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Meet the Creator of Brazil Butt Lift: Part II

By Steve Edwards

"When I landed in New York I spoke almost no English and I didn't know a soul," says Brazil Butt Lift creator Leandro Carvalho. "After wandering around the docks like someone in an immigration movie, I finally found an old lady who brought me to the school where I was going to dance."

Leandro Carvalho

His tale is classic Horatio Alger. Arriving in America with only an unflagging work ethic and a goal, he's now a celebrity who trains a bevy of supermodels. Today we talk to Carvalho about why his new fitness program is going to change the way we work out, and what it's like to be living the American dream.

"It's busy!" is his most emphatic comment. "I feel bad leaving my regular clients so I work long hours [as my popularity grows] trying to make room for everybody." But now we're getting ahead of the story. Carvalho may have always been busy but he wasn't always in demand. So let's start at the beginning, where he was just a kid growing up dancing, which isn't so strange, given that he's from Brazil.

"In Brazil everybody dances. We dance all the time in celebration of everything. All week long we dance. Not just on special occasions, but for any occasion."

But for Carvalho it was something even bigger. He began studying dance at 12 with dreams of becoming a professional. In college he studied physical education because "they didn't offer dance," which led him toward a new profession, fitness training.

Woman's Back"I was teaching jazz and tap dance at first. As I learned more I began teaching aerobics, and when I was working on my masters (in Recreation) I began teaching kids. Some of these kids' parents worked for Petrobras, a large oil company. Word got out and they (Petrobras) hired me to create fitness programs for their employees. Petrobras is a huge company; they have these giant campuses. I opened ten gyms for them where I not only taught their employees but trained both the police and the firefighters (Petrobras employs its own police and fire departments)."

"This job paid very well, so I was pretty set up in Brazil, but then I got an offer to come to New York and dance with Merce Cunningham. This more than anything was my dream. So I saved as much money as I could for a year and moved to New York, not knowing one word of English."

"From the time I arrived in New York my life has been filled with angels," says Carvalho. First there was the woman at the docks. Now he works with many women who are "angels" for Victoria's Secret™. In between, there seem to have been others watching over him.

"After 8 months in America I was accepted to a new program in recreation therapy at NYU. Because I had the money to pay for their fledgling program they accepted me, even though I had very bad English."

"NYU let me work 20 hours at the gym so I could maintain my student visa. To get the hours in I would teach any class you can imagine. Step (aerobics), water (aerobics), Latin dance, rollerblading, kayaking in the Hudson River... anything they could think of. I also began teaching for FIT (the Fashion Institute of Technology) and all this work allowed me to get a green card."

"Things seemed to be going my way so I decided not to go back to Brazil. I applied to every gym in New York, and right then, the 'Latin explosion' hit. I was really getting lucky! So I started teaching a class I made up called Brazilian Groove, and pretty soon, all the gyms wanted to hire me. Then Equinox (one of New York's leading gyms) paid me to stop teaching elsewhere, I met Allesandra (see part I of this interview), and things have just gotten busier and busier!"

"Now, by word of mouth, I'm training all sorts of actors and models (Blake Lively and Gabriel Garcia Bernal have been clients, as well as his stable of 26 supermodels), doing my classes, and still keeping my old clients. I like to go back to Brazil whenever I can, so when I'm here I generally work long hours for seven days a week."

Whether it's because Carvalho has been lucky, good, hardworking, or a combination of all three, his momentum isn't slowing. As more Brazilian trends get popular in America, he's the guy who understands the science of why.

"The gym is very popular in Brazil, but they are very different from the gyms in America. The big Brazilian secret is ankle weights. In Brazil, no ankle weights means no gym. Here it's hard to find them at all. In January I'll finally start teaching ankle weight classes. There's still a big resistance but it's changing as more Americans want to look like Brazilians."

Women on the Beach"In Brazil Butt Lift we use some Brazilian diet techniques too," he adds. "Things like lemon and ginger. We use lemon to neutralize acids. Acids create a layer around the fat cells so they won't shrink. Fat cells don't disappear, they shrink. Lemon is alkaline. Having shots of straight lemon, or even lemon in water, helps to neutralize the acids around the cells so they can shrink like they should. And ginger is a natural antibiotic. People who are resistant to weight loss tend to have too much inflammation. So when we start a diet program two cups a day of ginger tea is a must."

"I combine many Brazilian techniques with what I've learned from working with models. Things like the green and white diet, I call it, which is a short-term cleanse diet where you eat primarily white protein and greens. It's basically six days without sugars, unnatural fats, processed carbs, and glutens. It's the kind of plan a model will use for a photo shoot."

Carvalho sums up his future with thoughts on why these Brazil trends are so popular. "Everybody wants to be sexy, and in Brazil it's just part of the culture. Bikinis, being naked on the beach, etc., it's all just part of who we are and what we always have been. It goes with the dancing, the vibes, the whole lifestyle. It's all about being sexy, and that's what America wants."

Related Articles
"Lift Your Butt Like a Brazilian (Part 1)"
"Think You Can Dance: 10 Ways to Incorporate Dance into Your Exercise Routine"
"Boost Your Metabolism All Day Long"

Steve EdwardsGot something to say? Chat with the writers and other readers this coming Monday, January 4th, at 7:00 PM ET, 4:00 PM PT, in the Beachbody Chatroom!

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

Check out our Fitness Advisor's responses to your comments in Steve Edwards' Mailbag on the Message Boards. If you'd like to receive Steve Edwards' Mailbag by email, click here to subscribe to Steve's Health and Fitness Newsletter. And if you'd like to know more about Steve's views on fitness, nutrition, and outdoor sports, read his blog, The Straight Dope.

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Climbing Michi's Ladder: Amaranth

By Denis Faye

What makes a grain successful? There are scores of edible, delicious, healthy grains out there, yet we seem to have settled for wheat and rice. Take amaranth. It's nutritionally rich and it grows in the harshest conditions. Yet you've probably never even heard of it, and it's incredibly difficult to track down.


The reason we don't eat our veggie burgers on amaranth buns is that when the conquistadores showed up in the New World, they banned its cultivation because the Aztecs used it in their religious ceremonies. From that point until its rediscovery in the 1970s, it existed mostly in North America as a weed. Nothing like a little cultural genocide to ruin a perfectly good crop.

The nutrition facts

A quarter cup of raw amaranth is 180 calories, 30 from fat. It has 3 g of fat, 31 g of carbs and 7 g of protein. Fiber? Yes, indeed! 7 regularity-inducing grams! From a mineral perspective, iron is the big draw, with 20 percent of the recommended daily allowance (RDA)*. Magnesium is 30 percent, phosphorus is 27 percent, manganese is 80 percent, copper and selenium are 13 percent. You'll also get a little calcium, potassium, and zinc.

For vitamins, you'll find 14 percent of the RDA for Vitamin B6 and 10 pecent for folate, as well as vitamin C, vitamin E, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid.

How do you eat this stuff?

OatsAs healthy as it is, amaranth is surprisingly fun to eat. No wonder the Aztecs dug it. You can use it like any other grain for breads and stews, but if you want to party, you can pop it like popcorn. Put a tiny bit of cooking oil in a saucepan. When it's hot, drop in the amaranth and cover. Shake the pot continually over the heat to keep the grains from burning until the popping slows down. Transfer the tiny, nutty-flavored, popped grains to a bowl and enjoy as you would popcorn.

Another cooking method is to add one part amaranth to three parts cold water. Bring it to a boil, then let it simmer, covered, for 25 minutes. You'll end up with a thick porridge similar to Cream of Wheat, only unprocessed and actually good for you.

1 cup of uncooked amaranth (193 g)
Calories Protein Carbs Fiber Fat
716 26.2 g 127 g 12.9 g 13.5 g

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Denis FayeGot something to say? Chat with the writers and other readers this coming Monday, January 4th, at 7:00 PM ET, 4:00 PM PT, in the Beachbody Chatroom!

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

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Test Your St. Nick Sidekick IQ!

By DeLane McDuffie

Christmas StockingBeing alone during the holidays can be a drag. Shoveling snow by yourself. Going stag to holiday parties. Even your WOWY SuperGym® Workout Buddy postponed because of last-minute holiday shopping. Whatever state of loneliness your may be in, it can't possibly be as lonely as flying around the world with nine reindeer that can't hold a decent conversation. In some countries, Santa isn't so lonely; he has a wingman, figuratively sitting shotgun in the sleigh. Match Santa's seasonal companions with their country or region of origin.

  1. Krampus - Austria. Apparently, Krampus got his festive seasons mixed up. Looking as if he came straight out of a Halloween nightmare, Krampus is one of the most unsightly characters in humanity's holiday history. He looks like a mix between the Cryptkeeper and a really, really, really, really mad goat. His deal with St. Nicholas? St. Nick rewards the good kids with toys, while Krampus shows the bad kids the penalty for being a year-round hardhead: having your toys confiscated, getting whipped with a switch (branch rod), getting shoved into a bag with other bad kids, and then getting chucked into a river. Who needs those bad-teen boot camps or military school when you have Krampus around?
  2. Belsnickel - Germany. Northwestern Germany and some areas of Dutch Pennsylvania deal with an old guy named Belsnickel. When kids from these parts aren't rejoicing that they're not Austrian and have to answer to crazy ol' Krampus, they're being good so that fur-covered Belsnickel will leave a sock or shoe full of candy in their rooms. But if they act up, he won't hesitate to exchange those sweets for a lump of coal. In the early days, he would throw nuts and candy on the floor for children. And in the traditions of the piñata and children just being children, younglings would scamper to pick up the goods, which was a perfect opportunity for Belsnickel to strike them with his switch, scaring them straight.
  3. Le P�re Fouettard - France. Le P�re Fouettard (the whip father) is an Eastern French version of the Germanic Knecht Ruprecht (Farmhand Ruprecht) tradition. Similar to Belsnickel, Le P�re Fouettard, wearing a black robe and a long beard, walks around with a whip or switch, beating disobedient kids, as St. Nicholas gives the good kids gifts that don't involve pain. Legend has it that Le P�re Fouettard used to be a butcher who abducted three little rich boys. While robbing them, he ended up killing them. St. Nick bought the kids back to life, made Le P�re Fouettard repent, and sentenced him to a lifetime of being St. Nick's flunky. It was either that or a bid in Sing Sing prison.
  4. Ti� de Nadal - Spain. Ti� de Nadal (Christmas log) doesn't exactly accompany Santa like the others do. Well, it can't. It's an inanimate object. Nonetheless, its interesting tradition is worth mentioning. Ti� de Nadal, also known as "Caga ti�," or "pooping log," hails from Catalonia in eastern Spain. On December 8th, the beginning of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, each family will take a short hollow log, prop it up on two sticks, and paint a smiling face on one end of it. For the next 2-1/2 weeks, they'll "feed" it with small bits of food and even cover it up with a blanket on a chilly night. On Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, they command the log to "poop" out gifts. To encourage expeditiousness, they sing songs to the log and thrash it furiously with sticks. Eventually, candy and other treats fall out. The family splits up the goodies—until garlic, an onion, or fish drops out, signaling the end to the year's festivities. And with that image fresh in your mind, Happy Holidays!

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

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