Posts Tagged ‘diet and exercise’

9:23 am - Posted by Gregg

Photo Source: Flex Belt

Although I don’t know actress Denise Richards personally, I find myself questioning her judgement in regard to her being a spokesperson for The Flex Belt® – a device that claims to be “The first Ab Belt Toning system cleared by the FDA for Toning, Firming and Strengthening the stomach muscles.” Uh-huh.

Are Denise Richards and other celebrities (including Lisa Rinna and Adrianne Curry) really so desperate for a paycheck that they would encourage people to believe that something like this works better than old-fashioned situps? This is to say nothing of professional athletes like San Francisco 49er Jerry Rice and Olympic Gold Medalist Janet Evans – two people who should surely know that there are no shortcuts to the benefits achieved by doing real exercise.

When it comes to a true celebrity “testimonial” for The Flex Belt, I’m reminded of Robin Williams, who (and I’m paraphrasing) suggests strapping the device to your forehead in order to wake up your brain in order to stop buying this crap. That humor seems to encompass more reality than any of the testimonials from people like Denise Richards or any of these other ‘celebrities.’

Photo Source: Health News Review

As many professional trainers will tell you, you can’t target specific areas of your body for weight loss. In other words, there’s no way to specifically lose body fat from your stomach or love handles if those are the areas that concern you most. Fat reduction happens at different places around the body. And until you remove the layers of fat that might be covering your stomach muscles, it’s not likely you’re going to see that 6-pack anytime soon (certainly not by use of The Flex Belt alone).

So why pay hundreds of dollars when you can do 5-10 minutes of ab-work virtually anywhere and for no cost at all? It makes no sense to me. And yet companies like this (with their ‘celebrity’ endorseres) seem to want a fool and his money to soon be parted. Fact is, if devices like The Flex Belt (or even diet pills and other quick fixes) worked, then America wouldn’t have the dangerous obesity problem that it currently has. And the problem is only growing (no pun intended), which is why companies are inventing would be “miracle cures” to get the overweight consumer to spend – if not waste – their money looking for a cure. reports that “The Flex Belt will not help you lose weight, and most people already have a well-defined abdominal wall. The problem is you can’t see it through the layer of fat in the way. Since it doesn’t help you burn fat you won’t see any progress unless you combine it with aerobic exercise and a healthy diet.” The site goes onto say that, “The type of person that would be interested in shocking their abs into submission probably doesn’t have the sort of will power to stick to a diet and exercise regiment rigorous to get down to the 8% body fat or lower that it takes to get a visible six pack. Learn to love the abs you have, and rid yourself of the unrealistic goal of having six pack abs.”

As I’ve written before, the “cure” for losing weight and getting healthy is not on the outside (of ourselves) and certainly doesn’t come in a box (not even when the ‘box’ includes “generous bonus materials which combined would regularly cost $100!” as promised within the Terms of Your 2-Year Warranty section on The Flex Belt website).

The “cure” for getting healthier, losing weight and having firmer, more defined abs is on the inside (of you). It takes commitment. And believe it or not, you do have what it takes. And getting down on the floor and doing 5-10 minutes of ab work is a lot saner of an approach than forking over money for The Flex Belt – even if Denise Richards (and others) are telling you that it works for them.

The less we pay attention to these kinds of hucksters or modern day snake oil salesmen, the better. These messages aren’t just potentially deceiving, they can also be potentially misleading, confusing and even downright wrong (on an ethical level). So think about that next time you’re cashing your check from your Flex Belt campaign, Ms. Richards. You may think the joke’s on us. But it’s really you who is making a joke of your authenticity.

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August 7, 2012

Alarming behavior

9:01 am - Posted by Gregg

When I tell people I workout seven days a week, the usual reaction is “Really?!” Followed by, “How do you do it?” When I add that I get up around 4:30am every morning and that I am at the gym by 5am — including on weekends and even holidays, people usually start to wonder if my body’s been taken over by an alien being. And, I must admit, on certain mornings I wonder the same thing.

First of all, no — it’s not easy dragging my butt out of bed when the alarm rings every morning. This can be as true on a Thursday or Friday as it is on a Saturday, Sunday or Monday. When the alarm rings, I’m not always a ‘happy camper.’ But I never (and I mean never) reach out and hit ‘snooze’ on the alarm clock. Instead, I do a quick stretch (sometimes with an added ‘groan,’) cuddle with my puppy for a few seconds and then jump up and get going. At this point, I’m usually in ‘robot mode’ (AKA ‘automatic pilot’) as I brush my teeth, wash my face and run a few fingers through my hair (before deciding the early morning gym crowd can just deal with my ‘bed head’). After getting dressed and grabbing my gym bag, I’m out the door.

I’m usually the first to arrive at my gym (even before the person who opens it). And I see the way the person who opens the gym looks at me, wondering himself if I’m part alien. At this point I’m forced to admit that the answer is probably ‘yes.’ This is because I’m a much different person today than I was years ago when I weighed over 450 pounds, during which time I would become breathless just from talking on the phone and participated in no physical activity whatsoever (unless you count ‘chewing’ as a physical activity). Ironically, during the time I was that heavy, I usually always wore sweatpants and t-shirts (AKA the usual gym-wear), since with a 60-inch waist, those were the only types of clothing items that I could find that would fit (not to mention stretch with me as my body grew bigger and bigger).

When I think about ‘those days,’ I’m able to understand why I’m somewhat obsessive about working out these days. I never want to go back to my former habits (the ones that kept me tipping the scale at over 450 pounds). And while also helping me to maintain my self-imposed work schedule for the rest of the day (after my daily workout is complete), exercising also keeps my ‘inside’ as healthy as my ‘outside.’ And I’m not gonna lie — I like looking good as well as feeling good.

Now, just because I exercise 7 days a week at the crack of dawn doesn’t mean you have to do the same. Just as with a healthy eating plan, you need to create and stick to an exercise regimen that works for you, individually. The good news is that you don’t even have to join a gym to do so. Just walking several times around a block (or a track field, a park, a mall — the list goes on) is a good place to start.

After years and years of yo-yo dieting, I find that working out 7 days a week is essential to my metabolism and my current dietary needs (and occasional dietary splurges). One exercise program is not right for all people. So you need to do what works for you as well as what works for your schedule. (And depending on your current medical condition, you might want to consult with a doctor first — be smart about it.) Personally, I find working out first thing in the morning a better choice, since by the end of the day I’m tired and can usually come up with 100 excuses why I don’t have time to (or don’t feel like) work(ing) out.

But do I love it when the alarm rings? No. Am I thrilled when stepping onto the treadmill knowing I’m going to be on it for an hour? No. Do I love waiting for a trainer and his or her client to stop using the one piece of gym equipment or weight set that I need to complete my workout routine? No.

But do I love how I feel when my workout is complete? Yes. Do I love breathing without difficulty? Yes. Do I love getting a medical checkup and my doctor telling me my lab numbers are “Insanely good?” Yes. And do I love being able to treat myself to occasional indulgent foods knowing I’ll work the calories off the next morning? Hell yes. I mean, um, yes. You get the point. The working out is worth every morning groan (when the alarm rings) and every drop of sweat. Bedhead be damned.

So join me in my insanity, won’t you? Whether you’re setting the alarm for early in the morning or scheduling a 30-minute walk later in your day (perhaps during your lunch break), please do your body, mind and soul a favor and make working out a part of your life — one that you stick with throughout the year.

Again, it doesn’t have to be every day. It doesn’t have to be at some crazy hour. But it really does have to be. As much for looking good and feeling good as for being healthy on the inside. Your health is important to me. So let’s be mad workout alien beings together!

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February 23, 2012

Suck it

10:26 am - Posted by Gregg

Along with diet and exercise, one of the biggest changes I adopted while losing all my excess weight was sucking in my tummy – morning, noon and night. This might seem like a no-brainer, but it requires a lot of mental and physical work to tense all the muscles in your abdomen and prevent “overhang” (and at my highest weight of 450+ pounds, there was a lot of overhang). But no matter what one weighs, there are a lot of benefits to be had by sucking it… In!

Think about it… Are you sucking in your stomach right now? Or are you letting “it all hang out” and using it to keep your lap warm? Yeah, that’s right – I went there.

Hopefully you’re already actively “sucking in” your tummy when power walking, treadmill-ing or doing other forms of exercise. But what about when you’re watching television? Standing at the kitchen counter making lunch? Talking on the phone? Sitting at the computer? Reading this blog? The time to suck in your gut and think about overall core strength isn’t just when you’re working out. It’s really an all day commitment that can have an amazing effect on your overall goals of good health (along with your goals of looking good).

I remember one of my favorite exercise instructors used to tell me, “The only time your stomach muscles should be relaxed is when you’re in the bathtub or when you’re going to sleep.”

I really took this advice to heart and found it made a big difference – not only in helping me motivate my weight loss efforts, but also in regard to my overall appearance (not to mention my posture). When sucking in my stomach, my posture improved as did my core strength. Suddenly, I was walking taller and even commanding more attention. Talk about a self-esteem builder. When sucking your tummy in and standing upright (without any ‘slumping’), you really do look (and ultimately feel) better. It’s the kind of thing that Supermodels do. And as I’m always reminding you, we’re all Supermodels. So start acting the part.

Sure… Sucking in your stomach is a lot of work – but it means you’re working your core muscle group throughout the day. This not only strengthens your muscles (on top of whatever workouts you’re already doing), it makes clothes fit more easily and even look better when worn. Not to mention, the more you suck in that tummy and sit up straight, the less your back has to work to hold you up (potentially resulting in less back pain).

Hopefully you’ve already started thinking and eating like a thin person. Now’s the time to start acting like one. So suck it in from dawn to dusk. You’ll be surprised what a difference it makes.

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