LoveToKnow Exercise presents an interview with celebrity fitness and nutrition expert JJ Virgin. JJ, the expert from TLC's Freaky Eaters, shares tips for getting lean, toned arms from her new book, Six Weeks to Sleeveless and Sexy. She also offers tips on how to exercise for weight loss and keep the pounds off through exercise and nutrition.
JJ Virgin Fitness Interview
JJ Virgin specializes in helping people overcome weight loss resistance. She talks to LoveToKnow about how to make lifestyle changes that include exercise, smart nutrition and healthy habits.
Overcoming Weight Loss Resistance
LoveToKnow (LTK): What does it mean to be weight loss-resistant? How do people overcome this obstacle?
JJ Virgin (JV): A person is considered to be weight loss-resistant if they are following the right diet and exercise program per their genotype and are still not losing 1-3 pounds of fat consistently each week despite being 20 or more pounds overweight. Note, while 70- 80% of the population is now overweight or obese, 50% of the other 30% is TOFI - thin outside, fat inside. Be sure to consider your body composition as it isn't what you weigh, it is what that weight is made up of. I have found that a significant group of the overweight/obese population is weight loss-resistant due to one or more of the following metabolic issues:
- Poor sleep
- Chronic stress
- Food sensitivities
- Gut dysbiosis including small intestinal bacterial overgrowth
- Sex hormone imbalance
- Thyroid fatigue
- Insulin resistance
- High toxic burden
Our body is not a bank account, it is a chemistry lab and these aforementioned factors can make it harder to burn off fat and better at storing it while slowing down overall metabolism.
Exercise to Lose Weight and Keep It Off
LTK: How important is diet and nutrition to an exercise plan for weight loss in order to consistently lose weight and keep off the pounds for good?
JV: For long-term weight management, you must take an integrated approach of balanced eating, consistent high-quality sleep, daily downtime to improve stress tolerance, burst-style cardiovascular exercise, more movement throughout the day and resistance exercise, good digestion and daily detoxification. On the outset, improvements in diet will make the biggest initial difference while in the long term, exercise helps shift your metabolism to support a higher resting metabolic rate and improved fat burning.
Exercise Advice for Busy People
LTK: What are your recommendations for people who feel they are too busy for regular exercise?
JV: For anyone who feels they don't have time to exercise or eat right, you need to make time. You will either make the time now or pay for it later. Honestly, when you do make the time, you will find that your enhanced energy gives you more time anyway! I have also got some great tricks that I incorporate that will help.
I offer the Virgin Diet online program complete with healthy recipes to help people reach their weight loss goals.
I also teach people to wear a pedometer to motivate them to move more throughout the day. What you measure, you can improve. I have people shift from long endurance-style training to burst-style training to improve stress resilience and enhance metabolism and fat burning in half the time.
There are also a few stellar supplements that I love to have people use every day. To stay healthy and improve stress resilience, I love the product Wellmune WGP. It works to keep you healthy by mobilizing billions of innate immune cells that are part of your body's natural defenses and it helps maintain energy, vitality and mental clarity when you are stressed (which is usually when you get sick in the first place!).
Another product that I incorporate into my daily regimen and recommend to my clients is Wakunaga Kyolic AGE - this is known as the "social garlic" as it is odorless. Much as I love garlic, I don't really want it to become my new signature scent! I recommend Kyolic as it helps keep your GI tract healthy (along with your heart) so that you avoid getting an overgrowth of bad bacteria and/or yeast which can cause gas, bloating and weight gain.
Finally I have all of my clients start the day with a high-quality protein shake with added fiber. I find that most people fall into one of two categories at breakfast time and neither is good for weight loss, much less long-term health. They either skip it because they "don't have time" or they grab what is basically dessert on the run. Start the day with a healthy meal replacement shake and you set the metabolic tone for the day. You can grab my personal shake recipe free.
Tips for People New to Exercise with Health Problems
LTK: Do you have any fitness advice for people who have exercise limitations due to health issues?
JV: If you have health issues, the first place to go is your integrated health care professional who can give you clearance for what you can and can't do. Great resources for this are:
- The Association of Anti-Aging Medicine
- The American College of Alternative Medicine
- The Institute of Functional Medicine
I have had five knee surgeries on my right knee; I have no ACL ligament and no meniscus. If it weren't for my diet and exercise regimen I don't know that I would be able to walk without chronic pain (or a limp). My point is that if you do have health issues, it is even more important to adhere to an integrated diet and exercise program, but ideally work with a trained professional to design it and support you through the process. Accountability is one of my top keys to success, which is why I hire coaches and experts for myself as well!
Exercise for Lean, Toned Arms
LTK: In your new book, Six Weeks to Sleeveless and Sexy, you break the common myth that strength training arm exercises can make feminine arms too bulky. Please explain why arm exercises won't build bulky muscles and instead build lean, defined arms.
JV: What makes women look bulky isn't muscle, it is fat! When you add muscle tone to your arms, you hold everything in tighter while boosting metabolism and improving fat burning. For this reason, I like to think of muscles as "metabolic Spanxs™."
LTK: The book also provides detailed exercises to improve arms. What type of exercises does the book recommend?
JV: I focus on multi-joint free weight exercises that use more muscles so you get more bang for your exercise "buck." Don't tone your arms in isolation, work them in conjunction with your upper body musculature including your chest, lats and shoulders and you will get even better results. Plus you won't ever have to wear shoulder pads again!
JJ Virgin Fitness Programs
LTK: You offer many fitness and wellness programs and products through your website that customers all over the world can purchase. Which programs are best for someone new to exercise and nutrition who wants to adopt a healthier lifestyle?
JV: My signature program is my 28-Day Fast Track program. It takes you through how to eat, how to get fit fast, how to de-stress and sleep deep, and how to improve digestion and detoxify daily. I take people through this process by integrating a series of simple action steps so that over the month, they change the way they live, think and feel, forever. After all, if you live like a healthy fit and lean person, you will become one.
About JJ Virgin
JJ Virgin is a fitness and nutrition expert with over 25 years experience. Her clients include celebrities such as Ben Stiller and Gene Simmons. She offers a number of fitness programs through her website and to private clients. An author and co-host of TLC's Freaky Eaters, JJ is a nationally recognized health expert. She graduated from University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and is a Certified Nutrition Specialist and a Certified Health and Fitness Instructor with a number of advanced certifications, including personal training.
JJ offers a number of programs to the general public through her website, including a personalized fitness plan based on genetic testing. To learn more about JJ, her books or fitness programs, visit the official website.