you see those things come to life and grow and develop, it almost motivates you more and more with each checkpoint you hit off,” Pratt says of his own experience.

“Fitness is a very uncomfortable and awkward thing for people, especially when they’re just starting. Don’t feel like you’re going to look dumb or sound dumb asking questions. A lot of people look crazy in the gym, but we’re all on our own journey, and at the end of the day, who cares.” 

In addition to creating realistic goals, Pratt stresses the importance of “being able to look yourself in the mirror, make a promise to yourself, and hold that promise.” Writing your goals down on a piece of paper is a great step, but “you need to be able to have faith in yourself that you’re going to follow through for you,” he says. 

“I think a lot of people don’t necessarily hold promises that they make to themselves, and fitness is one of the more important areas where those promises need to be kept. It’s very easy to fall off, and it’s a lot easier to get out of shape than it is into shape,” the life-long athlete emphasizes. 

If that’s an area you tend to struggle with, Pratt recommends finding friends, family, or gym buddies to help stay accountable together. 

“There are so many places where you could find people to relate to you. For instance, get a group together where you guys can talk about meeting up and trying your journey together, or just being more open at the gym. If you need help, ask someone you see doing something where you’re like, ‘Wow, they’re really good at that.’ I’ve had people approach me and they’re like, ‘Hey, you look like you know what you’re doing. Would you give me a few pointers?’ And that’s completely fine because people love it when you do that. Don’t be afraid to join groups and expand because that’s how you learn. I didn’t get where I am by just being closed off to people. I had to open my mind and kind of learn in that way and make some mistakes. You don’t look stupid. There isn’t a dumb question when you’re learning something, so don’t be afraid about it,” Pratt says. 

“Fitness is a very uncomfortable and awkward thing for people, especially when they’re just starting. Don’t feel like you’re going to look dumb or sound dumb asking questions. A lot of people look crazy in the gym, but we’re all on our own journey, and at the end of the day, who cares.” 

Stay Consistent 

Now that you’ve got the basis for a solid year-round fitness routine, the final step is putting it all together and staying consistent. Most importantly, find a way to work your new routine into your daily life, Pratt stresses. 

“I can’t say it enough: figure out a way to add fitness and healthy eating into your normal routine because it will never be normal if it’s not in your day-to-day life. If you’re just trying to find a quick diet to lose 10 pounds and then you go back to your normal life, that’s the biggest waste of however long it took you to lose those 10 pounds because you’re going to go right back to where it was,” he says. 

“It’s just instilling those healthy habits into your day-to-day lifestyle, but don’t be in a rush. This is our life. We only get one life, and being healthy throughout that life is not a quick fix. You want to be healthy your whole life. Slow baby steps, make it happen in your routine and don’t add uncomfortable, awkward things into your routine that aren’t sustainable for your life. Don’t force it, keep it natural – you want to enjoy your life still every day, so figure out ways to input those healthy habits into your already-great life,” Pratt and Costa conclude. 

Want more from Derek Pratt and Cassie Costa? Follow them at @derektpratt and @ccosta99, or check out their fitness gear here and at Life Time Fitness nationwide coming soon! 

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