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).


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


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).

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

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:

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
Our first episode airs this Wednesday, November 12th at 5pm PST - tune in!

For more information about Red Carpet Ready visit

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

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

- 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)

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
To learn more about the Valslide visit