Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Benefits of Working Out

There are many reasons that people decide to transforms their lives into healthy testimonials of weightloss. Vanity is not the biggest long-term motivator for staying focused on your healthy lifestyle. So if you're only working out because you want to look hot, you need to reevaluate your reasons. Working out should be motivated for an all-around better life because that's exactly what its long term results are.

Working out does more than create a more desired physique, it increases confidence and your life span, it relieves stress and improves your mental abilities.
Even though body image is at the core of why we work out, it's our inner feelings that get the true make over. As you improve on the outside, confidence becomes more palpable. Being out of shape makes you feel less confident. Working out releases endorphins, which in turns, puts you on a high. It's practically impossible to be in great shape and not be confident.

It's no secret that a healthier lifestyle allows you to live longer. Working out strengthens all your muscles, even your heart. After the age of 30, most people lose at least 10% of their aerobic ability and working out helps to reverse that. Working out also lowers your blood pressure, bad cholesterol, reverses diabetes and is key is making your longer life a good one. No one wants everything to break down on them after 60!

Stress is unhealthy emotion bottled up inside of us. Exercising can certainly use those feelings as motivation to get through your workout. While increasing endorphins, exercise decreases cortisol--the stress hormone. Physical activity switches your focus and can create a zen-like state.

Studies show that people who work out regularly have a better memory, reaction time and concentration than people who don't. Aerobic activity stimulates the middle-frontal and superior parietal regions of the brain, which are associated with attention and keeping goals in mind. Exercise gets more oxygen to the brain, which increases mental capacity.

Are you convinced to start working out yet? These are certainly not all the benefits of exercising, but just enough to get you motivated to start. A healthy lifestyle leads to an all-around healthy life!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Be Fit and Keep Your Curves!

Free's Fabulous Assests On Display at the BET Awards
Not thin enough, tall enough, light enough, smooth enough or firm enough! These are the media messages that interrupt our thoughts daily. Enough already!!! Advertisers do an excellent job of making us feel the need to be improved and enhanced. After all, our insatiable quest for self improvement and feelings of inadequacy means more sales for them. 
Today's woman embraces her curves. Being able to see women like Beyonce, Kim Kardashian, Free and Serena Williams--who are all in great shape, with great shapes--motivates women to get up and move. However, a lot of those women are wary about moving too much because they don't want to lose their curves, just enhance them. 

Training with Free wasn't about making her into some unrealistic ideal standard, it's about enhancing the beautiful curves she already has. And with the way the Tweets were buzzing, it's clear that her NYLean training has done the trick!
Today the average female model is 23% thinner than the average American woman, up from 8% 25 years ago. Only 5% of women have the genes to naturally maintain today's super thin model look. Most women only look that way naturally for a few awkward months during puberty. But women are designed for curves.Men have not been spared either. The average male model has put on 27lbs of muscle over the same time span.
Trying to live up to these almost impossible standards can make our lives miserable and turn our workout programs into a relentless pursuits of unobtainable goals. When will advertisers understand that helping us embrace our natural beauty will bring our loyalty, admiration AND sales?

Well, Nike just did it! Their new ad campaign pushes against the grain and acknowledges that not all women who are into fitness are stick thin. The campaign celebrates real women with real curves. The subject of the ad comments, "My butt is big and that's just fine." The woman also explains how her butt is shaped like the letter "C" and how lunges only make it rounder not smaller. Social media sites are buzzing with postings from women who finally feel validated, and now included in Nike's tribe. Everyone wins with this approach to advertising, we feel empowered and Nike connects with their audience and builds loyalty.

As one of my twitter followers commented "I need to go buy some Nike's this weekend to support the movement!"
It's time to embrace healthy body images. It's great to have goals, but let's make sure they reflect a realistic, healthy body image. In the meantime, decide to embrace the person you see in the mirror--round butt, thick thighs, full curves, all of it!
Watch TV Personality, Free, who is known for her amazing curves work out with NYLean25 Creator Robert Brace!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Need A Pick Me Up? Have A Smoothie!

Smoothies are a great choice for a snack or even meal replacement because they're actually really filling in your stomach and you easily get tons of nutrients. However, skip Smoothie King and make them yourself. The problem with a lot of fast food smoothie chains is that you don't know everything they include in their drinks ie. excess sugar and other hidden additives. So, that said, save some money and go the homemade route. And fret not because you don't need a fancy blender to make that happen. Check out a dandy recipe we found for a creamy banana raspberry smoothie:

1 cup almond milk
2 tablespoons Standard Process Non-Dairy Protein Powder
1 frozen banana
1/4 cup frozen raspberries
2 tablespoons sunflower butter

Feel freek to tweak as you see fit. If you don't have sunflower butter then don't use it or maybe replace with something similar. Allergic to peanut butter? Fine. Use cashews or whatever you want. Get creative!

This recipe and photo were spotted at


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Basics of Hard Work and Desired Results

Want Results? Do What Works!!!

This past week has been a whirlwind. I just finished an exciting video project. I was enlisted by New York comedian and filmmaker Mark Malkoff; "a recovering fat kid with lingering body-image issues," to help him pull off the seemingly impossible: turn his soft, flabby belly into rock hard, six-pack abs in 30 days! We did it in 28 days, Mark lost 16.8lbs and got totally ripped. So far we have had over 400,000 views from different online media outlets. If you haven't seen it go to and check it out.

Since the video launched, I have had many inquiries and questions regarding how to get results like Mark Malkoff. I will release the diet plan and workout plan in the coming months. However, whatever your fitness goal is; what's most important is that your work out is effective and gives you the best chance of achieving the results you seek. Here are some basic principles that I live by when going for weight loss and toning goals. 

Go Hard Or Go Home: I know I sound like an ego driven jock, however the principle is simple. Fat burning, muscle growth and improved cardiovascular endurance all occur when the body responds to increased demands placed on it. Your workouts need to be challenging and sweaty. You will feel sore and at times out if breath. It doesn’t mean that you have to brutalize your body and risk injury, but it does mean walking a few extra blocks here and there won’t cut it.

Proper Form: Pushing your body to the limits is great, but always seek to do so with the correct form. Correct form increases the effectiveness of your muscle toning and strength building exponentially. Incorrect form increases the potential for injury, reinforces poor posture and wastes time. Try to isolate the muscle group you are working and eliminate unnecessary movement in other parts of your body.

Interval Training: Interval training is an exercise technique that alternates between short bursts of high intensity activity followed by short rest periods or low intensity activity. You will see results faster than traditional cardio training. Your body's fat burning activity will be in an elevated state for hours after your workout, helping you get lean quicker, burn fat faster and improve your endurance dramatically.

Embrace Your Wellness: Try to embrace a whole life approach to your fitness. We all have goals we are striving for, things we want to experience and a vision for those we love. All of these desires can only be fully experienced if we are in good health. Make the switch, stop resenting the hard work your fitness and wellness requires; embrace it and transform your life.

-Robert Brace

Monday, June 6, 2011

S.M.A.R.T. Workout Goals

Unrealistic fitness goals can be one of the biggest sources of discouragement when it comes to staying committed to your fitness program. Setting your goals according to the results you see in the latest infomercials is a recipe for failure, frustration and drop out. Instead, try setting your goals according to the popular SMART system. Think about the following when starting your fitness program.

Specific: Don’t set vague goals. “I want to get in shape” just doesn’t cut it! It doesn’t give you a final destination or let you know when you’ve achieved success. “I want to lose 5 pounds” or “I want to drop one clothes size” are goals that identify a specific target and will help you stay focused.

Measurable: Setting measurable goals can help you monitor your progress and success with greater certainty and ease. It will also boost your motivation and strengthen your commitment when you start seeing results. Finally, you will be more able to determine if your current workout program is getting you closer to your desired goal, or if you need to try something new.

Action Oriented: Plan your work out and then implement your plan. What days will you workout? What kind of exercise will you do? How often and how long? Once you’ve developed your plan actively implement it and get going.

Realistic:  Trying to lose 20lbs in two weeks is neither realistic nor healthy for most people. It’s much smarter to set small goals and have consistent victories that make you look forward to your next workout. Unrealistic goals can make you feel like a failure even when you do succeed at losing significant weight. 

Timed: It’s important to set a time limit to reach your goals, so that you can periodically assess whether you are on track.  Setting time also increases urgency and accountability; very important factors for any fitness program.

This approach will help you get smart about setting goals, and get you going on your way to changing your body, victory by victory.

The Missing [Diet] Link

Banish Yo-Yo Dieting & Fitness With the WH5 Principle

So you've finally decided to lose weight by eating healthy and exercising and you're excited about your new quest for wellbeing, you’ve found a gym in your neighborhood, an instructor you like and a diet plan you can stick with. This time you are really doing it! Two months later you’ve had some missteps, eaten a few brownies, it’s been two weeks since your last workout and you’re enthusiasm is dwindling. It’s a common story. What happened? 

One of the main reasons diet and exercise plans fail is lack of preparation. We go from being excited about the thought of losing weight to an aggressive action plan without ever pausing to think about what a long term commitment to healthy lifestyle change actually entails. We run into unforeseen obstacles that sabotage our efforts causing us to become discouraged or give up altogether.

The next time you start a fitness program try using the WH5  principle. Ask yourself these five questions Why, What, Where, When and How. Each time you answer these questions realistically you increase your chances of long term success exponentially. Here are some examples.

WHy? Asking why gives meaning, conviction and motivation to your wellness plan.  Why are you trying to lose weight? Why now? Why will you be successful this time?

WHat?This question will help you clarify the details of your plan. What will you eat? What foods should you avoid? What exercise class is best for you?  What do you need to clear out of your kitchen cabinets?

WHere? Think about locations where you usually snack, eat and exercise. Are they practical for long term lifestyle change? Is working out at a gym too expensive, intimidating or inconvenient for you? Should you get some home gym equipment? Where should you eat? Does eating in the office mean unhealthy takeout orders? Deciding where helps give structure to your wellness program.  

WHen? When questions are important because timing is key. Some people don’t do well in the mornings so a 6am boot camp class may not be a realistic long term solution. If you tend overeat at night then ask yourself, “When can I eat my three meals and two snacks so I don’t get too hungry later?”

HoW? Asking how will help you determine if your plan is feasible for your life. How will you stay on track during cravings at restaurants, meetings and dinner parties? How will you overcome lack of enthusiasm and motivation, or even failure? 

If you clarify these questions before you take action you will have a long term plan built for lasting lifestyle fitness success. Good luck!

5 Power Foods That Help Flatten Your Abs

One thing I've learned from participating in NY Lean is that diet is the most important factor in getting those abs toned and flat. Here's a list of some power foods that can help you achieve those goals:




Lean Protein

Olive Oil (drizzle it on salads and even sandwiches)

P.S. According to a study conducted by the National Institutes of Health, a flat belly can help you reduce your risk of heart disease, so you want to build muscle not just for that vanity six pack but because your life is on the line. See below for Robert Brace's take on abs and diet plus some other helpful tips:


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Inches vs Pounds: How To Bust A Plateau

How many of you work out like crazy and eat an immaculate diet but discover that despite your clothes fitting better, the number still doesn't change? Count me into that group. It's the most frustrating thing in the world. However, I got some words of wisdom from NY Lean creator Robert Brace on how to not freak out about the number and ways you can shake up your metabolism and get those numbers down. Check this out:

So you’ve been working out and your body is changing. Your clothes fit better, muscles feel tighter and the measuring tape shows you’ve lost inches, but you are still discouraged because your scale shows little if any actual weight loss. This may not be you right now but many have faced this frustration with their weight loss efforts.

First of all, if you are losing inches congratulate yourself! Your hard work is paying off. You are getting thinner and looking better. There is more to the weight loss story than simple numbers on a scale.

The number on the scale does not take into account how much lean muscle mass you have gained, body fat you’ve lost, your water weight or temporary weight fluctuations. Our weight can vary as much as 5lbs in a single day. Also, some of us are genetically hardwired to develop muscle mass faster than others. Muscle weighs more than fat, so if you are gaining lean muscle mass while losing body fat; your weight may not show a significant drop.

With that said the quest to lose pounds and maintain a healthy weight is a noble endeavor. If you still desire to see the numbers on the scale go south, or you feel like you’ve reached a plateau try using the F.I.T. principle:

Frequency: If you workout out twice a week take it up to three or four times.

Intensity: If you usually complete two circuits in your workout try getting through three within the same time frame. Lift heavier weights, push harder in your cardio or try some intervals. Take it higher with your diet too! Try reducing portions and calories or maybe consuming fewer carbohydrates.

Time: Increase the duration of your workouts.
These principles should help you see your weight continue to drop. Just remember to celebrate the lost inches just as much as the lost pounds.

Robert Brace definitely knows what he's talking about so I will take his advice and try not to freak out as much as I have been about this stubborn last 10 lbs that won't budge. However, I can attest to the fact that I'm getting compliments on my muscle tone, I'm developing more core strength and my clothes are fitting better (or they're too loose in some cases, which means I get to shop for more!). I'll keep you posted on my progress.


Thursday, May 26, 2011


Making a decision to change unhealthy behaviors can be overwhelming. Changing moves you out of your comfort zone into the unknown, which can be stressful and sometimes just plain annoying. You may have seen friends successfully change a number of unhealthy behaviors; from making healthier food choices to reducing alcohol consumption. How do they do it and why are you having such a hard time? 

The truth is very simple, you may not be ready to change and that’s ok! Change is something you can work towards. Most people who make permanent changes will tell you they took some time to think and weighed the outcomes of their decisions. Many behavioral change experts refer to this process as a decisional balance

Think of a decisional balance as a scale. On one side you have the positive consequences of the change you want to make, on the other side, the negative consequences. If they're equal you will not have a compelling reason to change. However, if the positives outweigh the negatives; the scale tips towards changing and it's more likely that you'll be motivated to change. If your negatives outweigh the positives you may need to take a little more time to examine your reasons for changing.

It is also important to examine how you will view yourself when you’ve made the change and how others will react to your change. Some decisions may be a benefit to you but a cost to someone else. Having mixed feelings about changing is normal.

Try filling out the table below for the behavior you would like to change.  

(List all pros)
(List all cons)
Consequences to self

Consequences to others

Reactions to self
(How will your self-image improve)

Reactions of others
(How will others react to your change)

How did you do? Did the positives outweigh the negatives? If so, great! If not, don’t worry, keep working on it. Take more time to educate yourself on the area you want to change. The decision you need to make will gradually become clearer to you. Good Luck!


For many people weight loss is a chronic endeavor. All too often, the shedding of pounds is a temporary event followed by a steady regain of the weight you lost. The most popular diets are unsuccessful in the long run because they fail to address the multi-faceted nature of what successful, permanent weight loss entails. 

Luckily, research has revealed many invaluable strategies which can help increase your odds of permanent weight loss. While no single article can possibly cover this vast subject, we have provided links to excellent weight loss programs and books which are backed by clinical research, and can significantly help you in your quest. We also encourage you to browse through our hand-picked award links to learn more about the best strategies you can incorporate for long term weight loss success.

It's nothing new, but exercise is probably the most important predictor of whether you will succeed at long term weight loss and weight loss maintenance. In order for exercise to be helpful in weight loss, you should strive for a minimum of five 30 minute sessions per week. The good news is that recent research has shown that three 10 minute sessions in a day are as good as one 30 minute session. This helps many in combating the old "no time for exercise" excuse. Be certain to find something you enjoy. You'll be more apt to stick with it. Try walking with a friend, joining an intramural sports league, participating in outings with a group like The Sierra Club, or trying some classes at your local gym. Once you give exercise a chance, you will begin to enjoy its positive benefits on your psyche as well; you will literally become "hooked."

Having trouble getting a workout in? Why not try one of these Diet Channel recommended programs:

We chose to list this separately from the "exercise" category because of the significant weight loss benefits attached to weight training in and of itself. The basic equation is this: the more muscle tissue you have, the more calories you will burn. This is why world class weight lifters must eat thousands of calories a day to maintain their weight. Muscle is active tissue, fat is not. Thus, muscle "burns" a significant number of calories each day for its own maintenance. 

In her book Strong Women Stay Slim, Miriam Nelson, a Tufts University researcher, showed that a group of women who followed a weight loss diet and did weight training exercises lost 44% more fat than those who only followed the diet. While aerobic activity can help burn calories, muscles are where it's at when it comes to giving your metabolism a significant daily boost even at rest. Read Cardio and Strength Training: How do you create a balanced routine? to find out how best to pursue numbers 1 and 2 above in tandem.  

Keeping a food diary can be a huge asset in successful weight loss. Devote some time each day to record what you have eaten and how much, your hunger level prior to eating, and any feelings or emotions present at the time. A food diary can provide a large amount of self-awareness. It can identify emotions and behaviors that trigger overeating, foster greater awareness of portion sizes and help you discover your personal food triggers. Study any patterns that emerge from your food diary and identify where you may be able to make more healthful changes. A food diary provides an added benefit of keeping you focused on and committed to your goals. Start keeping a food diary today by printing our food diary.

Many people become more successful at long term weight loss when their motivation changes from wanting to be thinner to wanting to be healthier. Change your mindset to think about selecting foods that will help your body's health rather than worrying about foods that will affect your body's weight. The Food Pyramid offers a basic outline of the types and amounts of food you should eat each day to give your body the nutrients it needs for optimal health.

All too often overeating is triggered by stress, boredom, loneliness, anger, depression and other emotions. Learning to deal with emotions without food is a significant skill that will greatly serve long term weight control. The Solution, a book and national program developed by Laurel Mellin, RD, helps participants to identify their eating triggers and respond to them without food. A research study showed that the participants in this program demonstrated a better rate of long term weight loss maintenance than those who simply diet and/or exercise and don't address behavioral and emotional issues. Chronic over-eaters and "emotional eaters" can be significantly helped by learning new behavioral skills such as those Mellin presents. You can also seek help with behavioral and emotional eating issues from a licensed counselor or psychologist in your area.
A big key in long term weight control comes from receiving encouragement and support from others. You can check to see if groups such as Jenny Craig offer programs and resources in your areas. You may also wish to check with your local hospital to see if their registered dietitian conducts group weight loss programs.

With the advent of "super-size" meals and increasingly huge portions at restaurants, our concept of normal serving sizes is a distant memory. Be mindful of the amounts of food you consume in one sitting. When necessary, divide your food in half and ask for a take home bag. It is all too easy to be a "plate cleaner" even when served enormous portions. Learn to pay attention to your hunger level and stop eating when you feel comfortably full, not stuffed.

Try to remember that losing 15 pounds in two weeks is nothing to celebrate. It is important to realize that the more quickly weight is lost, the more likely the loss is coming from water and muscle, not fat. Since muscle tissue is critical in keeping our metabolism elevated, losing it actually leads to a decrease in the amount of calories we can each day without gaining weight. Fat loss is best achieved when weight is lost slowly. Strive for a weight loss of no more than 1-2 pounds per week. One pound of weight is equivalent to 3500 calories. By making small changes like eliminating 250 calories a day from food and expending 250 calories a day from exercise, you can lose one pound (of mostly fat) per week. You can calculate how much time you need to exercise to burn 250 calories by clicking here. You can calculate your caloric needs by clicking here, and then subtract 250 from that number.
Did you ever notice that thin people take an awfully long time to eat their food? Eating slowly is one method that can help take off pounds. That's because from the time you begin eating it takes the brain 20 minutes to start signaling feelings of fullness. Fast eaters often eat beyond their true level of fullness before the 20 minute signal has had a chance to set in. The amount of calories consumed before you begin to feel full can vary significantly depending on how quickly you eat. So slow down, take smaller bites and enjoy and savor every tasty morsel.
We've known for some time that limiting high fat foods in the diet can be helpful with weight loss. That's because fats pack in 9 calories per gram compared to only 4 calories per gram from proteins or carbohydrates. To many, the message to limit fats implied an endorsement to eat unlimited amounts of fat-free products. Just to clarify, fat-free foods have calories too. In some cases fat-free foods have as many calories as their fat laden counterparts. If you eat more calories than your body uses, you will gain weight. Eating less fat will help you to lose weight. Eating less fat and replacing it with excessive amounts of fat-free products will not.

For more information on high-fat foods you should continue to eat, even when trying to lose weight, see the following article from The Diet Channel:  Healthy and Fat? 5 High-Fat Foods You Should Not Avoid.

Struggling with your diet? Click here for 6 reasons why we don't lose weight.
Before beginning any diet or fitness program, consult your physician.