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.

Part Two of our A-List Abs program devised by celebrity trainer Ashley Conrad

workout

ADJUST YOUR ATTITUDE – GET YOUR BODY TO ITS OPTIMAL LEVEL, NOT A NUMBER ON THE SCALE Conrad believes it is important to gain some healthy perspective when trying to achieve the body of your dreams. “Our standard for what is sexy and in shape has shifted drastically. The body fat percentage it takes to get that [celebrity] stomach is very low and outside the realm of where your body naturally is comfortable as a woman.” So what it the optimal range? “21%-24% is a great [body fat] range for any woman. To look good on camera, [my clients] are between 17%-19%. It is lower – but my non-celebrity clientele often reach this range because their bodies are running at optimal level and not having to strain to have that fat come off.” The key is working with your body, not against it. “We tend to not listen to our bodies. If your body is telling you to rest, you need to rest.” But Conrad firmly believes in active rest. “You need to keep the blood flowing and draw nutrients into the muscles. I encourage everyone, even on ‘off’ days, to get outside and just walk for 20 minutes. Breathe. Reflect. It’s not just about exercise, it’s a lifestyle.”

FOOD – EAT CLEAN AND CONSCIOUSLY If you’ve been overloading your system with processed junk for far too long, kick-start a healthier lifestyle with a detox to ‘re-set’ your system. Conrad designed her own product, DETOX ROCKS, to specifically rinse the body clean of dirty toxins that cause cellulite & fatigue. The added bonus? “When you’re removing the trash from your body, its amazing for your skin,” says Conrad. The next step is getting organized about what you’re putting into your body – and when. “You must be eating 5 times a day,” advises Conrad, “and never overeating at any particular time by sticking to correct portion sizes.” The simplest way to do this is to divide your plate: ¼ protein (a piece of chicken or fish the size of your palm), ¼ grains (1 cup cooked brown rice the size of your fist), and ½ your plate should be mixed grilled peppers and broccoli. Try to avoid red meat. “[It] is very difficult to digest so it creates a lot of bloating.” If you suffer from regular bloating, Conrad suggests swapping out one of your meals for a nutrient dense shake. “It allows your digestion to rest and reduces the size of your stomach – but you still get all of the nutrients you need so you’re not hungry.”

BE SMART ABOUT THAT ‘HEALTHY’ SHAKE YOU’RE BLENDING UP “You think you’re making yourself a ‘healthy’ smoothie but 800 calories later, the blender is full of fruit to cover up the nasty taste [of the protein powder] and you’re bloated after drinking it.” Ashley’s celeb clients love her NAKED POWDER, an all-natural protein powder, packed with slimming organic juices & energizing vitamins as a meal replacement to banish the bloat. (NAKED POWDER, $40; DETOX ROCKS, $35: AVAILABLE FROM CLUTCHBODYSHOP.COM)