Valerie Waters 5-Hour Live Webcast Today

Just in case anyone reading this is interested in learning more about Valerie Waters, the trainer whose program I used to achieve the results below this past fall, she will be webcasting live today for five hours from 5 PM – 10 PM EST (2-7 PM Pacific). The show will include interviews with some of her celebrity clients, other fitness pros, and one of the test subjects of her Red Carpet Ready program, Mary Bess Dalton, who has appeared weekly on Red Carpet Ready TV as she followed Val’s 6-week program.

There will also be more information about Val’s new Diamond Express physique transformation coaching service for those who want a bit more help than the basic RCR e-book package can provide. The cost is on par with what you would pay for about two months’ worth of personal training, and includes:

  • a full year of access to the Red Carpet Ready Club as a gold level member
  • a Valkit consisting of a pair of Valslides and a Valband
  • the Red Carpet Ready e-Book
  • a preview copy of Val’s upcoming Action Babe workout e-Book for those who like a more muscular look
  • Access to the private Diamond Club member area on the RCR Club forums
  • Val’s Five Pounds in Six Days emergency program

Check it out!

(For those on a shoestring budget, you can get a taste of Val’s programs by doing her free Action Hero workouts.)


Hello 2009!

Hey all! Sorry I’ve been incommunicado for the past month; all I can say is that 12 hour work days and a slew of holiday obligations can really chop one’s web posting time down to nothing. I think this happens every December, because I am feeling a sense of deja vu as I type these words.

I’m back again, though, and ready to start the 2009 off with some new plans on the fitness and nutrition front and in other areas of my life.

I’m also reviving the Project Wonder Woman blog which has been sadly neglected since last February. If you want to join me in working toward some grown-up chick scout badges for trying out new things and improving yourself in lots of different areas, check out the PWW blog and drop me a line if you want to become a contributor.

  1. Cooking/Nutrition: Get back to 90% clean eating (it’s been an uncharacteristically sloppy holiday season for me food-wise) and TRY to go mostly vegetarian
  2. Fitness: Complete two full months of Val Waters’s free Action Hero workouts (bonus action babe workout, too) without skipping any unless sick or injured, then follow up with the full New Rules of Lifting for Women program
  3. Knitting: Learn how to knit from the Stitch and Bitch book & make a knitted Sackboy doll to go with my crocheted and sewn ones
  4. Money: Complete Baby Step 2 of Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover plan by paying off my second mortgage
  5. Sewing: Do two back to back 6-month Wardrobe Refashion pledges and only sew my own clothing from fabric in my stash or clothes already in my closet
  6. Budgeting/Travel: Save up for a European cruise (second honeymoon since DH and I were frugal with our first one in 2007) in the fall
  7. Gardening: Get my veggie garden in order and make a month to month plan to keep it that way
  8. Painting: Complete all of the painting exercises in my watercolor pet painting book & learn how to use Corel Painter
  9. Singing: Take one month of voice lessons (I love karaoke, but have never been in a choir or taken real lessons.)
  10. Yoga: Make flexibility training a regular part of my routine instead of an occasional chore.
  11. Writing: Complete all of the exercises in just ONE of my many writing books
  12. Make My Own Badge: Any of the following – Get off my butt and just study for my personal training certification, work all the way through one PHP/MySQL programming book, or learn how to use my new video editing software by going through all of the included tutorials

For January in particular I want to:

  • Garden: Tear out the dead plants from my garden and cut down the invasive “dwarf” banana tree. Plant some cold weather veggie seeds.
  • Exercise/Nutrition: Complete all of my planned workouts and follow my meal plan. Swap out one meat-based protein portion per day with a vegetarian, egg, or seafood option.
  • Craft: Make my items for the Discworld Swap at Craftster–I’ll probably crochet some Discworld characters and sew some kind of bag…not sure what else. Make a “Spockboy” Sackboy doll for my co-worker.
  • Writing: Write five blog posts a week. Post at least four times a week at the two fitness forums where I am an administrator or moderator.
  • Money: Create a new budget for 2009 using the free PearBudget spreadsheet. Update W-4 withholding for me and my husband after plugging in our numbers in the IRS withholding calculator. File our taxes!
  • Organization: Cut down on extraneous online community involvement until I have a better grip on my real life work, hobby, education, and social commitments. Clear out and donate/toss my old stuff from my parents’ house.

I think the key to achieving these things is to flat out set a date for them instead of stopping at the list making stage. I have to schedule things right into my calendar for them to actually seem like tasks instead of goals. Goals are nice, but they will never be anything but words on paper unless I break them down into doable tasks.

Two Nintendo DS Cooking Apps for under $10

For my fellow Gamer Foodies out there, check out these two deals on a pair of brand new cooking titles for the Nintendo DS handheld system:

Personal Trainer: Cooking (list price $19.99) is only $4.95 today (Saturday only), and get this: What’s Cooking? with Jamie Oliver (list price $29.99) is actually only $7.90 (not the already good $9.95 sale price) if you scroll down on the product page to the Best Value box and click on the “Add both to cart” button that will put the game AND a Nintendo DS Play Stand in your cart. The Play Stand is a handy accessory that will hold your DS console up on your kitchen counter at the proper viewing angle within voice recognition distance while you are busy cooking away.

These two apps are great stocking stuffers for the cooking-impaired gamers in your life–students, new grads, single young guys who spend way too much money on take out meals, or even yourself. They both include 100+ recipes as well as step-by-step animated and audio instructions on how to prepare each dish. Give that starving student in your life a gift that will provide them with one of the most important life skills they can have: the ability to make their own meals from scratch.

Just make sure they already own a Nintendo DS!

Health O Meter Body Fat Monitoring Scale ($19.98 + $5.20 s/h) has a Health O Meter body fat monitoring digital scale on clearance for a very cheap $19.98 plus $5.20 shipping and handling. What a perfect gift for the calorie-counting, obsessive-compulsive fitness and nutrition geek in your life…or anyone who is embarking on a quest to get fit.


Most body fat scales are in the $50+ range, so this really is a decent price! This one got very good ratings from other buyers on the site.

Here are the features of this model:

Health O Meter Body Fat Monitoring Scale Includes:

* Health O Meter body fat monitoring scale
* 4 AA batteries
* User’s manual
* “Essential Facts About Body Fat” pamphlet

Product Features:

* Tracks weight and weight change and compares to your goal – helps you successfully reach your fitness target.
* FDA-approved, this scale uses BIA (bioelectrical impedance analysis), large metal contacts and 4 load cells – helps insure accuracy, precision and repeatability.
* Stores personal information for up to 4 different users and 5 entries per user – can be used by the whole family
* Extra-large 1.6″ graphic display – shows weight and percentage body fat together; helps make tracking the results of your fitness routines simple and quick.
* Accurately measures weight up to 350 lbs in 0.2 lb. increments – provides a very specific weight assessment.
* One-button save function – simple control.
* Measures approx. 13-1/4″L x 13-1/2″W x 1-1/4″H.
* Made of plastic and metal.
* Avoid contact with moisture.
* 350 lbs. max. weight capacity.
* Made in China.
* Comes with a manufacturer’s 5-year limited warranty.

Muscle & Fitness Hers 12-Week Makeover Program

For those who were interested, here is the Muscle & Fitness Hers 12-Week Makeover Program I am pulling my upper body workouts from for the rest of the year. As I’ve mentioned before, if your goal is really the Red Carpet Ready look, you probably don’t want to train this way because you WILL build stronger, larger, more visible muscles, especially if you follow the 1800-1900 calorie diet plan as well.

This plan is a lot more “American Gladiator” than “Alias”.

I’m using it for my upper body since I prefer a more obviously warrior princess look up there vs. Hollywood lean and slender since I have a lot of leg muscle to balance out.

M&F 12-Week Program (PDF)
(Download PDF)

Red Carpet Ready 6-Week Results and Review

Red Carpet Ready

The RCR Club Experience
I admit that I started celebrity trainer Val Waters‘s Red Carpet Ready program with a healthy dose of skepticism about what it could actually do for me since I’ve been training and eating clean pretty consistently for over 4 years now, but I can’t argue with the numbers below. I have lost 5.4 pounds in 6 weeks (This is very good for me based on past experience, especially given that it is PMS week for me; I am not one of those people who ever averages more than 1 pound a week unless I eat at starvation levels and do over an hour of cardio a day), dropped 2.17% body fat, and reduced my measurements by over 8.25″ (based on Val’s requested measurements) and 11.5″ based on my bonus measurements.

For someone as acclimatized to hard exercise and clean eating as I am–I am a poster child for homeostasis–these were very good results indeed.

Continue reading »

RCR W5D3: Free Action Hero Workouts

Celebrity trainer Valerie Waters whose Red Carpet Ready program I am currently following posted a pair of great workouts geared towards creating the Hollywood action babe look she gave to Jennifer Garner in Alias and Rachel Nichols who plays Scarlet in the upcoming G.I. Joe movie–lean and defined, but not quite as in-your-face powerful as a fitness competitor or Oxygen cover model.

These are available for free in her blog, and can be performed at home with minimal equipment: 5-10 lb dumbbells (mostly 10 lbs), a step or low chair, a stability ball, a pair of Valslides, and a fitness band. There is a “Valband” available for $4.99 at the same online store as the Valslides, or you can try to find one locally in the pilates section of your favorite sporting goods store. I also had good luck finding the Valslides themselves on clearance at my local Target for $12.48 including the covers and a workout card and DVD.

If you want to get a taste of what the RCR program is like, give these workouts a shot. Perform them three times a week in the following pattern:

Week 1
Mon: Workout 1
Wed: Workout 2
Fri: Workout 1

Week 2
Mon: Workout 2
Wed: Workout 1
Fri: Workout 2

For best results, throw in 20-30 minutes of interval cardio on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays and take Sunday off.

1. Green smoothie (1 c. spinach, 1 c. Diet V8 Splash Tropical, 1 small apple, 3/4 scoop protein powder, 3 baby carrots)
2. 60g oats and raisins, 3 egg whites scrambled with 2/3 c. spinach, 1 peanut butter protein popsicle
3. 1.5 c. shrimp and chicken jambalaya with 1/2 c. brown rice
4. 15g walnuts, 20g raisins
5. 5 baby carrots, 1 T. ANPB, 1 small apple
6. 3 oz. Oriental sesame chicken strips, 1 c. peas and green beans, 3″ Subway Chicken Pizziola sub oh whole wheat with extra veggies (~220 cal)
7. 3″ Subway Chicken Pizziola sub on whole wheat with extra veggies (~220 cal; Worked late night at the office–will count as this week’s 2 cheat items)

* RCR Circuit B2 (60 min)
* Outdoor skate (30 min)

RCR W5D2: Five Important Lessons From The Simple Dollar

Technically, this blog post at The Simple Dollar is about personal finance, but if you replace the finance terms in each one with the appropriate exercise or diet equivalent, it can be applied just as easily to the journey toward fitness and a healthy lifestyle.

Here are my slightly modified versions of the author’s wise words.

1. Every time you opt for an unhealthy meal or blow off a workout, you sacrifice a bit of your dreams.

I’m sure we all know someone who has been trying to lose weight for years but for one reason or another never follows through because they let their immediate desire for a brownie or a break from exercise overshadow their ultimate goal of being healthy and fit. Maybe that person is looking at you from the mirror. 😉

As Zig Ziglar said, “The chief cause of failure and unhappiness is trading what you want most for what you want now.”

I know that it isn’t always easy to do what you know you are supposed to do — pass up the junk food and drinks and get up early (or stay up late) to exercise every day — but some degree of work and sacrifice really is necessary if you want to rise above the norm and not settle for the lumpy bod of the Average American. Just as it takes discipline and commitment to save money, score straight A’s in school, or become skilled at your chosen field, you have to be willing to put in the sweat time and say no to the extra calories with consistency to make it to your goal.

Jiggle-free thighs and rock hard abs aren’t ever going to be handed to you!

That leads us to point #2:

2. There is no such thing as a magic bullet when it comes to fat loss.

Despite what the infomercials and check-out line magazines try to claim, there is no quick fix outside of cosmetic surgery with a fat-sucking vacuum for love handles, belly fat, saddlebags, double chins, saggy butts, bat wings, muffin tops, chub rub, moobs, or any other problem spot of your choice. You simply have to suck it up and WORK for it…and then you have to keep on doing that exercise and healthy eating stuff for the rest of your life if you want to keep it.

‘Nuff said.

3. My lifestyle and eating habits weren’t nearly as healthy as I believed them to be – and neither is anyone else’s.

Yes, it’s true. Before I started my first Body for Life challenge in 2004, I used to think that I made pretty good choices at the dining table. Sure, I knew I needed to move my body more since I had a sedentary desk job, but I figured that I could at least keep my weight at an acceptable level since I was eating well. 😉

Behold my idea of a healthy day of eating in 2003:

  • Breakfast: Big bowl of Raisin Bran cereal (~2 cups) with 1 c. skim milk
  • Lunch: Whopper Jr. with no cheese; BK side salad with Catalina dressing
  • Snack 1: Pack of Starburst or candy bar from the vending machine at the office or a handful of candy from the ever-present candy bucket on my co-worker’s desk
  • Snack 2: Small bag of chips from vending machine
  • Dinner: Beef or chicken and veggie stir-fry with 2 c. white rice
  • Snack 3 (if still hungry): Another bowl of cereal

Erm…yeah. That was my idea of healthy back in the day. 😛 About the only things I did right were eating every few hours, adding a salad to my lunch, and maybe dinner, but I thought I was doing pretty well compared to my peers.

4. Fitness isn’t just for rich or naturally skinny people – it’s for everyone.

There seems to be some kind of persistent misconception amongst the currently unfit that being active, in shape, and strong is something achievable only by those with enough money to pay for expensive gym memberships and personal trainers or the lucky few who were born with the sort of genes that allow them to think about performing a bicep curl while eating a gallon of Ben & Jerry’s and instantly sprout muscle and lose 1% of their body fat.

This, of course, is utter nonsense. Anyone can take (cheap or free) steps to improve their diet and start an exercise program. I’m not telling you to curl soup cans from the pantry — How utterly useless is THAT favorite nugget of advice from women’s magazines? — but you can certainly perform EFFECTIVE bodyweight exercises like squats, push ups, dips, one-legged deadlifts, and planks in the privacy of your own home, and the last time I checked, cardio exercises like jumping jacks, burpees, running, walking, and dancing were all free, too.

Don’t feel too embarrassed if you suffer from this delusion. Until I was 21 years old and had my attitude about this forcibly corrected by 8 weeks of basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, I thought exactly the same thing.

5. Success is a choice.

This one is the biggie.

Getting into shape and staying that way is, like everything else worthwhile in life, something YOU have to make the decision to do as a mature, functioning adult in our society. Yes, it was probably easier when you were a student and participating in team sports. Someone else guided your training and scheduled your exercise. You just had to show up and work. The same could be said about my time in the Army — morning PT was just something I was expected to do as part of what the Army called “soldier readiness,” and someone else was in charge of planning it. Now that we are out on our own without those external structures to force us to work out, it is up to us as individuals to CHOOSE every day to do the right thing when it comes to diet and exercise if we want to succeed.

You can whine until you turn blue about poor genetics and try to put the blame on the manufacturers of calorically-dense junk food, the lack of outdoor parks and activities in your city, and the video games, TV, and Internet that are turning us all into myopic, sedentary blobs with atrophied muscles…but it still boils down to personal choice in the end. You can choose to take on the deconditioned, overweight mantle (and accompanying health issues down the road) that modern 21st century life in the United States is ready to lay across your shoulders, or you can choose to get off your butt for just 30 to 60 minutes per day, learn how to cook some tasty, healthy eats, and start reminding your muscles, bones, and lungs what they were meant to do.

It’s up to you.

1. 15g walnuts, 20g raisins
2. 1.5 c. shrimp and chicken jambalaya with additional 1 c. peas
3. 2 chocolate peanut butter protein popsicles, 5 baby carrots
4. 2 slices firm tofu, 1 t. Szechuan chili paste, 1 small apple, 1 T. ANPB
5. 3 egg white/1 whole egg curry scramble with 1 c. spinach, 1 T. ketchup
6. 4 oz. tilapia with 1 T. SF apricot preserve glaze, 1 c. green beans and Brussels sprouts

* HIIT Run (Afterburn-style 3.5 & 8.5-10 mph; 30 min)
* Stationary bike (Lvl 8; 15 min)
* Elliptical (Lvl 7; 15 min)