5 Years Goes By Quick!

Exactly 5 years ago today I purchased a one-way ticket and boarded a plane to Hollywood. Of course, I had a “Five Year Plan”, which you’ll read all about in Chapter 3 of my soon-to-be-released memoir, Simply Between Millions: From Wall Street to Hollywood. But when does anything go according to plan, right? Nevertheless, it’s been an amazing 5 years and I’m really looking forward to the next leg of my journey! Because, no matter if you’re “on-track” to meet your pre-determined plan, life always throws you a curve ball. And just like a batter expecting the fastball but gets the curve – relax, stay focused, keep you eye on the ball, and go with the pitch. And always remember, wherever you go, go with all your heart.

Here’s my Top Ten highlights of the past 5 years:

1) Produced, directed and starred in my first feature film, Boulevard Zen
2) Created and produced a video encyclopedia of 100 yoga poses, Yoga Survival Guide
3) Created and produced a yoga/fitness video for 7 days a week, 15 Minute Fat Burning Workouts
4) Created and produced 100 consecutive days of free yoga/fitness videos, 5 Minute Fat Burning Workouts: 100 Workouts in 100 Days
5) Founded a charity teaching yoga to women and children living in domestic violence shelters, The Boulevard Zen Foundation
6) Launched the Fat Burn America Tour: 100 Cities in 100 Days (albeit, I didn’t procure the necessary funding)
7) Quit drinking and my “player” ways (OK, that’s 2 but they go together)
8) Lived in paradise (Hawaii) for 3 months
9) Wrote my first book, Simply Between Millions: From Wall Street to Hollywood
10) Moved to the most lovable and unique city in the country: San Francisco

Oh, did I mention I worked out every day for the past 5 years. I guess that goes without saying, because anyone can commit to a daily fitness program, if you set your sights and try. So for those of you not currently trying to fight Father Time on a daily basis, here’s another 5 Minute Fat Burning Workout to get you started. Enjoy – R

Yoga can hurt you…so arm yourself with knowledge!

There’s been a lot of talk these days about how “yoga can wreck your body”. Well, there’s no question that practicing yoga with an inexperienced or bad teacher can lead to injury; I’ve been hurt three times in the past six years from so-called master teachers and their inappropriate sequencing of poses. Unfortunately, just like Glenn Black says in the NY Times article, “To many schools of yoga are just about pushing people”. Add to that, too many yoga teachers have no background in physical fitness and/or body mechanics, and voila, yoga can hurt you.

Proof in point: Last summer I read a GQ article and posted my Letter to the Editor in my July 22nd blog (click HERE to read). In short, a NYC studio owner prescribed a 15 minute yoga workout with three twisting and forward bending poses that made me cringe. Because there are certainly yoga poses that should never be attempted without the proper (and complete) understanding of how to come into and out of each pose, as well as properly warming up the spine and preparing your body. And if you’re new to yoga, be extremely careful with any teacher that’s pushing too hard or moving too fast – especially an overzealous one that’s new to the profession.

And if you’re someone who truly wants the benefits of yoga but are reluctant to take a class (for a variety of reasons), then try my 5 Minute Fat Burning Workouts that are based on yoga principles and employ my very precise teaching style that’s designed to minimize injury to any body part, especially the neck and low back. Or better yet, if you really want to arm yourself with knowledge, then watch my Yoga Survival Guide with 30 fun lessons teaching you the proper and safe way to practice 100 yoga poses. Enjoy – R

Set your sights…and weigh in!

Set your sights on new goals and opportunities, and weigh in. That’s right, it’s New Year’s Day so get on the scale and check your body weight. Because your weight matters, and having a known starting point for the new year is important. And the next thing you should do is workout. That’s right: weigh in and workout. Because preserving your body starts with a daily fitness program. So set your sights for 2012, and know that exercising every single day helps push back the hands of time – and unnecessary pounds of time.

Today I weighed in at 151, then did 30 minutes of abs and yoga stretches, then 30 minutes of weight lifting (mostly machines). Afterward I drove the amazing 5 mile stretch from Hawaii Kai to the Makapuu Lighthouse, hugging the shoreline around the southeast corner of the Island as the waves crash into the rocks below. The certainly challenging but very do-able uphill run starting from the Kalanianaole Highway up to the Lighthouse, well, it ranks second only to my favorite – Runyon Canyon in Hollywood. Not that the 1.5 mile loop around the Reservoir in NY’s Central Park, or the beautiful West River Drive and the Philadelphia Museum of Art steps aren’t great runs too! But the breathtaking ocean views along the narrow blacktop road leading to the Lighthouse are incredible. Not to mention the energy you feel as you pass the lookout for the Humpback whale sanctuary. Totally awesome. And worth running or walking – at least once in a lifetime!

I never imagined I would be traveling this lovely Hawaiian path when I first set my sights on publishing my memoirs less than six months ago. So believe in yourself and believe that you can. Then get on the scale and get started with your daily fitness program. Wherever you are! And if you don’t know where to start, how about strengthening your core with my 5 Minute Fat Burning Workout #81 – Plank Crunches. Happy New Year – R

The Academy Award for Best Actress goes to…

Well my vote is in: hands down this year’s Oscar for Best Actress goes to…Michelle Williams in My Week With Marilyn. If I had to describe Michelle’s performance and her exquisite reincarnation of the beautiful and legendary Marilyn Monroe in two words, I’d say phenomenally awesome. Because she’s just that! And for someone who loves the “art of acting” and who sees almost every film out there – in the past two weeks alone I’ve watched MoneyBall (again), The Descendants, Mission Impossible, Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (twice), Sherlock Holmes, Young Adult, We Bought A Zoo, War Horse, and My Week With Marilyn – she certainly gets my vote.

And if you’re wondering what else I’m doing in Hawaii besides admiring the best films and acting performances of the year, I’m almost finished with my book, Simply Between Millions: From Wall Street to Hollywood. Which, by the way, has some pretty cool Cover Art that you’ll find quite fitting. So wherever you find yourself this holiday season, make sure to find time for the lovely and amazing Michelle Williams in a true-to-life story of Marilyn Monroe in My Week With Marilyn. You won’t regret it!

And what else you won’t regret is getting your daily workout in. Especially if your holiday diet calls for Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake or perhaps a little Tiramisu. But no worries, just take a quick break and slim down your waistline with my 5 Minute Fat Burning Workout #82 – Easy Abs. Enjoy – R

‘We Bought a Zoo’ Delivers

If you want to feel the love this holiday season, go see We Bought a Zoo starring Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson. The performances are wonderful – including the incredibly adorable Rosie, played by Maggie Elizabeth Jones – and there’s plenty of animal magnetism, feel good energy and tear swelling compassion at every turn. So no matter if you’re 6,000 miles away from your loved ones (like I am here in Hawaii while my family’s in New Jersey) or 6 miles away, share some good times together and bask in the film’s sunshine of love – because it truly delivers!

And while you’re at it, don’t forget to get your workout in with some Zoo Yoga from my Yoga Survival Guide. Because what’s a holiday season without fun, friends and fat burning yoga to melt away those extra pounds of joy! Merry Christmas everyone 🙂 Enjoy – R

The Perfect Climb – KoKo Head

KoKo Head Crater
You remember the 2000 dramatic diaster film, The Perfect Storm, about the crew of the Andrea Gail starring George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg. Well, this may have nothing to do with the most challenging of seas, but for sure the 1,208 foot climb up KoKo Head Crater on the southeastern shore of Oahu is ‘The Perfect Climb’.
KoKo Head Looking Up
And for someone who once ran up and down Runyon Canyon in Hollywood (counter clockwise) in less than 15 minutes, the trek up KoKo Head trumps all. This was my first time and I must say, it’s quite a bear! On the way up I was following this twenty-something gal who said she does it four times a week. The wonder why she made it to the top without stopping.
KoKo Head Looking Down
Something I can honestly say I did not – I rested once about 100 yards from the peak. Of course I was pushing hard from the beginning, and with giant railroad ties as steps about three feet apart and three feet vertical, it’s quite the challenge just to keep moving forward. So if you come to Oahu and want to experience The Perfect Climb, check out KoKo Head and don’t forget to wear climbing shoes and bring your water bottle.
KoKo Head at the Peak
And if the climb up isn’t enough of a challenge, coming down is even harder. The good news is once you reach the crater’s peak, the view is incredible! Much like the view from the top of Diamond Head, there’s 360 degrees of beauty. So get inspired with a bird’s eye view from the top, and don’t forget to get your workout in! Enjoy – R

Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

You know this old adage about beauty being subjective to each one of us, right? Well, that may be true for the rest of the world, but in Hawaii, beauty is everywhere to everyone! Today is my 10th day on the island of Oahu, and just like they say, it’s quite a paradise. Of course it takes time getting settled in a new place that I never visited and didn’t know a single soul who even lived here. But I’ve since met some really nice people and found a very pleasant place to live in the quaint neighborhood of Kaimuki – and a baseball’s throw away from Hawaii’s most recognized landmark, Diamond Head.

To add to my good fortune, I’m overlooking the Pacific Ocean as I write this blog. Two days ago I climbed Diamond Head State Monument and snapped this picture from the top of the 300,000 year-old saucer shaped crater overlooking Waikiki Beach and downtown Honolulu – and just after a rainfall, thus the beautiful rainbow. I came here to be inspired by this spiritual land as I prepare to publish my memoirs and to pursue life as an actor-filmmaker and yoga professional. So if you’re in need of a little inspiration today as you weather whatever climate you’re in, take notice of the Hawaiian beauty and don’t forget to get your daily workout in with some Lounge Chair Abs!

Enjoy – R

Quality not Quantity

Everyone has heard the adage, quality not quantity, right? Well, the same holds true for fitness. Whether it be yoga, free weights, exercise machines, treadmills, abs, whatever. Because it’s better to do anything with proper posture and body mechanics, than to do it improperly, for a longer time. Like the fifty-something guy I heard talking in the gym this weekend. He told his friend he was going to do his 1,200. And when his friend asked, “1,200 what?”, the guy said, “Abs”. Now this guy looked like he just swallowed a bowling ball. Whatever he’s doing for abs, isn’t working, regardless of the 1,200.

So don’t settle for quantity, go with less – and that goes for food too – and go with quality! And here’s to the guy in the gym who needs a new ab workout – today’s 5 Minute Fat Burning Workout #88 – Screaming Abs. Enjoy – R

Easy on the Splurge

Happy Labor Day everyone! Today my Cookies and Ice Cream friend and I can splurge. But I caution everyone like us who’s celebrating today to go easy on the splurge, because no sense in undoing all the good work you did over the past week or so. And don’t forget to get your workout in with today’s 5 Minute Fat Burning Workout #89 – Chair Legs -R

Time’s Up

OK, so I gave you an extra day on the 2% challenge. Did you lose 3 measly pounds or 2% of your body weight? I did, plus an extra one for good measure. Today I tipped the scale at exactly 149 (down from 153). And I saw my Cookies and Ice Cream gal in the gym this morning, and we’re both sticking to that challenge too. Albeit, that’s a tougher one. But no worries, Labor Day’s around the corner so we can splurge! Have a great weekend everybody, and don’t forget your to exercise – all three days. And enjoy today’s 5 Minute Fat Burning Workout #90 – Shoulders & Arms. – R