At age 40, author Tosca Reno found herself miserable, overweight, stuck in an unhappy marriage, and living an unfulfilled life. She was able to turn her life around and is now a successful author, motivational speaker and wellness consultant, media personality and model. Tosca has penned eleven books, including the incredibly successful Eat-Clean Diet® series, has appeared on numerous national television and radio programs and now travels across North America appearing at book signings and seminars to deliver her message of health, wellness and inspiration. Her website is www.toscareno.com.
1. I’ve heard many people say that they spend hours in the gym doing cardio but they don’t eat clean. Can they get still get results or is strength training essential?
Eating Clean is vital to meeting your health, fitness and weight loss goals. Did you know that 80% of the way your body looks is based on nutrition? That’s right – what you put in your mouth. The other 20% is divided between exercise and genetics.
You don’t have to exercise in order to lose weight. That being said, if you want a shapely, strong-looking body, you must work out. An ideal workout schedule would include both cardio and strength training. If I am pressed for time however, I always choose weight training over cardiovascular exercise.
2. I’ve heard that cardio is not enough to get people to their weight loss goals. Why or why not?
Cardio burns calories, which are a unit of energy. You will only lose weight if you burn more energy than you take in through food. If you’re eating more than you’re burning, you will gain weight.
An excellent way to burn energy is through cardio, but an even better way to burn energy is through strength training. When you do cardio, your heart rate raises during whatever activity you choose and when you stop, it returns to normal. When you lift weights, your heart rate stays elevated for hours after you stop working out, so you burn more energy overall.
Muscle also burns more energy at rest than fat, so simply by having more muscle on your body, you burn more calories all day.
3. How did you develop the Eat Clean method?
I’d love to take credit for Eating Clean but I can’t – it’s the way bodybuilders have been eating for years. I found out about it in my 40s, when my now husband was training me for a fitness contest. After I saw such amazing results and so many women were asking about my “secrets,” I decided to write a book about it.
4. What are the top 3 reasons that people don’t lose weight even if they exercise a lot and eat a fairly healthy diet?
1. Waiting too long to eat between meals. When you don’t eat every two-and-a-half to three hours, your body goes into what is called “starvation mode” and your metabolism slows down, making it difficult to lose weight. This will actually cause you to gain weight. This is nature’s response to the possibility of starving when there is no food, something we don’t have to worry about too much today.
2. Improper portion sizes. Now that you are eating five or six times per day, your portions have to be a bit smaller. If you eat more energy than you burn off, you won’t lose weight. We need to become sensitized to correct portion sizes since the amount of food we consume in one sitting today has increased considerably when compared to portion sizes of even just 30 years ago.
3. Define “fairly healthy.” If you eat healthy all day then snack on cookies and chips at night, you won’t lose weight. Or, if you eat only healthy, Clean foods, but indulge with a few glasses of wine (which is sugar) each night, you won’t lose weight. Fairly healthy doesn’t really cut it when you are serious about losing weight.
5. How can someone use your program if they don’t want to go to the gym or are unable to have a home gym?
As I mentioned above, the body you want comes from 80% nutrition, 10% exercise and 10% genetics. You don’t have to work out at all to lose weight although it only helps. There are so many benefits to regular exercise – a healthy heart, higher self-esteem, improved blood circulation. There are even studies out today suggesting that exercise improves intelligence and wards off Alzheimer’s. Working out regularly changed my life drastically and I am a firm believer that it’s part of a healthy (and happy) lifestyle.
That being said, you don’t have to join a gym to exercise. All you need to do is get moving. In my most recent book, Your Best Body Now, there are pictures of strength exercises you can do for each body part in the gym ANDat home. Cardio is especially easy at home. Take a walk or a jog around your neighborhood. If it’s winter, walk up and down the stairs in your house or apartment, do jumping jacks or a workout video.
6. Explain why people plateau halfway through their weight loss program?
Your body doesn’t want to lose weight. It likes storing a bit of fat, just in case North Americasuddenly runs out of food. You and I know that’s unlikely, but your body doesn’t. Humans have gone through periods of feast and famine, and storing body fat is your body’s way of protecting itself.
When your body gets used to your new healthy routine, your weight loss may plateau. If that is the case, you must push harder by taking your exercise routine to the next level or changing your diet. Perhaps you need to incorporate more vegetables into your daily diet or maybe you need to cut out all processed carbohydrates (bread, pasta), even whole grain varieties, until you’ve met your goal. You can break through a plateau with effort. You may even have to review portion sizes since eating too much of even the healthiest and cleanest foods is still too much of a good thing.
7. How can women get over the intimidation factor at the gym? Should they just “get over it”?
If you are intimidated by others in the gym because they are more fit than you, realize that they are there for the exact same purpose you are – to work out. And keep in mind that everyone had to start somewhere. Bodybuilders didn’t pop out of the womb with huge muscles! It took years of hard work. In my experience, intimidation comes from not knowing or not having the confidence to try something. I got over the intimidation of working with weights by hiring a personal trainer who helped me develop good technique and showed me how to use the equipment properly. If you can’t afford a personal trainer ask to train with someone in the weight room.
8. Do you have support groups for people who are Eating Clean and want to connect with others who are doing the same for support?
Yes! I have a community called The Kitchen Table on www.eatcleandiet.com. It’s a free venue for Eat-Clean Dieters to share photos, stories, menu plans and recipes, receiving comments and support from other members. We have a tremendous social network not only here but on www.toscareno.comwhere we have a blog, or you can follow us on Facebook and Twitter. We are socially very active for our followers.
9. What little changes can someone do right away to ease into Eating Clean?
To get used to Eating Clean, implement one Eat-Clean Principle at a time until it’s a habit. You can’t expect to change everything about yourself in one day, so introduce yourself to Eating Clean with leniency. You can start by having oatmeal for breakfast, drinking more water, eating egg whites instead of the entire egg, choosing leaner cuts of meat, adding more fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet and avoiding unhealthy fats and sugar. When this comes naturally to you, see what other healthy choices you can implement into your daily routine. Perhaps the simplest and most rewarding place to begin is to REMOVE SUGAR FROM YOUR DIET IMMEDIATELY. This will reap the biggest reward in the fastest time.
10. Why are people not doomed to their body type? Some diets emphasize the role of body types in weight loss.
There are some things you can’t change about your body, such as the size of your nose or the length of your torso, but most things you can change through diet and exercise. Everybody, no matter what body type, has the ability to lose weight, tighten and tone and improve their health through Eating Clean. And you can change the way your body appears through strength training. By building muscle in certain areas, you can sculpt your body to look the way you want it to. For example, I’ve broadened by shoulders by working my arms and back, and I finally have the shapely bottom I used to dream of by working my glutes. It really is possible to shape a physique.