Stephen Pasterino, the trainer in NYC known for making women lean, strong owners of booties that look like peach emoji, has been busy training two Victoria's Secret Angels for months before the 2017 annual runway show in Shanghai. These long-legged ladies are Blanca Padilla and Nadine Leopold.
Pasterino, or "P" as his clients (myself included) call him, created a workout that blends physical therapy, light strength training, and strategic stretching (expect lots of hip openers, his secret to toned inner thighs). It's like if Pilates and TRX had a baby. Props are a big part of it, including ankle weights, bands, and P's signature ball (which is strapped around your upper thighs for lots of squeezing). The recently rebranded workout, dubbed P.Volve, now includes at-home streaming videos. So even if you're not in NYC, where P is based, you can try out this low-impact movement technique.
As anyone who has ever tried to transform their body knows, exercise is only half of the battle. I worked out with P before my wedding, and you can read about how we trained here. So this time, I interviewed P on the ideal diet to follow if you're trying to get in shape before a big event. The good news is that this eating plan won't leave you starving, and you even get to enjoy some carbs!
"My nutrition philosophy is similar to my workout — it's focused on sustainable, long-term care of your body," P said. "Learning how to enjoy all-natural, clean foods and incorporating them into a meal plan is key. I focus on foods that aid in digestion and get rid of inflammation and bloating."
OK, hi — almost everyone wants to know how to decrease bloat! So we got into the nitty-gritty for what that means you can and cannot put into your mouth to achieve results. Keep reading!
How often should you eat?
"I'm not a fan of snacking," P said. "I like to focus on three main meals and occasional dessert spread out throughout the week." If you can be a Victoria's Secret model and eat dessert, I'm in (not that they were looking to cast a five foot one inch shortie anyway).
"Monday through Friday mornings, I like to incorporate a light breakfast followed by a normal portion lunch and dinner," P explained. "This improves the immune system and heals the digestive tract. Time between meals can be anywhere from three to six hours, and never eat three hours before bedtime."
Which food groups should you incorporate into your diet?
According to P, this depends on if the person is vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free. None of the above is also an option. "I would say always incorporate lots of green vegetables (spinach, asparagus), healthy fats and oils (avocado, EVOO), good carbs (quinoa, sweet potato), fiber (flax seed), and a lot of lean protein (fish)," he said.
Before my wedding, P had me eating a full sweet potato almost every day before lunch (he says it's better to digest your carbs during the day than at night). And I never felt bloated from it.
What are foods/food groups you should avoid?
"Personally, I cut out dairy," he noted. "There are plenty of other options such as almond or coconut milk that I prefer and [these options] don't bloat you. Eggs are OK, but in moderation. And I always avoid anything that is prepackaged!"
The food/food groups you should cut out intermittently:
P dove into the whole bloating foods concept. "When preparing for a show like Victoria's Secret, eliminating any foods that can bloat or cause inflammation is key," he said. "Leading up to the show, we cut out vegetables that are hard to digest such as kale, broccoli, and cauliflower. Also [eliminate] fruits such as bananas and any nut butters. We eliminate all salt, eggs, and packaged foods. We need to give our digestive system the greatest chance to function at its best and be sure to reduce any unnecessary water retention."
The reasoning is that bananas are high in sugar, nuts are high in fat (yes, it's "good fat," but you're trying to get very lean fast in this situation), and some people have difficulty digesting eggs. If you're not sure what works for your digestive system, you can always try an elimination diet.
This is a sample meal plan that the VS models are using in the weeks leading up to the show:
"People think that these girls don't eat, but it's actually the opposite," P said. "They need the energy and nutrients of the right foods to have high stamina and effective workouts, and also to keep their muscles looking prominent, conditioned, and strong. If you are not eating well or enough food, you will not only lack energy, but your muscles will fall flat, especially the glutes. The focus on the diet the week of show is to make sure all the calories and nutrients they are taking in are going to their muscles and aren't being stored as fat and excess water. I am essentially treating them as if they are a professional athlete, trying to reach optimal performance and cutting out any and all inflammation in the body."
A sample day looks like this:
"Mornings, they wake up to a shot of apple cider vinegar," he noted. "Monday to Friday mornings, they have a light breakfast would include half avocado with a half of a grapefruit sprinkled with cinnamon. A normal breakfast would include a quinoa bowl with berries or a smoothie with greens and one piece of fruit (no protein powders or nut butter).
Lunch would include a green salad with vegetables and protein followed by dinner of healthy carbs and a side of steamed vegetable with lean protein.
All meals are cooked with no salt, using olive oil, lemon, and herbs to give the food flavor. These meals are providing them all the proper nutrients to feed their muscles, give them energy, and keep their skin healthy. The focus is on optimal health and function. I want them feeling their best when walking down the runway. The superclean diet coupled with my workout will have every line and definition in all their muscles gleaming, showing off their strength and physique for all to see as they make their walk."
"The day before, we will start the morning with water with lemon and detox tea, which has a lot of dandelion root in it. The dandelion tea will help tighten the skin against the muscles. Drinking more fluids will be the focus until lunch, which will be a smoothie consisting of blueberries, lots of spinach, flax seed, and lemon. Dinner will be the biggest meal featuring high protein such as salmon or tuna, cooked in olive and lemon only with steamed asparagus on the side. No eating three hours before sleep."