Having participated on “The Biggest Loser,” I was privileged to hob-knob with world-renowned trainers and health professionals. Furthermore I can still communicate with many of the health gurus I met on the show should I need some sound health and fitness advice.
Since I am embracing being a health junkie, I thought, why not get in touch with one of my favorites and get his take on all the best ways to embrace the healthy life?
I spoke with Christopher Ross Lane, a B.S. certified personal trainer for the show (he is like the Great and Powerful Oz, working behind the curtains of the show) or Cardio Chris as he was dubbed on the ranch (for all the beautiful if not grueling ways in which he got us to exercise via cardio when Bob wasn’t around: think hikes, suicides, stair-stepper, spinning, etc.).
After we caught up for a good half hour—I learned Chris will be going back to school soon for a double masters in exercise science and nutrition (as if he wasn’t impressive enough already)—I started in on my questions.
What is your best health and fitness tip?
Two big components of weight loss that are always overlooked are water and sleep. Americans are running around dehydrated. Nutrition in itself is changing. We have to drink more water. That’s what you should be drinking, period. Don’t get me wrong, I love a diet soda. I have one about once a month, [but] anything with a sugar substitute is horrible for you. Don’t drink your calories. [And coffee] coffee dehydrates you. The body wants to be at homeostasis. It wants to be running as smoothly as possible. Water is one of the keys for that.
[And sleep]: You really need to shoot for about eight hours of sleep. As we get older things get in the way and we get five or six, but no, you need to shoot for eight.
What is a sensible way to lose weight?
It has been my experience in my entire career that the slower you lose weight the better chances you’ll keep it off in the long run. Changing your lifestyle is difficult. It has to be small little changes [like] losing 1-2 lbs. a week. After a year you have a 100 pound weight loss. If you have 400 plus calories a day, over the span of a year you’re looking at forty pounds [gained]. I tell my clients, ‘I need you in the negative majority of the day.’ Making those little changes is how you will effectively change your lifestyle. It has to be little tweaks that you adopt, for example: I’m not going to tell you to stop eating bread. [Simply] drop complex carbs after dinner. Stick to lean and green, chicken, fish and veggies. There is a great quote from Bob Harper, ‘nobody ever got fat eating fruits and vegetables.’
What is a memorable triumph story you have of someone really changing their lifestyle?
Nothing beat running the Boston Marathon with Val (Valerie Bertinelli) two days before she turned fifty. And running with Dani (the season 14 winner of The Biggest Loser) for her first half marathon in Nashville. She finished in an hour and fifty-two minutes. For a girl that’s a spectacular time. Seven months earlier she weighed 260 lbs. That was a really fun moment for me.
What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
When [I’m] working on the show, really seeing [the contestants] excited about what their body can do, that’s really exciting. [I love] watching people reconnect with their bodies. So many of these moments it’s massive change, little moments [like] going into the Gap and buying a pair of jeans—opening up possibilities that you haven’t been open to.
What are your favorite ways to stay in shape?
I like a good jog outside, usually when the sun is setting… or a big hike. I’m the kind of trainer that gets in and does [the workout] with you. I will run, hike, spin when I’m training you. I won’t stand on the treadmill near you. I want to do it with you. When you’ve got a fitness buddy you’re more accountable.
What are your quick go-to healthy snacks/meals/coffee beverages?
Mini carrots and hummus… chicken and veggies. I am an instant gratification eater. [I like to] go grab something and throw it in my mouth. Almonds are in the console of my car. There’s always going to be like random dollar bills and almonds. [My] coffee beverage is a venti iced coffee with sugar in the raw. Don’t do artificial sweeteners. In a perfect world I want you going to a farmers market and buying only organic, but that’s not going to happen.
And lastly, I will leave you with my favorite wisdom from Cardio Chris that he imparted onto me at the ranch.
Simple and perfect. Chris always heavily encouraged my love of running on the ranch and never let me forget no matter how tired a run or a race might be, to pluck up for the last leg and push myself. To this day whether I run, bike or lift weights I remember the power of finishing strong. As always, thank you for your insight and motivation, Chris.
Follow Chris on Twitter @chrisrosslane