Women

Beauty extremist Avril Mair discovers the secret to a Flat Stomach. Ouch!

I am only slightly embarrassed to tell you that I will never, ever look like Heidi Klum. I can say this with some certainty because her trainer told me so. Admittedly, he and I have never met, but he has seen a photo of me wearing Lycra, which is surely proof enough.

My interest in acquiring a flat stomach started in Milan while I was watching the Prada spring/summer 2012 show. I fell for the abbreviated and daring bandeau tops knowing full well that this particular look is harder to carry off than the dirndl skirt or even harem pants because there are no fashion tricks to employ. This look demands a toned stomach and I do not have one.

“Anyone can have a flatter stomach,” counters David Kirsch, the man responsible for the very flat stomachs of countless models, actresses and Victoria’s Secret Angels. Kirsch, with his supplements and DVDs and starring role on TV’s Extreme Makeover, operates on a different scale. A former attorney, Kirsch founded Manhattan’s elite Madison Square Club in 1990. He pioneered a holistic approach to wellness the ethos is “Sound mind, sound body” and his clients include Liv Tyler, Anne Hathaway, Karolina Kurkova and Kium. “I’m going to be honest here,” he says on the phone from New York, clearly preparing me for had news. “Heidi wouldn’t be a supermodel if everyone could look like her.” But don’t despair Kirsch has a plan. He warns, however, “No pain, no gain!”

What he proposes is a 14-day high-intensity program to radically cut body fat based on disciplined eating and intensive exercise, a regimen he calls his Ultimate New York Body Plan. “What we always try to achieve is a long, lean, toned body,” he says. “1 odels don’t want to look jacked. We just want to make sure that nothing jiggles when they’re in a bra and panties.” His diet plan is “definitely extreme.” (Remember: I am a beauty extremist; this level of torture is not recommended for all.) It’s based on the A, B, C, D, E and F of nutrition, which basically means no alcohol, bread, carbs, dairy, extra sweets, fruit and most fats. Each day, you drink a protein shake for breakfast and dinner and eat lean protein and salad (add lemon juice to taste) for lunch, plus a couple of snacks, such as scrambled egg whites or a minuscule piece of grilled chicken. The training is no less hard-core: an hour of resistance work (sample exercise: running on the spot holding a medicine Hail, plus a lot of sit-ups) and then 45 minutes of cardio. “It can be the elliptical trainer, the jump rope, the stair climber but no lazy sightseeing jogging, please!” says Kirsch. He is, however, careful to point out that he doesn’t advocate “get fit quick” plans; the first two weeks are followed by a longer-term schedule offering more of the same only slightly less intense.

Description: What he proposes is a 14-day high-intensity program to radically cut body fat based on disciplined eating and intensive exercise, a regimen he calls his Ultimate New York Body Plan.

What he proposes is a 14-day high-intensity program to radically cut body fat based on disciplined eating and intensive exercise, a regimen he calls his Ultimate New York Body Plan.

I start off with a two-day detox: Kirsch’s 48 Flour Super Charged Cleanse, which replaces all food (“If you’re chewing, you’re cheating!”) with a litre of pink lemonade mixed with water and packed with minerals and antioxidants. This is all you’re allowed for the duration, except for water and decaf herbal tea. By the end of the second afternoon, my teeth feel sticky and my stomach is emitting a low, angry growl. Only the thought of a protein shake the next morning makes me feel better which tells you pretty much everything you need to know about this sorry part of my quest.

Description: I start off with a two-day detox: Kirsch’s 48 Flour Super Charged Cleanse, which replaces all food (“If you’re chewing, you’re cheating!”) with a litre of pink lemonade mixed with water and packed with minerals and antioxidants.

I start off with a two-day detox: Kirsch’s 48 Flour Super Charged Cleanse, which replaces all food (“If you’re chewing, you’re cheating!”) with a litre of pink lemonade mixed with water and packed with minerals and antioxidants.

This doesn’t last long. Doing so much exercise is, in itself, really hard. You can break it up throughout the day, if you prefer, hut a full-on hour each morning (as opposed to my slow, steady run around the park) leaves me starving by lunchtime and then sleepy by mid-afternoon. The thought of doing almost another hour of it later without the prospect of carbs or wine is overwhelming, especially when it comes at the end of an eight-hour day in the office. It’s only for two weeks,” says Kirsch encouragingly, but it still feels like a life sentence. “Discover the deep well of motivation that hubbies up from inside when you commit yourself to a challenging program.” My well, dear reader, seems to the running dry.

Description: “Discover the deep well of motivation that hubbies up from inside when you commit yourself to a challenging program.”

“Discover the deep well of motivation that hubbies up from inside when you commit yourself to a challenging program.”

Oddly enough, though, the diet is easier. Plain grilled fish? Meal- replacement shakes? No coffee? I can do this. Cutting out wheat and dairy makes me feel better almost immediately, and it’s almost impossible to overeat if you can’t have protein or vegetables with any sauces or dressings. Boredom is the worst of it: The last meal (er, shake) of the day has to be consumed no later than 7 p.m., which leaves the evening stretching out endlessly.

Description: No coffee? I can do this.

No coffee? I can do this.

And what happens after the two week program is over? What will happen when real life and real food intervenes? Naturally, Kirsch has the answer.

Diet alone isn’t enough “I think diet plays a major part in achieving and keeping a flat stomach,” says Kirsch. “As we get older, it’s even more important as the metabolism slows down. When I say older, by the way, I mean the 30s and up.” But no matter how extreme the diet, you won’t achieve the same results unless you exercise. You will lose muscle instead of fat, slowing your metabolism and making weight gain more likely and future weight loss much harder.

Description: I think diet plays a major part in achieving and keeping a flat stomach,” says Kirsch.

I think diet plays a major part in achieving and keeping a flat stomach,” says Kirsch.

Bye-bye carbs “I have nothing good to say about bread,” warns Kirsch. He advocates a low-carb diet for life. This is because high protein foods cause a slow, even rise in blood sugar, rather than a quick spike, which means that your body needs to secrete less insulin to clean this sugar out of the blood. Among other things, insulin is known to trigger fat storage. Also, increasing the amount of protein in your diet when it is otherwise low calorie helps preserve muscle mass, which is what runs your metabolism.

Description: Among other things, insulin is known to trigger fat storage.

Among other things, insulin is known to trigger fat storage.

Be a discipline junkie “If you’re prone to putting on weight, you’re always going to have to be strict,” says Kirsch. “Regardless of who you are, staying away from sugar is key. So is staying away from excessive alcohol and dairy. Also, stick to one cup of coffee a day because caffeine can spike your cortisol levels, which causes belly bloat.” If all this sounds like hard work, Kirsch offers some words of reason: “Heidi has an incredible body, but the way she processes calories is unique. Genetics plays a key part in this.” After several weeks on the Ultimate New York Body Plan, seven pounds down and with a lot less jiggling, I’m on the way. But if I slip, there are Miu Miu’s fairly unflattering huts joyfully.

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