What to eat to boost your metabolism & shed fat to reveal abs worthy of an A-lister

metabolism

As part of our guide to achieving a leaner, sexier mid-section, celebrity trainer & lifestyle expert ASHLEY CONRAD will show you how to banish the bloat, boost your metabolism & shed the fat to reveal your very own A-list abs. In Part One, she reveals the first two steps of her specially devised ‘Clutch System’, whose devotees include Kate Hudson, Penelope Cruz, Kristen Bell & Victoria’s Secret models. Conrad devised the system to help her celebrity clientele change their bodies – fast. “[In L.A] nobody can wait 3 months to get in shape – the phone rings and you’re booked for a movie role or a photo shoot and you have to be ready.” Conrad’s approach transcends simple diet and exercise – it’s a total lifestyle program. To reap the full-body benefits, turn a new LEAF – and by that we mean: Lifestyle, Exercise, Attitude, and Food.

EXERCISE – WORK IT OUT LIKE AN ATHLETE With her athletic background, Conrad likes to challenge her clients with high-intensity workouts that combine cardio and resistance. “I like to hit it all in one go. I’ll mix up the exercises so you’re not overtraining. One day it may be cardio, or boxing, or a track workout or stairs.” On other days, take it down a notch with an easy hike, stretching or an ‘abs & core’ class. The key is saying no to predictable, repetitive movements. But do the same principles apply when she’s training Victoria’s Secret models? “Absolutely!” says Conrad, “I just alter certain elements: if [client] Bradley Cooper is trying to bulk up for a role, his diet is going to very different for someone who walks down a runway.”

ADOPT A STRESS-FREE LIFESTYLE TO BURN MORE CALORIES Hectic work-days followed by punishing sessions at the gym to try and drop weight could actually be the cause of why your stomach never seems to get any flatter. “That belly area is directly related to stress,” Conrad says, “your cortisol (stress hormone) levels get raised and it triggers your body to start storing calories, rather than burning them.” It’s very important to take stress-relieving measures each day, says Conrad. “Take those [off] days to rest and relax. Breathe deeply, and get 8 hours of sleep.”

“That belly area is directly related to stress,” Conrad says, “your cortisol (stress hormone) levels get raised and it triggers your body to start storing calories, rather than burning them.” 

CUT THE SALT TO BANISH THE BLOAT If your lifestyle involves dining out much of the time at restaurants, you may want to re-think what else you’re ingesting into your system. “If you eat out a lot, there is a lot of added sodium in food, even if you can’t taste it. That salt retains a lot of water and is stored underneath the skin.” Conrad advises her clients to drink ample amounts of water (100 ounces per day) to help flush any excess sodium out. “People underestimate their level of dehydration, especially during the summer and how that plays a role in water retention.” Amp up the detoxing effect by adding 4 lemons to the water you drink every day. The natural superfood is a stimulant-free natural diuretic that detoxes the liver and makes skin glow.

Get PART TWO OF OUR GUIDE here: learn more on how to flatten your stomach and reduce bloating through simple nutrition tips. Conrad also shares what your body fat percentage should be, and how to gain a healthier persepctive on your body and enjoy your new lifestyle for full-body fitness.

The Real Housewives of Orange County’s Alexis Bellino

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You have gorgeous skin – what is your typical daily skincare routine like? I tend to my skincare regimen twice a day. I believe in a 5-step skincare system: cleanse, exfoliate with the Clarisonic handheld, tone and moisturize, and of course, eye cream is a must. I feel that it’s equally important to hydrate and get enough sleep daily in order for your skin to look its healthiest. I know my skin shows when I’m not getting at least six hours of sleep each night.

What are some of your absolute favorite products we’d find in your makeup bag? I am a lip gloss girl! I always have a lip gloss on! My other must haves are a bronzer and a good powder! I’m a fan MAC, Chanel and NARS cosmetics.

“I also think the only true way to have a toned body is working out regularly. My exercise routine consists of a combination of spin, barre classes, yoga, and strength-training with light weights”

What are your secrets to keeping your hair looking so glossy and healthy? Do you wear extensions (if so, any advice you’ve learned from stylists on how to wear them best?) I have great natural hair; however, to get the length I want, I wear Great Lengths extensions. I believe that to protect your natural hair, you should wear the best extensions, as well as take really good care of them. I also believe in finding a hair stylist that understands your hair. I have been going to Angelic from Lucabella Salon in Anaheim, Ca for eight years now. She has taught me the importance of using good hair care products, a good shine product, and  a dose of a daily vitamin.  The Number #1 tip I must share — and it took me SO long to learn — is you cannot wash your hair daily. Your hair needs the natural oils to keep it healthy, especially, when you’re styling it as frequently as I am.

What’s your favorite way to stay in shape? Do you have any diet tips you stick to that work for you? I am a firm believer in doing everything in moderation; plus, a good old-fashioned workout! I do not deprive myself of treats, yet I will not splurge every day! I want to enjoy my life, which is something my husband helped me learn, and if I want a creme brulee, I will have it. However, I will be disciplined enough to eat healthy the next meal to balance it out! I also think the only true way to have a toned body is working out regularly.  Maybe, not every day, but a person should be healthy and active throughout the week!  My exercise routine consists of a combination of spin, barre classes, yoga, and strength-training with light weights throughout the week.

How would you describe your personal everyday style? Do you have any favorite pieces or accessories you can wear over and over? My everyday style honestly depends on what I’m doing! For comfort, I’m a sucker for a maxi dress, which you can find at www.everythingalexis.com.  I’m also a girl who loves her skinny jeans with a blazer! I have two pair of ‘go-to’ jeans – that is, my skinny AND flare leg Paige jeans.  My favorite purchase this year is my green silk Burberry trench coat.  I’ve been photographed in it too many times. I’ve worn it so much!

What are your tips for feeling confident and beautiful on the red carpet? Do you have any styling tips?  I truly believe I feel the most confident when I’m getting the right amount of sleep and eating healthy. It’s easy to get lazy with meals, or to stay up too late on a daily basis, but your body needs good nourishment and good rest to survive! My best red carpet tips are a spray tan two days before, glossy lips and a confident smile!

What’s your favorite way to shop – retail, online or personal stylist? Anytime I’m getting glammed up for the red carpet or other press, I have a personal stylist, to help me with selections. However my favorite way to shop is retail therapy. It’s good for the soul! When I’m in a store, I must try on each garment.  When shopping online, it’s too frustrating when that package arrives in the mail and you’re so excited to wear the new dress that day; but it doesn’t fit properly!

What inspired you to start your own line? What is your favorite part of the design process? I have always loved fashion. For many years I had been spending a lot of time and money at my tailor’s shop, altering and enhancing my garments, whether it was adding this, shortening that, moving this etc. Once I became a part of RHOC, I had a platform, and I decided to make my dream of starting a fashion line a reality.

Do you have plans to expand your line in the future? Yes, Alexis by Tal Sheyn is already in boutiques throughout Los Angeles and Orange County, and we have a Showroom in LA.  We are international as well.  Alexis Couture will be in boutiques by this summer 2012!  You can check out my Alexis by Tal Sheyn at http://alexisbytalsheyn.com/

Which star or model do you think has great style? Who would you love to see wearing your own designs! Oh, I can think of a thousand women in Hollywood with great style … from Angelina Jolie to Gywneth Paltrow to Halle Berry to Jennifer Lopez. But as a designer and tastemaker, I want to dress the everyday woman to look and feel her very best. If I can become a household name in the closets of “real housewives” across the country, that would be alright with me!

You got a lot of buzz after fans saw you have your nose corrected on the show – what advice do you have for women who have been thinking seriously about plastic surgery but are a little nervous or fearful about going under the knife? My advice is if you are a confident, mentally sound individual OF AGE, then you should do what makes you happy. If enhancing or changing something about yourself will boost your confidence a little more, then why not? However, I will tell you this: I was very fearful going into my sinus/rhino surgery, and rightly so. Surgery is a serious decision. Recovery isn’t easy, and complications can arise; so it’s important to consider all the pros and cons, and feel confident about the doctor who’s performing the surgery.