Guacamole, greens, and a skinny black dress: An interview with trainer Pete Cerqua

by SARA on May 18, 2010

Photo by 90 Second Fitness

Today, I’m bringing you an interview I’ve been really looking forward to posting. I first met Pete Cerqua, author of The 90-Second Fitness Solution when I test-drove an absolutely intense workout machine at his studio for an AOL story. While I was there, he did a mini session with me, and had me benching more than my dad! I was so impressed, I later wrote about the program from his book. I liked the encouraging attitude it fosters. All that “90-second” time-slashing can at first look like cutting corners, but it’s also the result of really thinking we can do things we put our minds to. Here, Pete talks about the diet component of his book. He calls it The Skinny Black Dress Diet, an allusion to having a jump-start goal if you’re thinking about weight loss.

You’re a big proponent of avocados and greens–why that combination?

Healthy fats and monster salads give us the freedom to eat larger quantities and feel full faster and for a longer period of time. Besides being a healthy super food, avocados are filling and give us a satisfied feeling that lasts longer than a simple or refined carbohydrate like a slice of bread. If we feel full for a longer period of time we are less likely to binge or mess up. After the avocado, having a “Humongous Salad” loads your body with fibrous, healthy carbohydrates that have very few calories.

You’re big on taking the right supplements, what do you recommend?

Since basic and simple are two rules that I live by I advise my clients to keep their supplements sane instead of the “pot luck” method that most people try. You can’t go wrong with vitamin C, B-complex and fish oil. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that reduces the risk of heart disease and strengthens our immune systems. B-complex combats stress, anxiety and depression in addition to promoting healthy skin. Fish oil provides us with omega-3 fatty acids which are lacking in our grain based diets. Fish oil has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and macular degeneration and will boost your mood to boot – I’m a big fan of fish oil! Got kids? If your child is having trouble concentrating or is hyperactive add fish oil to their diet and see what happens…

I loved your tips on staying motivated and preventing backsliding. What are, say, your two most effective pieces of advice there?

Forgive yourself and make working out a priority. Everyone backslides. We get off track because kids, jobs, family, illness set us back. Forgive yourself, remove the guilt of missing workouts and reaching for the cupcakes and get back on track. Second, make working out a priority. A successful workout (especially strength training) will make you feel better about yourself which will help get you back on track faster.

Okay, what about healthy diet overall–first off, what are some of the biggest mistakes your clients make?

Aside from not listening to me? (Kidding.) The biggest mistake I see is the excuse that adding some cardio workouts will combat bad eating habits. You can’t eat Frosted Flakes and then go for a run and expect to lose weight. You may lose muscle on this diet and exercise schedule but don’t get me started there. It makes more sense to me to do less exercise and eat right than the “eat all I want and train for a marathon” method.

What about one simple, general positive fix or choice people can make to help themselves stay on track?

Try a Wall Sit and a Plank. These two exercises are simple, effective and goal oriented. See if you can do each exercise for 90 seconds and find out why it’s one of the best three minute workouts ever. If you don’t reach 90 seconds on each the first time out, write it down and try to break your record the next day. There is nothing more motivational than accomplishment.

Favorite healthy foods or snacks?

1 cup of Greek Yogurt with fresh fruit. I add a little whey protein powder and sometimes some All Bran Buds to that.

I’ve gotta ask–what should we be eating before or after a workout? Or food for good muscle health?

If you have eaten a complete meal 60-90 minutes before your workout than a piece of fruit 20 minutes before you workout should keep your blood sugar levels up… after your workout, I recommend a protein drink or smoothie so you replenish with protein and healthy carbs. I usually have a fresh juice with whey protein added after my workouts.

And of course–what’s a favorite recipe from your book?

This one’s incredibly easy–mix, mash, and serve. Sometimes I’ll just eat it for dinner!

Pete’s Favorite Guacamole

1 whole avocado
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp chopped onions
1 tsp chopped Jalapeno
1 tsp chopped cilantro
1 chopped tomato
1 tbsp lemon juice

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Jackie Dishner May 20, 2010 at 8:43 am

You can eat guacamole for dinner? Awesome. But with chips, right? ;-)

Shakaya Breeze May 20, 2010 at 11:08 pm

Pete’s so awesome, he can kick my butt anytime.

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