The Body Blueprint

Strip the Fat Off Consistently by Anticipating Problems and Developing Flexibility

It's amazing how many people write in with excuses as to why they can't eat right or work out or any number of things because of inconveniences.

I'll tell you what? Stop bulls***ting yourself, and you'll dramatically improve your body.

Planning is crucial to success. You've heard it a million times- "if you fail to plan, you plan to fail".

This saying has been beaten to death, but it's still true.

"Yeah, but even when I plan my days, something always comes up"

Yes, even with the best laid out plans, you will come across some obstacles- but what you do when you come across those obstacles makes all the difference in the world. Do you fold in the face of the boss' order to stay late, or do you step up your game and go to plan B?

You need to anticipate obstacles.

You need to develop flexibility. Flexibility is having a plan B. And a plan C.

Flexibility can be simply carrying a protein bar with you, so that in case the boss orders you to stay late, you can fuel up with something of decent quality instead of ordering pizza or Chinese take out.

Flexibility can be performing a bodyweight exercise circuit when you find out the gym in the hotel you're staying at is closed for repairs.

Don't let inconveniences ruin your momentum. Step up and use your flexibility.

8 Steps to Better Posture

If you're sitting at the computer for more than an hour at a time, you're putting yourself at risk of developing injuries of the hand/arm, shoulder, neck, and back. Obviously these injuries don't occur immediately. They take time to form, due to gradual adaptation of your body to unnatural position. Essentially you're molding your body.

That being said, there are things you can do to counteract any problems from cropping up. Here are a few things that I do, that you could easily incorporate...

1) Strength training the abdominal muscles and lower back muscles.

2) Take a break every 30 minutes. Stand up, walk around, shake your body out and get a glass of water.

3) Stretch the hamstrings (back of the leg) and quadriceps (front of the leg) lightly. Sitting for long periods of time causes some tightness in the legs which can lead to lower back tightness or pain.

4) Take some deep breaths that fill your lower abdomen (stomach). Often while sitting at the computer for long periods of time, people tend to lean forward or slouch, leading to more shallow breaths and reduced oxygen intake.

5) Sit up straight with chin up. If possible, have your screen on level with your eye- line to avoid jutting your head out, leading to stress in the neck and spine.

6) Sit on a Swiss ball (stability ball). I only use it once in a while, but some people swear by it. Sitting on the stability ball forces your body to contract the posture muscles so that you don't fall over. It also strengthens the "core" muscles.

7) Foam roller. I love this thing. I foam- roll my full body twice per day and sometimes more if I'm sitting for long periods of time. Plenty of places online to purchase one for about 10- 20 bucks.

8) Arrange your work station properly. I'm not a work station expert, but you can find a comprehensive information here- Cornell Universities' Ergonomic Guidelines for Arranging a Computer Workstation

Keep in mind, you may have a lean body, but if you've got bad posture, it offsets the entire presentation.

Holiday Season Survival Guide- How to Limit Fat Gain on the Holidays

holiday fat gain

It's been a strange year, weather wise. At least it's been strange here in NYC. It rained for what seemed like the entire spring season, and then the summer had very little rain. At the end of August we got hit with a "hurricane" which seemed to cut the summer short by a month. I went to a block party the first week of September and I was wearing a heavy sweatshirt. Then, over the past weekend- the first weekend of December, I was out in the park in a t-shirt and shorts!

Well, we're in the second week of December now, and I finally had to break out a new jacket. It also means that this weekend starts the string of holiday parties and dinners.

The time of year notorious for adding 10- 15 pounds then promising to burn it off at midnight, December 31st.

Why make it harder on yourself? Why not take a few precautions while enjoying yourself and only add an easy to burn pound or two?

To help limit the fat gain here are a few tips to make sure your hard work doesn't go down the drain.

1) Adjust your gym schedule

Schedule your exercise sessions right before any big meals. Performing the workout before the big feast will allow your body to use the feast to it's advantage. A good portion of the feast will go toward recovery from exercise and stored as fuel- instead of fat stores. After the workout, your hard working muscles are like a sponge waiting to soak up all the nutrients.

2) Tack on some extra cardio

Cardio is an ultimate calorie burner, and the more calories you burn, the less fat you'll have on your body. I have some of my clients add an additional session of cardio on their day off and some like to hit the gym (or whatever their preferred venue) for a second session at night or in the morning.

If you're already tapped out on how many times you can do cardio, you can also extend your current cardio sessions by 5- 20 minutes.

3) When you're pressed for time

Perform my friend Eugene's 7.5 minute Tabata workout- it's a workout that can be done at home, and is stimulates the metabolism like wildfire. You'll also get all the benefits mentioned above.

4) Drink a whole bunch of water (or as the professionals say, stay hydrated).

Keep a bottle of water (or green tea with some lemon squeezed in for flavor) by your side at all times. You're much better off getting those calories from food instead of drinking them. If you're the one hosting and or preparing everything, it can get hot in the kitchen. You'll also be running around to stores and stress levels can get up there. Water helps quench your thirst and helps ease the stress. Usually, the meal itself will contain copious amounts of sodium and getting a consistent flow of fresh fluids will help you from getting bloated.

5) Have 20 grams of whey protein about a half hour before the big meals

Studies have shown that having about 20 grams of whey protein before meals cuts down the total food you'll eat at the meal. You simply don't have the urge to eat as much, and therefore you'll take in less calories.

6) Eat the fibrous vegetables first in the meal

Eating fibrous vegetables will help cut down on gorging on the high calorie stuff. The fiber fills you up quick and you'll be less likely to go crazy on the pastries and pies.

7) Try my green apple trick

Green apples have pectin- a fiber that takes fills you up, as well as a natural chemical that satiates you. You can also try this with half of a medium grapefruit- the fiber fills you up, plus an essential oil in the white pithy part of the rind lowers insulin levels and quells hunger.

This is one of my favorite times of the year. This is the time to celebrate and enjoy family and friends. Unless you're going to be competing on stage, leave the celery sticks and Tofurkey alone and enjoy yourself!

Is The Homeopathic HCG Diet a Joke or Does It Actually Work? Here’s The Low Down

The HCG diet is once again building up steam in the mainstream media. Unfortunately the mainstream media is a conduit of misinformation and half-truths, so it's not a quality source of weight loss or diet information. I'll set the record straight here on using the HCG for weight loss in the quickest way possible.

So, Human Chorionic Gonadatropin HCG itself is a fertility drug made from the urine of pregnant women. Back in the 50's some doctors had fooled around with it in some experiments and thought they'd found that it could help people lose weight. A deeper dive into research showed that they were mistaken and it simply does not have any fat loss characteristics for normal, healthy people.

But, if you know how certain entities work, since there was a might have/ maybe connection with weight loss early on, unscrupulous marketers latched on and started promoting it as a weight loss aid. Claims were also made that it suppresses your appetite, which of course has great appeal right? Who doesn't want to not be hungry when they're dieting?

So, after these marketers got their greedy hands on the info and wanted to market it, they realized the fact that it's injectable (read: a shot with a needle) may be a sticking point in people wanting to try it.

So what did they do to make it way more attractive to potential consumers?

They created Homeopathic HCG. That is they diluted the actual HCG- you know, the same stuff from pregnant women's urine, to the point where it contained so little actual HCG that it could go under the label "homeopathic". This way they could sell it on the open market without doctors and prescriptions.

Even better for the marketers was the fact that the drug is so diluted it would basically have no effect at all so there will be no side effects!

So what have we got now? A placebo! And... I know that you know how strong that placebo effect can be, right?

Well, it can be seen in the "glowing testimonials" you see for it where people have actually lost weight.

"But I thought it doesn't work?"

Ahh... you're right. So what gives?

Well, the fact that along with your impotent homeopathic HCG, you'll also go on a 500 calorie per day day. Yes, you heard me, 500 calories. Of course you're going to lose weight eating only 500 calories. You're creating a caloric deficit- a huge one at that and an unhealthy, unsustainable deficit!

So does HCG work for weight loss? No. Does homeopathic HCG work for weight loss? No.

What works for weight loss is creating a caloric deficit through diet and exercise.

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3 outstanding reasons to NOT drink your calories

Bottle of Water and a Lemon The Healthier Option... and Better for Your Waistline

I was just doing a little reading and saw a statistic that Americans get 8% of their daily calories from sugary drinks. This is mind blowing- especially with all the studies we have demonstrating the deleterious effects sugar has on our health and waistlines.

Today I was doing a consultation with a brand new client. She had brought in a regular (sugar containing) Snapple Green Tea. She thought she would get a pat on the back and a "good job!" because it's green tea. Now, green tea provides a myriad of health benefits from raising metabolism a bit to cancer fighting antioxidants. I love it and drink a few cups of it most days without sugar.

While she had good intentions, as many people do in her situation, it certainly pays to dig a little deeper and learn the basics. Eliminating sugar is one rule of those basics. Eliminating beverages containing any calories (from fat or sugar) is another rule of the basics.

Here are 3 outstanding reasons to NOT drink your calories

1) If you're on a diet, this assumes you will be eating less total food anyway. Don't you want to get the feeling of actually eating the little bit that you are eating?

2) The calories often come from fat or sugar. At this juncture, these are empty calories. They do nothing to support your fat loss goals and subsequently, make a calorie deficit more difficult to achieve.

3) Sugar laden drinks boost insulin levels, and then plummet them. The sugar is liquid, devoid of fiber, and high glycemic. This is a recipe for an immediate spike and crash of blood sugar. This means triggered cravings and possible invoking a binge cycle, where you eat more than you normally would have. On top of that, simply having insulin raised in this manner will stop body fat from being burned.

Awful.

To stay in the hormonal fat burning zone, stick with water or unsweetened, zero calorie beverages

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Lose Weight Without Depriving Yourself – Sweet Treats to Eat While Dieting

When most people think of dieting, they conjure up images of deprivation, cravings, and overall hunger. They think it's a necessary evil to feel bad just to shed some pounds. It doesn't need to be this way. In fact, if you're in this mental mind frame before or during a diet, you're doomed to fail. Break out of that shell and see the light at the end of the tunnel.

If I could show you a way to add something to your diet to reduce the anguish, you'd listen wouldn't you? Well, here's a simple tip I use with my clients yet easy way to crush your sweet cravings while keeping calories in check.

Your answer... Fresh (or frozen) Fruit and Berries

Yes, it's as simple as the old switcheroo. In meals where you'd normally have some sweets such as ice cream or chocolate, instead indulge in nature's dessert: Fresh fruits and berries.

If fresh berries are difficult to get in your area, believe it or not, frozen berries have been shown to retain most if not all nutrients!

frozen berries in a bowl from costco

(Frozen berries are just as good as fresh)

More specifically, low-sugar, high fiber fruit. Berries are best, but other options like apples, grapefruit, kiwi, etc. are great too. Instead of polishing off an extra 500- 800 calories of empty calories, you can load up on these delicious, healthy snacks.

This caloric deficit will add up over time to help you lose weight fast. Losing weight at it's very core, comes down to creating a caloric deficit. A caloric deficit is where the number of calories you take in (food, drink, whatever) is less than what you're expending in a day.

When loading up on these fruits and berries, you'll also get a nice dose of antioxidants- nutrients (and enzymes) that fight free radicals, which are charged molecules that roam around like rogues, causing muscle soreness and a whole host of other problems.

Here are some of my favorite fruits and berries:

Blueberries

Cranberries

Blackberries

Strawberries

Raspberries

Goji Berries

green apples

Grapefruit

Kiwifruit

Watermelon

Honeydew

Tip to make the berries even tastier: Top with some low calorie whipped topping. It adds flavor and texture.

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Curb Sweet Cravings With This Antioxidant- Packed Purple Fruit

There's an often over- looked fruit that's sold in your local supermarket or fruit stand that can have powerful implications on your health and your waistline. Not to mention, they're damn tasty.

I'm talking about the plum.

Plums are loaded with vitamins and antioxidants which can help speed recovery after a particularly grueling workout. Studies also show a possible connection between increased antioxidant intake and lowering incidences of certain forms of cancer.

Most of the press about antioxidants lately has been about the exotic newcomers to the market--the gogi, noni and acai berries. These are usually sold as expensive juice blends at local health food stores and through multi level marketing businesses. A compelling story about where they come from and how hard they are to obtain is usually what marketers use to rationalize the jacked up price.

Although these berries are packed with the goods, why not just head to the local market and pick up a bag of fresh plums, which come for a fraction of the price and pack an antioxidant punch on par (if not more) than another superfruit--the blueberry.

Plums can fit seamlessly into your weight loss program as well. A medium, ripened plum contains about 40 calories with 2 grams fiber. They're a great snack if you're dieting because they're low in calories, contain a nice amount of fiber, and best of all- crush cravings for sweet foods.

Want a Better Workout? Prepare in Advance

Countless numbers of people stream through the doors of gyms around the world without knowing what kind of workout they're going to do. They don't know what body parts they're going to work on, they don't know what exercises they're going to do, they don't even know if they're going to do weights or cardio. Many people just show up to the gym and "just do whatever machines are free"

This is absolutely ludicrous if you want results

I know there are people who go to the gym and have other motives- like finding a date for Saturday night or as someone told me last week "just to get my blood moving". I imagine if you're reading our newsletter you're not in this category. Chances are that you want a specific result- like lose some weight and get in decent shape.

Every result has a specific set of actions that get you to that result. If you're going from New York to San Diego, you don't just get in the car and drive and hope you end up there. You get on Google maps and figure out exactly how to get there. The same thing applies in affecting change in your body.

Before you touch the weight or your foot hits the pedal on your elliptical, know exactly what you're striving for. Do you want to burn a certain amount of calories? Do you want to perform at a certain level of intensity for a specific amount of time? Plan it in advance. There are more reasons to do this than you know. You can also invest in my Black Book of Secrets for exactly what you need to do.

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