Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Daylight Savings – Workout #1

I am thrilled that daylight savings arrived early this year. I love the extra hour of sunlight at the end of the day. Yes, I know it is now a little harder to get up in the morning but the morning schedule rarely changes. The alarm goes off and it’s feet on the floor. I like to do my gym workout first thing in the morning before clients; it sets my day. However, having an extra hour of sun at the end of the day just begs for me to get outside. What are you doing with the extra hour of light?

One of my favorite workouts is Santa Monica’s own outdoor stair-master. The Santa Monica Stairs is great workout for all fitness levels. Located on 4th street where it dead ends just north of San Vicente, you’ll get to enjoy an amazing view and fabulous weather. There are two sets of stairs; one wood and the other cement. Challenge yourself to do “the loop.” Down the first set, jog across to the next, take it up and jog back to your starting point. Make sure you follow protocol though, which includes being aware of others and stepping to the side to let faster climbers pass. Be careful not to mess with someone’s counting system. If you see a neatly arranged pile of rocks, this might be someone’s way of tracking how many sets they have done. This particular set of stairs is obviously unique to Los Angeles but get out there and find something similar in your area. Maybe it’s the bleachers at the local school or doing intervals up and down a steep hill near your home. Whatever it is, take advantage of daylight savings and get outside.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Can women get too muscular?

This is a big topic in the athletic world, and the general consensus among my colleagues and peers is a resounding no. It likes to be said that because women don’t have enough testosterone they should quit worrying about getting bulky and start lifting weights, yet my entire (and very successful) business has been built on the premise that they can get too muscular. I have created programming that assures that my girls, while looking fit, won’t come off as overly buff or ripped. So what gives? How can the majority of some of the top fitness professionals believe it is a myth that women can get too muscular, much like before Roger Bannister broke the 4 minute mile it was believed to be physically impossible to do. This is a topic I am so passionate about, that I am giving my first ever presentation on the subject. It is being delivered via the web on Wednesday, March 26th at 3 pm PST. To learn more about my “Movie Star Fitness” presentation click here

During my seminar I will break down the secrets of programming I have used to help my clients achieve the look I call Red Carpet Ready.

I think that the confusion lies with not clearly understanding the word “too.” According to Webster’s dictionary, the adverb “too” means: more than desirable, more of an amount or degree of something than is desired, necessary or fitting. Frankly I think this explains things perfectly. It means the term “too muscular” is subjective to the person desiring the muscle and not the person doing the programming.

Here’s a comparison: I am a novice surfer. I have the basics down but I will not be going out on the tour anytime soon. While I know how to catch a wave, I get very scared when the waves are “too big.” My instructor often laughs at what I consider “too big.” More skilled surfers wouldn’t waste their time on the waves I take because they could be considered “too small.” So who’s right? Does it matter to me that they say it can’t be considered to big unless the wave is overhead or the swell has a certain amount of volume or intensity? No, because once the waves hit shoulder height I’m sitting on the beach.

One more example. I love to look at the magazines and see what the stars are wearing. Sometimes I think “wow, her clothing is too revealing” other times I think, “she dresses too conservatively.” Am I right? I am sure the person in question thinks they look nice and really, who am I to judge?

So the next time your client, girlfriend or fellow gym goer says “I’m afraid of lifting weights because I don’t’ want to get too big,” please don’t tell her she is being ridiculous. Instead, ask her what that means to her. Better yet, get her to show you pictures of what body type she likes and what she thinks isn’t right for her. She has her reasons and it just might open your eyes.

Snack Better

Part of eating better is learning how to snack. Snacking is a very important part of my Red Carpet Ready diet and healthy eating in general, yet this more than anything else seems to confuse people. Let me clarify the meaning of a snack:

1. Snack to control blood sugar. One important reason for snacking is to avoid low blood sugar. We all feel better when our energy supply is constant. Besides, if you have lunch at 1 pm and dinner is not until 8 pm, I can almost guarantee your healthy dinner plans will be derailed. Once your blood sugar drops, you go from “I am kind of hungry” to “if I don’t eat right now I might pass out.” At this point, chicken and green beans will no longer do. Whether you know it or not you will be looking for something that will bring your blood sugar back up quickly (ie: pasta, tortillas, pizza, candy).

2. A snack is not the same as a meal. A snack should be about 150-200 calories. A snack does not need to fill you up. All it needs to do it to satisfy you. Again, it is about controlling your blood sugar so that you are able to make healthy choices at your next meal.

3. Snacks should be the right combination of macro nutrients. You want about 1-2 ounces of lean protein and ½ cup – 1 cup of carbs that are low to moderate on the glycemic scale. Yes, the combination is important. An apple by itself is not ideal, but an apple and a piece of string cheese is a good choice.

4. Some snacks should be portable. It is wonderful to be home at snack time, and when I am I might make a crudités platter and a hardboiled egg. Most often you will be away from home at snack time so you need to plan ahead and bring it with you. I use a mini cooler to keep snacks with me when I am running around or at the gym more than 4 hours straight.

When it comes to snacks, don’t over think it. Some of the best snacks are very simple. Here are a few of my favorites:

Low fat vanilla yogurt and mixed berries

Celery and almond butter

Small handful of almonds & California Raisins

Other ideas include:

  • 1 oz roast turkey with mustard rolled up with 1 slice of low fat swiss cheese in a lettuce leaf.
  • tablespoons of Whole Foods roasted pepper hummus with 12 baby carrots
  • 2 oz left over chicken chopped and mixed with a teaspoon of mayo and a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar on top of a whole grain Wasa cracker.

Learning to snack right will not only give you more energy, it will speed you on your way to your weight loss goals.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Vogue Editor & the Valslide

Several months ago, I had the pleasure of training Vogue's Features Editor, Sally Singer. I had 2 weeks to give her the experience of how I might get one of my celebrity clients Red Carpet Ready. Sally is such a delight to work with and it was great fun getting to peek behind the curtain of the fashion world.
The April issue of Vogue just came out and I am thrilled with the write up she gave me. Even more exciting is knowing she still uses her Valslides and takes them with her when she travels.

If you would like to experience a program similar to Sally's, you can get my new book "Red Carpet Ready" available on my website http://www.valeriewaters.com/

To learn more about the Valslide go to http://www.valslide.com/

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Gym Equipment Expo

Two weeks ago I went to IHRSA, the largest exercise equipment tradeshow of the year. I went to see what is new or interesting in the industry. When I design a home gym for a client I want to make sure I know about the latest, best, most useful exercise equipment out there (besides the Valslide of course!). At this show, I did see a few cool things that I will be sharing with you later. What was really special for me was that I connected with some people I love but had not seen for quite some time.

Me and Johnny G at IHRSA

I am sure you have all heard of Spinning®. What you might not know is that I am one of the original spinners. That’s right; I had the privilege of being coached one-on-one by Johnny G, the creator of Spinning®. We sat side by side on these stationary bikes he had rigged and pedaled furiously while he shared his vision of a group spinning class. I was there when the first spinning centers opened and Johnny would teach 5 classes per day. I was there to witness this phenomenal idea spread around the world! He really wanted people to experience the joy of exercise and help them make the mind-body connection. Johnny G is a true visionary and I am proud to know him and his beautiful wife Jodi.

Well, visionaries never rest on their laurels. Johnny is back with his newest creation, a revolutionary program called “Kranking.” Think cycling for the arms. Check out their website to learn more. http://www.krankcycle.com/

Here is a clip from the show. You can feel the energy.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy St. Patrick's Day

I am not really sure what St. Patrick’s Day is all about but I’m all for a little holiday spirit!

My idea of holiday spirit: Having Cody & Lexi wear green

Not my idea of holiday spirit: Green Beer

Eat better Monday’s

I am here to help you realize that eating well doesn’t have to be boring or time consuming. Check out my yummy dinner.

Grilled Lamb Chops with Asparagus and Arugula Salad

This was made in 15 minutes which includes prep time. The key is good ingredients prepared simply.

3 organic lamb chops
½ of a bunch of asparagus
1 cup organic arugula
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Salt & pepper
Mint jelly

*serves 1

Spray non-stick cooking spray on grill pan and heat to medium-high. Sprinkle salt, pepper and rosemary on both sides of the lamb chops. For medium rare, grilll for 4 minutes on each side. While that’s cooking, steam asparagus for about 6 minutes (should still have a crunch when done), drain and rinse under cold water. Dress the salad with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, salt, pepper and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and toss well.

Serve the lamb chops with mint Jelly on the side. I found this excellent garlic & mint one at Whole Foods Market.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Eat Better Mondays: Is your cereal making you fat?

Judging by the number of different kinds available it is obvious that cereal is a popular breakfast option. If you are a regular reader of my newsletter than I am pretty sure you are not choosing Captain Crunch or Fruity Pebbles, but that doesn’t mean you are not sabotaging your weight loss plans. As I see it, the problem is two-fold:

1. Sometimes you may think you are making a healthy choice, especially when the box tells you so. Often they still have too much sugar. When reading labels the number 1 ingredient you want to avoid is “high fructose corn syrup.” (I'll explain more on high fructose corn syrup later.)

2. The second problem (and probably the greater problem) is portion control. I find it incredibly easy to over eat cereal. When I pour cereal into a bowl I use a small bowl to help monitor the amount but I actually measured the amount and I found that I was eating more than double the recommended serving size. Of course, their serving size was about 4 spoonfuls of cereal. But even still, if I want to consume only the 110 calories listed on the box then I have to eat the serving size they recommend.

This is what my bowl looked like when I just eye balled the amount:

This is the recommended serving size according to the box:

Where’s the cereal? You can still see the bottom of the bowl.

When choosing a breakfast cereal make sure you read the label and avoid any with HFCS or sugar as a main ingredient. Look for one with a high fiber content and always measure! You can even add a small handful of berries to your cereal.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Off to IHRSA

Today I am off to IHRSA. IHRSA stands for "International Health, Raquet and Sports Club Association. Basically it is a trade show serving the health and fitness industry. I go there to check out new exercise equipment, network and pick up new ideas. At past shows I discovered the slide board (from which the idea of the Valslide sprang), the Cybex Functional Trainer (still my favorite machine) and the Nordic Track Treadmill which is really cool because it goes to a 50% incline! I will report back on anything of interest.

Even though I am just driving to San Diego and then back tomorrow it will be a very busy two days. With that in mind I want to make sure I have a strategy for eating so I am not stuck eating convention food!

I had a healthy breakfast before leaving and I packed my lunch and snacks. I grilled chicken last night, so naturally I grilled extra for today. I will take that and some arugula for a yummy salad. I also packed a couple of pieces of celery with hummus. For a snack later, I have a baggie with almonds and California Raisins. I know I will be out to dinner and would like a little freedom there, so I want to eat well all day. For the morning I am bringing a packet of plain instant oatmeal and 1 scoop of protein powder just in case I don't like the breakfast options or don't have time for room service. I took a picture of my cooler for you. This is so easy, you can do it too!