The Biggest Loser’s Jen Widerstrom

Personal trainer and TV personality Jen Widerstrom is our ultimate fitspiration. Yeah…we said fitspiration. Her first TV appearance was on NBC’s American Gladiators, and now as one of the all-star coaches on The Biggest Loser, she motivates her team members to change their lives by adopting healthy habits and finding their best selves.

She’s graced the covers of magazines like Health and Muscle and Fitness, which have all of us dying to know how she gets that bod. As we try to stick to our resolutions through January, we couldn’t resist asking her to share her expertise on nutrition and working out. What’s a better way to do #MotivationalMonday?

From start to finish, what would be your ideal food day?

A tall glass of water in my body immediately upon rising, Chlorella/Spirulina algae tablets and oatmeal for breakfast, and a piece of fruit or a Larabar a few hours later. I love breakfast for lunch; that’s usually consisting of eggs, avocado and a slice of Exzekiel bread. Mid-day, I’ll have a serving of nuts and in the evening it’s usually a piece of fish with roasted vegetables or sautéed kale – or something to that effect!

How do you practice beauty from the inside out?

It’s all about consistency; I do not live in extremes. Crash dieting for one week and then eating whatever I want the next week is just too hard on me. This creates stability for my body to stay healthy and drop unnecessary weight, but offers peace of mind to be positive and celebratory of the beauty my body and my mind offers.

What foods are best and worst for getting in shape?

You always want to focus on one ingredient foods! This means foods that only take one word to describe them, i.e: chicken, apple, spinach…You get the idea! If you’re consuming foods with a multitude of ingredients, (most of which you can’t pronounce), your body will have trouble identifying and breaking it down and therefore cannot use it as fuel effectively. This gets in the way of training, your energy, and weight loss.

What are the songs sure to bring our workout to the next level?

Lately, it’s fast-paced inspirational stuff like Axwell Ingrosso’s Sun is Shining and Thomas Jack’s Rivers.

It’s good to work out on an empty stomach…true or false?

This is a personal decision but I always do! When you put food in your body and try to train it pulls blood from your extremities to focus on the digestion of the food in your stomach, which I don’t like when I’m trying to train. Additionally, I want my body burning off the sugar store that’s already in my body, and not what I’ve just put in my stomach.

It’s good to eat right after working out because you’re still burning calories…true or false?

You are still burning calories then but that’s not why it’s good to eat after working out. This is the best time for your body to replenish, restore and rebuild…That means burning more calories all day long versus just in the work.

If we can go crazy with consuming vegetables, does that go for starchy vegetables?

Nope! Go nuts with your greens but the starch carbs need to be paid attention to – even the healthy ones. I always give myself a portion or two a day with a focus on oats or sweet potatoes, but that’s it.

What are the absolute best proteins for you?

The best proteins for you are the ones that break down the fastest. Pay attention to your body and how it reacts to different proteins. Fish tends to break down the fastest so it’s a good way to go!

Any ideal snacks to take on the go when you’re trying to be healthy?

Boiled eggs, nuts, Power Crunch bars, Larabars and algae are in my go-to snack stash.

Will cutting carbs make you lose weight the fastest? What would you suggest cutting if someone wants to drop a few quickly?

Cutting carbs out will create fast weight loss but not permanent weight loss. I always recommend keeping the carbs in the plan so your body can trust you and drops fat. However, if you have something in a few short days, cut out your carbs and stick with proteins, fats, and vegetables (while watching your salt content) and you’re golden.

Advice to those attempting to kickstart a workout routine but can’t…

Don’t take on too much too fast! Take ball benchmarks along the way to build upon. Practice success versus failure and you’ll never look back.

What are your favorite cities for food? What restaurants do you go to in each?

Chicago! I love Greektown and of course Portillo’s!

Do you have a new workout you’re obsessed with? What is it?

It’s not new – in fact it’s been around for decades – but I am obsessed with it. Olympic lifting!

In the same vein as the new black in fashion, what’s ‘the new potato’ in the world of working out?

Personalization. You need to honor the individual if you’re really going to be successful. This means the person understanding and celebrating who they are so they can be a part of a plan that actually works for them.

Read these health tips from wellness guru Kris Carr. The Today Show’s Joy Bauer also gave us some pointers for healthy snacking. 

*Jen Widerstrom, photographed at El Presidente in New York, NY by Danielle Kosann