Thursday, April 29, 2010

Stevia - Better than the Other Sweeteners?

Is Stevia better than Aspartame and Artificial Sweeteners?

I would recommend it over any of the other sweeteners out there. Agave nectar is good too but it doesn’t have the zero calorie benefit that stevia has. Aspartame is absolutely terrible for you – it is a poison and vast research shows that it should not be consumed by humans. “I drink it all the time and I’m fine” you might be saying. The problem with aspartame or nutrasweet as it is better known is that the effects are based on cumulative intake. That means that you won’t see results at one dose. Aspartame builds up over time and then the results can be seen. Blindness, fatigue, cancers, low immunity are just a few of the reported disorders caused by aspartame. Splenda isn’t much better and I would recommend getting off of both of these.
Splenda and Aspartame are in a lot more foods and drinks than you’d think so be watchful and stay away from them. They are in most chewing gums and in many food items as they are a cheap way to get us craving and buying more food. Another disadvantage with nutrasweet or aspartame that may make sense when you think about your dieting issues is that rather than truly satisfying your sweet craving – it has been proven that it makes you crave more. 

In tests with rats (I know – kind of scary that they are the closest test patients to humans for most lab testing), it showed that those who digested aspartame kept going back for more. They could not be satisfied so they kept eating (or drinking it), past the point of being full – the results were similar to those of drug addicts. They (and we) can’t get enough.

Plus, you may have noticed that you usually eat more to compensate for your “diet soda” or to satisfy that craving for sweet that just isn’t filled when you eat the fake nutrasweetened cookies.

Truvia – another bad fake sweetner. They tell you it’s made of stevia but because they can’t patent stevia, a natural plant – food makers decided to re-engineer stevia so they could patent it. So, truvia is a modified version of stevia. Go for the real thing! Stevia – preferably organic stevia is the best way to go to lose weight and eat healthy.

Okay – so this is really supposed to be about stevia so if you are still reading – good for you. These are just a few really basic ideas for using stevia.

  • Use it on frozen fruit. Although some frozen and most fresh fruit is naturally perfectly sweet on it’s own – if you are one who adds sugar to your blackberries or strawberries – add stevia instead. Trader Joe’s has a nice organic stevia for a good price that doesn’t have a bitter aftertaste. Just sprinkle it on, mix it around and eat- delicious and healthy.
  • Add it to a smoothie or a green shake. If you make smoothies and want to make them sweeter, add stevia.

Here is a recipe for a super easy and incredibly healthy “green” smoothie.
½ c of frozen blueberries
½ c crushed ice
1 lemon (remove the peel and seeds but put the rest in the blender –all of it)
½-1 cup liquid – I usually use ½ water and ½ almond or whole grain milk
Huge handful of greens – spinach or chard work really well. I usually fill the blender up to the top and even add more than that is the taste is pretty mild from these – do it to your own taste.
Stevia – I have found and LOVE these little French vanilla stevia packets. You can buy them in Whole Foods, or online here: NOW Foods French Vanilla Stevia Packets, 100 Count Boxes (Pack of 3)
I usually add 2-3 packets for this smoothie. Alternately, use about ½ tsp of stevia, more if needed.
Turn on the blender and let it go. Add more liquid if needed for desired thickness
You can also add a few strawberries or frozen cherries or other fruits to make it even sweeter but the original version is quite low in calories if you are trying to lose weight.

Oatmeal with Stevia – this is another place I LOVE to use the vanilla stevia packets- 1 is great for a serving of oatmeal – regular stevia can be used as well
Add stevia to your coffee or tea – just a tiny bit goes a long way
If you aren't into the vanilla addition, check out the plain stevia packets above - they are easy to take on the road with you so you don't have to use sugar or the bad fake stuff when you are out and about.

Finally, I want to link you to a genius recipe I found for a pumpkin pie pudding using stevia. It really tastes like pumpkin pie. I was amazed by this one. It can be made dairy free too if you are avoiding dairy. Super healthy with the pumpkin – click the link for the Pumpkin Pie Pudding with Stevia Recipe
I added about ½ tsp of nutmeg or mace and upped the cloves a bit and it was incredible.

If you have any great stevia recipes and tips – we'd love to hear how you use stevia and other natural sweeteners instead of artificial sweeteners.

Element Ballet Conditioning Workout DVD Review

Is the Element Ballet Conditioning Workout a good workout to get a dancer’s physique?

Will it help you lose weight? Is it an enjoyable DVD? Is it okay for beginners?
I hope I can help answer some of those questions in this review.

The DVD is set in a beautiful outdoor setting, in the grass with the ocean in the background – very calming. The only equipment you need is a basic chair. This can be a dining room chair, a folding chair – anything that will offer you support like a ballet barre. It would also be useful to have a mat for the floor portion of the DVD.

The music is not music that you would normally find in a ballet video, which for me was a negative. The music has more of a new age or yoga feel. I prefer classical ballet music for ballet workouts.
It is done with a voiceover – the instructor performs the moves but explains and encourages over the music clearly. Her voice is soothing and positive. I didn’t prefer this format but I think some people would like it.

This workout begins with a warm-up and stretch to get you ready for the muscle work that is to come. Again, it is peaceful and has an uplifting tone.

The real work begins with a series of leg exercises – many are classic ballet exercises – plies, tendus and so forth but she also leads many modified but ballet-inspired repetitions. The instructor explains each exercise and demonstrates so that even if you are not experienced, it is easy to follow the movements. The leg series is very intense. I noticed a deep burning in my quad and hamstring area. It seems like many of her exercises (the non-ballet barre exercises) were designed to really work the large thigh and leg muscles like the quadriceps. The workout is very intense and even with dance training and as someone who has worked out, I felt a major burn as I did these reps. Just when you think you can't do anymore, you keep going and take it to another level. I really do like the intensity of that.

However, these are not muscles I want to overwork as I think it creates bulk in my body. This may be different for you. The next day, I definitely felt strain in those muscles confirming that this was where the most work was spent during this workout.

There was also abdominal work and core work that was good as well as a series of ballet jumps. These should get your heart rate going and if done properly, will build and strengthen those leg muscles over time.

I must note that the instructor had a beautiful, very fit, healthy body but it didn’t look to me like a classic lean, long dancer physique. It seemed that her thigh area was very toned, and very developed. Based on that, and the fact that I felt the quad and hamstring muscles being the primary focus, this workout lost points for me there. I would rather develop leaner muscles in my legs so for me this made the workout one that I wouldn’t make part of my regular routine.

If you are looking to develop your leg muscles and like the strong more gymnast looking body, this workout would be an excellent addition to your regiment. As mentioned, for me – the focus on those thigh and leg muscles and the building of them wasn’t what I was looking for at all. If you like a serene, encouraging workout in a beautiful setting – this definitely has that going for it. I prefer a more traditional ballet class format with the music, setting and instructor and bodies that this option offers. 

Will you lose weight? Like any ballet-based workout, over time if you do it daily and consistently – you will see changes to your body. You won’t necessarily see a weight loss but you will see inches lost and your shape change. If you add in modifications to your diet, your weight loss will be much quicker and more noticeable. That’s my review of Element: Ballet Conditioning. It's very affordable, so that is a plus. What about you? Have you tried it? What do you think? You can click here and scroll down a bit to see a sample clip that will give you an idea if the workout will suit you. I prefer the Tracy Anderson Method - for my review on that, click Tracy Anderson Method Here

I hope my Element Ballet Conditioning workout DVD review was helpful and look forward to hearing what you think is the best ballet DVD.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Tracy Anderson Results - Accounts from the Front Line

Tracy Anderson Results - Detailed accounts from the front line are always more interesting to me than the brief reviews you tend to find via online retailers.

I don't know about you, but I love reading real life accounts - whether they be success stories or failures about the diets or workout plans I'm thinking of doing. I think when you read about normal people who describe their normal diet and lifestyles, making the changes and what challenges and results they faced - it is motivating. Or, if the results aren't what I had in mind, I know it's something to stay away from.

Different from sales pitch or endorsement type reviews which are common, these journalistic type reviews are the ones that always "get me" and help me to make my decision. I gave my review of the Tracy Anderson Method and her videos in past posts. I think it's easy for most reviewers to be either really evangelical because they are excited about something or really negative if it didn't work for them. Sometimes, the reviewers don't give the details, the whys, or any detail that would make me think we are similar. I am a fan of the method so my reviews lead toward the evangelical although I try to note all of the negatives I see which each of the Tracy Anderson DVDs, webisodes or books. For example, I find it really frustrating that in the webisodes and the DVD that comes with the 30-Day Method book - Tracy doesn't do a full set of reps on each side so you have to rewind or count out repetitions yourself without music rather than completing a full set of 40 reps and then moving on.

With reviews in general, it's definitely more helpful when you know a person has a similar body type to you, wants the same sort of physique that you want or faces similar challenges or has similar eating habits to you. Then, if it doesn't work for them, you know you may want to consider something else.

That said, when I read these accounts, I don't have to be similar to the person in the account - I just have to "get it" - I want to understand what worked, what didn't, and why. Maybe something that challenges them isn't a problem for me so it would suit me better. 

Here, I wanted to link to a few of these accounts or reviews of people's experience with the Tracy Anderson Method in hopes that they may be as interesting, if not helpful to you as they were to me..

First of course, if you haven't - I hope you'll read my review of the Mat Workout DVD HERE. I also reviewed the arm webisode and you can see my take on that, click Tracy Anderson Arm Webisode Review - I also currently have a link to the Arm webisode that is free. I'll keep the free arm webisode up there as long as I can. 

I came across this journalist style account which I liked because the author seemed a bit skeptical but was willing to try it and really went for it. It was interesting to me to read about her results and then her conclusion about the whole thing:

This one is a review of the dance cardio DVD that I thought was super thorough and impressive. Her opinion differs from mine on the DVD but it's definitely worth a read: Click Here

If you want to purchase the Tracy Anderson Mat Workout DVD which is my favorite for the arm workout section alone - you may do so here:  The Tracy Anderson Method Presents Mat Workout DVD
Hope you find these helpful. Feel free to leave comments about your own experiences and Tracy Anderson Results!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Yeast Free Diet - Food You Can Eat

Yeast Free Food Options

When you are doing a yeast free diet, you may be wondering, what can I eat?
It seems like everything has yeast in it or other ingredients that are on the “do not eat” list.  A yeast free diet isn't going to be easy but it may be necessary for you or you may be experimenting with product elimination or food allergies to find which combinations leaving you feeling healthy and vibrant. Although many foods are forbidden on the yeast-free diet, there are plenty of healthy choices to leave you feeling satisfied. Especially for those who enjoy a good steak – you can enjoy grass-fed beef in moderation – that and some flavorful brown rice – sounds delicious. For more Yeast Free Diet ideas – see below and feel free to add your own ideas in the comments for no yeast diet ideas.

Here are some suggestions to get you started:

Nuts – (eat in moderation and avoid peanuts)
Organic Rice cakes with almond butter or avocado
Popcorn (plain)
Baby carrots and celery
Organic Tortilla chips (Try Trader Joe’s Organic Corn Tortilla chips – the only ingredients are corn, oil and salt)
Sesame sticks
   Hard-boiled eggs

   Green tea

Dinner Ideas:
Taco Salad – use organic corn tortilla chips and maximize your use of the ingredients on the “Good” list
Chicken and rice – you can really change this up a lot with spices
Veggie Soup – use all the legumes, and greens you can to make a good soup
Red beans and rice
Stir fry of greens – use a bit of Bragg’s amino acid flavoring and you can use a bit of soy sauce but go easy on that – use spices for flavor
Herb roasted chicken
Fish with Onions and Tomatoes with Rice
Baked potatoes – (in moderation – and be careful what you put on top_
Meatloaf – make sure all of the ingredients you use are in the “Good to eat” category and use grass-fed beef
Lentil salad with vegetables
Burger patties – see above
Black bean soup (puree in blender)
Grass fed steak with baked potato or sweet potato
Grilled Meat or fish
Sunfood Nutrition
Sweet Cravings:

Stick to fruits – it’s better to not indulge the sweet cravings as it only makes you crave more. If you avoid the sweet sensation for a few days, you will likely notice that it lessons and you don’t crave sugar or sweets as much. If you really need something – go for a piece of fruit (not tropical – see the list)

No dried fruits – they have yeast

I also found this yeast-free cookbook so you have recipes to mix things up so you don’t feel like you are missing so much Click Here for the Yeast Free Cookbook
I hope you found some useful Yeast Free Diet options here - if you have any ideas for good food options on a yeast free diet, please leave comments.

HCG Protocol - New Breakthroughs for Weight Loss!

The HCG Protocol created by Dr. Simeons has been around for many decades and has gained momentum as more and more people see the staggering results. The diet is an extreme one that should only be undertaken with close supervision by your doctor or medical provider but it works.

The HCG protocol has many benefits. It is known to increase libido, reduce appetite, reduce sugar cravings, increase energy and metabolism,  and most importantly dramatic loss of weight in the form of fat, not muscle loss. Men lose an average of 30-45 pounds of fat while women lose an average of 25-40 pounds of fat in 40 days.

There has been controversy surrounding this diet because of its extremely limited calorie intake of 500-550 calories daily. There is now a new revised protocol for the Weight Loss Diet with HCG.

The original Dr. Simeons Protocol is long and descriptive but the basics are:

  • Eat 500-550 calories a day – must be done under doctor’s supervision as this is a VERY low calorie diet
  • No vitamins, except calcium – no medications unless your physician directs you to take them
  • No eating breakfast – drink tea instead
  • Injections of HCG required daily or weekly by Dr. Simeons or your own doctor who is guiding you through the protocol.
  • Foods you can eat are very limited and can be difficult to find in grocery stores
  • Limited vegetable intake

Well, a group of doctors got together and revised this very extreme but effective HCG diet plan to make it possible for more people to take advantage of this diet plan. The new revised plan is safer and more attainable for dieters. It is still crucial that those undertaking an HCG protocol work closely with a doctor for safety and optimum results.

The new HCG Protocol as revised by the doctors at “Inches and Pounds”:

  • Eat 800 calories a day
  • Take HCG infused with B12 and multi-vitamins and minerals
  • Eat Breakfast – and more green vegetables are included in the plan
  • Continue to take prescribed medications
  • Self-administered HCG option
  • Easier to find ingredients
  • Diet book with educational information and Cookbook with HCG diet recipes for the second phase of the protocol are available at Inches and Pounds
Hope you found these new breakthroughs and the updated HCG Protocol helpful.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Lose 40 Pounds - One Guy's Story and How He Plans to Lose 30 More

Can you Lose 40 lbs? One guy's story

As we get older, we tend to gain weight. For some it’s being chained to a chair at work all day, for others it’s stress from work, children, marriage, or money causing us to eat comfort foods. Perhaps bad habits and late night eating and for others, it’s just a combination of less activity, less time to worry about weight gain and the body slowing down.

However, it is possible to stop the gain. My husband did it – in a few short months he lost 40 pounds and is looking and feeling healthier and fitter than he had in a long time.
Here are a few of the things he did to drop weight.
    1. Alcohol = out. Not permanently, but for a couple months, he stopped drinking alcohol – beer, liquor, wine, you name it.  This isn’t for everyone but it’s definitely effective for a few reasons.

a.     Obviously the calories in the beer, wine or sugary mixers that you drink help to pack on the pounds. It’s all empty calories, not nutrient rich or fiber rich so those liquid calories turn into sugar in your body and really don’t do anything for you.

b.     Second, when you are intoxicated, you aren’t as critical of what you put into your mouth. The same way you find yourself drinking to “loosen up”, your judgment regarding eating loosens up too. When you are buzzed or drunk, you aren’t counting calories – there could be some eating going on that you definitely wouldn’t be doing if sober.

c.      Third, I’ll call the hangover effect. On the day following your drinking, your body is craving calories (and usually not the healthy vegetable kind) to make you feel better, whatever it takes. It’s tough to combat this and most people succumb to the feeling and eat far more than a diet allows on “hangover day”.

2.   He cut out breads, gluten and sugar for six weeks. This isn’t easy, but if you are very strict with yourself, it is easier. One little bit of bread and he would crave more. His main hearty staples were organic brown rice, chicken, eggs, grass-fed beef and fish. He avoided most dairy with the exception of butter once a day.  Apples were the only sugar he had – other lower sugar fruits would work well depending on what you like. He doesn’t like vegetables so his vegetable intake was low – your results could be more rapid if you supplement some of the organic brown rice that he ate with greens – try spinach, kale, lettuce, chard, carrots and beets. These brightly colored gems will have all sorts of added nutritional benefits. Avoid vinegars as well.

3.   He also took testosterone-boosting shots – you can get these as supplements or have a doctor administer them. He now uses these: Gaspari Nutrition Novedex XT Anti-Aromatase Testosterone Booster, Capsules, 60-Count Bottle. Often, weight loss is not happening because of a hormone imbalance – correct that and the weight loss comes more easily. You can take other supplements as desired and do mild detoxification cleanses during this diet.

Now, his goal is to lose that last 30 pounds to get back to his ideal weight and the plan for that is different. He must burn fat, and get rid of belly fat. He’ll be taking it up a notch with a specific diet plan designed to get rid of stomach weight and to get rid of fat so that he can maintain the weight loss he worked so hard for.  His plan of choice to get rid of the belly fat is this hugely successful Burn the Belly Fat Ab Diet Plan. How have you tried to lose 40 pounds?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Trainer Tracy Anderson’s Top 10 Tips

Tracy Anderson's Top Ten Tips for Getting the Body You Want

Tracy Anderson, trainer to many celebrites, most famously Gwyneth Paltrow and previously Madonna, is known for helping women get into the best shape ever. She doesn’t just achieve weight loss, the goal is a “teeny tiny dancer body”. 
Tracy describes her teenage years struggling to be a professional dancer. She is short and with the training she was doing at the gym, she bulked up. She designed her own method to make her own body the small, lean one that she wanted. 
She wanted to prove that she could take any woman and with effort, they could achieve that teeny tiny dancer body too. Her personal market research proved that it was possible and the Tracy Anderson Method was born. 
From the Guardian “Life and Style” section, Tracy gives it up: her top ten tips for a slim, lean, toned body.
Here is a summary of the top ten:
Tracy Anderson's top 10 tips - all you need is a spare hour a day, six days a week ... for the rest of your life
  1. Train for one hour a day, six days a week:  She recommends 30 minutes a day of cardio and 30 minutes of muscular structure which you can read more about her program on my site. “Do it six days a week for the rest of your life." That isn’t a typo. Furthermore, Tracy recommends doing an hour a day of each cardio and muscular structure training for optimum results. That's two hours a day of working out. 
  2. The weights at the gym are too heavy. Use lighter weights
  3. Instead, learn to dance. "If you want a dancer's body, dance. Dance aerobics is my favorite cardio.” Anderson says. Her DVDs offer a great sweat-fest of fun dance cardio.
  4. Think high reps, low weights. Tracy focuses on tons of repetitions with low weights – never higher than 3 lb weights.
  5. Don't just switch off your mind while you're working out. Perform. Anderson has done research about people who think they're doing movements and people - like Madonna and professional dancers - who are actually 'performing' movements. The people who can perform during their workout get far superior results to the people who are just going through the motions."
  6. Watch yourself exercise. Anderson suggests looking at yourself in the mirror and critiquing yourself. Make changes - have an opinion about how you are moving and how you can be better
  7. Don't beat yourself up that you are not Madonna. "Do you need to train two hours a day? Probably not. But as mentioned above, if you want serious results and to be able to eat what you want, it doesn't hurt especially if you enjoy the way it makes you feel.
  8. Unless you need to lose weight, eat what you want, but sensibly. Anderson says,"I like for people to be not in their heads about eating [ie they should not get stressed about it]. Food restriction can become a real mental game and I'm not a fan."
  9. Be strict with yourself if you do need to lose weight. Don't cheat - take it seriously. You are working so hard with the workout portion - make it pay off.
  10. Drink as little alcohol as possible. She says that she seldom drinks because alcohol slows your metabolism for three days after you drink. Now that is something to think about.
Ultimately, you want a plan you like that you can stick with and you want to follow a plan that has shown results and results you like. You can read my review of the Tracy Anderson Mat DVD workout here or see my other posts for more reviews on the Tracy Anderson Method.

If you are looking for a good diet plan to go with the workout and stay with something healthy and natural, check out this Raw Food Diet. You should also consider checking out the new Tracy Anderson book with a 30 day weight loss diet to change your body in a hurry. It offers tons of delicious and easy recipes so you can lose weight, tone your body and look amazing without feeling starved or deprived. Let us know your favorite weight loss tip in the comment section. I hope you found these Tracy Anderson tips helpful.

Yeast Free Diet - Will You Lose Weight?

Will You Lose Weight on a Yeast Free Diet?

The problem with a lot of our eating habits particularly in the United States is the reliance on carbohydrates that turn into sugars when we digest them Even if they aren’t sugar when you put them in your mouth, they convert into sugars once in your body. That isn’t good for losing weight obviously. The Yeast Free Diet as laid out by Adele Reising on her website is very restrictive but is good for weight loss as well as detoxifying your body.

Here are the basics on the Yeast Free Diet:

Things to Avoid:
Fruit Juice and sweeteners
Agave Nectar
Tropical fruits (such as pineapple, banana, mango)
Most Dried fruits – goji berries are ok but cook before eating
Rice Crackers
Cakes – Cookies – all the obvious junk
Fermented beverages
Animal Protein
Packaged Yogurt with Fruit
Oral Contraceptives
What to eat in Moderation:
Plain Yogurt
1-2 servings of non-tropical fruit a day
Nuts, seeds, avocados
Whole Sea Salt
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Flaxseed Oil
Miso soup – soy sauce – tofu
Sweet Potatoes – Yams – Potatoes (only have them baked)
Organic Cage Free eggs – 1-2 x weekly
Organic Grass Fed Beef – 1-2 x weekly
Complex starches like Kasha, Quinoa, Rice, Millet, Barley, Buckwheat
Oats that are not over-processed (They should generally take more than 10 minutes to cook or are too processed Try Bob’s Red Mill oats, they cook in about 10 minutes and do not require pre-soaking.)

What you can and should eat:
Vegetables should be about 40-50% of your diet
Chlorophyll rich foods such as:
seaweed, lettuce, dandelion greens, kale, spirulina, watercress, cabbage, algae, collard, and chard
Sprouts: Barley, Rice, Mung Bean
Beans – Legumes - Peas

So, there you have it – if you are looking for some “spring cleaning” or pre or post holiday weight loss – this is a healthy way to detox your body and shed some weight with whole grain and nutrient rich ingredients. A no yeast diet is a great example of a detox diet.

Doing this for about six weeks will produce positive results. You can do it for a shorter period of time or longer as it is nutrient rich and full of healthy foods so it is sustainable. Also, try to choose ingredients that are seasonal from the list of foods you are eating to maximize the nutrients you eat.

More info can be found here. If you are doing a yeast free diet, we'd love to hear about any yeast free recipes that you love!

How do Celebrities Lose Weight so Quickly?

How do celebrities lose weight so quickly?

You see it all the time. This starlet just shed 15 lbs in 10 days. That pop star just dropped two dress sizes in time for her appearance in a week. Last week you saw her in US Weekly with the headline "She's packing on the pounds", now a week later, she is as svelte as ever. How do they do it? 

They always SAY – “I eat whatever I want” and “yoga, for my mind” as their get fit tips. But, do you believe them?

I don’t. I think it’s safe to say that with the exception of a few celebrities who are just naturally thin and truly can eat what they want and not gain weight, most of those whose weight fluctuates have to take extreme measures to make it happen. How do celebrities lose weight so quickly?

Here are a few ideas:

Personal trainers with extreme workouts
  • Because most celebrities are basically paid to look a certain way, they are willing to pay someone else to keep them looking a certain way. Personal trainers have become minor celebrities in their own right. Remember Bob Greene? Personal trainer to Oprah – he created books and a whole system to help people lose weight. Tracy Anderson has become famous for her methods that have been used by notable hard bodies, Madonna, Gwyneth Paltrow, Courteney Cox and Kristin Davis. If you have time, the Tracy Anderson Perfect Design Series Set is great for those celebrity lean, toned dancer bodies. Note that these people often work out with their trainers for 2-3 hours a day. Because most people have jobs that don’t allow them the freedom of working out for 2-3 hours a day, quick weight loss with this method is pretty unattainable. For some info on the Tracy Anderson 30-Day Method Book, click Lose Weight Tracy Anderson.

Quick Fix Cleanse Diets
  • When celebrities need to lose weight quickly, they will often do a cleanse like the Master Cleanse or a Cabbage Soup diet. These super restrictive diet plans require a lot of discipline but do provide quick results. Usually, the weight lost will be mostly water and won’t be lasting but for an event, a premiere, or photo shoot – it may be just what is needed for a quick fix. Beyonce famously dropped 20 lbs for the movie DreamGirls using the Master Cleanse or lemonade diet. For more info on the Master cleanse including the lemon juice cayenne recipe click Beyonce Lemonade Diet.

Food Delivery Systems
  • Some celebrities have healthy, pre-portioned food delivered to them each day or every few days. Fresh, gourmet meals are left in a cooler for them to partake in throughout the day. By eating only the food provided, calorie consumption is very structured and there are no hidden calories. If budget is not a problem, fresh diet food delivery plans are a worthwhile option to consider.

Extreme Health Conscious Diet Plans
  • Although many celebrities are constantly on popular eating plans like the Atkins diet, the South Beach diet or similar – some celebrities have opted for even more focused dietary plans such as Macrobiotic diets, once favored by Gwyneth Paltrow or an organic Raw Foods diet. Gluten-free diets, and vegan diets are other healthy diets favored by many celebrities.

If you need to lose weight in a hurry, you may want to consider a tried and tested diet that produces astounding results such as a 
Raw Foods Diet PlanMaster Cleanse or The Truth About Abs. Whatever you choose to do, start now – why wait until tomorrow to start getting the body you want. Lose Weight quickly just like a celebrity starting today.

Tracy Anderson Mat Workout DVD: Taking it to the Next Level

Tracy Anderson Mat Workout DVD Taking it to the Next Level

In this post, I thought we could discuss some tips for taking the Tracy Anderson Mat Workout DVD to the next level. As you can see from past posts: Tracy Mat Workout which has a full review of the Mat Workout DVD and Tracy Arm Webisode Review, I am a fan. This is one of the first DVDs that I wake up wanting to do. It gives this good burn kind of feeling, especially the arm portion. It makes me feel like I did something good today. It’s not hurting that my arms are looking more toned either.

After a while though, you may start to feel like you aren’t pushing yourself anymore – and that is the enemy to the workout. So, I thought I’d share a few things that I have done to increase the intensity for myself or to get past plateaus. I’d love to hear any of your ideas on how you’ve changed things up in the comments.

Add ankle weights
Add small ankle weights during the leg portions. I actually leave them on for the whole time as it doesn’t affect the arm and standing ab sections but I find them beneficial for all of the leg series and the lying ab series.

1 or 1.5 lb ankle weights are best. The Tracy Anderson method is designed to avoid bulking so the last thing you’d want to do is add crazy heavy ankle weights but she had advised that you can use 1 or 1.5 lb weights for another leg webisode series she has done giving it the okay.

In addition to the obvious benefit of having extra weight bearing against your lifts in the various rotations – I found an added benefit that the weights kept my movements more focused and created an awareness of proper placement that I hadn’t noticed before, especially in the lying on the mat legs portion.

Work in the webisodes
Throw in a webisode during the workout. Another thing I have done is midway through the Mat Workout DVD, I will pause and have a previously prepared webisode ready.
For example, after doing the two arm sequences, when my arms are appropriately exhausted – I know I can do more. I will pause the mat dvd and push play on the cued Arm Webisode or Goop Arm Webisode. Then, without pausing, I pick right back up where I left off in the Tracy Anderson Mat Workout DVD. Alternately, you could do the complete arm series twice. You can do the same with the leg webisodes or abs webisodes. Anything that tires out those muscles and changes it up is good. Sometimes, I will add in a webisode at the end of my workout too.

Observe nuances
Another thing I found myself doing is really focusing on the nuances in what Tracy is doing. After you’ve done the workout for a while, you know what is coming next and how to do it so now it’s time to really refine your technique.

For example, I noticed that Tracy holds the weights differently than I was doing in the second arm series. Does this make a difference? I’m not sure but I did notice it felt a bit different after I tried holding my weights exactly as she had. Notice if she is lifting an arm with palms up or down – are you doing it exactly the same?

Add in your own ballet arms
Once you really know all of the leg series and are sure your technique is where you want it to be, one thing you can do is create your own basic ballet arm series during the leg sequences. For example, during the standing leg series when you are doing basic leg lifts to the side, hold up your arm like a ballet dancer, moving it over your head and to the side with intention. No flopping around of course! Only try this if you are confident it won’t affect your form and focus on the legs.

Finally, as Tracy Anderson discusses in her cardio DVDs, it makes a lot of difference if you PERFORM
the moves rather than just doing them. The same goes with the Mat workout DVD – do the moves with intensity – point the toes all the way when you are supposed to point. Feel the tips of your fingertips when you place the arms in each position in the arm series. Pretend you are on stage and completing each and every motion counts. No half-hearted action. When I focus on performing and really completing each repetition, I notice my heart rate going up and feel a stronger burn.

I hope some of these tips help you take your Tracy Anderson Mat Workout to the next level. Now, share your tips in the comments. Also, if you haven't tried her Cardio, don't miss out: Tracy Anderson Method Presents Dance Cardio Workout DVD. What tips do you have to get past plateaus and take the Tracy Anderson Method to the next level?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Tracy Anderson GOOP Arm Webisode review

Tracy Anderson GOOP Arm Webisode

A brief review about Tracy Anderson's five minute arm webisode which you can get free courtesy of Gwyneth Paltrow's GOOP website - I will also post it below.

With summer fast approaching, you may be feeling the urge to tone things up a bit. Tracy Anderson may be just what the doctor ordered. Tracy is Gwyneth Paltrow's personal trainer and has also worked with Madonna and several other celebrities with hot bodies. Her niche is that she vows to make every woman "teeny tiny". Anderson was a dancer and struggled with her weight and basically tried everything but on her 5 foot frame, just about every exercise plan out there created bulk.

Most people who are working out to lose weight in addition to staying healthy are striving for the same thing - the toned, sculpted, long lean dancer body.

Tracy Anderson has worked with Gwyneth Paltrow for years - Paltrow says that her trainer is responsible for "kicking her formerly sagging ass into shape". Oprah featured Gwyneth and Tracy Anderson on her show and discussed the method that Tracy uses to change the bodies of women all over the world. Tracy worked with Madonna for a long time but according to recent reports, she no longer trains Madonna and there is an alleged feud between former BFFs Paltrow and Madonna. But we don't need to go into that here.

The point is, that Tracy Anderson has obviously had success in getting the results she wants, the results you are looking for. So, without further chatter - a review of the GOOP arm webisode. When you first watch it, if you haven't done the Tracy Anderson method, you will probably think it is a joke. It looks like waving arms, and flapping and doesn't seem like something that would help your arms.

Don't let that deceive you - if you are hitting the movements correctly and as if you are "performing" them, you will feel the muscles in your arms the next day most likely. The exercises are very specifically designed to get the arms that Tracy wants - the long, lean muscles with no bulk and no sagging skin. This video was sent by Tracy to Gwyneth as she was training for Iron Man. Based on her appearance in the movie - this is one worth checking out. If you are familiar with the arm workouts from any of Tracy Anderson's DVDs or other webisodes, you will recognize some of the moves but she also adds in a lot of strong arm movements to add variety and work different muscles in the arms. She noted that this specific webisode created for Gwyneth's GOOP audience was made to target batwings, that lovely flab on the back side of the arms. Work the batwings it does, but you have to create resistance, finish each motion so that you engage all of the muscles and perform.

The music is "Knock You Down" by Keri Hilson featuring Ne-yo and Kanye West. I think that the music works well and makes you want to really push and perform the movements which makes the results better.

Doing this super short webisode alone is not going to change your body but if you combine it with diet and/or cardio, it's a good addition. You can watch the free Tracy Anderson webisode here:

Post in the comments if you have tried the GOOP arm webisode and what you think about it - I wish there were more of them. You can also read my review about the Tracy Anderson Mat Workout DVD here. You can find more Tracy Anderson arm webisodes, Tracy Anderson DVD reviews and Tracy GOOP info on my site - look at the sidebar on the right to find what you are looking for.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Tracy Anderson Arms Webisode Review

Free Tracy Anderson Arms Webisode

Tracy Anderson is a well known for changing the bodies of celebrities most famously Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow. Paltrow has called Tracy Anderson a lifesaver and praised her methods for completely restructuring her body. Can Tracy Anderson help the rest of us?
In my other posts, I will discuss other Tracy Anderson products (DVDs, books etc). Click on the link if you’d like to read my review of the Tracy Anderson Mat Workout DVD. I go into the format of the DVD, describe the setting, discuss reviews about it from around the web and give my own personal review. Definitely worth checking out if you are considering the Tracy Anderson Method.

This post is all about the Arm webisode Tracy Anderson did as part of a series of three fitness webisodes to benefit the charity Raising Malawi. 

Tracy Anderson is famous for her arm portion of her workouts – she claims that she can give every woman “teeny tiny ballet arms”. Her goal when designing her workouts is to bring the loose skin back to the muscle creating long lean muscles.

Here are the details on the Tracy Anderson arm webisode:
  • It is set in a gym setting
  • The music is techno – very industrial sounding, different from the music in her Mat and Cardio DVDs
  • Tracy Anderson, the instructor is working out with a guy and a girl – they are using weights and she is not so she can demonstrate that you can get the benefits from the exercises even if you aren’t using weights if you are not strong enough to do so.

The first five minutes of the arm webisode is done without weights and is a series of movements that you will recognize many of if you have done the Tracy Anderson Mat Workout DVD or any of her other classes. You are constantly changing movements and your arms are constantly going so you are definitely exhausting the muscles. Even without weights, you definitely feel it. In the second five minutes of the Tracy Anderson arm webisode, you are using weights.

  • Note: Tracy Anderson believes that women should use weights that are 3 lbs or less, and that men should stick to 8 lbs or less with her method.
Here is the Tracy Anderson Arm Webisode free for now.

In this segment, you are doing quick repetitions and different sorts of lifting than you are probably used to. I hadn’t seen many of these rotations or movements before. You change rotations often enough during the arm webisode that it definitely doesn’t get boring.

Now, that said, I personally don’t think it is nearly as good as the arm section in the Mat Workout DVD. I didn’t “feel the burn” as much and didn’t feel the muscle exhaustion in the subsequent days the way that I initially did with the Tracy Anderson Mat arm workout. This may differ for you. I did like however some of the rotations that I had never seen before that felt very effective. I will incorporate some of them into my arm workouts. 

Is it worth $10 to purchase? It is $10 for charity (100% of the proceeds are donated to Raising Malawi!) so that may be reason to buy. I have the Tracy Anderson Arm Webisode free up on the site now above but can't guarantee that it will remain.

Also, with the Tracy Anderson method, it is important to continue to change up the movements and rotations so that your body does not get too used to them so adding this into your training is a great way to mix it up. If you want to purchase the Mat workout click the link The Tracy Anderson Method Presents Mat Workout DVD.

Hopefully this has been helpful – I had a difficult time trying to find a review of the Tracy Anderson arm webisode when I was debating purchasing it. I’d love to know if you’ve tried it. Please post in the comments if you have tried the Tracy Anderson Arms Webisode and what you thought!