Monday, December 15, 2008

All I want for Christimas ... is a SUPER SEXY BODY!

Why wait to January 1st to get your best body ever? Start now and you can have a jump start on every one else. There are a few things that will assure you are a success.

1. You have to want it, baby!
There is a big difference between wishing you looked better and deciding right now, to get in shape. Make fitness a priority and your body and life will change.

2. Have the right program.
It is obviously frustrating to work really hard, only to find that they program you were following produced little or no results - or worse, it bulked you up! If you like the toned and sexy look, favored by my Hollywood A-listers, then my Red Carpet Ready system is for you. Check out my webshow, RCR TV, and see how two "regular" women get in amazing shape using this program.

3. Get support.
All of us at one time or another need encouragement or guidance to make sure we are on the right track and to cheer us on when we need it most. As part of my Red Carpet Ready system, you get 2 free months in the Red Carpet Ready Club. Here, not only will you find workouts, exercise videos, recipes, and motivation, you will also find a group of women dedicated to being in shape, and willing to help you on your journey.

4. Motivation.
This comes in many forms. I think the biggest is a deadline, real or self imposed. Nothing lights a fire like deadline. Sometimes though, we need mini motivators like a great movie, a new workout outfit, or a new play list.
My current fave play list:

1. Just Dance - Lady Gaga
2. Love Lockdown - Kanye West
3. Because The Night - Cascasda
4. Circus - Britney Spears
5. Let It Rock - Kevin Rudolf (Feat. Lil Wayne)
6. When I grow Up - Pussycat Dolls
7. Live Your Life - T.I. (Feat. Rihanna)
8. Hot & Cold - Katy Perry



5. New equipment.
It is true that the body adapts, so we must continue to shake it up with new exercises. Try the Valslide, which not only will accelerate your results, but give you dozens of new exercises. For more information, visit www.Valslide.com

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The 3 Best Butt Exercises You Can Do At Home

Nearly every client I work with wants to know if I can reshape their back side. They either want to pick it up, fill it out, slim it down, or make it rock solid. Fortunately for them, I consider this my specialty. Fortunately for you, I am going to share a few secrets. If you are already doing squats and lunges, then congratulations, you're off to a good start. Compound moves like these not only create size and shape for your butt, they also burn a ton of calories. The problem is, these exercises also develop the quads. That's no problem if that's your goal, but what if it's not?

Before we get into my favorite butt exercises, lets start with some important information.

1. Even the best exercises in the world can't overcome a bad diet. If you have cellulite and/or excess body fat, I am willing to bet that you're eating too many refined carbohydrates. I can't emphasize enough, if you want to have a lean, sexy body (and a great butt!), then stop with the junk!! No fast food, no chips, no cookies, no white flour or sugar! Whew! Glad we got that out of the way...

2. You need to burn the fat. So, I want you to do 3 full body workouts each week to add some muscle and rev up your metabolism.

3. To burn more fat you will also do 3 cardio sessions each week. I outline specifically what to do in my transformation system, Red Carpet Ready, but for now, any cardio will do. Even better if it's intervals.

4. Do special butt shaping exercises.

My 3 current favorites are:

Valband Forward backward marching

Place Valband above your knees. Your feet should be hip width apart and band should be taught. Sit back into a squat and march forward but slightly out to the side, maintaining squat position and resisting the band from pulling your knees together. In the same position march backward to your starting position.


Valslide reverse lunge with kettlebells or dumbbells

Stand with feet together, place the ball of your right foot on the Valslide®. Slide your right foot back; Left leg will bend at 90˚. Slide your right foot up to start position, pulling up with the glute (butt) of your left leg. Finish reps and switch sides. NOTE: be sure to use the stationary leg to return to start, not the sliding leg. Think of the sliding leg as just going along for the ride.
**You will feel this in your glutes and quads

Single leg - 2 arm RDL's

Hold a bodybar or barbell and lift one foot off the ground slightly. Pinch the shoulder blades back together as this helps keep the spine in the proper position. Begin by pushing your hips backward while keeping the non-working leg extended and in alignment with your torso. Continue to push the hips backwards with the working leg and keep a neutral/flat back throughout the movement. Stand back up by squeezing the glutes, pushing the hips forward and standing up straight.



Who's Gonna Win?

Mary Bess and Cody Kennedy are in the fight of their lives. Each has struggled with years of dieting and many failed attempts at reshaping their bodies. Some of these past attempts worked for a while, but always in the end, the scale would beat them back down.

Well, Mary Bess and Cody has been training hard and following the principles of Red Carpet Ready. Now, here they are in the fourth round (week) and they are ready to deliver some knockout blows. See how they do it, LIVE tonight at 5pm PST at www.redcarpetready.tv

Cody's one-two punch of 11lbs gone and a tight flat stomach is going to send the scale to its corner. Mary Bess' commitment to the diet and the conditioning program has her weighing in at 8lbs lighter and makes her a formidable competitor.

Tune in tonight to see how they do it. Learn their secrets to staying with it, and I will be there LIVE to answer any questions you have regarding diet and exercise. 

You too can finally transform your body and live as if your are ready for the Red Carpet. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Val's Raisin Chili Recipe

When the days are short and the nights are cold, who doesn't enjoy warming up with steaming bowl of chili? To make sure that you stay Red Carpet Ready during the infamous weight gaining Winter months, I'm sharing with you my favorite chili recipe (RCR approved).




INGREDIENTS

A little over 1 lb of lean ground beef
Vegetable Oil
1 whole red onion
1 cup of sliced mushrooms
2 stalks of celery
1 cup California Raisins (secret ingredient!)
1 - 28 oz. can whole tomatoes
2 - 28 oz. crushed tomatoes
1 small can of sliced olives
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
1 Teaspoon garlic salt or garlic powder (optional)
3 Tablespoons cumin
3 Tablespoons chili powder
1 Teaspoon of ground clove
Salt


DIRECTIONS

Brown the ground beef over the stove in a little bit of vegetable oil. Be sure to break up the meat so that it browns evenly and cooks thoroughly. In a separate pot on the stove, combine chopped red onion, chopped celery stalks, and sliced mushrooms with a little vegetable oil.

Once the ground beef has browned, drain the excess fat and add to the pot with onions, celery, and mushrooms. Mix in chili powder, cumin, garlic salt or garlic powder (optional), ground clove, sugar (optional), and salt to taste.

Stir in crushed tomatoes with the meat, vegetables and spices. Add the whole tomatoes to your chili pot, making sure to break up the tomatoes as you stir them in. Mix in small can of sliced olives and California Raisins

Bring the chili to a boil, then reduce and allow to simmer for at least an hour.


Serves about 8

Garnish with shredded cheese (optional) & serve hot

Monday, November 17, 2008

The 3 Best AB Exercises You're NOT Doing

You probably know by now that the Plank is the one of the best exercises for your abs. I agree that it is an important exercise to include in your fitness routine, the problem is, it becomes boring to hold your Plank position past 60 seconds.

You can create a bunch of new variations of the Plank with just 2 inexpensive exercise tools, the Valslide, and an Airex pad. Chances are, you are not familiar with these two excellent exercise tools because many magazines won't feature new equipment (regardless of how amazing it is) unless it can be assumed that at least 70% of people have it or have access to it. I understand that people who buy magazines might be disappointed if they had to spend additional money to do the workout the magazine provides, however, if there is no infomercial, and the magazines don't write about it, how are you supposed to know about it?


By familiarizing yourself with a few variations of the Plank exercise, not only will you avoid the boredom that may occur, you'll also be able to challenge yourself with some new moves in your routine.

Below are my 3 favorite variations of the Plank. You can do these as a circuit (if you're advanced) or mix them into your regular routines.

For these exercises you will need your Valslides and an Airex pad (or other squishy surface).


video

To download a PDF file of these exercise descriptions with pictures, click here

If you would like to see more of these workouts, make sure to follow me on Twitter.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Parties & Turkeys & Pies, Oh My!

With the holidays around the corner, the opportunity for diet disasters are everywhere. Holiday parties, Christmas cookies, stuffing and pie, it seems temptation is everywhere. Couple that with the stress that many experience from shopping, traveling, or too many commitments, and it is no wonder that people gain weight between now and Super Bowl Sunday. Rumor has it that Americans gain a whopping 7 to 10 pounds during the holiday season, but it doesn't have to happen!!

Not only is it possible to make it through the holidays without gaining weight, but you can actually experience weight loss. More willpower is not the answer, what you need is more effective strategies. Here are a few of my faves:
  • Focus on what you can eat, not what you can't.

I will show up at my Dad's for Thanksgiving, looking forward to some turkey, green beans, and a bit of sweet potatoes. I know he will make me try his new brussels sprouts recipe (yuck!) and I will have a small piece of pumpkin pie. I will not feel sad about missing out on the mashed potatoes, stuffing, and pecan pie. I would rather be able to still fit in my "skinny jeans" the next day.

  • Reduce stress

Stress makes you fat! The best way to reduce stress is to exercise. You need to take that energy and blow it out. Whether you go for a run or to the gym, it doesn't matter, just get moving!

  • Have a Plan B

Do your best to stick to your regular workouts, but have a backup plan. If you can't make it to the gym, have a few things you can use at home (Valslides perhaps?). If you don't have an hour, do an intense 2o-30 minute circuit training or interval workout.

  • Get Support

If you know that you struggle during the holidays, then get support! Find a fitness buddy that will hold you accountable and visa versa, or join an on-line community like the Red Carpet Ready Club. Here you will find inspiring stories, great workouts, and most important, encouraging words.

Also, be sure to check out Red Carpet Ready TV, my live internet reality weight loss program. I am doing to help transform the bodies (and lives) of Cody and Mary Bess using the workouts and strategies that I use with my Hollywood clients. You can follow along (or join in) as I coach them through the next 6 weeks.

You too can make the commitment and be Red Carpet Ready by January!


Red Carpet Ready beings airing LIVE today, November 12th, at 5pm PST (8pm EST) at http://www.redcarpetready.tv/

When you tune in make sure to say hi (there will be a live chat as well). Hope to see you there!!

Monday, November 10, 2008

What If You Don't Need To Be A "Big Loser?"

What if you only need or want to be a medium, or even small loser?

NBC's hit series "The Biggest Loser" is now in it's sixth season, featuring overweight contestants vying to win $250,000. While I find the show inspirational and mildly entertaining, it certainly doesn't educate people on how to live a healthy and balanced life. You probably know the premise, overweight contestants competing to win by losing the highest percentage of their starting body weight. The contestants are isolated from "the real world" for 13 weeks, and put through grueling workouts accompanied by a drastic diet overseen by a team of "drill sergeants". The conditions under which these contestants lose weight, working out for 8 hours a day, while being completely removed from daily responsibilities is obviously unrealistic

I specialize in helping women lose 5 to 40lbs, and create a lean, sexy body. While I am mostly known for helping Hollywood beauties such as Jennifer Garner, Cindy Crawford, and Poppy Montgomery get Red Carpet Ready, I recently began coaching a group of women on-line via the Red Carpet Ready Club. These women come from varied backgrounds, some single, some married, some married with kids, some working, some not. They all seem to be a bit stressed and pulled in many directions (aren't we all?), but they all have the desire to be what I call, Red Carpet Ready. That is when you feel confident in your body, and you don't have to worry about what clothes you pull out of the closet - because they all look good.

After only 6 weeks on the Red Carpet Ready Program, here is what one of the members had to say about her experience and results:

"Val,
I want to thank you for changing my life! ... Your style of diet and training has become my way of life. I used to spend at least two hours in the gym, four days a week, doing more of the "traditional" lifting exercises followed by an excruciating hour of cardio. My diet was "decent", but I felt deprived a lot of the time ... I have been trying to lose five pounds for the past 6 months and you helped me lose it in 6 weeks. I spend about half the amount of time training as I used to and I can eat real food again. Amazing! ... Thanks again Val, for creating a wonderful program along with a great network of support and motivation made up of amazing women."
-Kristi Shumway

To give you the Red Carpet Ready experience, we are bringing it to you LIVE via the web. Red Carpet Ready TV will begin broadcasting Wednesday, November 12th, at 5pm PST. Tune in and follow along with two women on their journey to achieving the body of their dreams.




Red Carpet Ready TV can be viewed at http://www.redcarpetready.tv
Our first episode airs this Wednesday, November 12th at 5pm PST - tune in!

For more information about Red Carpet Ready visit http://www.redcarpetready.com

Friday, November 7, 2008

When The Going Gets Tough ... The Tough Go Workout

It is nearly impossible to read the newspaper or watch the news without hearing about another doomsday prediction. Even with the election behind us, people are experiencing a lot of fear and anxiety, and rightfully so. The stock market is all over the place, the housing market is still dropping, corporations are making massive layoffs, and country is badly in debt.

It would seem that there are more important things to focus on than your workout. I urge you to reconsider. Your fitness program is one of the most important things you can focus on. This is not just about fitting into your "skinny jeans" or looking "Red Carpet Ready" (although there is nothing wrong with these goals), this is about having the energy and mental clarity to do all the things you need to do. Exercise not only helps you look better, it helps you feel better. Exercise reduces stress, gives you a sense of empowerment, and increases your energy levels. In the fabulous book, "Power of Full Engagement", Jim Loehr explains that it is energy, not time, that is our greatest commodity. After all, what good would an extra hour in the day be if you spend it flopped in front of the TV?

If anyone has earned the right to sleep in and spend the day watching TV it would be President-elect, Barack Obama. After all, he has probably had a little stress theses past 2 years, and has been pushing pretty hard. Yet I read in the LA Times, that Barack Obama hit the gym the day after winning the election! Clearly he understand the importance of exercise. What about you? Have you worked out at least 3 times this week? If not, why not? Until you decide that exercise is a "must" not a "should", not only will you not have the body of your dreams, but you wont be functioning at your best.

In the last 6 weeks when it seemed the whole world was coming apart at the seams, I led a group of women through my Red Carpet Ready 6 week transformation program. The results were nothing less than astounding. They re-shaped their bodies and changed their view about diet and exercise. Many have said that they now "get it" and will continue on this program so that they can live their lives feeling Red Carpet Ready.

Here are what a couple members of the Red Carpet Ready 6 week transformation program had to say about their personal experience, and the results they achieved:







"HOORAY! I am now officially 10 pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight!! Not only that, but my clothes are starting to fit again!! There aren't words enough to describe just how excited I am! I can't thank you enough, Val! Not only for putting together such a fantastic and effective program, but for creating a community where we can be encouraged and held accountable. Honestly, without this program, I would most likely have finished off a batch of cookies and be sitting in front of the TV, sobbing about how fat I am this evening. Instead, I just finished a fantastic shopping trip with my husband, where I was able to try on "normal clothes" and actually feel good about how they fit! THANK YOU!!!" - Stephanie Morrison


"First I have to say that I believe this eating and exercise is not going to be temporary for me. It has definitely become a lifestyle. The tools and support that Val has provided has made a huge different in my commitment and sustainability, and I will continue far beyond these six weeks. Prior to stating RCR, I had been working with a personal trainer for two months with no results at all. From the moment I watched my video assessment, I was convinced that RCR was a much better path for my health and fitness goals, and now I have the proof! Thank you so much , Val! I am amazed at the changes in my body in such a short time!" -Sonya Shelton


For more information about Red Carpet Ready visit http://www.redcarpetready.com


Monday, November 3, 2008

5 Things That Could Possibly Go Wrong on Election Day

You have been hearing about the long lines, confusing propositions, and potential for chaos on Election Day. With only hours to go, here are 5 things that could go wrong and how to avoid them.

1. You are not clear on your intentions
Intentions are a big part of the Red Carpet Ready program and they can help you on Election Day. Intentions are a combination of goals and a "to do" list, but I believe, infinitely more powerful. Not only do intentions help clarify where you want to go, they are your road map for getting there. The clearer your intentions, the more spectacular your results will be. It's as if you are have sent a broadcast signal to the universe - the stronger the signal, the more clear and fast the reply. Much like the Verizon networks slogan, "Can you hear me now?" Get clear on your intentions for the day.

2. You skip breakfast
Studies show that eating breakfast helps improve memory, and positively affects the tasks that require the retention of new information. This would be especially important for those of you still studying propositions while standing in line to vote.

3. You miss your workout
Most of you recognize that exercise is good for the body, but did you know that it can also boost your brain power? Several recent studies have found that exercising increases the speed of decision-making, and helps to provide mental clarity. These additional benefits have obvious consequences for Election Day.

4. You don’t bring your lunch (and snacks) with you
Much like skipping breakfast, this could put your brain in a fog. As your blood sugar drops, your mental clarity diminishes, and you may feel "spaced out". If you were planning on voting in the afternoon, skipping lunch and forgetting your snacks could have some serious repercussions on your voting record.

5. You forget to be grateful
Regardless of who wins the election, be grateful that you have the right to vote. Regardless of how much you weigh, be grateful for your body that (if you choose) it can run, jump, and play. Be grateful that your body can think, feel, and love. Be grateful that even in times of uncertainty, America is still the land of opportunity.


How To Tackle Possible Problems on Election Day
Here are some simple steps to ensure your Election Day goes well …

• Start by preparing for Election Day the night before. Lay out your workout clothes, or pack your gym bag.

• Organize your food.
Make a lunch with leftovers from dinner – this could be a salad with chicken or even a turkey sandwich. Anything made at home will not only save calories, but also money (now more important than ever), and the hassle and stress of having to go out to get something.

• Don’t forget to pack 2 snacks: one for morning, one for the afternoon.
This doesn’t need to be fancy or complicated. Try 2 tablespoons of California Raisins and 2 tablespoons of almonds in a snack size baggie for one, and an applesauce, and a piece of string cheese for the other. Or, a slice of turkey with a slice of cheese rolled up, and a handful of grapes on the side.

• Write your intentions for the day.
Example: I intend to eat a balanced breakfast that includes some carbs and some protein.
I intend to finish my Red Carpet Ready full body circuit workout (or other strength program).
I intend to be clear on the issues & cast my vote based on what I believe to be the best for me and the planet.
I intend to be grateful for the democratic process, regardless of who wins.
I intend to love and appreciate my body as I work to make it stronger, thinner, better (use your own words, obviously).


Election Day Success!!

Step 1: Read Your Intentions


Step 2: Eat A Healthy Breakfast

Example:
- 1/3 cup scrambled egg whites (eggology) with veggies
- ½ broiled Florida Grapefruit (retro, I know) and ½ cup vanilla yogurt topped with crushed walnuts

Step 3: Do a Full Body Circuit Style Strength Workout (a la Red Carpet Ready)

Sample:
Valband Side Steps 15 (each leg)
Bodyweight Squats 20
Valslide reverse lunge 15 (each leg)
Push ups 10
Squat/row with stretchy-band 15
Valslide mountain climbers 20 (each leg)
Ultimate toe touch 15 (each)
Do Circuit 3X

Step 4: Bring your lunch and snacks with you to work (hopefully you packed these the night before)

Step 5: Make a Gratitude List


To learn more about Red Carpet Ready visit www.RedCarpetReady.com
To learn more about the Valslide visit www.Valslide.com

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Happy Healthy Halloween Strategies

  Is it possible to enjoy Halloween without completely derailing your diet?  Of course it is, but you might need a few strategies.  Remember, strategy always trumps willpower.  Don't try to white knuckle it through Halloween.  You might be alright for a few hours or even that day but studies show that willpower is actually in limited supply, so resist the candy today, you probably won't be able to tomorrow. 

 Here are a few of my top strategies for surviving Halloween:

Leave it to the last minute- I know that doesn't sound like me (I'm all about pre-preparing) but when it comes to Halloween candy, it is best not to buy it too soon.  If you do have to buy it early, under no circumstance should you open the bag prior to handing out the candy.  You will be asking for trouble.

Have Healthy Options- You don't have to be the crazy fitness lady handing out apples and nuts on Halloween.  Kids like candy and that is partly what the holiday is about.  However, it's going to be a long night so you might want to have some fun healthier options for you to munch on.  Try Pumpkin Pie Popcorn mix with Raisins.  Recipe at www.loveyourraisins.com
I had this recently and it is yummy!!

Not Your Favorite! -Don't buy your favorite candy, you know, the one that is always calling your name.  Choose something that is not a trigger for you.  For me, that means no Reeces Peanut Butter cups.  I could easily eat 4 (and I don't mean the mini) before I realized what I had done.  Instead, I will purchase Milky Ways and Hershey's Chocolate Bars.  I will enjoy having one snack size treat but they won't continue to taunt me from the bowl.

Get Moving- Don't forget to do an extra good workout in the morning before the festivities.  This is like fitness in the bank.  Do a little extra now so when you make a withdraw (splurge) later, you won't notice it on the scale.

The Morning After- Get all candy out of the house!  You don't need it around and frankly neither do your kids.  A friend of mine has a great strategy with her kids; they each get to pick 5 pieces of candy to keep and then when they donate the rest they get a gift card for Target or Border's.  I think it is an excellent trade-off.

  I hope you all have a very happy, healthy, fun Halloween.

Val

ps:  If you need any help getting started on your fitness program, check out my 6 week transformation system at www.redcarpetready.com.



Tuesday, August 19, 2008

How Michael Phelps Won 8 Gold Medals

While I don’t know Michael’s exact training strategy and haven’t met him personally, I am pretty confident I know some things that helped him win 8 gold medals, and they are the same strategies you can use to get Red Carpet Ready.

1. He decided. That’s right. He made a very clear decision that he would win 8 gold medals at the Olympics in Beijing. I feel confident saying, he probably wrote this down somewhere. Then he held that vision very clearly in his minds eye and did not waver from his goal.

Here’s what you can do:

Decide right now to get fit or more fit. Take some immediate action so you can get some energy behind your decision. This could be something simple like a kitchen purge and restock or buying new workout shoes or a pair of Valslides.

2. He told everyone about it. Accountability is a powerful thing and telling everyone about your plan is like giving them your word. Michael told his plan to the world; it was announced through every form of media. Once he did this, I don’t think he ever considered missing a workout.

Here’s what you can do:

Tell your friends and family you are starting a new program and you would like their support. You could also start a blog (I have seen this be very effective for people) or you can join an online community. To find out about the Red Carpet Ready club go to www.redcarpetready.com/blog

3. He put forth the effort. It is hard for me to imagine that this young guy blew off workouts because he wasn’t in the mood, he was tired, busy or hung over. You might want to argue that swimming is Michael’s job. He’s an athlete and his job is to be fit. Newsflash: “Swimming and being fit is his job because he put the effort in.” His amazing god given talent would have meant nothing had he chose to miss practice and play video games.

Here’s what you can do:

Make your workouts non-negotiable. Schedule them in your calendar like any other important appointment. Ideally first thing in the morning. Implement the 10-minute rule. No matter how bad you feel or how busy you are, you will do at least 10 minutes. Chances are you will complete the workout. Crank up the intensity. You will not achieve a Red Carpet Ready body if your whole workout consists of walking or doing a workout that does not challenge you.


4. Recognize that recovery is important. Michael Phelps has someone measuring, testing and analyzing anything that can be analyzed. 3 minutes after Phelps’ race, someone will prick his ear with a needle and that blood will be measured to see how much lactic acid is in his system and he will swim slowly until it has dropped to an acceptable level. The coaches know how much to push him, how much sleep he needs and when he should start tapering his swims before a meet.

Here’s what you can do:

While you may not have a team of people looking after you, you can take one full day off each week. Build in some kind of soft tissue work. This could be massage or foam rolling. Get at least 7 hours of sleep each night. Don’t eat junk food. Fuel your body with lean protein and veggies. Don’t’ forget to hydrate.

It is true that Michael Phelps was incredibly blessed. His body was built for speed. He has come of age during a time of advancement in training and equipment technology and he has the ability to turn off the outside world when necessary. Talent and blessing, however, are never enough. It is effort that brings forth the rewards. The way to your best body lies in your decision to have it and the effort you are willing to put into it. You have it in you. Dig a little deeper. The rewards are on the other side of effort and it’s not just the great body you will have. The latest magic potion or exercise pill will NOT give you the same as what you’ll get when you work for your goal. You might have to trust me on this in the beginning but you will thank me later!

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Sumo Wrestler Diet



I frequently receive calls and emails from frustrated women trying to lose weight. My years in the trenches has helped me to easily spot dietary mistakes and given me an arsenal of tricks to get someone Red Carpet Ready.
One of the most common mistakes I see, men and women alike, is skipping meals. The excuses may vary:

“I’m not hungry in the morning.”
“I forgot to eat.” (I personally have never understood this one)
“There was no food in the house.”
“I don’t have time.”

Most of these are just the result of poor planning or lack of strategy. I address all of these in my book Red Carpet Ready.

Sometimes though, a person is trying to use this as a method of weight loss and is frustrated that it’s not working. Regardless of the reason, skipping breakfast and/or lunch usually results in over eating or making poor choices at dinner. After all, you’re now starving!

This strategy of skipping breakfast and lunch and then eating a healthy (but big) dinner is the same strategy used by Sumo Wrestlers. These powerful athletes have staggering proportions. Their weight is their asset and they often weigh over 500 lbs! Like most professional athletes they take their diet and training very seriously.

Sumo Wrestlers purposely starve themselves all day and then have an evening meal that includes protein, vegetables and rice, immediately followed by sleep. This is their secret weight gaining technique and it has been used successfully for hundreds of years. By first starving the body, they send it into fat-storing mode. This is your bodys weapon to protect it from famine.

By starving the body of fuel, it holds onto every calorie available as fat to be used as energy for the next starving period. Sleeping directly following the evening meal allows the body to hold on even tighter to these calories.

Are you on the Sumo Wrestler diet? Was this your intention? Do you want to look like a Sumo Wrestler? or do you want to look Red Carpet Ready?

To lose stubborn body fat, you must do five things consistently:

  1. EAT- Preferably 5-6x per day.

  2. AVOID- Refined carbs and overly processed food.

  3. Drink 64-100 oz of water everyday.

  4. Do 3 full body circuit style strength training sessions as described in Red Carpet Ready

  5. Get 7-8 hours of sleep- Adequate sleep is often the missing equation in a fat loss plan. This really is that important.


Do these 5 things consistently and you will be on your way to feeling Red Carpet Ready!

Love,
Val

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Another Red Carpet Ready Success Story!

I just wanted to share another Red Carpet Ready success story with you all the way from Germany. People all over the world are getting results with Red Carpet Ready. Stefanie's email below is inspiration for you and a reminder to me that helping people feel better about themselves is what makes my job so rewarding!

______________________________________

Success Story

Dear Valerie,

Ever since my husband proposed to me in October 2007 I was wondering how
to lose weight and build up muscles. I have tried various programs and none really worked to my satisfaction. I had just recovered from an accident and a workout pause of six months. During this time I put on 12 pounds.
12 P O U N D S!!! I am 34 years old but I looked a lot older.

Inspired by lovely Jennifer Garner and an interview in SHAPE where your
name came up I started searching for your website - and found it. I
decided to order your ValKit for Travel and also bought your Red Carpet
Ready Program. I started working out in February 2008 - 4 months to go
until our wedding on June 21st.....

I have been with Weight Watchers for years and already dropped approx 30
pounds but they used to claim that potatoes were top of the list for
weight loss (they know better now concerning the glycemic index). Since
I am a vegetarian I thought about how to increase my protein intake.
Luckily I do eat eggs (I buy them at a nearby farm) and dairy products
so I focused on that instead of fish or meat. Also I started watching my
portions of pasta and brown rice and realized I always had too much of
it! This was why shortly after eating I was feeling hungry again (we
remember: WeightWatchers and potaoes).

We Germans simply LOVE bread, it is one of our substantial foods. I
always used whole grain, anyway, but now I've reduced it to one
piece in the morning along with yogurt or egg whites (instead of
additional 2-4 pieces in the evening). I stopped eating at our canteen
at work (my favourite was baked potato with salad..) and started cooking
again. My husband loves it because he switched to my vegetarian way of
living shortly after we met and even he does not want to eat any chips
or sweets anymore - he COULD eat it, though, because he really is thin
but he just does not crave unhealthy stuff like he used to. This is
thanks to your program!!!

Now we keep fit and concentrated throughout our working day and I go
straight to the gym afterwards. Even on very hot days I do not give up
and use our cool cellar instead of the gym - I just kept going. I never
knew I could be so determined! Even my husband now takes time to workout
with me 2 days a week (it's a start).

The Red Carpet Ready Workout is challenging and I needed some time to
adapt to it - especially the ValSlide - staying balanced while sliding
is not that easy. Now I do really well with it and a trainer at the gym
even asked me if I was a trainer myself because the workout looked so
professional to him.

I never was slim and although I still have a long way to go until I have
my "dream figure" I am sure I will succeed! I was so happy when my
wedding gowns (which I bought in November 2007) had to be adjusted TWICE
to my slimmer shape and on our wedding day they would fit quite
loosely...

I dropped more than one dress size and I will now try your action hero
workout - I am curious how I will look like in 6 weeks :))

Enclosed I am sending you 2 photos of our wedding - one after the
registry office (in Germany this is mandatory) and one after our
ceremony in the evening under a bright blue sky....

THANK YOU SO MUCH for the inspiration, the super program through this
making me feel so attractive on my wedding day and ever after.

You big fan from Hamburg, Germany!

Stefanie


Stefanie (before her wedding)


Stefanie (after the ceremony)

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If you want to be Red Carpet Ready for your special event, then start now! It's never too late.

Click here for more information.

Lastly, I've had so many of you interested in joining the Red Carpet Ready club, and I'm so excited to get it started! If you haven't joined the interest list and want to be kept in the loop on the Club's progress, then visit www.chatwithval.com and sign up.

All the best,

Val

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Earthquake Workout

“Call on God, but row away from the rocks.” -- Hunter S. Thompson

As I sat down to write today’s blog, my house started to shake. It turns out that LA was having an earthquake. Did you feel it? It registered at 5.4 and lasted 30 seconds. My heart is still racing as I write this. Nothing like an earthquake to get a little adrenaline pumping! It heightens your awareness and gives you the energy to get your butt moving. Of course, had the earthquake been more serious, that fight or flight response just might have saved my life. To learn more about how to increase your chances of survival during an emergency, read on.

According to a recent Time magazine article, surviving a disaster is not merely a product of luck, though it might seem so as we watch a fire take down a row of houses and then skip a few before burning through several more, or as a tornado that narrowly misses your house while flattening your neighbors’. It might seem that when disaster strikes it is so random that there is nothing you can do. Well, apparently there is actually quite a bit you can do to increase your odds of preventing or surviving a disaster.

People who study disasters and those that survive them have learned that there are specific things that survivors have in common:

1) Know the drill. If you live in an area prone to fire, mudslides, tornados, or hurricanes, have an action plan to get your family out. Often when disaster strikes, people freeze. The more automated your response is, the better chance you have. Run fire drills with your kids. Teach them which way you want them to exit. Do this repeatedly so they could do it with their eyes closed. Know where you keep important documents and have an evacuation plan for your pet. If you work in a high-rise, practice going down the stairs. As much as everyone thinks these kinds of drills are a pain, they could make the difference in your survival.

2) Knowledge. According to a Time Magazine article, knowing that you can survive might give you an edge in resilience. For example, did you know that 56% of people involved in serious plane crashes between 1983 and 2000 survived? Makes you want to pay attention to the in-flight briefing. Your belief that it is possible to survive helps you take responsibility in your survival.

3) Get Fit. If you need another reason to get in shape, here it is: When disaster hit the World Trade Center on 9/11, people with low physical abilities were 3x as likely to be hurt while evacuating the towers. People who are better conditioned are able to move faster to get out of harms way.

To increase your odds of surviving a disaster you need to make sure you and your loved ones have a basic level of fitness. You should be able to complete the following circuit 3 times without feeling like you might pass out.

Survival Circuit
• 15 Bodyweight Squats
• 10 push ups (or modified push ups for women)
• 12 alternating forward lunges
• 12 two arm rows with a stretchy band or dumbbells
• Plank hold for 30 seconds
• 20 Bicycle Abs
• 15 reverse crunches

Rest 1 minute and repeat 2 more times.

This is the minimum you should be able to do.
To get more fit, go to www.redcarpetready.com

Enjoy!

Val

PS. Just a few more days until I start working on the Red Carpet Ready club. It’s coming, so if you’re interested be sure to visit www.chatwithval.com to join the interest list so I can keep you updated.


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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

How To Make Water Fun!

Hi!

Many of you wrote in following my Chat With Val asking how you can increase your water intake. (basically how can you make water more FUN!))

Well take a look!



Also, I’m participating in a Tele-seminar tomorrow called My Ultimate Body Fundraiser. The proceeds go to a charity called Trekking for Kids. We’re going to

Also, my good friend Scott Colby has put together an amazing event. It’s a tele-seminar where all of the proceeds will go to a charity called Trekking for Kids. It is a 7 call series and your donation will give you access to each of the calls as well as mp3’s and transcripts of each call for you to keep. Even better, you get to submit questions during the call.

You can sign up here: http://www.MyUltimateBodyFundraiser.com

I’ll be speaking tomorrow at 1 pm PST as part of the discussion on women’s health and fitness.

Even if you cannot attend the calls, you can still write in your questions before the calls begin and you will be given a copy of the mp3 audio replay of each call and the written transcripts.

Here is the link if you’d like to know more:

http://www.MyUltimateBodyFundraiser.com
Love,

Val

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Valslide Cover Model

I was at the newsstand today and was so excited to see Jesse, our Valslide Manual cover model, gracing the cover of Maximum Fitness Magazine.  Check it out!



Here's a sneak peak inside the Valslide Manual that's coming soon!

  

My Secret Weapon Exercises

The Valslide & The Valband

As promised, here are a couple of exercises for you to do using your Valkit for Travel while at home or away. Have a happy 4th!


Travel Tips

Staying Fit on the Road

One of the busiest travel weekends is fast approaching. Whether you plan to be in a bikini or to simply be active (mountain biking, hiking or kayaking), I hope you have been following Red Carpet Ready or another plan so you feel confident and excited. Once you get there, you don’t need to let the vacation de-rail your fitness. Of course, you have earned a little break from your strict diet and your hard core gym routine but this doesn’t mean you eat anything you want and simply veg at the pool for a week. Fit people know (and I hope this includes you) that it is much more fun to be active and eat healthy while on vacation. I just got back from Kauai where I had the best time experiencing my friend’s Luxury Fitness Vacations (http://www.purekauai.com/). I stayed in a beautiful condo overlooking Hanalei Bay (I chose a condo for the kitchen), I surfed 2 hours everyday, ate healthy local fare and did my 20 minute Valkit for Travel workouts every other day to stay on my program. I came home completely refreshed, recharged and a couple pounds lighter. While your vacation may look different, here are some tips to stay fit on the road:


Travel Tips

Lodging

If possible, choose to stay in a house or condo so you have access to a kitchen. You don’t have to cook all your meals there (obviously you want to get out to some local restaurants) but it is nice to have the option. If you must stay in a hotel (or prefer to) have them clean out the mini bar before you get there. You don’t need the $7 M&M’s calling your name at 11 pm. Once you get settled find a local market and stock up on some easy snacks. I always get a few bottles of water, a bag of almonds, some California Raisins, a couple of low sugar protein bars and a couple of bananas. This way I have a few things to tide me over if my next meal is more than 4 hours off.

Find a Running Route

If you’re a runner, but don’t want to get lost in unfamiliar territory then check out http://www.runtheplanet.com/ People post information about the best running routes all over the country. Get your run in without getting lost!

Learn a new sport.

Anywhere you go on vacation, there is something active you can do. Don’t sit on the side lines just because you don’t know how. Sign up for a couple of lessons with an instructor and have the chance to feel like a kid again. Depending on where you are, you could learn to surf or boogie board, kayak, rollerblade, cycle, horseback ride, mountain bike or play volleyball. The options are endless.


Take your gym with you.

I like to get at least a few gym sessions even if I’m being active. While I always stay near a gym, I still bring my Valkit for Travel so I can be sure I have everything I need. Actress Kim Raver of Lipstick Jungle says of hers, “You can bring it to the gym or workout with it in your living room. I travel all over the world with mine, so I have no excuse NOT to workout.” If Kim can do it, so can you. Don’t leave home without yours!


If you can't see this video click the following link or copy and past this link into your address bar:http://youtube.com/watch?v=fsvxO46Q4eY

Newsworthy

The Valkit for Travel goes on Vacation

Last summer the Valkit for Travel went to France and Italy. This year, it went to Kauai, Prague, Australia, Greece and Germany! Where did you take your Valslides? Send us a picture and tell us where you took yours. We’d love to share your story!

My upcoming teleseminar

Check out my latest project here. I'll be one of the speakers participating in the Mid Year Resolutions tele-seminar. I think you'll get some great info. They'll cover everything from nutrition, making more money, getting fit, building healthy relationships, and more! I'm super excited and I think you'll find the information worth while. The best part is that it's free! The speaker schedule isn't out yet, but check back here as I've been told it will be posted soon!








Wednesday, June 25, 2008

New Years Resolution check-in

Here we are, nearly half way through the year. How are your New Year’s Resolutions coming along?

Have you lost weight?
Reduced your stress?
Improved your health?
Saved some money?
Reduced your carbon foot print?

I am not sure all of these were on your resolution list but if you are like most people, chances are a few of them are. What if I told you that just one action done consistently would allow you to put a check mark by all of these things. You would want to know, right? Well there is. It’s something we can all do with just a little forethought and about 5 minutes. What is it?

Bring your lunch to work.

I talk in my book Red Carpet Ready about the importance of this from a weight control standpoint. Losing weight is hard enough without the extra difficulty of waiting so long to eat and then rushing to get the most convenient (not necessarily the healthiest option) and scarfing it down in 5 minutes because the line was long and now you are running late. Imagine instead that during your lunch break you calmly open you cooler and pull out your healthy salad or wrap. Maybe you nosh on some baby carrots and hummus while you browse one of your favorite magazines or lose yourself in a chapter of a favorite book, such as “The Other Boleyn Girl.” Before anyone else has gotten back with their fast food fix, you have enjoyed your lunch and had a few quiet moments to yourself. You have also saved approximately $7 and with a 5 day work week that is $35 in savings. That is $140 per month that you’re saving. But wait, there’s more! You can reduce your carbon foot print by bringing your lunch in a reusable cooler which means that you’re not contributing to the 1.8 million tons of trash created by the packaging that take-out food comes in!


That is a lot of benefit for one small action. Be part of the club that brings their lunch to work!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A Red Carpet Ready Success Story

Since releasing my eBook, Red Carpet Ready, I have received such positive feedback and heard many success stories, I thought I’d start sharing them with you to get you inspired to reach your own goals.

I received an email from April Dunn on April 4th of this year. She had just purchased the
Valslide and was excited to get started. She had a couple of questions for me and shared a few of her struggles:

“Valerie, I’m 33 years old and a happy size 10. I’m going to be in my sister’s wedding in 7 weeks and could stand to lose 10 pounds. I started lifting weights last fall in preparation for the wedding. I was doing a strength program that I found on the internet three times a week using 5 lb weights (for a total of 40 minutes each time – 10 minutes on abs, butt, thighs and arms). To my surprise, I ‘bulked up’ rather than toned down! After doing this consistently for four months, I quit cold-turkey. I’ve been very scared to try any weight lifting again. I tried the Valslide workout and whoa…what a workout!”

After reading April’s email I suggested that she do my program
Red Carpet Ready, and three weeks later she sent me a progress report. In just 3 weeks, April had lost inches in her chest, waist, hips, thighs, calves, and biceps, and dropped 1 dress size!

“When I started your program three weeks ago, my attitude was “I can do anything for six weeks”. Now I’m realizing I want to keep doing your workouts even after my six weeks are up. I can do the weights in 50 minutes (three times a week) and the cardio only adds another hour and a half to my week. So, I figure with only four hours of commitment weekly, I can look and feel a whole lot better!”

In the end, April met her goal! Here's what she told me:

Valerie,

Where do I begin? Thank you, thank you, thank you for putting together an AMAZING workout! I met my six-week goal! In Six Weeks, I accomplished the following:

· 13 pound weight loss
· Chest – 3 inches lost
· Waist – 2 ½ inches lost
· Waist (2” below Bellybutton) – 2 ½ inches lost
· Hips – 2 inches lost
· Thighs – 1 inch lost
· Calf – ½ inch lost
· Bicep – ¾ inch lost
· From a tight size 10 to a loose size 8

These are REAL numbers – REAL results! It’s amazing!

I must admit I was skeptical – How much change could you make to your body in just six weeks? See the attached “Before and After” pictures for the answer! I felt confident, toned and fit! I had so many wonderful comments from friends and family members. I actually had people refer to me as “skinny”, “thin” and “hot”! I’m a 34 year old mother! What a thrill! Your workouts are the most effective I’ve ever done. I had dreaded the fact that I was 12 years older than all the other bridesmaids in my sister’s wedding…that was until I didn’t look like it!




Hearing these stories is what makes my job so rewarding; and not just because April saw the numbers change, but because she is more confident and happy because of it. What I know, and what April learned, is if you do the Red Carpet Ready program and commit to it for the full 6 weeks, you will undoubtedly see results! Great job April!
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Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Indiana Jones workout

I recently saw the new Indiana Jones movie and while it felt a bit old fashioned, it was still good fun and great to have Harrison Ford back as Indy. You’ve got to admit the guy still has it; rugged good looks, a sense humor and the ability to get himself and others out of a jam.

If you were wondering how Harrison is able to look so good at 65 then read on. My good friend Jamie Milnes is one of Hollywood’s premier personal trainers and Harrison’s long time trainer. So I had to ask him how Harrison does it, and of course share the inside scoop with you. Be sure to watch the video of a sample Harrison Ford workout and try it for yourself!


Behind the Scenes:
With Jamie Milnes


Personal Trainer to Indiana Jones star, Harrison Ford


Jamie, tell us a little about your background and how you came to train Harrison Ford?

I’m originally from Manchester, England. I came to the States almost 15 years ago and established my training career in New York City. After a few years I moved to LA, primarily for the lifestyle. I love mountain biking, snowboarding and kayaking, which isn’t very easy to do when you’re living in New York City. I was introduced to Harrison through another client of mine who I have worked with for a number of years. He started training with me in preparation of his role in Hollywood Homicide, and we’ve been working together ever since. For me, word of mouth has been the best way to build a clientele.

Harrison has been an action hero for many years. How is it that he can still kick the bad guy’s butt and look good doing it, regardless of his age?

Very good stunt men! Just kidding. Joking aside, Harrison moves extremely well…especially for someone in his mid sixties. He's a living testament to the fact that you can maintain a high level of athleticism if you continue to work at it. He leads an active lifestyle which doesn't just mean he just goes to the gym to workout. He still skis and plays tennis, among other things, which has also allowed him the ability to “keep kicking the bad guy’s butt.” Working in the gym will definitely help you maintain your health and fitness, but I think playing outside gives you that extra edge. I also think it gives you extra incentive to workout if you know ski season is around the corner for example, rather than just "I'm going to the gym because it's good for my health".

I see you and Harrison in the gym regularly and his workouts look tough and ever changing. Is there a method to the madness?

Yes there is. For Harrison, and many of my clients, time is an issue so we don’t necessarily work to the hour. I have set work for Harrison to do each session and when it’s done he leaves, whether it’s 20, 30 or 50 minutes. We put the emphasis on movements that integrate the whole body in multiple planes of motion with high athletic demand. This gives us the most bang for the buck, especially when he is pressed for time. This type of training, does however, require a high level of fitness.


It has been written that Harrison is quite the adventure seeker. He flies helicopters, does most of his own stunts yet he seems to be quietly living his life on his own terms. Do you think diet and exercise plays a part in this?

Undoubtedly. You can't be as physical as he has been for so long without taking care of yourself. He has definitely taken his fare share of knocks over the years but still managers to do a lot of his own stunts and lead a very active lifestyle. You can be a daredevil and an adventure seeker, and never workout a day in your life…but only for so long. You must stay strong and healthy if you intend to keep it up year after year. If you have passion for adventure you can experience a lot more, and keep on doing it for much longer if you take good care of yourself. But you’ve got to have the passion…and either you have it or you don’t. Harrison has it.


There is no question that Harrison Ford is always in great shape. Does he diet before a movie role or is he pretty consistent year round?

He keeps active all year round, whether it’s in the gym with his workouts, playing tennis or skiing in the winter. You have to be consistent throughout the year. I don't mean you have to train hard all year round. Professional athletes don't even do that. I think the best philosophy is to always maintain a base level of fitness and then when you have something coming up, such as ski season, take it up a few notches. Harrison, like all smart athletes, treats a movie the same way and just shifts into a higher gear for a few weeks before he needs to be ready.


I know they change regularly but can you share a sample Harrison Ford workout?

Circuit 1
Single Arm Dumbell Snatch---- Do 8-10 reps, then switch arms
Hanging Knee Tucks ---- Do 12-15 reps
Hamstring Curls on Valslide ---- Do 12-15 reps
Repeat circuit 3 times.


Circuit 2
Standing Single Arm Pulley Row ---- Do 10-15 reps, then switch leg/arm
Push Ups on Stability Ball ---- Do 10-15 reps
Crunch with Single Arm Press on Stability Ball ---- Do 12-15 reps, then switch arms
Repeat circuit 3 times.



view video here:



Any final tips or quotes you can share if we want to keep kicking butt when we’re 65?

Find something that you enjoy doing or something that excites you. That may be mountain biking, hiking, or surfing. Then think about how you can improve your ability to enjoy that activity. The more fit you are the better you are able to handle the work required for any particular activity. And when you can handle that work, you can start to hike steeper hills, or bike more mountainous terrain or surf bigger waves. In other words…get fit and go play! Keep working at it and keep exploring new activities. Don't settle for quick blasts of activity followed by long stretches of inactivity. Always maintain at least a base level of fitness because you never know when you may need it. Stay ready.


To learn more about Jamie visit www.getfitgoplay.com

Monday, June 9, 2008

Eat Better Mondays: Favorite Sweet Treat

Even when you're eating the Red Carpet Ready way, you might still have a craving for something sweet. Here's one of my favorite new treats that won't blow your diet. It's a little like chocolate fondue. I've used strawberries in this example, but any fruit will do.



video

The Un-Happy Meal

If you haven't completely given up fast food, then check this out. It will make you think twice about ordering a burger and fries or picking up Happy Meals for your kids.





Remember that hamburger you ate last year? It may still be in there!

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Friday, June 6, 2008

Get Happy!



What brings you joy?

I would love to know the first thing that popped in your head. Have you experienced that lately?

If not, why not?

I have been taking surf lessons the last few days and when I am on a wave, I have a smile from ear to ear and feel so happy I might burst. It got me thinking about joy.

Joy is defined as the emotion of great happiness. If we all felt joy more often, I believe the world would be a better place.

Here are a few things that bring me joy:

• Surfing 
• Playing with Cody & Lexi
• Watching someone I don’t know, using the Valslide at the gym
• Dancing
• Finishing a great workout
• Seeing a client master a tricky new move
• Reading nice blog comments
• Running with my tribe (more on this later)
• Reading Red Carpet Ready success stories
• Watching motivational sport movies like The Rookie, Miracle, and Rocky.


Want to feel happier? 

Here are my top 4 tips for getting more joy:

1. Know what brings you joy and do more of that. Okay, we can’t always be surfing or dancing, or what ever it is for you, but certainly there are small things you can do each day. Maybe it is watching a funny or motivational video on youtube. Maybe it is surprising a loved one with a love note in their brief case or lunch box. Maybe it is taking a few minutes to read a couple of pages in your favorite novel or motivational book. Find something you can do today that makes you smile or laugh.

2. Fake it until you make it. If you are really stressed or are having a hard time finding joy in your life, act as if you are happy by smiling at others. Generally the response you get will make you feel good. 

Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh said:

“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, 
but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”


3. Exercise regularly. I don’t need scientific studies to tell me that exercise can ease depression, anxiety and stress. I have long considered exercise my wonder drug. My motto “you are one workout away from a good mood” says it all. If you are not exercising regularly you might find it difficult to dump daily stress, worries or frustration. Think of exercise as the “Norton Utilities” for your body. When you’re clogged with worry and stress it is hard to hear joy knocking on your door.

4. Count your blessings. Recognize what is good in your life and focus on it. You will quickly be reminded that you do have things to be joyful about.

Joy Blockers

If you haven’t experienced much joy lately, check to see if one or more of these joy blockers are in the way.

• Clutter: It is nearly impossible to relax or feel happy when every surface is covered with papers, bills, magazines, and other clutter. I recently did a major clutter clearing and it was almost as if I could breathe easier.


• Lack of sleep: Stop with the bragging about only needing 5 hours of sleep and go take a nap. Besides the fact that failing to get enough sleep heightens the risk for a variety of major illness such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and obesity, it is really hard to feel happy when you are chronically sleep deprived.

• Poor nutrition: Much like the lack of sleep, poor nutrition contributes to a variety of major illness but it in addition, it simply does not allow you to function optimally. Think about how you feel when its 3pm and you haven’t eaten or if you over indulged on some greasy Mexican food. It’s hard to feel really joyful. 

• Over-scheduled: We have become a society of schedule driven Blackberry (aka: Crackberry) obsessed people. Often joy wants to sneak up on you, but without a little breathing room it can’t get in. So create some breathing room. Take your child to the park and watch her laugh as she feeds the ducks. Share a funny story with your best friend. Take an early morning walk and you might see something special like an amazing rainbow or a mama duck feeding her babies. These moments of joy might have been missed if you were rushing to your next appointment or texting on your Blackberry.


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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Behind the Scenes with Rachel Nichols: GI Joe’s hottest Action Hero


To be an action hero you have to be tough enough to kick the bad guys butt. To be a female action hero you not only need to be tough enough to kick the bad guys butt, but you have to do it with big hair, body hugging clothes and high heels. I recently posted a couple action hero workouts that I have been doing with my client, Rachel Nichols, who has been cast as Scarlett in the new GI Joe Movie that hits theatres in August of 2009. Since the workouts have been so popular, I thought it would be fun for you to get a glimpse as to what it’s like to play an action star. Rachel has been kind enough to give us a peek behind the curtain.


I first asked Rachel if there was anything she could tell us about the movie or her character Scarlett. Unfortunately she wasn’t able to share any specifics. (We will just have to wait until the movie comes out!) I can tell you that GI Joe isn’t just 1 person. It is actually an elite counter-terrorist team, whose main purpose is to defend human freedom from Cobra, a ruthless terrorist organization determined to rule the world. So here’s what the lovely Rachel had to say:


What is it like playing an Action Hero babe?


Playing an action hero comes with a lot of outside influence and expectancy. When fans are familiar with a character, they expect certain elements to crossover between the fantasy and the human playing the role and I certainly don't want to let anyone down. Playing Scarlett has been so much fun. I've never had two months to physically prepare for a role and I took advantage of it. It's not every day I get to have fight scenes on elevators, break necks, jump through fire, and almost get washed away by waves of water in an underwater bunker!



How did your program change for this role?


The only thing I did...was tell Valerie that I needed a kick-butt body to go with the character! She took it from there and the results were pretty amazing. We wanted to add muscle (not pointless bulk) so that I could be believable in the role of a highly trained combat soldier. I needed to be on a moving treadmill for an entire scene wearing a sports bra and I didn't want ANYTHING jiggling around while I was running! I also wanted to arms and abs to be a bit more substantial and I needed to build up my stamina for all the long, physical days of shooting I knew I would encounter. Thankfully, I have Valerie (we've been working together for 3.5 years) and she knew exactly what to do to get me where I needed to be.



Compared to when you were a model, how has your body changed?


I modeled for a long time while I was at college in New York and will always look back on that period of my life with great fondness. I learned a lot about myself during that time and have been able to use some of that knowledge in my current profession. When I modeled, however, my body was completely different. I didn't work out...ever...and my diet was not a healthy one. I battled with food for many years and I still occasionally have issues with food, but I am a much healthier person now than I have ever been. When I got hired on ALIAS, they suggested that I begin working with Valerie to get in shape for the physicality of the role. During out first session I almost passed out! I had not done and working out in a very long time and I had not eaten breakfast before seeing Valerie (big mistake)...and that was the day I started changing my body, mind, and diet. Valerie taught me what to eat and when to eat it and we started training together 3 times a week. My body started changing in the first 6 weeks and it has been getting better ever since. I began to feel better, my muscles were showing tone and definition, but I wasn't getting bulky. My stamina was greatly increased, my butt started firming and lifting and I actually began to feel strong! It was so empowering to finally have control over my body. It was invigorating and exciting and the more I worked out, the happier I felt...and the cycle continues today.



I know from my own interviews that everyone thinks it is easier for celebs to be in shape because, after all, they have trainers, chefs, etc. Obviously, you and I know that’s not necessarily true. Most people don’t realize how difficult making a movie can be. Maybe you could share what a typical week of shooting looks like?


I completely understand how public perception can be a little bit off when it comes to the entertainment industry. It seems like it would be easy for me to stay in shape because I have a trainer and sometimes the luxury of a food delivery service, and I'm not by any means saying I have it rough, but some days are definitely a challenge! I have been shooting GI JOE since February and am currently finishing the film in Prague for 6 weeks. If I sometimes find it difficult to workout enough during filming in LA...it's definitely more of a challenge here in Prague! A typical work week for me usually begins with a 5 or 6am call time on Monday (meaning I might be heading to work as early at 4:30am) and a 7 or 8pm wrap and that's pretty much the way it goes every day. I always train with Valerie on the weekends because it can be tricky to fit in sessions during the week. When I get home at night, I have to look over all of the material for the next day of shooting. I try to get on the treadmill for 45 minutes at least three times a week before going to bed, but if I have to be awake at 4am and I didn't get home until 8pm that evening, sometimes I have to opt for sleep instead! I usually try to be in bed by 10pm. Some weeks, obviously, are much easier and I do have occasional days off...plus, I love what I do so much that even the hard weeks are fun.


How do you stay on your diet when on a movie? Again, I don’t think people really understand what you are up against (ie: The Craft Service table luring you in with warm chocolate chip cookies, chocolate malt balls, chips and dip, every type of candy you could ever wish for).


I have a terribly sweet tooth...and I freely admit that it is impossible for me to stay on a strict diet for more than a couple of weeks. There have been several times where I knew a specific scene was going to be shot on a specific day and I took the weeks before to prepare my body to be ready to look my absolute best...which meant that I had to adhere to a proper diet. Sets are very dangerous when it comes to food...because there is food all over the place! All the time! And even if, yes, there are veggies and proteins available...I usually want to eat the cookies and chips. What I have come to realize is that I can curb cravings for sweets by "little cheats" - one string of chocolate licorice, 10 Gummy Bears, chocolate skim milk, chocolate rice cakes, or berries with a little bit of chocolate syrup can usually tame my need for sweets. But I also find that if I acknowledge a craving and wait for about 10 minutes, it has usually subsided. And then sometimes I just eat that piece of pie, but I eat it slowly and I savor every little taste...if you're going to splurge, then you'd better enjoy it thoroughly! When I work, I often have a food delivery service prepare all of my meals. If, however, there are no services where I am shooting, then I usually stick to greens and proteins...chicken, veggies, fish, egg whites, fruit, yogurt, salads with a simple dressing. Surprisingly enough, and contrary to popular belief, healthy food can be very tasty! I live by the motto "try anything once, have an open mind when it comes to food" because I am very often surprised by the way something tastes compared to the way it sounds. I mean, "veal cheek" doesn't necessarily sound appetizing, but I had some last night and it was amazing.



Any other tips or thoughts for aspiring action babes?


Take care of your body - it's the only one you have. If you have a span of unhealthy behavior, take a few weeks off to relax and cleanse. If you splurge, make sure you properly enjoy it. If you are frustrated and want to change your body and/or diet then DO IT...don't waste time talking about it! Love yourself no matter what because you can't be happy otherwise. Appreciate your faults and your weaknesses. Set goals for yourself and meet them. and always remember - YOU'RE ONLY ONE WORKOUT AWAY FROM A GOOD MOOD (words of wisdom from Valerie)!


If you want be able to train like Rachel check out http://www.redcarpetready.com/


If you want to learn more about her secret weapon, The Valslide, visit http://www.valslide.com/

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Summer Kick Off

Technically it's not summer yet, but the season has officially begun. How did you feel Memorial Day Weekend? Were you bikini ready? Do you feel that you successfully navigated the weekend BBQ or did you leave feeling like your program was derailed? Did you manage to get in a workout and chose the more healthy food options?

If not, don’t let one weekend throw you off track for good. Re-commit to your workouts and plan your meals for the upcoming week. Strategy trumps willpower! And if you need some direction and a little boost check out my Red Carpet Ready program.

To help you prepare for the next summer BBQ, here are the 5 foods you must avoid and 5 you should choose.

Avoid:
1. Hot Dogs
2. Cheeseburger
3. Chips & Dip
4. Potato Salad
5. Beer

Hot dog with bun: If you actually read the ingredients in a hot dog it would be easier for you to pass. Add the bun (which is devoid of almost all nutritional value) and other fixings and you will realize this is a diet buster.

Cheeseburger: A 4 oz burger with American cheese comes in at a whopping 630 calories and 41 grams of fat. Eliminate the cheese and make sure the patty is from 95% lean, grass-fed beef, and you can put this back on the menu.

Chips & dip: A 1 ounce serving of Lay’s chips, which is about 17 chips, delivers 160 calories and 10 grams of fat. Add 2 tablespoons of Lay’s onion dip, you just added 60 calories and 5 grams of fat and you barely even noticed your snack. Chips are definitely something that is best to not even get started on. We all know how hard it is to just eat one.

Potato salad: The problem here is the mayo. If you can make it without mayo, using mustard instead, then you may enjoy a small portion.

Beer: Okay, technically this not a food, but they don’t call it a beer belly for nothing.


Choose:
1. Grilled Chicken or Fish
2. Veggie Kabobs
3. Watermelon
4. Veggies with hummus
5. Red wine

Grilled Chicken or Fish: Fish in general and salmon in particular are excellent sources of Omega 3’s. Omega 3’s are amazing because they have numerous benefits like protection from heart attack and stroke, and reduction of inflammation, to name a few. Chicken is an excellent source of lean protein, just be sure to remove the skin and read the label of any bottled BBQ sauce you may use. Avoid those with “high fructose corn syrup.” Plain grilled chicken or fish is best.

Veggie Kabobs: It’s really hard to eat too many vegetables. Fill up on these first and you will be able to enjoy your BBQ without sabotaging your diet.

Watermelon: One medium size hunk is only 46 calories and naturally sweet.

Veggies & Hummus: Hummus is a great source of dietary fiber and protein. And like avocado, Hummus contains heart-healthy fat.

Red Wine: Unlike other types of alcohol, red wine contains vital antioxidants which help repair damaged cells. In moderation, drinking red wine can improve heart health and circulation while also preventing cancer. The key word here is “moderation.”