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 Healthytippingpoint.com.


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 www.robertbrace.com 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.