Love Notes by Jari Love

Posts in the fitness success category

The POWER of Habit

by Jari Love

John Dryden famously said, “We first make our habits, and then our habits make us.”

Confucius said, “Men’s natures are alike; it is their habits that separate them.”

And Aristotle noticed that, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.”

It’s pretty clear that the habits you adopt will shape who you are. What are your habits?

Do you eat the same thing for lunch, go through the same exercise routine, and fall into bed at the same time each night?

Or maybe you’ve made a habit out of eating something sweet before bed, avoiding the gym, and staying up as late as possible.

When it comes to your fitness, the two habits that define you are your eating and exercise habits. In fact, everyone that you know who is in great shape has dialed in these two important habits.

If you aren’t happy with your body, then simply adjust your eating and exercise habits.

Here’s how to adopt a habit:

  • Decide on the ONE habit that you would like to develop. It’s tempting to pick up 3 or 4 healthy habits but choosing just one new habit is realistic and doable.

Here are some healthy habit ideas:

  • Do not eat after 7pm each night.
  • Bring your lunch to work instead of eating fast food.
  • Exercise 4 times a week after work for 45 minutes each time.
  • Only eat fruits and veggies as your afternoon snack.
  • Get up early and exercise for an hour each morning.
  • Workout with me 3 times a week.
Write your new habit down on paper. Also include your 3 main motivators for developing this new habit, the obstacles you’ll face, and your strategies for overcoming these obstacles.


Here’s an example:

  • My new habit is to work with a personal trainer 3 times each week.
  • My 3 main motivators are 1) to feel confident in my bathing suit this summer, 2) to have more energy, and 3) to fit into my skinny jeans.
  • The obstacles I will face are 1) not having the energy to go to my session after work, 2) not having enough money to pay for sessions, and 3) not having my spouse’s support.
  • I will overcome these obstacles by 1) doing my workouts before work instead of after work, so I have more energy, 2) cutting down on frivolous spending to ensure that I can afford it, and 3) asking my spouse to join me so we can get in shape together.

Commit fully to your new habit, in a public way. This could mean posting it on social media, or simply announcing it at the dinner table. Put yourself in a position where you’ll be embarrassed to give up on your new habit.

Keep track of your progress. You could keep a detailed journal or simply make a check mark on each calendar day that you successfully exercise your new habit.

Once your new habit becomes second nature, usually in about 30 days, feel free to add a second habit by going through the same steps.

Jari Love – original creator of Get RIPPED! DVD series and group exercise classes. The hot-selling and critically acclaimed Get RIPPED! series enables individuals of any fitness level to burn up to three times more calories than the traditional weight-training program, and has received rave reviews from fitness critics throughout North America since the first title debuted in late 2005.

Coffee Lovers Rejoice!

by Jari Love

Ask the Diet Doctor: The Workout Benefits of Coffee

Q: Is it best to drink coffee before or after a morning workout?

A: I recommend drinking your java before a.m. exercise so you can take advantage of the shot of caffeine to optimize your workout.

Caffeine has powerful nootropic effects, meaning it manipulates neurotransmitters to alter how the brain functions. While we all think of caffeine as a stimulant, it doesn’t directly stimulate as much as it prevents or blocks the action of neurotransmitters that promote sedation and relaxation.

Your pre-workout caffeine-packed cup of coffee isn’t just going to give you the mental edge, though—it will also help you burn more fat. The exact mechanism in which caffeine works to enhance fat-burning has yet to be conclusively nailed down (as it probably works via several different mechanisms), but it primarily seems to work by increasing the breakdown and release of fat.

Now let’s get to the nitty-gritty.

What kind of coffee should I drink?

An easy way to adjust how much caffeine you consume is to change the type of coffee that you are drinking. Dark roasted coffee has less caffeine, and light roasted coffee has more. After a short night of sleep, you might want to opt for the New England or Half City roast (light roast), but most days you’ll do fine with the French roast (dark roast).

How much caffeine is enough? How much is too much?

While research shows that caffeine is extremely safe to use—you’d need to drink 130 cans of Red Bull to get a fatal dose of caffeine—caffeine tolerance is very individualized. Just because I’ve seen studies safely use upwards of 600 milligrams (mg) of caffeine to test its effects on pain perception doesn’t mean that you could pop two NoDoz with your venti Pike’s Place before you work out. Too much caffeine prior to exercise may actually decrease performance, as it can make you feel nauseous and lightheaded. I’ve personally tested multiple different dosages of caffeine before workouts and found that 300mg is the most my body can tolerate before I start to feel nauseous.

So how much coffee should I drink?

When it comes to stimulants like caffeine, less is always better, and know your body. Those new to caffeine should start with around 100mg (a shot of Starbucks espresso has 75mg).

If you’re drinking coffee for the fat-burning effects of caffeine, studies show this seems to start around 200mg. Sticking with Starbucks coffee as our delivery mechanism for caffeine, this would equal a grande Americano (225mg caffeine) or slightly less than a tall regular brewed coffee (260mg caffeine).

One downside to caffeine is that your body adapts to it overtime. Any serious coffee drinker or energy drink fiend will tell you that it progressively takes more and more caffeine for them to reap the benefits of alertness compared to what they used to need to get the same effect.

And a final piece to consider with caffeine levels in coffee is that it can be very variable. In a test of six different samples of Starbucks Breakfast Blend, the caffeine levels ranged from 259 to 564mg. This is a huge range.

But doesn’t caffeine dehydrate you?

No; this is a very common myth about caffeine. While caffeine is a diuretic (e.g. it causes increases in urination), studies looking at caffeine use in high-temperature exercise situations show that it does not lead to dehydration or subsequent decreases in performance.

By Dr. Mike Roussell

Jari Love – original creator of Get RIPPED! DVD series and group exercise classes. The hot-selling and critically acclaimed Get RIPPED! series enables individuals of any fitness level to burn up to three times more calories than the traditional weight-training program, and has received rave reviews from fitness critics throughout North America since the first title debuted in late 2005.

How to Tell When You’re Really Dehydrated

by Jari Love

Did you know that once you hit the point of being thirsty, you’re already dehydrated? Our bodies are between 50 and 75 percent water, so once you’re dehydrated, the amount of water in the body has already dropped below what’s needed for normal body function. Here are signs that it is time to drink up!

You Feel Tired
If you feel tired throughout your day, try filling up on water before reaching for a caffeinated beverage and see if that makes a difference. After a full night’s rest it’s common to be slightly dehydrated in the morning; so don’t forget to include drinking a glass of H2O in your morning routine to jump-start your metabolism and your brain!

A Little Moody
A recent study found that mild dehydration can affect your mood and interfere with your ability to concentrate. If you’re sitting at your desk and feeling a little low, sipping water could help you snap into focus.

You’re Having Trouble Going...
Water helps to keeps your digestive system moving and your intestines flexible to avoid chronic constipation. It only makes sense that you’d have difficulty with your bowel movements if you’re not staying hydrated. Keep things moving by drink plenty of fluids throughout your day.

You Have a Headache
Mild headaches are a classic sign of dehydration. Drinking eight ounces of water when you feel the pain coming on might just keep the headache at bay. So sip up before reaching for the aspirin.

You Have Bad Breath
Dry mouth leads to bad breath. You need salvia to fight stink-inducing bacteria, so drinking water regularly should keep your breath in check.


Jari Love – original creator of Get RIPPED! DVD series and group exercise classes. The hot-selling and critically acclaimed Get RIPPED! series enables individuals of any fitness level to burn up to three times more calories than the traditional weight-training program, and has received rave reviews from fitness critics throughout North America since the first title debuted in late 2005.

Obesity Prevention: Screen and Sedentary Time

by Jari Love

In today’s age electronics and screens surround us. T.V, ipads, computers and smartphones are part of our daily lives. But more and more studies are linking the amount of time we spend with these screens and the associated “sit time” with obesity. In a recent article published by Harvard, researchers found that higher amounts of screen and “sit” time negatively impact both Body Mass Index (BMI) and overall health.

There is strong evidence to suggest that cutting back on T.V time can help with weight control in both children and adults.

  1. Early TV habits have long lasting effects. The more TV children watch, the more likely they are to be overweight. This tendency is particularly apparent in children who have T.V’s in their bedrooms. Not only this, but children who watch a lot of television are at a higher risk for obesity well into adulthood and mid-life.
  1. Trials designed to reduce children’s TV use, have found improvements in body mass index (BMI), body fat, and other obesity-related measures.
  1. In The Planet Health trial, for example, students assigned to receive lessons on the benefits of reduced TV time had lower rates of obesity in girls. While another trial found that third- and fourth-graders who received an 18-lesson “TV turnoff” curriculum cut back on TV time and on meals eaten while watching and had a relative decrease in BMI and other measures of body fatness.
  1. There is also evidence that the more television adults watch, the more likely they are to gain weight or become overweight or obese. Related to T.V linked obesity issues is evidence that too much TV watching also increases the risk of weight-related chronic diseases.
  1. The Nurses’ Health Study, as one among many similar studies, followed more than 50,000 middle-age women for six years. A summarized analysis of these studies found that for every two hours two hours spent watching TV, the risk of developing diabetes, developing heart disease, and early death increased by 20, 15, and 13 percent, respectively.
  1. A small pilot study in 36 men and women found that adults who cut their TV viewing time by half, compared to a control group with no limits on TV, burned more calories each day, and had a greater reduction in BMI than the control group.
  1. Screen and TV watching may contribute to obesity and poor health in several ways: by displacing physical activity, promoting poor diets, enabling poor snacking choices and by interfering with sleep.
  1. Many studies show that TV viewing is associated with greater calorie intake or poorer diet quality: food-related TV ads often promote high-calorie, low-nutrient foods and drinks; TV shows and movies frequently feature Branded products which are overwhelmingly for unhealthy foods; TV food ads influence food consumption, shows that feature food ads saw an increase of 45 percent in snack consumption than in shows with non-food advertising
  1. TV food and drink advertising to children ages 2–11 decreased from 2004 to 2008; however, advertising to adolescents (12–17) and adults (18–49) rose substantially in the same period. A recent review of the sugary drink advertising market found that children’s and teens’ exposure to sugary soda ads doubled from 2008 to 2010, with Coca Cola (a CFBAI member) and Dr. Pepper Snapple Group (not a member) leading the way.
  1. There are no overarching nutrition standards for what constitutes a “healthy” food or drink—and the future of such standards is a matter of hot political debate. Proposed standards, released in April 2011, have been met by strong resistance from the food and beverage industry and have been stymied by Congress.
  1. Game playing, sitting at work, driving, and obesity—have not been studied as extensively as TV watching. But there is evidence that these other forms of “sit time” can contribute to obesity
  1. There’s evidence that spending too much time sitting—at work or at home—increases the risk of becoming obese, and may also increase the risk of chronic diseases and early death. It is unclear whether sitting itself is the culprit, or whether sitting is just a marker of another unhealthy aspect of lifestyle. It’s also possible that other types of modern sedentary behaviors promote overeating in different ways: Reading or working on the computer, for example, may increase people’s stress and lead to overeating, while listening to music may distract people from noticing whether they are hungry or full.
  1. Overall, there is little doubt that time spent watching TV is an important risk factor for obesity—and a modifiable risk factor. There’s evidence that excessive marketing of unhealthy foods and beverages on television contributes to the TV–obesity link.
  1. Ways to curb exposure to TV and media: limit children’s screen time to no more than two hours per day–The American Academy of Pediatrics also recommends no screen time for children under the age of 2; Make children’s bedrooms TV-free and Internet; advocate for stricter regulations on TV/media food and beverage advertising to children.
  1. Staying active helps with weight control, as does limiting sedentary activities—recreational computer time, driving, and the like. Replace “sit time” with “fit time”—walking or biking for part or all of a workday commute, instead of driving, or playing in the park instead of playing video games. Help creating an environments that supports active lifestyles, and be aware of media and advertising’s influence on your food intake and choices.

Jari Love – original creator of Get RIPPED! DVD series and group exercise classes. The hot-selling and critically acclaimed Get RIPPED! series enables individuals of any fitness level to burn up to three times more calories than the traditional weight-training program, and has received rave reviews from fitness critics throughout North America since the first title debuted in late 2005.

Steps to Eliminate Belly Fat for Good

by Jari Love

Belly fat is something that a lot of people complain about. Why? There are the obvious reasons, such as the fact that it is unattractive and unhealthy, and then there are the less obvious reasons. For instance, belly fat is some of the toughest fat to eliminate from the body.

When you start to understand how and why the body places fat around the abdominal area, however, it can help you to begin to get rid of it “for good”.

The body uses the calories or energy (same thing) that you consume in a few ways. The energy that it gets from fat is something it knows how to use up (burn) almost immediately. The energy that comes from carbohydrates might head directly into storage. This ends up as fat around the body and even on the organs of the trunk or midsection.

Considering the source of calories is a useful way to almost immediately reduce the chances for midsection fat storage. Cut your daily caloric intake of carbohydrates to around 40% or less of total calories.

Do BOTH cardio and strengthening. A lot of people make the mistake of thinking that a lot of cardio is the best way to blast belly fat, but the truth is that people with a higher volume of muscle will always burn calories as they exercise and for a much longer period of time afterward. So, when you want to really tap into any stored fat (whether visible or visceral) you will want to work on strengthening as well as cardio.

Go for fiber in the daily diet. Studies have shown that people who begin consuming around ten grams of soluble fiber each day (and without making any other changes in their diets) will become far less likely to develop belly fat. That translates to a large apple, a handful of cooked beans, or a full cup of peas.

Get more sleep and less stress. Though this has very little to do with diet and exercise, if you are not properly rested and living with too much stress, it will trigger the body to store fat. This is the type of fat that usually appears on organs and the midsection.

So, with just a few fairly simple facts, you can begin to make the changes needed to eliminate belly fat, and keep it off forever.

Source: Martin, Laura J., “How to Lose Belly Fat”, WebMD

Jari Love – original creator of Get RIPPED! DVD series and group exercise classes. The hot-selling and critically acclaimed Get RIPPED! series enables individuals of any fitness level to burn up to three times more calories than the traditional weight-training program, and has received rave reviews from fitness critics throughout North America since the first title debuted in late 2005.

Healthy Tuna Salad

by Jari Love

Yes healthy tuna salad can be made!

This healthy tuna salad recipe takes protein filled tuna and adds fresh ingredients to turn it into a healthy tuna salad. Unlike many tuna salad recipes, this one doesn’t call for dressings or mayonnaise that add undesirable fats. So, have this for healthy tuna salad mix for lunch or dinner, and keep it lean by skipping the bread and eating it straight from a bowl. Servings: 4

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 cans Albacore tuna, packed in water
  • 1/2 cup white bean hummus
  • 1 small apple, finely minced
  • 1 Tbsp yellow onion, finely minced
  • 1 tsp dried dill weed
  • dash of Pepper
  • 1 TBL Dijon mustard

    Mixing Instructions
    1. Drain and flake the tuna in a medium sized bowl.
    2. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.
    3. Serve in a bowl, on large lettuce leaves or in half of an avocado, garnish with dried dill weed.

    Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals: 188 calories, 5g fat, 563mg sodium, 10g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, and 21g protein.

    Jari Love – original creator of Get RIPPED! DVD series and group exercise classes. The hot-selling and critically acclaimed Get RIPPED! series enables individuals of any fitness level to burn up to three times more calories than the traditional weight-training program, and has received rave reviews from fitness critics throughout North America since the first title debuted in late 2005.

    By Collage Video | | fitness success, Jari Love, practice, Recipe, tips, Weekly Blog, Wellness | 0 comments | Read more

    Diet Essentials After a Workout

    by Jari Love

    Eating nutritious foods to support a healthy body might be important for everyone, but it’s even more critical for active folks. Running a race, spinning on a stationary bike, and rowing are all great activities to get your heart pumping and offer numerous health benefits. The harder you work, the more energy your body needs. It can be tempting to stock up on sweets and other empty-calorie foods to fill you up, but doing so could jeopardize your workouts and your health.

    With so much conflicting information, though, it can be hard to determine what the “right” foods are. There’s a difference between carbohydrates from sweet potatoes and those from white bread, and it really can make a difference. Fortunately, we’ve put together a guide to some of the most important nutrients to fuel your gym routine and keep you feeling fine.

    1. Complex carbohydrates

    Athletes around the world gathered in a collective eye-roll with the sudden boom of the Atkins Diet, a meal plan based around consuming only low-carbohydrate foods. While some might successfully lose a few pounds with this method, it isn’t an ideal choice for those with high physical demands. Livestrong explains that carbohydrates are the body’s main source of fuel, and that inadequate carb consumption can leave you feeling fatigued and lead to a number of deficiencies.

    Instead of eliminating this group of important nutrients, focus on getting the best quality carbohydrates. That means whole grains and vegetables. Runner’s World explains these types of complex carbohydrates provide fiber and digest more slowly to provide a steady energy supply. That doesn’t mean simple carbs are out, though. The story went on to note foods like white rice and pastas offer up an energy boost that’s ideal immediately before exercise.

    1. Healthy fats

    If there’s one thing we learned from the low-fat diet craze, it’s that eating less fat doesn’t make anyone healthier. WebMD explains that many low-fat or fat-free products rely on fillers like sugar and flour to sub for the missing ingredients, which could bring the number of calories right back up to where they were in the first place. What’s more, fat is essential to good health. Fitness says the nutrient helps to keep your body functioning and aids in absorbing key vitamins. The article stresses the importance of consuming unsaturated fats, while limiting saturated and trans fats.

    And it’s even more important for athletes. Colorado State University states that frequent exercisers should consume at least 15% of their calories from fats, or risk suffering poor performance. So don’t shy away from the avocados and nuts, but maybe cut back on the bacon a little bit.

    1. Protein

    You may have heard bodybuilders talk about the importance of eating enough protein, but it’s not just those seeking to get ripped who need to focus on the nutrient. Researchers have found diets rich in protein can help prevent obesity, osteoporosis, and high blood pressure. Protein is also important for those who frequently exercise, as it ensures you lose the flab and not muscle mass.

    In addition to obvious sources like eggs, meat, and dairy, protein can come from vegan-friendly sources as well. Foods like nuts, quinoa, and legumes provide plenty of the good stuff without relying on meat or animal products. Health offers some great options for vegetarians and vegans.

    Don’t go protein crazy, though. Fitness explains that consuming too many calories, even from these types of healthy foods, can still lead to weight gain. Just because you’re burning calories on the treadmill doesn’t give you an excuse to go on an all-you-can-eat red meat binge.

    1. Electrolytes

    There’s noting worse than competing in a game or race and suffering from a dreaded cramp. The culprit is usually an electrolyte imbalance. Prevention explains this can happen when we don’t have enough of these minerals, but also when we have too many. So what exactly are electrolytes? According to MedlinePlus, electrolytes are minerals in our blood that impact the amount of water in the body as well as muscle function.

    While many have traditionally turned to sports drinks to replenish these minerals after a serious sweat session, NPR reports that many athletes are choosing whole foods over the neon beverages. One thing everyone seems to agree on? The need to get enough of them. Leslie Bonci, a dietary adviser for several baseball teams, told NPR, “Electrolytes are minerals essential in helping the body retain water — and it’s true: We can’t live without them.”

    So do you really need that sports drink? It all depends on your effort. Runner’s World reports most people don’t need the sweetened beverages for their workouts, but those who exert themselves for over an hour could benefit from the electrolytes. Just keep an eye on portion size.

    1. Water

    We’ve all heard that drinking enough water is important, but it becomes even more crucial for those sweating on a regular basis. Many health professionals suggest letting thirst be your guide, but that can be problematic. Dan Trink, director of personal training operations at Peak Performance NYC, told Men’s Fitness that “by the time this warning sign kicks in, you are likely already dehydrated.” He also added that even a 2% loss in body weight due to dehydration can negatively impact performance.

    If you need more reason to guzzle a couple of more glasses, consider what it can do for your waistline. Prevention reported findings from research that indicated drinking water over sugary drinks can slow the rate of weight gain.

    Be aware that it’s possible, though rare, to drink too much of this vital beverage. Scientific American reported overdoing hydration can be fatal. The story explained this condition, hyponatremia, occurs when sodium concentration in the blood drops too low. Again, it’s rare, so just be aware of how much you are actually sweating.

    1. Vitamins and minerals

    Vitamin or mineral deficiencies can lead to health problems for anyone, but it can be catastrophic for athletes. A study in the North American Journal of Sports Physical Therapy discussed how an inadequate supply of iron can negatively impact athletic performance by preventing the efficient transportation of oxygen throughout the body.

    The study concluded the condition can “severely affect an athlete’s ability to perform at an optimal level.” And that’s just iron. Everything ranging from calcium to vitamin C plays an important role. WebMD offers a whole list of different vitamins and minerals, explaining what they do and how to get more of them. Hint: many sources are fruits and veggies.

    Jari Love – original creator of Get RIPPED! DVD series and group exercise classes. The hot-selling and critically acclaimed Get RIPPED! series enables individuals of any fitness level to burn up to three times more calories than the traditional weight-training program, and has received rave reviews from fitness critics throughout North America since the first title debuted in late 2005.

    By Collage Video | | exercise, fitness success, Jari Love, practice, Weekly Blog, Wellness | 0 comments | Read more

    Do You Make These 5 Fitness Mistakes?

    by Jari Love

    Stroll through any gym and you’ll notice many mistakes. Mistakes that waste time. Mistakes that put people in danger. And mistakes that are just plain crazy.

    Maybe you even make a few of these mistakes yourself.

    By avoiding these common blunders, you’ll put yourself on the fast track to results.

    Check out the following 5 fitness mistakes and the solutions you need to avoid danger and to get fit fast.

    Mistake 1: You use the wrong weight
    The goal is to challenge your muscles, not to simply go through the motions. If you are able to complete 15 repetitions easily, then the weight is too light. On the flip side, if you aren’t able to perform an exercise through its full range of motion, and find yourself cheating on form, then the weight is too heavy.

    The correct weights will feel challenging by your last few repetitions, but won’t force you to sacrifice form.

    Mistake 2: You do the same routine
    You may have noticed that most people do the same exercises each time they visit the gym. Maybe you’ve been doing the same exercise routine as long as you can remember – if it isn’t broken then don’t fix it, right?

    The truth is that exercise routines have expiration dates, and that is the date that they begin to lose their effectiveness. As a rule of thumb never use the same routine for more than 4 weeks.

    Mistake 3: You don’t warm up
    Most people consider warm up time to be wasted time – they’d rather jump right into the heart of the routine. What they don’t realize is that a good warm up will allow you to perform at a higher intensity, which means greater results.

    The point of a warm up is to increase your muscle temperature. This increases blood flow, muscle contraction and reduces muscle resistance. Your warm up should last 5-10 minutes.

    Mistake 4: You use bad form
    Gyms are filled with people performing exercises with bad form. The two biggest reasons are that you aren’t concentrating on the exercise, or you’re trying to lift weight that is too heavy. Lifting with improper form almost always results in injury.

    Take the time to achieve proper form, by doing so you’ll avoid injury and will reap the full benefit from each exercise.

    Mistake 5: You workout alone
    People who exercise alone are less challenged, less accountable and typically see fewer results. It makes sense, doesn’t it? Why rush to the gym if no one is there waiting for you? Why push yourself if no one is watching? Exercising alone is a recipe for disaster.

    Jari Love – original creator of Get RIPPED! DVD series and group exercise classes. The hot-selling and critically acclaimed Get RIPPED! series enables individuals of any fitness level to burn up to three times more calories than the traditional weight-training program, and has received rave reviews from fitness critics throughout North America since the first title debuted in late 2005.

    By Collage Video | | exercise, fitness success, Jari Love, practice, tips, Weekly Blog, Wellness | 0 comments | Read more

    Food Lie #6: It’s not just genes: What it’s like to work out like a Victoria’s Secret model

    by Jari Love

    Food lie #6 says that being thin is all about your genetics. This couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s not the “skinny gene” that gets passed down from one generation to another, it’s the lifestyles that support being the “ideal” weight. If your parents tend to be overweight or obese, your chances of being overweight or obese are also high. But not from the genetics, but from the lifestyle that is modeled for you. Speaking of models, read this article from a fitness blogger and re-evaluate your perception of the models.

    Fitness blogger Poppy Cross found out first-hand what it takes to look like a Victoria’s Secret model.

    Victoria’s Secret models don’t break a sweat as they glide down the catwalk – and it’s hard to imagine they’d ever need to. Didn’t they just drop from the sky, all slender and sleek with a whisper of a waist and divinely sculpted thighs?

    Not quite. The truth is that looking like an “Angel” (the brand’s upper echelon contract models) takes serious slog. Behind the lace is a “military mind and athlete’s performance”, says one blogger who has laid the truth bare.

    After four months on the same “relentless and intense” exercise regime followed by the models, London-based fitness blogger and journalist Poppy Cross wrote about her experience in The Mail on Sunday.

    The 29-year-old said nothing could have prepared her for the mental and physical challenge that lay in store.

    “There’s a reason the VS models are known as athletes,” Cross told Stuff. “They have to have lean muscle as opposed to the regular rake-thin catwalk model. It’s about sexiness not skinniness.”

    From lifting weights and running to boxing, ballet and pilates, all manner of methods are employed to get those rock-hard abs, she says.

    Adriana Lima’s workout routine includes HIIT training, boxing the bag, yoga and capoeira – a type of martial art. Photo: Victoria's Secret/Instagram

    “VS models all have different routines. Three months pre-show, they all increase their workout intensity. Adriana Lima admits she trains twice a day in the run-up – favouring boxing and jumping rope,” says Cross.

    On her blog, Cross quotes Victoria’s Secret creative director, Sophia Neophitou-Apostolou, saying: “It’s really like being an Olympian – they have to be in peak condition.”

    And as Cross learnt for herself, looking like a past or present Angel, such as Heidi Klum, Tyra Banks, Adriana Lima, Gisele Bundchen, Helena Christensen or Miranda Kerr, is no stroll through a meadow.


    Genetics do play a role, says Cross. “Victoria’s Secret requires all its Angels to be 5-foot 9-inches tall and have 24-inch waists.”

    But that’s just the beginning. To be a Victoria’s Secret model, you also need 18 per cent body fat or lower, says Cross.

    At 5ft 9in with a 26-inch waist, Cross already had the fundamentals when starting the programme, but at 22.2 per cent body fat, she had a way to go before reaching Victoria’s Secret standards.

    She was told by personal trainer Dan Roberts, who works with the models, that she needed glutes “as solid as concrete”, sharply-defined obliques, muscles in her skinny arms “to get the Gisele-esque lines” and more definition in her thighs.

    Before starting the programme Poppy Cross was already very slim, but afterwards gained more lean muscle. 

    That meant a lot of weight training, including dead-lifts, weighted lunges, tricep dips and press-ups. After one month she was physically and mentally exhausted, but by month three she was deadlifting 72kg.

    One of the brand’s most famous angels, Alessandra Ambrosio, has said “you put all your mind, all your everything” into the role.

    She tries to work out at least once a day, alternating between a lot of weights and then no weights at all. She throws in some ballet, and is a huge fan of pilates, spin classes and yoga. She also spends time running after her two kids and playing with them in the pool.


    Foodwise, Cross was put on a calorie-restricted high-fat, high-protein, low-carb diet, which meant chicken, fish or beef with almost every meal. Sugar was out, including fruit. Vegetables were allowed initially, but on the pre-catwalk diet, it was all proteins and fats, she wrote in The Mail on Sunday. “Extreme low-carb diets push the body into a state called ketosis, which means that it primarily burns fat for energy.”

    Her diet, devised by nutritionist Dr Charles Passler who also works with the models, ensured she had the nutrients required to be healthy.

    By the end of the programme, Cross got down to 17 per cent body fat. Because she’d garnered so much lean muscle, she didn’t lose weight, but dropped at least a dress size and shrunk her waist.

    In her blog, she says even her cholesterol levels came down marginally. Coupled with her lower glucose levels, that meant a healthier metabolic profile.


    At the end of her challenge, Cross felt “healthier, fitter and firmer, which is a positive result”.

    She’s also learnt how much time and effort is needed to build lean muscle. “Anyone who thinks that the VS models rely solely on starvation and genetics is wrong,” says Cross in her blog.

    So then, given the hard graft, should any of us look on in envy when the Angels strut their stuff, or rather count ourselves lucky as we scoff our chips and dip?

    “If you want to make it your career then you could train like them! It’s actually a privilege to look after your body on that scale and feel so physically fit,” she told Stuff.

    In her blog, she says the hours and dedication required to be VS catwalk-ready would be impossible to maintain if you have a job, family or want an enriching social life (ie. where you can eat whatever arrives on your dinner plate).

    Cross says even Adriana Lima claims to only do strict diets before a show – “after the show, I become normal again” – whatever “normal” may constitute for the likes of a super-being like Lima. Via

    Jari Love – original creator of  Get RIPPED! DVD series and group exercise classes. The hot-selling and critically acclaimed Get RIPPED! series enables individuals of any fitness level to burn up to three times more calories than the traditional weight-training program, and has received rave reviews from fitness critics throughout North America since the first title debuted in late 2005.

    Break the Bad Habits

    by Jari Love

    Bloating up like a balloon? Just like a balloon you could be swallowing and trapping air in your body. Doing simple things like drinking out of a straw, talking while you eat, chewing on gum, sucking on candy and consuming carbonated drinks. These are all things that can lead to air being trapped in your belly.

    Also get more sleep! No matter what people say or think, you really do need eight hours of sleep at night. When you do not get enough sleep, it boosts the stress and strain on the body (since sleep is the body's chance to refresh and restore). This creates cortisol, which is a hormone that is associated with weight gain, and is often a by-product of inadequate sleep.

    Unfortunately if you are woman and happen to be menstruating, that could be another cause of the overnight weight gain. The menstrual cycle has several points that can cause this. But don’t fret; your weight is just a number and this won’t last. Put out the worrying by engaging yourself in exercising!

    By Collage Video | | fitness, fitness success, Healthy, Jari Love, Weekly Blog, wellness | 0 comments | Read more

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