1 AN EXTRAORDINARY SECRET Life is short, live it well. -JORGE CRUISE Something has happened across America, and it's spreading throughout the Western world. People's waistlines are getting bigger and bigger. More than 60 percent of Americans are overweight or obese, and the number keeps growing. What does this mean for you? Well, if you're overweight-whether you have five or over 30 pounds to lose-you probably aren't living the life you want to lead. Extra weight destroys your self-esteem and truly limits your ability to move freely. Even worse, extra weight around your midsection has been shown to lead to life-threatening health problems like type II diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, and stroke-belly fat is extremely dangerous. I'll discuss why belly fat is so risky in a bit, but for now it's crucial that you realize that getting fit and shrinking your waist are essential to your health. By the time you finish this chapter, you will understand my extraordinary secret to shrinking your waist in two weeks and getting into the best shape of your life. And it will only take two 20-minute workouts each week that you can do at home or the gym. You won't have to spend hours to see results; you'll never waste time on inefficient exercise methods again. THE KING OF FAT I know what it's like to feel uncomfortable with your body. I was fat as a kid. My whole family loved to eat huge portions of heavy, rich foods. My mom and grandma believed that a well-fed kid was a well-loved kid-and I would say that I was loved as much as two normal kids combined! I became so chubby that my mom started calling me el rey, or "the king" in Spanish. However, my extra fat, my belly fat in particular, was starting to take a huge toll on me, physically and emotionally. Exercise was never a priority in my family; my dad worked ten-hour days and considered exercise too difficult and time-consuming. As a result of my poor diet and lack of exercise, I was a mess by the time I was fifteen. I had low energy, daily headaches, and asthma so severe that I wheezed when I tried to run laps in gym class. The other kids in school made fun of me and called me names like "lard-ass" and "fatso." I was never picked for teams. I never played sports, and I couldn't even do one push-up or pull-up. I was so embarrassed by my body that my self-esteem suffered. No one-especially not my family who loved me so much-suspected that my lack of exercise and unhealthy diet were responsible for the challenges I faced. It took a life-threatening experience to make me realize that my lifestyle choices could kill me. When I was a teenager, my appendix burst and I came within minutes of dying. During the long and difficult recovery period, I began thinking about becoming a healthier person. I realized that I didn't have the tools I needed to start living a healthy lifestyle, but even thinking about it was a big start for me. Not long after my appendix burst, something happened to my dad that changed both of our lives forever. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer and told that without medical intervention he only had a year to live. Rather than undergo invasive, conventional treatment, my dad enrolled in an alternative health center in San Diego called the Optimum Health Institute to learn how to cleanse, rejuvenate, and heal his body with lifestyle changes. I joined the program with my dad, mostly for emotional support, but I took away life-changing lessons in exercise and nutrition. My dad's cancer went into remission and my headaches and asthma disappeared. We both got healthy and gained energy-as well as a whole new appreciation of life. My dad wasn't the only member of my family to suffer serious health consequences from his lifestyle choices. My grandparents were both significantly overweight. They didn't think much about their health until my grandmother had a stroke. While she recovered in the hospital, my grandfather got a checkup and learned that his blood pressure was dangerously high. The doctor figured that it was only a matter of time before my grandfather had a stroke, too. Shaken up, my grandparents decided to learn from my dad's experience at the health center and start leading healthier lives. Unfortunately, it was too late for my grandma; she soon had a second stroke and passed away. However, my grandpa made a lot of beneficial changes even with his grief over losing his wife. He dropped more than fifty pounds and lowered his blood pressure dramatically. He completely turned his health-and his life-around. From that point on, I decided to make my life's mission to become fit and guide others toward longer, healthier, and better lives. I devoted my time to studying nutrition, exercise science, and psychology. I learned everything I could from my instructors at the University of California, San Diego; Dartmouth College; and the Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research. I also became a certified personal trainer and researched the seemingly endless number of fad diets and exercise programs available. Once I was ready, I set out to create a website that would help online clients get fit. It worked. And soon after, something very big happened-my website and one of my online clients were featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show. My life changed after this incredible moment! I received thousands of e-mails from people asking me to help them, too. That inspired me to develop my introductory exercise book series, 8 Minutes in the Morning. That series of bestselling books was designed for a beginner who just wants a simple plan to get going. Then, at my JorgeCruise.com website, I received more and more e-mails asking me to develop a weight-loss diet that was healthy, safe, and yet still delicious. So I created a book series called The 3-Hour Diet. That series got hot fast! For the first time, everyone from college kids to busy moms to celebrities were eating well and seeing results quickly. This leads me to the book you have in your hands. Yes, as you can imagine, I continued to receive e-mail requests, but this time it was different. People wanted me to create a fitness plan for maximum results in minimal time-while still keeping it simple. Specifically, they wanted me to help them shrink their waistlines faster and allow them to achieve their best bodies ever. They wanted results that none of my past plans could offer. That pushed me to make an extraordinary breakthrough. A RESEARCH BREAKTHROUGH Recently, amazing discoveries have been made in exercise physiology. Researchers have discovered that resistance training done just twice a week can specifically help prevent belly fat. Yes, resistance training will not only get you toned and fit, but can shrink the most dangerous kind of belly-bulging fat, called visceral fat. This kind of deep abdominal fat not only makes us look big and feel uncomfortable, but also can lead to severe health problems. In chapter 3, I will share with you all the details about my new program, but for now just know that you no longer have to run a high risk of developing lifestyle diseases like heart disease and diabetes. My goal is to get you to what doctors say is best (and what also looks great in a swimsuit!): a waist circumference under 35 inches for a man or 32.5 inches for a woman. And with the 12-Second Sequence(tm), I have created a simple and incredibly effective way for you to achieve this. MY BREAKTHROUGH METHOD: THE 12-SECOND SEQUENCE(tm) Resistance training is the key to getting you fit because it creates lean muscle tissue that burns fat-particularly belly fat. Until now, however, most resistance training programs have been complicated and time-consuming. So that is why my fitness team and I spent two years creating the ultimate fitness plan-a revolutionary method of resistance training. And we call that method the 12-Second Sequence(tm). It's a true breakthrough. The 12-Second Sequence(tm) is the most efficient method ever created to develop lean muscle tissue, burn belly fat, and get you looking your best ever. You'll never again waste time in the gym doing endless repetitions or spending hours on the treadmill. This workout is so advanced, so to-the-point, that you'll never need another fitness program again. The 12-Second Sequence(tm) is made up of two powerful and time-tested workout techniques: slow cadence lifting and static contraction. No other fitness plan has ever combined these two techniques. Slow cadence lifting is a method in which the exercises are slowed down to a 10-second count on the lifting and lowering. With static contraction, the weight or resistance is held at a key point for a predetermined amount of time. I call this unique hybrid technique Controlled Tension(tm). Although Controlled Tension(tm) alone is an extraordinary method of training, I still felt that something was missing from the equation. Recently I became a big fan of circuit training because I discovered that it allowed me to train my entire body in just a few workouts a week and at the same time provided a great cardio workout. In circuit training, you move from exercise to exercise without resting. This allows the heart rate to remain elevated throughout the duration of the workout. And believe me, the cardio benefits are amazing. This final component of the 12-Second Sequence(tm) makes it the ultimate all-in-one fitness routine. Bottom line, I believe that the 12-Second Sequence(tm) is the most efficient, most effective fitness program available. It's the easiest, most realistic program for our culture. America and the rest of the Western world are filled with people just like you and me who want to be fit and healthy, but find it difficult to squeeze an exercise program into our busy lives. Unfortunately our lifestyle has resulted in an overweight, inactive population that suffers from an unprecedented rate of preventable diseases. It's time to do something about it. I want you to live a long, healthy, happy life that's active and fulfilling. That's why it's so critical that you start this program today. I know that as you embark on your fitness journey with the 12-Second Sequence(tm), you want to have the best tools and resources available to help sculpt your best body ever. Think of it as you would think of starting to build a home. If you started off with all the wrong materials or the wrong set of plans, you'd have to tear it down and start building all over again. That's why I've done a lot of work for you ahead of time to make sure you have the right "tools" to help you build that beautiful lean muscle and drop belly fat. You'll be able to spot these recommendations when you see my official 12-Second Sequence(tm) seal of approval. This seal means that I trust and believe in these products and companies for their quality, effectiveness, and, most importantly, their ability to help you get to your goal. You will find the official seal on Bally(r) Total Fitness, where you can get a free month's membership and personal training session when you bring this book into one of their locations; Barlean's(r) Organic Flaxseed Oils; GoFit(tm) dumbbells, balls, and mats; Jorge's Packs by LifeScript(r); Precor(r) S3.23 functional trainer cable machine and 9.35 treadmill; and Propel(r) Fitness Water(tm). So my challenge to you right now is to start the 12-Second Sequence(tm) 8-Week Challenge. I promise that in the first two weeks you will see dramatic results. Not only will your belly shrink, but you'll notice an improvement in your overall fitness level. And at the end of the 8-Week Challenge you will see your best-looking-and best-feeling-body ever! You'll truly feel the healthiest you've ever felt. You'll feel strong and fit and confident. You'll feel an inner strength such as you've never known before. And you'll look amazing! As you start to create muscle and burn fat, your clothes will become looser and your muscles will become more defined. Everyone will comment on how great you look. And as you burn your belly fat, you will reduce your risk for developing heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and other life-threatening diseases. Finally, and here's what's most exciting, you'll also increase your resting metabolism by up to 20 percent! Yep, you're going to add lean muscle tissue to your body, which will increase the number of calories you burn at rest. You're going to train your body to burn hundreds of calories on its own every week-and that's when you are not working out. Imagine burning fat while you sit at your computer or while you sleep! Of all the benefits to my plan, that's my favorite. Are you ready to change your body? Let's get started. How Muscle Burns Fat at Rest If there were a magic wand to help you burn fat and shrink your waist while at rest, it would be lean muscle tissue. You see, lean muscle tissue is metabolically active. What does that mean? Muscle is considered metabolically active because it requires energy to function. In other words, it consumes calories. Fat mass, on the other hand, uses very little energy. In fact, exercise scientist Marla Richmond calls fat a "relatively lazy tissue." Muscle is the most metabolically active tissue in your body. Muscle sucks up tons of oxygen and other nutrients to feed itself and function optimally. Because it consumes so many calories, muscle is the number one determinant of your resting metabolic rate. The more lean muscle tissue you have, the higher your metabolism, and the more calories you burn while doing nothing at all. That is part of the secret to success with the 12-Second Sequence(tm); keep reading to learn more! There are many wonderful studies that support the point that your lean muscle mass significantly affects your resting metabolism. One study, conducted by the National Institutes of Health, found that muscle mass is a major contributor to total energy expenditure (calories burned). NIH researchers found that "muscle accounts for 40 to 50 percent of body weight . . . and is therefore, quantitatively, the most important tissue mass on the body." Lately, some really exciting research has found that increasing your resting metabolism can actually target belly fat. Yes, when you increase your metabolism you increase the amount of belly fat you burn while you're doing nothing at all! An amazing study was recently conducted by the American Heart Association (AHA), which found that strength training could actually prevent belly fat. Researchers found that women who lifted weights two times per week could stop or slow the "middle-aged spread." They studied the effects of increased muscle mass on 164 women aged 24 to 44. After a two-year strength training program, the women lost almost 4 percent of their total body fat, while participants who did not strength-train lost no body fat. Even more striking was that the women who strength-trained "dramatically reduced the increase in abdominal fat" compared with the group who did not exercise. From the Hardcover edition.
Excerpted from The 12 Second Sequence by Jorge Cruise. Copyright © 2007 by Jorge Cruise. Excerpted by permission of Three Rivers Press, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.