NOURISHMENT – What Works and Why

Jorge Cruise Has the Road Map for Your Spring Transformation

By 24Life

There’s one word to describe celebrity fitness trainer and best-selling author Jorge Cruise: energy. When 24Life reached out to him at 8:30 a.m. on a sunny spring morning to learn more about “The Cruise Control Diet” (Ballantine Books, April 2019)—his latest book on The New York Times best-seller list—Cruise had already finished a workout and trained a client, and he was on the train heading to another appointment.

Never one to disappoint, Cruise is full of new ideas to keep us on track to our goals. “The Cruise Control Diet” focuses on the scientific basis for intermittent fasting and Cruise’s tips, workouts and recipes for success. We asked him for more insight into the book and what Cruise has found works for himself and his clients, especially when it comes to diet versus lifestyle.

Why intermittent fasting?

Cruise believes that you can transform your health without ever feeling hungry. “I’ve been a trainer for 25 years. I’ve written over 30 books, 12 of them on The New York Times best-seller list. And the key to [success] is keeping things simple,” he says.

Simplicity includes making lifestyle changes rather than complicated meal plans. Cruise explains that most people assume that fasting means extreme hunger, and that’s the last thing anyone wants to feel. Intermittent fasting, he says, is not about hunger or deprivation at all—it’s a change in pattern.

As Cruise entered his 40s, he noticed that despite being extremely fit and eating a healthy diet,

his exemplary lifestyle wasn’t enough. “I turned 40 eight years ago, and my body started to misbehave, if you will. … I was spending more and more time in the gym and not seeing results,” Cruise explains.

In “The Cruise Control Diet,” he points to scientific research indicating that fluctuations in hormones such as insulin, rather than calories, are what lead to weight gain and, in particular, stubborn belly fat. Cruise says fluctuations in insulin lead your cells to store glucose, which then turns into fat. When we synchronize calorie consumption and our metabolic cycles, we can stabilize or limit those fluctuations.

Fasting offers a way to manage those cycles. Cruise became acquainted with the practice through the work of Dr. Jason Fung, as well as the book “The Circadian Code” (Rodale Books, June 2018) by Satchin Panda, Ph.D. Both experts advocate not eating after sundown, just as our ancestors did. “No one was eating late at night and then at the crack of dawn, popping a Pop-Tart,” Cruise observes.

Jorge Cruise flexes his right bicep while standing in a park. Red tank top, short black hair

Winning the hunger game

Today’s definition of the first meal of the day, according to Cruise, is pure invention. “In 1906, Mr. [John] Harvey Kellogg created a term that never existed [previously] called breakfast” to sell cornflake cereal, he observes. But Cruise says in ancient times, the first meal of the day wasn’t a giant feast of bacon and eggs—if anything.

Cruise believes that intermittent fasting is a simple and natural habit. He eats his meals in an eight-hour window and observes a 16-hour period of fasting, following a specific protocol he has developed that includes select foods to eliminate hunger. His Cruise Control Fasting methodology incorporates specific kinds of fats during an eight-hour “meals allowed” period to minimize hunger during the fasting period.

“Healthy fats such as coconut oil, avocado oil and even grass-fed butters are the fats that turn off that hunger switch,” Cruise explains. “If you’re not hungry, you are not going to eat. You’re going to be able to enjoy life and get up and work out in the morning.” When working out while fasting, Cruise says the process of autophagy—this is the body’s elimination of dead and dying cells—also allows your body to burn that visceral (stubborn belly) fat.

Set it and forget it

By making a lifestyle choice to practice intermittent fasting instead of going on a diet, Cruise says, “You’re working with your body’s clock and you have this delicious way to start and end your day without hunger, and then you have an eight-hour window where you get to eat delicious things.” From his perspective, intermittent fasting liberates us from dangerous belly fat.  Belly fat“robs us of what I think is even more important: confidence,” Cruise adds.

Cruise says you can choose any eight-hour window that’s convenient—such as 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.—during which you can eat two meals and two snacks. He calls this the Boost Zone. These meals and snacks emphasize protein, non-starchy veggies and healthy fats, as well as a couple of servings of healthy carbs such as fruit, unprocessed starch such as whole grains, dark chocolate or wine.

During the remaining 16 hours, which Cruise calls the Burn Zone, you can enjoy up to three servings of beverages laced with healthy fat or any treat that gets almost 100 percent of its calories from fat. That window includes sleep, of course. [Editor’s note: As always, get your health professional’s input before you make changes to your diet.]

Ultimately, Cruise says intermittent fasting is very personal—it comes down to exploring what fits your life, your body and your schedule. Noting that substantial research shows that when we eat is as important as what we eat, Cruise advises awareness of the timing of your meals and setting a rhythm that works for you.

Jorge Cruise stands outside while wearing a light blue tank top

Pull up to the bumper zone

Jorge Cruise stands outside in a sunny park with hands clasped. Earthy green tank topCruise recommends staying hydrated during the Burn Zone and introducing “bumper” foods as needed. Drinking coffee or tea with fats like grass-fed butter, MCT oi and heavy cream, Cruise says, will keep you satiated in the morning hours of the Burn Zone until your eight-hour eating window begins.

One of Cruise’s favorite treats to have during the Burn Zone is a chocolate mousse he makes with a sugar-free pudding mix and heavy cream (to minimize the sugar content). He adds that with this kind of eating, there’s no need for a cheat day: “As long as the food that you eat outside of the Boost window doesn’t raise your insulin levels, the fast is not broken.”

But if you ate something you didn’t want to eat or you said you were going to the gym but didn’t make it, Cruise advises that every moment—not just every day but every moment—is a new one. It helps to have a good group to support you, he says. “If that group is in the gym, I would say go back to the gym for that very reason.”

Community helps in many ways

Cruise concludes that fitness serves not only to supercharge your Burn Zone but also to support you in other ways. “Exercise is critical,” he says. “My dad is in hospice care, and everyone thinks I’m a super-happy guy all the time, but exercise is my therapy and I do it every day.”

Just because Cruise is a celebrity fitness expert doesn’t mean that it’s easy for him to make the time: “I have to fight for my hour at the gym,” he says. “It’s the most important hour for me. And I would encourage everyone to use exercise as your therapy to feel good, to tone and strengthen your body. … It makes you appreciate and puts things in perspective so that you can be grateful and still be smiling.”

Editor’s note: Read more about Jorge Cruise and purchase your copy of “The Cruise Control Diet.

Video: Courtesy Jorge Cruise
Photo credits: Jorge Cruise; Todd Cribari, inspirostudio.com
Grooming: Chanel

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