By Bob Harper
I have now been in the fitness business for over 20 years. I started working in a little gym in Nashville, Tennessee when Lycra, headbands and sweating to the sounds of high-energy dance music dominated the fitness scene. My ears are still ringing from those days.
When I decided I really wanted to make a career out of health and fitness, I packed my bags and drove west to Los Angeles, California. When I landed in West Hollywood, I hit the ground running. I began teaching group fitness classes and then began to build up my clientele for my personal training business.
Through the years I have had the privilege to work with so many people, and it has given me a wealth of knowledge. What I’ve seen and learned is quite basic, but oh so fascinating. I'm sure your mother has told this to you at some point in your life.... You are what you eat. In LA I was working with people that were what I considered to be age-defying. Living in LA you really can't tell how old a person is, and I'm not talking about the plastic surgery. I'm talking about the healthy mind and body, so let me share with you what I have learned – it has been cemented in my work on “The Biggest Loser,” because I began working with people on the complete other end of the spectrum: the out of shape, unhealthy, obese and morbidly obese.
Working with so many different types of people at so many different fitness levels, there has been one common denominator that I have learned: Our bodies WANT TO BE HEALTHY. When you give the body what it needs, your body, in return, will give you what you want. I am a firm believer in this theory because not only have I seen it work for other people, but it also works for me. There are so many diet plans, cleanses, and quick fixes that will guarantee you the body that you have always been looking for, but I believe that these extreme plans will only be a temporary solution to the real goals that so many people want… a healthy mind and body. People don't eat real food any more. They are eating "food-like food." A bar for breakfast or worse, NO BREAKFAST, maybe skip or grab something at work, and by dinner you are so hungry that you end up making bad choices. So if you ask me what to do, well, I'm going to tell you.
You have to EAT TO LOSE WEIGHT. Think about your body as a car. Your car can only run properly when you have fuel in the tank. So you gotta eat within the first 45 minutes of waking up and then eat around every 4 hours. That will get your metabolism running and when you are feeling satiated you make better choices throughout your day. Now that you know that you have to eat to lose weight, here is where your choices affect not only how you feel, but also how you look. Foods highly processed with sugar, fat, & sodium can actually speed up the aging process, so think about that the next time you want to go into that drive thru and grab a bite to eat. You could actually be putting years onto your life. Our bodies are like finely tuned machines, and when you give your body more nutrient-dense foods that are filled with protein, complex carbohydrates, leafy greens, and good fats, you are putting top-notch fuel into your tank - food that takes a long time to digest so you are fuller longer. When you put salty, sugary, and highly processed foods into your tank with virtually no fiber, your body will rip right through it and leave you feeling moody, lethargic, and most of all HUNGRY.
So here is the bottom line: You need to find time in your busy schedule to get your heart rate pumping and make healthier food choices that will fuel your body for your workouts and feed your mind to keep you clear-headed and ready for anything. What you’ll get is an age-defying, rockin' body. By the way, I'm turning 45 years old this year, and I am in the top shape of my life because I practice what I preach and I live each day the healthiest and happiest I can. I know you can do the exact same things. You have all the power within you to achieve this and turn back the hands of time.
Now entering his 10th season as one of the fitness trainers on NBC's worldwide hit "The Biggest Loser," Bob Harper has become one of the most credible and sought-after motivational experts on television and DVD, in books and in personal appearances. Harper is certified with the American Fitness Training of Athletics and with Aerobics and Fitness Association of America. Learn more about Bob Harper at www.mytrainerbob.com
Watch Bob Harper speak at The Women's Conference 2010.