Fitness and nutrition expert JJ Virgin has over 25 years experience in the health and fitness industry, having spent the past 10 in holistic nutrition and functional medicine. She is a sought-after weight loss expert who has worked with athletes, CEOs, and A-list celebrities. Read on to learn more about her expert tips for maintaining your summer body and workout tips for women over 50!
JJ has a “no-fail” approach to nutrition and fitness and some of the best realistic advice for women trying to lose weight and maintain that goal weight.
What do you think most women are looking to do for their body in the Fall months leading up to Winter? Should they be maintaining their progress from Summer? Should they expect to keep their bikini body all Winter long?
Let’s face it – if you celebrate the 4 seasons you probably aren’t bikini ready all year round. One of the reasons you may love the Fall weather is that the pressure of perfection is gone for a good six months (unless you have a great resort vacay planned this winter). So while you may be tempted to let it slide a bit during the winter, I hear from most clients that they really want new ways to work out during this time of year when they can’t necessarily go outside. This can be a great time to try new activities like that local boot camp or cross fit camp. It is also a great time to connect with a personal trainer, even if it is just for a program tweak every few weeks. You can also bring a friend with you to share the cost so that you can still get the benies (benefits) and stay on your budget.
Make sure you are weighing and measuring weekly to stay on track during the winter and keep a photo of your ideal body posted in your bathroom and on your fridge to keep your eye on the prize. While you might be tempted to reach for ‘comfort’ food during the cold months, remember that a lot of great warming foods can be healthy and bikini body friendly, especially those broth based, veggie-rich soups that you can have simmer all day in your crock pot. My favorite recipe is to use organic chicken broth, lentils, roasted chicken and non starchy veggies and throw in an Italian herb blend. Easy, wholesale and filing (without filling you out).
What workout regimen or specific exercises would you suggest for women over 50? Likewise, what should women in their late 20’s and early 30’s be focusing on?
The most important thing to do is to keep moving throughout your life. If you are staying active, what you are able to do really won’t shift much. First off, you need to make sure you are moving more everyday. You’ve heard it before: park farther away from the store, take the stairs, walk the dog…..easier said than done, right? So slap on a pedometer to ensure that you follow through with this. Add some burst-style cardio training three times a week to accumulate 4-8 total minutes of bursting. Let’s use jogging as an example. Warm up for 3 or more minutes and then sprint full out for 30-60 seconds and walk it off for twice as long (1-2 minutes). Repeat to reach 4-8 total minutes of high intensity and then follow with a cool down. This is relative to your fitness level; for some people this might be a fast walk, for others a jog and for some an all-out sprint – whatever you can do for 30-60 seconds and not 1 second more! Finally, add in some resistance training to build your ‘metabolic spanx’. Muscle boosts metabolism, supports good blood sugar control/fat burning and holds everything in tighter. Hit all of the four major body parts – upper body pushing, upper body pulling, hips and thighs and power core with a few multi joint exercises 2-3 times a week.
Do you have any suggestions for the outdoorsy types? Should they try biking or hiking? What is the safest outdoor exercise and how can busy women implement or add this to their current regimen?
I love to mix it up – it is so easy to get into a rut with exercise. If you are a hiker, try jumping on a bike. If you have been biking, go over to the local high school or college and do a stair workout at the track. If there is an adventure boot camp in your area, try it out! This is a great way to get outside, hang out with like-minded (okay, maybe a bit crazy) people and get fit at the same time! I use my travel time to get out and try new things – I will find out what the outdoor options are in that area and go for it! I have been hiking up in the Hollywood Hills, biking around Lake Michigan, rollerblading in Central Park and running the UCSD track stairs over the past year!
What is your most-requested advice as of late?
How do I fit fitness into my life? The answer is actually easier than you may think when you consider that intensity rules, meaning that you should be working out harder, not longer. Focus on burst-style cardio training and resistance training. I have actually put this all together in a simple 15-minute workout I call my 4×4 workout – 4 bursts, 4 body parts in 15 minutes or less. You can grab it free at http://jjvirgin.com/4x4wokout.
What should most women know about the world of fitness right now? What new plan are you working on or what area of fitness are you focusing on?
I am working on a lot more short, intense workouts that you can do at home or while traveling with minimal equipment, or sometimes not at all! I find that most women aren’t working out because they don’t have the time OR the don’t want to go to the gym, so this solves both of these challenges.
Personally, what do you find to be the biggest workout challenge? Do you prefer certain types of exercise to others?
Making sure you do it! I get asked all of the time when the best time to work out is. The answer is: when you will. You have to schedule it into your day and not let anything get in the way. Morning is usually ideal because you get it done before anything else and it helps set you up for a great, healthy and productive day!
You have recommended coconut and flaxseed in the past. What other ‘superfoods’ are you looking to utilize this Autumn and Winter?
First of all, nothing derails a workout plan like getting a cold or flu! I am using Biothera Wellmune as my pre-emptive strike to prime my immune system to function properly. I think of it as taking my immune system to the gym. Wellmune is one of the best researched immune products in the world with international approval, so I feel confident using it and recommending it.
Secondly, I am loving the spice curcumin (turmeric) and I have been using it in my stir-frys and soups. It is a natural anti-inflammatory and a powerhouse antioxidant – a perfect partner for an intense workout.
Finally, I am loving lentils as a great way to power up a soup, salad or stir fry. These little babies are high in protein and loaded with fiber which makes them a perfect addition to your post-workout meal!
Our thanks to JJ Virgin, CNS, CHFS
Author and TLC Host of Freaky Eaters
For more information go to: www.jjvirgin.com