Too many hot dogs, hamburgers and potato chips over Labor Day Weekend? Good! We all need to enjoy ourselves once in a while. Get back on track with this simple five day detox, and feel amazing when you’re done. Happy Health!
While all of my clients have different needs and goals, many of them have the common desire to lose weight. Of course any type of exercise is better than being completely sedentary, but some types of exercise are better than others for dropping pounds. For my weight loss clients, this is what I prescribe:
High Intensity Intervals
(sprints, jump squats, jumping lunges, jumping jacks)
High intensity intervals are the best form of cardio to torch calories. I love a good endurance run, but I burn more calories when I run sprints – that is, running as fast as I can for a short period of time, and then walking or resting for a short period of time. If you’re new to exercise, your intense period will be shorter than your rest period, but you can mix it up and play with the intervals as you progress. Start with a ratio of 10 seconds of intense work to 40 seconds of resting (a 1:4 ratio) and work up to a 1:1 ratio (10 seconds of work to 10 seconds of rest,) and then to a 2:1 ratio (20 seconds of work to 10 seconds of rest.) 20-30 minutes of this 3-5 times per week is all you need to start seeing results. In addition to burning more calories as compared to steady-state cardio while you’re working out, you will also continue to burn more calories post-workout. A metabolic bump, what’s better than that?
(crunches, pulses, bicycles, leg lowers, plank, push ups (also count as resistance training,) back crunches, bow pose)
I incorporate core work into all my clients’ routines. You will need a strong core for good posture to support all physical activity. This will also help you to avoid injury, not to mention the flat, sexy abs you’ll acquire. Make sure to incorporate exercises that target your back as well as your abs, you want a strong core, not just a strong belly.
(anything using a barbell, dumbbell, weight machine or body weight to build muscle)
Building muscle is another great way to give yourself a metabolic jump. Muscle burns more calories than fat even when at rest, at a ratio of 2.5 to 1. So in a day, ten pounds of muscle would burn 50 calories, as opposed to ten pounds of fat, which would burn 20. It adds up. Plus a toned body looks great and muscle works to stabilize your joints which will also help you to avoid injury. A trifecta of fitness!
These exercises, used together and performed regularly can turn your body into a fat-burning machine. I continue to have a fast metabolism (despite no longer being a young whippersnapper) because I work out intensely and I have a lot of muscle mass. Make your body work for you. Happy Health!
*Consult your physician before starting any type of exercise plan.
This time of year always reminds me of family camping vacations to Mount Desert Island, Maine. The air is a little crisper, the clouds a little puffier and fall feels moments away. I loved these trips soaking up the last glorious days of summer. If you have never been, this place seems wonderfully enchanted. The mountains are covered in dense, fresh-smelling pine forests, and surrounded by cold Atlantic waters that lend a briny scent to the air. Our camp site was right on the harbor, and overlooking it there was a little rock in the shape of a bench that fit my two sisters and me just perfectly. Sounds ridiculously idyllic. And for one week every year, it was.
The best part of these trips was how active they were. We didn’t lie on a beach all week or roast in the sun while waiting to ride roller coasters and gorging on cotton candy (although there was an ice cream shop called CJ’s Big Dipper that we visited once or twice that I still drool over.) No. We hiked, kayaked, canoed, swam and jumped from rocks into the ocean only to climb back up and jump again.
When I look back on these times, I am grateful for this gift my parents gave my sisters and me. We were taught to be physical, we were taught to move and that these things were entertainment, even on vacation. Especially on vacation. In the face of the obesity crisis in our country, the diabetes and heart disease epidemic, what better thing could you do for your children other than teach them this? Children learn by example.
I have a client who is very sporadic about training, but who recognizes the value of a healthy lifestyle. She bought a few sessions for her daughter who just graduated college and is equally sporadic when it comes to exercise. When I told her I was having trouble scheduling sessions with her daughter, despite the fact that the sessions were already bought and paid for, she laughed and said, “Well, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” No it doesn’t. And your children probably won’t fall far from your habits. My parents are 60. My dad just climbed Mt. Whitney – the highest peak in the continental U.S. and a 16 hour endeavor. My mother still runs marathons. It is not a coincidence that my sisters and I are all fit and active. Where do you want your apple to land?
Get your mind out of the gutter, that’s not what I meant…although that’s fun and a great way to get some exercise too…
Recently I went up to the bay area in California to visit my sister. While I was there, we participated in something called “Bike Party,” or, as it’s (loudly) called in moments of bike-riding bliss by all who partake, “Bike Par-DEEEE!!” It was a hoot. A bunch of about 1200 adults of all ages pedaling from designated spot to spot, stopping only to dance or climb a jungle gym. Or to dance on top of a jungle gym. There was music and flashing lights on bikes and the occasional fire cracker shot into the sky. But mostly there was movement. And people. And joy.
There are so many things we get to enjoy as adults that we don’t necessarily as children – booze, staying up late, raw fish, whoopi. But we tend to forget the silly silly exuberance of things like flying down a hill on a bike as the sun sets, wind in hair, or running so fast you feel you might launch into the air, or dancing like the biggest goof, arms and legs flailing. I am unusual in that my job is physical – I make people jump up and down for a living. Even still, much of my time is spent writing at a computer, or reading at my desk. When I find myself in a moment of active bliss, I think, “Why don’t I do this MORE?!” Our bodies want to move. They want to be healthy. And when we engage them in this way, they thank us by flooding our brains with happy chemicals. Exercise doesn’t always have to be a five mile run on the treadmill or a grueling lifting session (although it’s good to incorporate these into your routine as well…) Put on some music and have the silliest dance party with your kids. Jump on a bike and pedal in the prettiest place near your home, sunshine splashing you in the face. Run down a hill as fast as your legs will carry you. Swing on a swing set. Move. Play. Giggle. Be a goose.
Your body will thank you for it. And your mouth will smile.
I started training Vanessa a little over a year ago when she came to me with the goal of losing 15 pounds and wanting to firm up jiggly areas. She is an actor in Los Angeles and was not getting cast as often as she liked. She is quite talented and thought if she could just whip her body into better shape, more casting doors might open for her. She started training with me once a week and exercising several times per week on her own, and she took my detailed dietary advice exactly. She never felt deprived or hungry, was actually surprised at the quantity of food she could eat when making smart choices, and she loved the recipes I passed along to her. She lost those 15 pounds within two months and soon found herself cast in the starring role of a SAG film and flown to Arkansas to shoot. The role required her to be in a naughty Santa negligee (no, it wasn’t that kind of film….) and she confided to me she would not have scored the role if she hadn’t acquired the confidence that came with her newly toned and healthy body.
This is her before:
And this is her after two months of working with me, all Santa-ed up for one of her scenes:
I am so proud of her! This is why I love what I do. It is amazing to watch someone reach their fitness goals and sculpt their body into what they’d like to see.
She still trains with me every week and she still looks freakin’ fantastic. Congrats, Vanessa!
This is the advice I give my clients. If you follow it, you’re sure to get results. Keep in mind I am not a doctor. Consult your physician before starting any new diet.
Some of my clients have a lot of weight to lose, and have a difficult time starting the process because the task seems so daunting. And some of my clients indulge a little too much over one holiday or another (ahem! I myself ate about two pounds of potato salad over the Fourth of July – God I love that stuff) and just want to drop the extra bit of weight. Either way, this diet is a great option. It is also a TEMPORARY option, not a forever diet. After finishing a week of eating the food types listed below, certain carbs and other foods can be added back in, interspersed with days of eating like this to maintain. It’s a great way to jumpstart your diet, or to get back on track if you’ve been derailed by hamburgers, hotdogs and onion dip. Of course if you go right back to doughnuts, brownies and bagels you’ll put any weight you’ve lost right back on. This diet is meant to motivate you to eat healthy by delivering quick results.
This diet does require strict adherence. Some diets let you have little cheat bites of ice cream or mashed potatoes. This diet won’t work properly if you cheat at all. It’s only a week, it’s really not that bad. By limiting your carbohydrates you are putting your body into ketosis – which means you are constantly burning fat. A side effect of this is loss of water weight. So not only are you burning fat, you are losing bloat caused by excess water. Sugar or carbohydrates will spike your insulin, which will disrupt this process. This is similar to the Atkins diet with a little less cheeseburger and a little more kale. A while back one of my clients said she tried this diet and complained that it didn’t work. I told her she must not have done it strictly or she’d be several pounds lighter. Then I sent her off with a grocery list made up of exactly the foods she could eat that week. The following week she had dropped five pounds. Do it. Don’t cheat. It works.
And the foods that are included can be really yummy! I do this whenever I’ve put on a few pounds I want to take off, and I never feel deprived. Eat slowly and until you are satiated. You should never feel hungry, but also don’t over stuff yourself.
The Very Basics
In a nutshell, this diet consists of very lean protein and low carb veggies. Some dairy can be included, but should be as limited as possible, and low fat. No breads, sugars, starches or fruits. It’s that simple. The basic list of foods is below.
A LITTLE onion
Eggs (try to eat mostly whites, a little yolk)
VERY LITTLE low fat cheese or cottage cheese
I make a lot of salads, stir-fries and broth-based soups when on this diet. You can use lemon, vinegar, tamari and a little olive oil to flavor your dishes. I’ll occasionally throw a tiny bit of Parmesan cheese onto my salads to give them a little flavor boost.
Taking extra fiber with water on this diet is also a good idea.
I would never post a diet that didn’t allow for imbibing, (unless it’s detox, in which case imbibing would totally defeat the purpose) but I recommend limiting adult beverages to no more than two per day, and I’d stick to red wine or the occasional scotch or vodka, no mixers except club soda, and absolutely no beer.