Try common sense instead of Weight Watchers, says a top trainer

Six tips for maximizing fat burning, from Ariane Hundt, the nutritionist-trainer of Brooklyn Bridge Boot Camp.
Ariane Hundt, Teutonic goddess, nutritionist, and fitness trainer

Creator of the popular Brooklyn Bridge Boot Camp,  Ariane Hundt integrates nutritional counseling into her high-octane outdoor workouts. With a master’s degree in nutrition, Hundt advises clients on starches as well as squats. (The latter are better for you.) Her January “Slim and Strong” indoor boot camp is sold out, so we sat down with Hundt over skim lattes and digested the Cliff’s Notes of her nutrition program.

“New Yorkers, like everyone else, let themselves go over the holidays, knowing that come January 1st they will embark on yet another diet or exercise regimen,” says Hundt. Instead of expecting yourself to turn a magic new spinach leaf in January, Hundt abides by a proven recipe for healthy weight loss: a good diet paired with exercise.

Usually trainers literally aren’t licensed to give nutrition advice, but you’re a nutritionist and a trainer. How does that inform your boot camp?
You can spend ten hours a week in the gym, but you won’t see changes unless you make your diet work for you. I’ve had clients come to boot camp five days a week and not lose a pound! That’s because they didn’t change their diet. Eighty percent of any results are due to nutrition.

Is there one persistent food culprit?
Yes, too many starches!! I see it again and again in my clients’ food diaries: bread, rice, and potatoes. Alcohol is another biggie. Alcohol messes up fat burning and estrogen levels. Women shouldn’t have more than a drink a day. If one drink has 100 calories, that’s 3,000 calories at the end of the month.

What do you think of The Master Cleanse? The Grapefruit Diet?
It’s pointless. Any time you restrict yourself, you are setting yourself up for a cycle of failure and guilt. People need to understand that dramatic doesn’t equal effective. On a starvation diet, you will empty your colon and that’s about it. Any diet where your body gets no protein, your body starts eating muscle. Your metabolism slows, and with it, the fat-burning process.

What’s your nutrition philosophy in a nutshell, or eggshell?
Eliminate sugars and starches. Digestion improves, skin clears up, and you’ll feel and look healthier. It’s so simple. Eat loads of veggies—“Eat the rainbow”—and lean proteins (fish, chicken, turkey, eggs, low fat cheese, and dairy). Protein satiates, balances your blood sugar level, and feeds your muscles. Starches, on the other hand, give you a sugar spike followed by insulin release, and insulin signals your body to store fat. So you get fatter and hungrier. Healthy starches, like lentils, sweet potato, and quinoa, are okay.

What if that feels restrictive?
Have “cheat days.” For two meals each week I tell my clients to eat whatever they want. Have two slices of pizza, or a burger and fries. You’ll feel lethargic and gross afterward and you won’t want to do it again. You also won’t feel denied.

What’s your favorite snack food? Please tell me that you have guilty pleasures!
Low fat string cheese and pepper jack, walnuts, cashews, and almond butter. Also, I love Greek yogurt and it’s a great source of protein. On my “cheat days,” I like to eat thin crust pizza at Bella Vita on 58th Street. If I’m craving sweets, I’ll have some dark chocolate, but not the two bars a day that I used to eat before I became a trainer and nutritionist.


1.) Eat a lean protein (fish, chicken, lean beef, eggs, yogurt or protein powders) at every meal

2.) Aim for 5 small meals a day (of 300 calories)

3.) Eat as many veggies as you can, and focus on the fibrous ones (e.g., broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and greens) that aid digestion

4.) Drink a lot of water. If you’re dehydrated, your metabolism slows down and you’re more prone to hunger, headaches, and fatigue.

5.) Don’t eat any starches after lunchtime, not even the good starches

6.) Take a fish oil supplement. It will reduce inflammation, aid digestion, and improve skin. New Chapter, Carlson’s, and Nordic Naturals have the highest quality ingredients.

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