By Joe Wilkes

Sure, we all try to make the best eating choices, but sometimes events conspire against us and our options are limited. Maybe the supermarket's closed, or you're on a road trip with no civilization or Whole Foods in sight, or you're late for work and breakfast is going to be what you can grab from the mini-mart while your car's gas tank is being filled. While we'd never recommend your local gas station, liquor store, or convenience mart as someplace you could get a square meal, sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. At least if you're armed with some information, you can mitigate the damage.

The good news is that a lot of convenience stores have started stocking healthier options. Many offer energy bars, meal replacement shakes, fresh fruit, or even hard-boiled eggs. You might have to dig around the bottom shelf of the beer cooler to find fresh food, but sometimes it's there. It's worth asking about, at any rate. Opt for cottage cheese when you can, along with a plain meat and bread sandwich (condiments on the side).

If eating in your car is becoming a habit, you might consider stocking the glove compartment with some healthy snacks. Unsalted nuts are a good portable snack. Or maybe keep a few P90X® Peak Performance Protein Bars in the car for emergencies. You can even order them with a thermal pack to keep them fresh and melt free. But of course, the best-laid plans often go awry, so let's look at some of the main categories of gas station cuisine and how you can make some smart choices after you make the not-so-smart choice to eat at the gas station.

The "vegetable" course

One of the most tempting options is a bag of chips. They're crunchy, salty, fatty, and delicious! And they're super-easy to eat in the car, with the only drawback being a potentially orange steering wheel—that and the salty, fatty part. But come on, potato chips are basically potatoes, right? And potatoes are vegetables. I'm eating a vegetable! Lay off! But that 1.5-ounce bag of Lay's potato chips (that's a small bag, not a Big Grab) will give you 225 calories and 15 grams of fat. A similar serving of Doritos (corn's a vegetable, too!) will run you 210 calories and 12 grams of fat. Baked Lay's only run 165 calories, have 3 grams of fiber, and contain only a little over 2 grams of fat. The only problem is that they taste like Baked Lay's. A compromise in the fat-vs.-flavor battle might be Sun Chips, which have the same calorie count as the Doritos but with a third less fat. They're also made with whole grains, which deliver 3 grams of fiber per serving, which will help you feel full longer.

In the "dairy" category of crunchables, i.e., Cheetos, the diet news is getting worse. A 1.5-ounce bag contains about 240 calories, 15 grams of fat, and almost no fiber. The baked version has 195 calories, 8 grams of fat, and still virtually no fiber. Nutritionally speaking, eating most of the "cheez" doodles and their ilk is only slightly healthier than eating the bag they come in. If you're desperate for a nacho-cheese-powder delivery system, you might consider Corn Nuts, which contain about 185 calories and 6 grams of fat; however, they also have 4 grams of fiber.

If you're on a low-carb diet, you might take a look at the unappetizingly named pork rinds. A 1.5-ounce serving packs 24 grams of protein; however, that serving also contains 15 grams of fat, 6 of which are saturated. But the good news is that they contain zero carbs. The other problem with pork rinds and almost all of the snacks in the chip category is the high sodium content. A small bag of any of these crunchy delights will give you about a quarter to a third of your recommended daily allowance (RDA) of sodium. Too much salt in your diet can lead to hypertension, among other problems including fluid retention, which makes you look as puffy as the salty "cheez" doodle you just ate.

BEST: Sun Chips, Corn Nuts, baked chips
WORST: Cheese puffs, potato chips

The meat course

Most gas stations or stop-and-go markets offer hot dogs. They're usually pretty cheap—that's because they're made with pretty cheap meat. You can check out my "9 Foods Not to Give Your Kids" article in the Related Articles section below to read more about why not to eat them, including the fact that a lot of dogs may be full of carcinogenic nitrates and nitrites, sodium, and saturated fat. Given the choice between the devil you know and the devil you don't know, gas station hot dogs are definitely the devil you don't know. Unlike the rest of the junk food in the joint, no one knows what's in those fatty little tubes. They don't have labels with their nutrition information, and if you slather on some nacho cheese and chili, also of dubious origin, you're really playing Russian roulette with your stomach. If I don't know what's in it, I won't eat it.

Speaking of playing Russian roulette with your stomach, do you know what's in a Slim Jim? An original Giant Slim (28 grams) contains 150 calories (120 from fat) and 13 grams of fat, 5 of which are saturated. It also will give you well over 400 milligrams of sodium (420 milligrams to be exact)—that's almost a fifth of your RDA. Beef jerky only has 73 calories per ounce, almost no fat, and 12 grams of protein. It is still high in sodium, though, and that's before you factor in flavors like teriyaki, which can ratchet the salt levels up another couple of notches.

BEST: Beef jerky or nothing (do you really think gas station meat is a good idea?)
WORST: Hot dogs, Slim Jims

The dessert course

Chocolate and candy are the most tempting items at the gas station. Who couldn't use a little sugar rush on the way to that 8 AM meeting, or a little boost to help you drive those last 50 miles down the road? With most candy bars, you can tell from the label that you're in trouble. A Snickers bar, which contains a few peanuts, may delude us into considering it a not-unhealthy option. But it still has 273 calories, 14 grams of fat (5 saturated), and only a paltry 4 grams of protein. And some of the "healthy" granola bars you might reach for instead can be just as full of fat and sugar. As always, it pays to read the labels. Your guilty pleasure may be more innocent than the supposed healthy choice. For example, I had always thought a Hostess fruit pie (or "liquor-store pie" as my friends' 4-year-old delightfully calls it) would be a healthier alternative than its corporate shelf mate, the Twinkie. It has fruit, right? A Hostess apple pie, though, has 480 calories and 22 grams of fat, compared to a two-pack of Twinkies, which has 300 calories and 9 grams of fat. You're better off not splurging on any of the items on the gas station equivalent of the pastry cart, though. Instead, save your indulgences for something really good later.

If your sweet tooth won't be denied, look to dark chocolate without any fillings. It's high in antioxidants, so you'll at least get some health benefits. But don't eat the whole bar. Just have a couple of squares and save the rest for later—beware the melt factor, though. Also, you can look for low-fat sweets like Twizzlers or Gummi Bears, which will give you about the same calorie load as a candy bar but about a tenth of the fat. Candy that doesn't come in one big piece can also help you control portions, because you don't want to get all of your calories from sugar. Have a couple of pieces and put the rest in the glove compartment—out of reach—or even in the trunk, if you're really tempted. Aside from being fattening, the high glycemic value of sugary treats will ensure you'll just be hungry sooner, potentially starting a bad pattern of roadside snacking as the day goes on. Foods that are high in protein and fiber will help you feel full longer and give you a steady energy supply instead of sugar spikes.

BEST: Dark chocolate, Twizzlers
WORST: Pretty much everything else

And of course, something to drink!

Here's where you can really get killed, dietwise. Beachbody® nutrition advisor Steve Edwards doesn't call soda "The Worst Food on the Planet" for nothing. A 12-ounce can of soda contains about 180 calories, all of them from high fructose corn syrup, the unhealthiest sweetener around. But of course, most convenience stores offer you more than 12 ounces to slake your unquenchable thirst. You can get the X-treme Gulp Mug at 7-Eleven—its 52-ounce capacity will give you over 800 calories, with absolutely no additional nutritional value. You could try one of those little Starbucks Frappuccino bottles instead. But they're even worse than soda. A teeny 9.5-ounce bottle contains 180 calories and 3 grams of fat. That's more calories than soda, and with extra fat! Who can resist? You can read more about these deadly coffee and juice concoctions in "Jumbo Juices and Crappuccinos" in the Related Articles section below.

Of course, the best thing to drink is a big bottle of water. There are tons of reasons to drink it, and it's a readily available beverage. If you really want a fountain drink or something with a little flavor or caffeine boost, go for some unsweetened iced tea or coffee—you'll quench your thirst and get a few antioxidants without the calories. And the caffeine boost can help keep you alert on the road. But watch how much caffeine you consume. Too much can make you jumpy, and it can have a diuretic effect, which can lead to dehydration, not to mention extra pit stops. Try to avoid sports drinks like Gatorade or so-called energy drinks like Red Bull—most of the energy comes from our old friend high fructose corn syrup.

BEST: Water, tea, coffee
WORST: Soda, sweetened coffee drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks

And to ensure you get the nutrients you need every day to stay fit and healthy, especially when you're on the go, don't forget to take your ActiVit® Multivitamins!

By Gregg Rossen

A confined space, no room to move, and air filled with the reek of tightly packed bodies—no, this isn't a description of a poorly run veal farm. Rather, it's an average day on one of the thousands of U.S. flights transporting multitudes of passengers to far-flung destinations. In these cramped quarters, it's easy to understand why Wolfgang Puck once said, "To me, an airplane is a great place to diet." After all, who wants to eat while elbow wrestling for the armrest on a plane packed to the overhead storage bins with other travelers?

Of course, Mr. Puck was likely referencing those mostly bygone days when air travelers could look forward to the question, "Would you like the chicken or beef?" But a coach passenger on a domestic flight can't expect one of those oft-ridiculed trays of airline food anymore. (Continental is one of the few holdouts still providing meals in coach, while most airlines only do so in business and first class.) In this era of declining air services and increased fees, travelers face a new aspect of dining en route—choosing which foods to buy onboard. On one hand, this presents opportunities for passengers to make their own meal choices, but at the same time, it introduces new challenges . . . like eating right at 30,000 feet.

Here are 8 ways to help ensure you get off the ground nutritionally the next time you fly.
  1. Plan ahead. How many times have you been hustling to make a flight and thought, "No time for breakfast," or, "I'll just grab something to eat at the airport"? The problem is, that's exactly what thousands of other travelers planned on doing too. So after making your way through the lines to get you and your luggage checked in, and the lines to go through security, you're famished and ready to scarf down anything you can get your hands on. Making sure to have a good meal before a flight and stowing some apples or protein bars in your carry-on bag before you leave the house are significantly more important things to mark off your checklist than making sure you've got the latest issue of People to read on the plane.
  2. Pretzels v. nuts. Though the unpredictable airline industry may at some point find a way to monetize even these two ubiquitous airline snacks, at this point, pretzels and dry-roasted peanuts are generally free to passengers, and both are fairly healthy, fairly sensible snacks to take the bite off your hunger. A 1-ounce portion of pretzels contains approximately 3 grams of protein, and a 1-ounce portion of peanuts contains approximately 6 grams of protein. Peanuts are also excellent sources of calcium and potassium. But let's face it—when you're in an environment of forced inactivity (for example, you're packed in so tightly you can't cross your legs), calorie needs are simply not as great as they would be going through a normal day's activities. So for hardcore calorie-counters, you might want to consider that 1 ounce of pretzels contains about 110 calories, while peanuts ring in at about 160 calories.
  3. Beware the Pringles . . . . And by Pringles we mean the tempting but highly processed, high-calorie, low-nutritional-content snacks that airlines have started selling in an attempt to fuse air travel with the movie-going experience. On Northwest flights, passengers have a wide variety of snacks to choose from, including the Pringles Grab and Go! can, which, with 40 chips, pushes 400 calories. Other Northwest choices, like Twizzlers licorice (a 7-ounce package with close to 700 calories) and M&Ms (a 5.3-ounce bag with a whopping 750 calories), may seem enticing to the traveler needing a pick-me-up after the challenges of the check-in procedure, but the super-sized containers sold onboard mean calorie overload. Remember, while a movie may be showing onboard, it's a flight (i.e., a period of forced inactivity), not a trip to the multiplex.
  4. Vegetative states. Truth be told, many airlines have made great strides in providing healthy and/or low-calorie alternative foods to air travelers. Northwest offers a fruit and cheese platter as well as a vegetable platter on many of its flights. US Airways sells a breakfast fruit plate on selected flights, while United boasts a julienne chef salad. American Airlines' menu even offers a hummus and vegetables plate. And since even fast food giants like McDonald's offer a range of healthier choices in the salad and fruit departments, making a (hopefully) quick stop at the terminal's McDonald's on the way to the gate is a small investment in a narrower waistline. You should keep one thing in mind, though. In all cases, try to forego the additional dressings and "dipping sauces" included with these meals. Remember, in an airplane seat, you're confined like a sheep in a pen, so eating moderately is the key.
  5. Sandwich envy. Healthy and tasty sandwich choices abound these days on most airlines (though again, stay away from the mayo packs and "sauces" on the side). A $7 turkey club sandwich on US Airways, for example, has the makings of a healthy meal with its ciabatta bread, sliced turkey breast, turkey bacon, lettuce, and tomatoes. Leaving the side of "Dijonnaise" where you found it, on the side, this sandwich has a moderate calorie count, is fairly nutritious, and would likely keep you feeling full for hours. Similar choices can also be found on other airlines' menus. One thing to be a little more cautious about are sandwiches that combine multiple cheeses and meats, such as United's wrap sandwiches (for example, the Tuscan chicken/salami wrap also contains a slice of provolone cheese and garlic cream cheese—it's not like eating M&Ms for lunch, but it is slightly higher in fat than you might think, especially for a wrap). In all cases, check your airline's Web site before you travel to get a sense of what low-calorie and healthy choices you might have while traveling. Almost all major airlines are now listing their menus online.
  6. No drinkies . . . . No alcoholic drinkies, that is. Yes, it is sad, but the rules that apply to eating sensibly on the ground apply equally or more so when you're suspended miles above the earth. Sure, alcohol can be fun and it might help you shake off the tensions of the day by letting you snooze your way from Atlanta to Seattle. Maybe it's even a necessary evil to tolerate the inane conversation you're forced into with your talkative seat neighbor who's intent on sharing his or her views on politics or why his or her special trip to France/Fresno/Fredonia was so amazing. But in addition to being empty calories without nutritional value (we can discuss antioxidants some other time), alcohol also lowers your guard. That's right, call it beer goggles in the sky and the thing most likely to make you decide to throw caution to the wind and buy that 7-ounce pack of Twizzlers with its massive 700 calories. Remember, flying can be a way of getting to a party, but flying itself isn't a party. And if the temptation to drink rears its ugly head while you're still on the ground, when the loudspeaker announces a 2-hour delay in your flight, the no-drinks rule works well in the airport, too. Though drowning travel sorrows may be appealing, a sober traveler is about a million times less inclined to succumb to deep-fried mozzarella and buffalo wings in an airport Chili's than someone who's had a few. And by the way, you're better off without the sugary soft drinks or their chemical-laden diet counterparts (see "Best and Worst Gas Station Cuisine" in the Related Articles section below). Stick to water. Keeping yourself hydrated will make you come off the plane more refreshed than any amount of caffeine or alcohol will.
  7. Aisle seats. The area allotted to each passenger on a plane is measured and remeasured by countless engineers and designers all trying to maximize the economical usage of space. The result is that passengers find themselves in a state of forced immobility unlike many (or any) other experiences in daily life (unless you're a user of Japanese capsule hotels). With this in mind, sitting in the aisle seat frees you to get up and walk around with much greater frequency than passengers in the middle or window seat, allowing you to stretch and get your blood flowing. No, nobody will confuse a quick jaunt around the cabin with a run in the park, and it's not going to burn off a meal. But as tempting as it might be to grab a window seat to sleep all the way to your destination, it is a far more natural and healthy state for your body to have some movement, albeit limited, than no movement at all.
  8. B.Y.O. whatever. Of course, the best way to make sure you are eating healthy food while flying is to pack it yourself and hope it survives in your carry-on bags. Fruit, turkey jerky, sliced vegetables, and low-fat string cheese are just a few of the snack items that slip easily into your carry-on and will last for the duration of your trip. Sandwiches made without mayonnaise or fatty meats will last hours, and provide a pleasant alternative to a Big Mac on the tarmac.

By Ben Kallen

There's nothing more comforting than a nice hot beverage on a cold winter day. But fat-laden coffeehouse lattes and sugary hot cocoa can ruin your healthy weight loss plan, especially this time of year. Well, we have a solution: warm, delicious drinks that actually encourage fat loss rather than weight gain. Try one of these today, and you could find yourself skinnier by springtime!

Green tea. There's a reason this fresh-tasting, antioxidant-rich brew is an integral part of Beachbody's Slimming Formula. Over the past few years, research has confirmed the traditional view that green tea boosts your metabolism, probably due to the combined effects of caffeine and a chemical known as EGCG (Epigallocatechin gallate). It may also speed up fat oxidation and increase insulin sensitivity. (But don't fool yourself—you still need to exercise and eat right if you want to lose excess fat.) For getting the best flavor, brew the tea for just a minute or two.

Oolong tea. This mild-tasting tea is actually made from the same leaf as green tea, Camellia sinensis. The difference is in the fermentation process—a little turns it into oolong, while a lot turns it into common black tea. Recently, studies have shown that oolong has its own metabolism-boosting powers, possibly as the result of chemicals known as polymerized polyphenols. In one Japanese study (unconfirmed in the West), women who drank large cups of oolong tea had a 10 percent increase in their metabolisms for 2 hours after they drank the tea.

Chai tea. Also known as masala chai, this mixture of black tea and spices is delicious and good for you, too. Traditional Indian medicine holds that cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, star anise, peppercorn, and cloves are "warming" spices that aid digestion, and recent Western studies have found that cinnamon itself can help stabilize blood sugar. Don't buy the prepared mixes, which are usually full of extra sugar and fat. Instead, just brew a chai teabag in hot water, and add a little low-fat milk and sweetener to taste.

High-protein, low-sugar hot cocoa. Cocoa powder is loaded with antioxidants known as flavanols, and it offers some protection against various ailments, from heart disease to high blood pressure to diabetes. What prevents hot cocoa made with mainstream mixes from being a healthy drink are the high number of sugar calories and the relatively small amount of protein. (A recent study published in the journal Nutrition & Dietetics found that overweight adults burned more fat following a high-protein meal than after a meal made up mostly of carbohydrates.) We recommend using a cocoa powder that's as unprocessed as you can find—preferably raw and organic—because those tend to be higher in antioxidants. But regular (unsweetened) supermarket brands are fine, too.

By Jude Buglewicz
  1. Where was Chalene Johnson born? Chalene Johnson was born and raised in Michigan. She's the oldest of three children, and credits her mother, one of the first "Jazzercize" instructors in Michigan, as her greatest inspiration. She and her younger sister, Jenelle, went to their mother's classes and changed the records for her between routines. You can see Jenelle in ChaLEAN Extreme, following her sister's moves and continuing their mother's passion for fitness and good health.
  2. What was Chalene's first Beachbody program? Turbo Jam. Turbo Jam launched in August 2005 and quickly became the number 1, best-selling infomercial on TV. Today, there are thousands of hardcore Turbo fans all over the world. It's even been translated into Japanese!
  3. Whose "celebrity" radio show was Chalene on recently? Gayle King's The Gayle King Radio Show. Chalene flew to New York City to be interviewed on Gayle's show, part of the Oprah and Friends XM radio network, in October. If you know anything about Oprah Winfrey, you know that Gayle is her very best friend. Turns out, Gayle has been exercising with Turbo Jam since the summer of 2007, and recently got Oprah to do some Turbo workouts while they were on the Obama campaign trail.
  4. How many "Elite" signature moves are there in Turbo Jam? Eleven. The moves target your core and abs and are inspired by dance and martial arts, two of Chalene's lifelong interests. Each one targets a specific muscle group or body part to strengthen and sculpt your physique, and promote overall balance and core strength.
  5. How much body fat can you burn in 3 months on the ChaLEAN Extreme program? Up to 60 percent! By building lean muscle mass, you increase your metabolism and burn fat even after your workout. You lose fat and inches and get tighter and more toned because Muscle Burns Fat!

By Steve Edwards

"When I'm personally training someone, I don't use Turbo Jam®," said Turbo Jam creator Chalene Johnson. "So when Carl [Daikeler, Beachbody® CEO] asked me to bring personal training to the masses, I jumped at the chance. ChaLEAN Extreme combines legitimate strength training with cardio, along with helpful diet tips, motivation, and other tools. With this program, I essentially come into your home."

Since Turbo Jam, which is also called Turbo Kick® at gyms around the country, is one of the most popular fitness programs in the U.S., I was very interested to hear why its founder would embark on something completely different. At Beachbody, we're well aware that there are numerous ways to get someone into shape. But this was the first time we'd turned one of our trainers loose to create a personalized program that would fit the masses. The resulting program is something that's completely different than the movement-to-music medley of workouts that is Turbo Jam. ChaLEAN Extreme test group results were off the charts. Today, we sit down with Chalene to get the scoop on ChaLEAN Extreme.

  • Steve Edwards: When we talked originally about Turbo Jam, you were all about the music. Is it true that there won't be any music in ChaLEAN Extreme?
  • Chalene Johnson: When I'm personally training a client, I don't use music. There is some music [in the videos], but it's in the background. This isn't dance. I don't want a distraction. I want them to slow down. It's about total mental focus, and music can interfere with that. I don't want people moving to a rhythm, using momentum, or anything that can break down form. For entertainment, I use my personality and my 20-plus years of personal training experience. The cardio workouts have great music, though!
  • Steve: So it's not a complete about-face from Turbo Jam. What does the program consist of?
  • Chalene: The program consists of 4 months of workouts. Each week is broken down into strength one day and cardio the next. It's based on undulating periodization, so you can mix and match and continually keep the program fresh.
  • Steve: Let's shelve the technical talk until later. What else do they get?
  • Chalene: I come home with them.
  • Steve: That's got to be expensive.
  • Chalene: It would be, yes. Most people can't afford to pay for a personal trainer, but almost everyone could use one. My goal was to create the one-on-one experience you get when you hire a trainer. I come into your home and help you reorganize your life.
  • Steve: That sounds challenging, to say the least. How do you accomplish such a thing that will work for everyone?
  • Chalene: It's all about changing their lifestyle. First, I get into their car. They get an audio program that covers everything from how their childhood may have affected how they feel about food to how to stop thinking like a short-term dieter. I discuss how to change your way of thinking. This often means changing habits. Sometimes, it means changing friends, or at least finding new ones that support your healthy lifestyle.

    We've got an epidemic in the country, and someone needs to step forward and do something about it. Especially for moms—we have to break the trend of how we show care. For 100 years, we've been trained to show love and care with fattening sugary foods. There are better ways to show kids how we care about them. There are better ways to show ourselves. I talk about how to rewire the voice that speaks to you. Essentially, if you really care about someone, wouldn't you give them every opportunity for a healthy lifestyle? That's the attitude I try and instill in them, about their loved ones and themselves.

    Then, I come into their home. They get an instruction[al] DVD, with my family showing you how to reorganize your kitchen to make healthy food prep[aration] more realistic. Some stuff that you hear in advice columns, it's, like, get real[.] They can't do that. They don't have time. So I show them how a crazy busy mom does it, because I am a crazy busy mom. If I can do it, anyone can.
  • Steve: Want to share a few of these tricks with us?
  • Chalene: There's a beautiful nutritional book. It's like a coffee-table book, with big photos of [almost] every recipe. It provides you with all of the ammunition to make simple, healthy meals with stuff you can find in any store. At its core are recipes that are very simplistic. I didn't want you to need to find a certain store and use expensive ingredients. Anyone has the means to make these recipes.

    And there's a guidebook, of course, but a really thorough guidebook. It had to be thorough because I talk a lot about using heavy weights, and I wanted something that you could take to the gym, if that becomes necessary. It's also designed to take with you when you travel so you never need to miss a workout. There are photos of all the moves, and you are urged to record the weight you use. And there's a lot about the science behind super-slow training and breakdown sets—the reasons that you're doing this program.
  • Steve: A lot of women aren't going to want to hear about muscle growth. Want to address the myth of bulk?
  • Chalene: It's such a ridiculous myth! Women who get bulky have to train so hard for it—way over the top of what a normal strength program offers. Not one woman in the test group ended up with larger measurements. They all ended up leaner, tighter, and smaller.
  • Steve: Let's talk about undulating periodization. All of our Beachbody programs use some form of periodization. For those who don't know, this term refers basically to training in different blocks, each with a different focus. The goal is to eliminate a results plateau, which happens whenever you do the same type of training over and over. At its most basic, we see something very simple, like the Sectional Progression concept of Power 90®. P90X® is far more advanced, using 4-week training blocks to create what we call "Muscle Confusion."
  • Chalene: Undulating periodization is different than traditional in that it allows you to mix and match your workouts, similar to how you'd create different programs with P90X. Because you can mix and match your workouts and the way your program is structured, you can always keep things fresh, new, and exciting. Plus, if you blow it and fall off the program, you don't need to go back to the beginning. These workouts will allow you to jump back in anywhere. This means that you can restart anytime you want, and this eliminates guilt and excuses for quitting.
  • Steve: Tell us about your cardio element. Is it like Turbo Jam?
  • Chalene: No, as there is no coordination requirement. No dance. [The ChaLEAN Extreme workouts are] like my boot camp workouts. Anyone can do them. You don't have to stay on a beat. But I also encourage you to do any cardio that makes that [happen]. Anything will work with the program.

    When it comes to cardio, the best workout is the one you look forward to and will do with the greatest intensity. So if you like Tony, Shaun, Debbie, or whomever, I encourage you to do that. Whatever it is that inspires you will work.
  • Steve: Do you worry about this being too complicated for the masses? It sounds like you're attempting to revolutionize the way many people have been taught to think.
  • Chalene: It's actually simple, but the first DVD we want everyone to watch is Burn Basics. I ask you to erase everything you've learned about strength training—again, it's what I'd do as their personal trainer. I then teach anything you'll need to know. I do an in-depth analysis about form, how to know if you've selected the right weight, etc.

    It teaches the concepts that they need to understand. For example, why we need to use different weights and different exercises, and how to do so in a way you won't get injured.
  • Steve: Speaking of weights, do they need to have a lot at home?
  • Chalene: The bands work great, so you don't need to buy a collection of weights. If you are going to invest in weight[s], I highly recommend the Bowflex® SelectTech® [Dumbbells]. These allow you to move up and down in half-pound increments, which is something that's very rare to be able to do even in a health club. They are a little expensive . . .
  • Steve: But people spend hundreds, and often thousands, of dollars on treadmills, ellipticals, and other machines that only have one application and end up as a place to hang their laundry.
  • Chalene: Yes! And these are so much more useful. You'll use these for the rest of your life, because you can always use weights, no matter what exercise program you end up doing. And they take up very little space.
  • Steve: Since Turbo Jam has been so successful, why would you design something completely different?
  • Chalene: Because I was given the opportunity. As a trainer, I've always prescribed both cardio and strength training. Turbo Jam is what I teach to classes, which are limited by what's in the health club. It's fun, and it's great exercise, but how I teach to a group has always been different than how I work as a personal trainer.

    Clubs have always been afraid to make an investment for heavy weights for group exercise. More than cost, it's that they think women are afraid of weight. But at the club I teach at in Southern California, we've been offering three classes a day, four times per week, and have a waiting list every month.
  • Steve: How have your legion of Turbo Kick teachers reacted to the new program?
  • Chalene: They haven't done it yet. They know it's coming, and are excited to teach it to their students. But that, ultimately, will come down to the clubs and whether they will invest in the equipment. What I've created is a way for trainers to do group personal training. It's an outlet for those who can't afford a personal trainer, and hopefully, it will be in the club's best interest to offer it.

By Joe Wilkes
Bonus! Guide to Eating Out in Fast Food Chains

No, we haven't lost our minds here at Beachbody®. We don't actually want you to eat fast food. It's terrible for you. It makes you fat. It destabilizes economies and nations. It kills the environment. Read Fast Food Nation. See Super Size Me. If you're really serious about getting or staying in shape, fast food restaurants are not on your path to success.

However, sometimes fast food is the only option other than starvation. Long road trips, coworker lunches, the only place your child or childish companion will eat—these are all situations where you may be forced to enter one of these fluorescent dens of gluttony and decide which of their evilly delicious menu items you'll be naming your newly enlarged buttocks.

While the fast food companies have generally shown an appalling disregard for their customers' health, they have lately been shamed by our nation's obesity epidemic into offering some menu items that have some nutritional value. They still can't resist adding a little unneeded fat or extra high-fructose corn syrup just to spice things up, so it's wise to take a buyer-beware approach when ordering your meal. Here are some tips to make healthier choices and some suggestions about the healthiest (relatively speaking) things to order at some of the major fast food chains.
  1. Get less for your money. This may seem counterintuitive, but the so-called value meals really only offer you extra calories, saturated fat, sugar, and other diet killers. While it may seem like an unbelievable deal that you can get twice as many fries for only 19 more cents, it's a bit of a false economy, unless you're saving up for a bypass operation. If you really want to save money, pack a lunch.

    One of the biggest problems with fast food is that the food is incredibly dense in calories, fat, sodium, and bad carbohydrates. They pack a lot of unhealthiness into a small package. So you think you're just having a quick bite, but you're really getting most of your day's requirement of fat, sodium, and calories. This is where we get the term "gut bomb." Paying extra to ruin your health makes no sense. Ordering the small size may not be as cheap per pound of food, but it will save you a fortune when you're working off pounds of fat later.
  2. Discover your inner child. The best place to find a reasonably sized portion for an adult is, sadly, the children's menu. Bowing to the horrible publicity created by childhood obesity, fast food companies have made the most improvements to their kids' menus. In fact, at some restaurants, the kids' meal is the only way you can get healthy sides like fruit or carrots. It's great that kids are getting healthier options. After all, the children are our future . . . organ donors. We need to keep them healthy. But if you eat the healthy stuff on the kids' menu yourself, you might be able to hang on to your own organs a little while longer. You don't need to impress the teenage cashier with your ability to eat the maximum amount of fries and triple patties. Don't be ashamed to order the junior hamburger or even the kids' meal. You might get a free toy in the bargain!
  3. Stick to salads. A big problem with fast food is that many innocent-looking nuggets and patties are loaded with added fats, flavorful chemicals, and high-fructose corn syrup, which wreak havoc on your blood sugar levels. Salads are a good way to eat ingredients that you can easily observe whether they've been adulterated with bad-for-you additives. Not to be deterred, the fast food companies will try to get you with the dressings. Ask for oil and vinegar, if possible. If not, carefully check the ingredients and calorie counts of the dressings offered. You're better off with a vinaigrette or vinegar-based dressing like Italian. Also, true to form, most places give you enough dressing to dress several salads. Either use only half the packet of dressing or ask for a side cup you can squirt it into, and then dip your fork in the dressing before you get a bite of salad. Another way to avoid the dressing trap is to forego it completely, and scam some fresh lemons from the condiment or beverage counter and squeeze them over your salad.
  4. Beware of "theme" salads. It's called a salad. It looks like a salad. It has lettuce. It must be a salad, right? Don't be fooled by clever naming tricks—like the restaurant I went to that had a "cheesesteak salad" on its menu (I kid you not). A taco salad at most places is just all the unhealthy ingredients you're trying to avoid dumped on a plate of lettuce. In some cases, you're better off calorie-wise eating the taco in its original construction. Use common sense when selecting a salad, making sure all the ingredients are vegetables, fruits, and lean proteins you can recognize. Don't let restaurants mislead you into eating crap disguised as food.
  5. Have it your way. Remember the old Burger King jingle, "Hold the pickle, hold the lettuce, special orders don't upset us." Take them at their word—only don't hold the pickle and the lettuce, and do hold the mayo and the high-fructose corn syrup ketchup. Ask if you can substitute the grilled chicken breast for the breaded chicken breast, wheat buns for white buns, and lettuce cups for buns. Ask for extra veggies. And hold the "cheez," especially if it's spelled with a "z." Tell them you'd rather salt the fries yourself. When you order the "healthy" grilled-chicken or fish sandwiches, make sure they're not loaded with mayo or special sauces. Ask for salsa or mustard instead. After all, one advantage of a fast food joint over a fine restaurant: When they're annoyed with your special requests, they can't spit in your food, because you'll see them do it.
  6. Watch what you drink. The most profitable menu items for restaurants are soft drinks. Costing almost nothing to make, they want you to get as big a size as possible and pay for it. What you'll get is tons of sugar and chemicals, and maybe, eventually, diabetes! Read Steve Edwards' "Nutrition 911, Part VI, The Worst Food on the Planet" in the Related Articles section below if you need to know why soda (and diet soda) will ruin your figure and your health. Try to stick with iced tea or water. And to play the broken record again, if you must get soda, get the small size.
  7. And a milkshake is not a drink. It will often be suggested that you wash down your burgers and fries with a frosty milkshake. Sounds good, right? You can tell yourself you're getting your calcium, fighting osteoporosis! You're also getting over 1,000 calories if you get a large size at some restaurants. Even the kid sizes come in at 300 plus calories. Your drink probably shouldn't have more calories than your meal. Also, if it's called a shake, instead of a milkshake, there's a good chance it doesn't even contain any dairy—maybe some whipped lard instead! Mmmmm, whipped lard . . . I guess Frosty Whipped Lard Shakes didn't make it out of the marketing meeting.
Quick-Look Fast Food Guide

All hope isn't lost, though. You can almost find something healthy to eat anywhere. Here are the best bets at some of the most popular fast food chains. (Unless specified, salad calorie counts do not include dressing.)

  • Hamburger (250 calories)
  • Premium Asian Salad with Grilled Chicken (300 calories)
  • Premium Caesar Salad with Grilled Chicken (220 calories)
  • Newman's Own® Low Fat Balsamic Vinaigrette (40 calories)
  • Fruit 'n Yogurt Parfait (160 calories)
  • Most misleading item: Chicken Selects® Premium Breast Strips. Premium chicken breast sounds good on the surface, certainly better than the mysterious McNuggets, but the 5-piece version will run you 660 calories (360 from fat!), and that's before you dip them in the sauce! You could eat a Big Mac and get fewer calories, and fewer calories from fat.
Burger King
  • Chicken Tenders®, 4 pieces (180 calories)
  • TENDERGRILL Chicken Garden Salad (220 calories)
    Note: This salad is without dressing. The KEN'S® Light Italian Dressing will add 120 calories, and the Garlic Parmesan Croutons will add another 60 calories.
  • WHOPPER JR.® Sandwich (without mayo) (290 calories)
  • BK VEGGIE® Burger (420 calories)
  • Most misleading item: TENDERCRISP® Chicken Sandwich. At 800 calories, and 46 total grams of fat, don't think you're cutting calories with this batter-fried, mayo-slathered doozy.
  • Mandarin Chicken Salad, with Crispy Noodles and Roasted Almonds (380 calories)
  • Chicken Caesar Salad, with Homestyle Garlic Croutons (250 calories)
  • Mandarin Orange Cup (80 calories)
  • Small Chili (220 calories)
  • Plain Baked Potato (270 calories)
  • Ultimate Chicken Grill Sandwich (320 calories)
  • Most misleading item: Chicken Club Sandwich. You don't want to belong to this "club." At 540 calories, you're better off with the more decadent-sounding, but healthier, Ultimate Chicken Grill.
Taco Bell
  • Fresco Crunchy Taco (150 calories)
  • Fresco Grilled Steak Soft Taco (160 calories)
  • Fresco Ranchero Chicken Soft Taco (170 calories)
  • Spicy Chicken Soft Taco (170 calories)
  • Most misleading item: Fiesta Taco Salad. At 820 calories, this is the most highly caloric item on Taco Bell's menu. You can shave off over 300 calories by not eating the deep-fried tostada shell it's served in, but still, that's a pretty hefty calorie count for a "salad."
  • 6'' Veggie Delite® sandwich (230 calories)
  • 6'' Turkey Breast sandwich (280 calories)
  • 6'' Roast Beef sandwich (290 calories)
  • 6'' Ham (Black Forest, without cheese) sandwich (290 calories)
  • 6'' Subway Club® sandwich (320 calories)
  • Most misleading item: Meatball Marinara. What's in these meatballs? A 6-inch sub is 560 calories; a 12-inch sub has 1,120 calories; and if you double the meat, you can get a single 12-inch sandwich with 1,920 calories and 84 grams of fat. On the bright side, I believe the defibrillation is complimentary.