Ever wonder how the models you see in fitness magazines really stay in shape? So did Tosca Reno, a formerly overweight mother of three, who got seriously fit in her 40s and became one of these women. In her new book, The Eat-Clean Diet Stripped ($20; Robert Kennedy Publishing), Reno reveals how she went from being the mom next door to model strutting her stuff in front of the camera, as well as what other model and fitness competitors taught her along the way. "I learned the tricks of the trade from the best of the best when I was preparing for my own competition nearly 10 years ago," says Reno. "These athletes have the science behind them to create beautiful physiques with the perfect combinations of diet and exercise. If they can do it, why can't we?" Here, 18 of her top tips.
This nutrient-rich blue-green algae helps decrease appetite when consumed before meals. The jury is out on why, but most people believe it’s spirulina’s high protein content in combination with its extremely high nutritional profile. When you consume this superfood, your body recognizes that it does not need as much nutrition from a meal and sends signals to your appetite control center. Try adding it to your morning or post-workout smoothie.
Make large batches of soup, stews and chili, and freeze them in individual containers. When you’re short on time, you can throw one in your bag and your lunch will be thawed by the time you’re ready for it.
If you doubt your ability to resist restaurant offerings, try a little trick called “pre-eating.” I will eat a healthy meal before meeting business associates or friends. Then when I am at the restaurant or social event, I don’t have to worry about being hungry or eating foods that don’t bring me to my goals. I order a water or a coffee and focus on conversation.
You need to build muscle to burn fat. One pound of muscle burns far more calories than a pound of fat. And strength training not only stimulates your muscle while you’re working out, but for hours afterward.
Eating small meals every two-and-a-half to three hours ensures your metabolism will stay hyped all day long. When you wait too long between meals or skip one entirely, you trigger a starvation response and your metabolism begins to slow down.
The next time you’re hungry after dinner, make your best effort to distinguish between real physical hunger and emotional hunger, which is usually the result of boredom, depression, anxiety or a social situation such as a party. If you are physically hungry, eat! But don’t go overboard. I might eat an apple with a handful of raw, unsalted nuts or scrambled egg whites with slices of tomato.
If you normally slouch, then you’ll appear to lose at least five pounds just by correcting your posture. Try this: Imagine your two hipbones and your pubic bone as the three points of a triangle. Try to keep all three points in line while you are standing to straighten out your lower back. You will feel your abdominal muscles tighten. You can try the same with your shoulder blades. Imagine the points at the base of your shoulder blades shifting down and inward. This will keep your shoulders back and your chest proud, while preventing tight pectoral muscles and a sore neck.
We often confuse thirst for hunger and this is easily preventable by keeping a loaded water bottle nearby. Drinking water also keeps your body lean by helping nutrients flow through it and by washing away waste and free radicals.
Increase the intensity (not the duration) of your cardio workouts. Try high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Studies show that people who incorporate HIIT into their workouts lose twice as much weight as those who don’t.
From the beginning of time until the 1800s we ate almost no sugar. Then in less than 10 years we jumped to an average 60 pounds of sugar per person per year, or one pound every few days. I rank sugar’s dangerous effects up there with cocaine and heroin. All three are white powders, all give you a high and crushing lows, all are highly addictive and all destroy you. Steer clear of foods that contain sugar and artificial sweeteners.
I create a fine-dining experience everywhere I go. I keep a plate, cutlery and placemats in my office and use them every day. I set a place for myself in my lunchroom and arrange my food nicely on my plate. I savor my food, enjoying the lunch I have packed for myself. I'm always satisfied at the end of the meal and I return to my desk with a clear head ready to work for the afternoon.
Begin your meal with a salad, without dressing. Use a spritz of lemon or some balsamic vinegar. Choosing a salad will give you another opportunity to load up on fibrous foods that fill up your stomach.
If you’re out to eat and there is no healthy salad option, have a broth-based soup. Ask your server whether the soup contains cream, and if so then skip it. You may also have to request no extra dollops of toppings like sour cream. These too are often high in fat and calories.
Fletcherizing is the practice of chewing each mouthful of food a minimum of 25 times. Doing this gives your body time to recognize that you are slowly becoming full and satiated. If we gobble our food, we tend to eat more. This much chewing also pre-digests your food in your mouth, helps release more nutrients and helps prevent gas. Aim to take at least 20 minutes to eat your meal.
There are many adult sports leagues that range from beginner to advanced. Form a team with your friends and you can play any sport from basketball to softball to dodgeball all year long. You’ll also open yourself up to meeting other people who are just as interested in being fit as you are.