Our today’s interview is with Lauren Jacobsen, fitness and nutrition expert and the author of SexyStrongAndFit.com. We asked her to answer a few questions about her journey to this gorgeous body she has and give our readers some tips and inspiration. Fortunately she generously agreed.
Q: Lauren, tell us a little about yourself, how and when did you start to train, what’s your background and what led you to specialize in fitness and nutrition?
A: I started working out – lifting weights around the age of 19, around the same time I decided to pursue a degree in Biochemistry. I had an interest in the chemistry of the body and how the nutrients we put into our body influence the results we get when it came to athletics, and building and sculpting a great body. During my time in university, I focused on the biochemical effects of supplements; I knew in my last year that I wanted a career within the supplement industry. When I finished school, I took my passion and landed a job with the world’s top supplement company developing performance enhancing and weight loss products. I was actually the first woman to be hired on the R&D team, and shortly after that I decided to try my hand at competing. I continued to compete and work on all sides of the supplement industry including Marketing, Advertising and Brand Management. About 4 years ago I decided to leave the supplement industry, and try my hand at corporate business running the health and pharmacy division of Canada’s largest pharmacy retail chain in a management position, but to keep my finger on the pulse of the industry I started a consulting business focusing on writing, advertising, and marketing. In March of this year, I finally made the decision to leave the corporate world and do it alone. Today, I continue to provide consulting work, and am a regular contributor and columnist for some of the top fitness online sites and magazines including Inside Fitness, Fitness RX for Women and Muscle Insider and the co-host for the TV show Body Fuel. I also provide online training, ebooks and fitness advice for women who want to get in shape, lose weight and put on some muscle through my website SexyStrongAndFit.com.
Q: Many women start exercise program but still struggle to lose weight. In your experience what are the main reasons that could interfere with their weight loss goals?
A: Getting started on any exercise program can be the most difficult thing to do because it requires changing lifestyle habits. If you have been doing something the same way for so long, it is hard to get out of that habit. You may start off on the right track, but after a few days it can be easy to slip back into old habits if you are not prepared to make the necessary changes to stick to your exercise program. If you are really committed to making a change and seeing it through then it has to become part of your lifestyle. That means you schedule your workouts as part of your weekly schedule to ensure you don’t miss a workout because of another commitment, it has to take precedence in your life. Consistency is the key to meeting any fitness goal. And the same thing needs to go for your diet as well, it is important to stick it through, plan your meals and prepare them in advance so you never miss a meal. It is also about making the right choices and understanding the foods you eat, with more knowledge you will be better equipped to make the right healthy choices. One way to make sure you stick to your weight loss goals is to enroll the help of a coach, whether it is online or in the gym, having someone who you can rely on for assistance through the beginning phases can make sure you keep to your plan!
Q: We know you authored many books on fitness, diet and nutrition. Which one would you specifically recommend for someone who has difficulty with losing weight?
A: I would recommend the Sexy, Strong and Fit Diet and Workout Guides which are a phased approach to losing weight, getting in shape and gaining lean muscle. I based the guides on my own experiences and on those of my clients. I use a 3-phase approach that guides you through 12-weeks of workouts and diet planning to reach your goals. They also teach you the basics of nutrition, how to structure a diet, and how to integrate that diet into your lifestyle. Each workout plan comes with a weight training segment, with demonstration videos, a cardio and plyometric drill component. All the workouts can be done with a few simple pieces of equipment, and in under an hour too! Each phase is 4-weeks in length and will move you through beginner to an advanced level. You will also be given the opportunity to identify your fitness, weight loss and personal goals, as well as track your progress.
Q: Lauren, you know these diet wars when some say you should eat low-fat and some others say you should go low-carb, then someone else comes in and says ‘no, it should be 40/30/30’. All this is very confusing. What’s your opinion about it and what works for you?
A: There are many diets out there, but I believe in using a balanced approach to your weight loss plan that is based on your activity levels, your metabolism and your goals. I do not agree with eliminating carbs or fat completely from your diet. We need essential fats and complex carbohydrates as part of a healthy diet plan. Fats help with our metabolism, can help preserve muscle, and help balance hormones, while complex carbohydrates help sustain our energy levels throughout the day. I follow a diet that is high in protein, and moderate in fat and carbohydrates. For protein, I aim for 1 g per pound of bodyweight per day, eaten over 5 to 6 meals. If I am dieting for a competition or photo shoot, then I will cut down on the carbohydrates and up the fats to dial my body in. I typically follow a 40/30/30 plan, and make adjustments depending on where I need my physique to be. I use the same approach in my Sexy, Strong and Fit Diet Book and with my clients.
Q: Many women feel uncomfortable in their bodies. They feel less than attractive and this interferes with many aspects of their lives, especially personal. What your advice would be? Do you have any solution for that?
A: It can be difficult to deal with self confidence issues; they can hold you back from accomplishing goals not just in the gym but also in your life goals too. One thing I have found is that working out, competing, and challenging myself has helped me find the confidence in myself and my body to go after what I want. First off, you need to be the best you can be on all levels, have the best workouts you can, eat the best food, and live everyday with meaning. If you don’t value yourself and love yourself, you will never believe in yourself enough to go out and get what you want. And if you don’t go out and show the world what you are made of, what you stand for and what you want, you will never get it, it will go unnoticed. Whether you are at the gym or at work, you need to put out the image you want people to see. Even if you don’t believe it right now, start acting the part, eventually you will start believing. One technique I do like to use is visualization and goal setting. I often visualize myself accomplishing my goals. From my visualizations, I construct a plan on how I am going to get to that goal, whether it is a goal to compete, or start a new project. Once you have a goal and a plan, you just have to keep working away at it until it starts to take shape and you begin to gain confidence from your accomplished goals, which further fuel you to accomplish more goals and continue to go after what you want!
Q: Some people complain about lack of energy and sluggishness. There is no way for them to exercise when they feel tired from the moment they wake up. In your opinion, what could be their problem?
A: I would say lack of working out and eating properly is the problem! When you workout you feel better, feel good endorphins get released and you can cope better with stress, and live a more active life, not only that but you will have more energy too. In fact, even when you don’t feel like going to the gym, go to the gym, within a few minutes of starting your workout, and getting your blood flowing you will forget about how tired you are and will have energy to get through your workout. (Click here for Lauren’s Sexy Strong and Fit Workout Guide).
Not only that but you really are what you eat, that means if you feed your body food that lacks nutrients, you certainly will not feel energetic. Your diet fuels your metabolism, your energy levels and ensures you can function at an optimal level. So it is critical that you feed it what it needs, that means eating a diet that is rich in vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.
Q: Thank you very much Lauren for your time. Tell us where our readers can find you.