A six pack in five easy steps? Can it be for real? With the help of a simple tool, consider this ab exercise the "wheel" deal.
(O)n the set of yet another 2(X)IST photoshoot, and there are strange sounds coming from model André Ziehe's dressing area. Ziiiiiip. Ziiiiiip. Ziiiiip. Ziiiiiiiiiiiip. Concealed by a screen, one can only imagine what's going on back there. But once André steps back out to his mark, you instantly see something is (even more) awesome about his body. His core is more taut, tighter, and packed with so many ridges you don't know whether to hate on him or finally ask what the hell he's doing between takes. The answer? It's all about the ab wheel.
An inexpensive, unassuming piece of equipment, the ab wheel pretty much looks like a simple machine you learned about in elementary science class. But this old-school gadget packs a gigantic punch, and will teach you a lesson or two about using your own body weight for effective results. Plus, it's portable, which is why André always travels with an ab wheel when flying between photoshoots.
Looking to pop an ab wheelie for your next workout? Just roll with it with these easy steps to a stronger core:
(1) Kneeling on a flat, even floor, place the ab wheel squarely in front of you. (Optional: You may want to place a folded towel on the floor for kneeling, as there will be pressure on your knees.)
(2) Grab the ab wheel with both hands, palms down. Keep your arms outstretched (but not locked) and back straight.
(3) Push the ab wheel away from you, rolling towards the point wherein your torso is almost level with the floor. (The more you practice, the further out you will roll.)
(4) Pause at this position and feel your core supporting your torso. At the next exhale, pull the abwheel back towards your knees, engaging the core.
(5) When you reach the starting position, you've done one full rep. Complete 10 to 15 repetitions, adding more reps or sets if desired.
THE ESSENTIALS: AB WHEEL
Ab wheels are readily available at big box stores, sporting goods suppliers, and online, all at under $25.
[PHOTO CREDIT: 2(X)IST]
Don't assume you can never look good in a photograph. With these tips, your inner Zoolander is just one click away.
(I)f a picture is worth a thousand words, ensure none of those are "Retake!" by following 2(X)ISTENCE's five tips for looking better on film. And while we can't vouch that these time-tested tips will book you the next 2(X)IST ad campaign, you will look effortlessly handsome and create better photo memories in the process. Ready to say "Cheese?" Read on…
PHOTOGRAPHIC MEMORY: Sure, it sounds pretty vain to stare at yourself in the mirror and figure out your best Blue Steel, but you're already reading this article so chances are you're willing to do anything to be more André Ziehe than Andre the Giant. So go on and study your best angles in the reflection: learn your best smile (Toothy or Tight-Lipped?), find your best "side" and tilt (Left? Straight? Right? Chin up or slightly downward?), and notice how much better you look when thinking happier thoughts. And for an advanced lesson, take your new findings on a test drive by self-snapping on the relentlessly harsh webcam. If you can master looking good here, you're head of the class.
STUCK IN THE MIDDLE WITH YOU: You know the saying "The Camera Adds Ten Pounds?" This was probably uttered by the someone trying to escape the camera's glare by hiding in the far periphery of a group photograph. Instead, don't be afraid to stand smack in the middle of a gang. A camera lens suffers the least distortion towards the center, which means you'll look closer to normal than hanging out in the wings.
TAKE MY BREATH AWAY: The next time someone snaps your portrait, make sure the photographer clicks you on an inhale. First, your posture will likely improve and your midsection will appear slimmer. Second, with your face tensed and refreshed with air, your eyes will look more alive, your cheeks flushed, and the chin undoubled.
EYE FOR AN EYE: Ensure you and your photographer are at the same eye level and don't be shy to ask the lenser to crouch down to even out the difference. Once at matching levels (or as close as possible), look slightly above the lens for final shot. For those with darker eyes, this gaze will ensure they don't look "closed," and for those with lighter irises, it will prevent the dreaded, devilish Red Eye.
UNDER THE INFLUENCE: And finally, everyone loves a party, but don't make it look like one every time. Consider putting down that cocktail before snapping away, lest you want to be judged on your mini-umbrella-festooned Blue Hawaiian (really?) instead of your stunning blue eyes. Sure, the occasional champagne toast is festive, but does the Internet really need a pic of you shotgunning an Irish Car Bomb at PJ Calamity's? In this age of Google, LinkedIn, and Facebook, that pic of you kegstanding may prove just as incriminating as a mugshot. (X)
Put down that drumstick! 2(X)ISTENCE explains how hard you'll have to shake your hips for what touches your lips.
(Y)es, you are what you eat.
And if that adage holds true during the Holiday Season, you're an overstuffed, borderline-diabetic turkey by January 2. Faster than you can say "The Diet Starts Monday," consider the following calorie counts for a typical Holiday feast. The suggested menu below (which may or may not be the actual food diary of a 2(X)IST staffer) tips the scales at a whopping 5,598 calories. Considering a normal daily intake hovers around 2000 calories, one bad Christmas Office Festivus can nearly triple that number (and derail a healthy, balanced regimen). And in the six weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year's, the average guy will attend at least two functions a week, making for 12 opportunities of gut-busting decisions. Still, we say don't be a food Grinch this Holiday, just be a wiser man and choose to enjoy the merriment, albeit in moderation.
WHAT'S IN 5,598 TOTAL CALORIES?
1 Cup of Coffee, light & sweet OR 15 minutes of Combing One's Hair, vigorously
1 B.E.C. (Bacon, Egg, & Cheese) on a roll OR 60 mins of Parkour, intensely
A Few Chips with Salsa OR 20 mins of Touch Football
4 Pigs in a Blanket OR 30 mins on Stairmaster
6 Pieces of Shrimp with Cocktail Sauce OR 10 mins of Jump Roping, quickly
7 Peanut M&Ms OR 30 mins of Driving (Defensive)
1 Beer, bottled OR 25 mins of Walking
1 Starbucks White Hot Chocolate OR 60 mins of Yoga (Bikram)
1 Handful of Almonds OR 53 mins of Watching Family Guy Reruns
Assorted Veggies & Hummus OR 30 mins of Wii Fit
2 Glasses of Red Wine OR 38 mins of P90x
1 Mixed Green Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette OR 30 mins of Elliptical Trainer
1 Cup of Butternut Squash Soup OR 1 Set of Tennis (Doubles)
1 Serving of Turkey OR 30 mins of Kickboxing
Gravy for Turkey, above OR 15 more mins of Kickboxing
2 Scoops of Stuffing OR 15 mins of Rollerblading
2 Mounds of Mashed Potatoes OR 20 mins of Kissing (French)
1 Portion of Green Bean Casserole OR 30 mins of Weightlifting
2 Biscuits OR 25 mins of Basketball (Half Court)
2 Pats of Butter OR 120 mins of Texting
2 More Glasses of Red Wine OR 23 mins of Texting While Treadmilling
1 Espresso, with Grappa OR 20 mins of NordicTrack
1 Slice of Pumpkin Pie OR 35 mins of Ultimate Frisbee
1 Glass of Eggnog OR 40 mins of Spinning
2 Chocolate Chip Cookies OR 15 mins of Horse Riding
NEW YEAR. NEW YOU 2012.Don't be at odds with yourself. If you're about to set a few New Year's Resolutions, learn how you can stage a campaign to win.
(A)ccording to the Mayan calendar (and a certain Hollywood movie), 2012 is destined for catastrophe. Still, that's no reason to skip setting life-affirming goals towards building a better you in the New Year. 2(X)ISTENCE turns to Dr. Cheryl Tan, a New York-based clinical psychologist who helps clients set attainable goals for everyday living. Here, she offers a few tips on making impactful resolutions that just may prove this is your year (disaster flicks notwithstanding).
FIVE ESSENTIALS ON CREATING RESOLUTIONS
1. WANT NOT, WASTE NOT
Base your resolution on a should, rather than on a want. Says Tan, "We're more likely to follow through on something that we have a positive emotional investment in accomplishing … and less likely to follow through on something that feels like a obligation or a chore."
2. THINK POSITIVE
Set resolutions that are energizing, about personal growth, and potentially reasons to celebrate. "We have enough stresses and pressures in our lives as it is, so why would we want to set resolutions that add to those pressures or increase self-criticism?," states Tan.
3. TOO BECOMES WAN
Forming resolutions that are "too" anything — too abstract, too absolute, too black and white, too rigid — can grow tiresome quickly. Dr. Tan suggests focusing on "stepwise," incremental challenges so that each individual "step" is an accomplishment in and of itself.
4. STEP TO IT
By making "stepwise" goals, you avoid setting a grand plan that totally rewrites the way you live on a daily basis. Tan prescribes setting smaller, monthly goals (for example, "I will attend 5 spinning classes") rather than loftier ones ("I will compete in the Ironman Triathalon in Hawaii") since they provide growth even if the yearly goal is never achieved. Plus, "You can never underestimate how a few small changes can lead to larger, unforeseen benefits," she says.
5. LIMITED RELEASE
Set goals that respect your limits. Explains Tan, "We all have finite amounts of energy. Think of it as gas in the gas tank, and we burn a lot of fuel just getting through our average day. If you're going to set a challenging resolution, balance it out with a restorative resolution that allows you to re-fuel the gas tank."
FOUR ESSENTIALS ON FOLLOWING THROUGH ON RESOLUTIONS
Now that you've set your resolutions, it's time to put yourself into action. Dr. Tan provide more tips on crossing off your "to-do" list:
1. OBSTACLE, (OF) COURSE
If this isn't your first ride at the (failed) resolutions rodeo and your new goals still seem discouragingly similar to last year's, Dr. Tan advises that you identify the obstacles that you encountered before, then create a plan that addresses how this time will be different. "Start by assuming that you have more than enough willpower and motivation, but something else held you back," says Tan.
2. USE SOMEBODY
Think outside the box when if comes to goal-making. Plan on going to the gym after work, but find it's too tempting to just go home instead? You don't have to ask someone to meet you at the gym, but you can ask a friend to meet you for dinner near the gym, say a block away, post-workout. "This does double duty," says Tan. "Timewise, it doesn't make sense to go home if you have to turn around and head back out again. And, a little social time is a great reward for giving yourself some 'me time' at the gym."
3. THE HELP
"Don't be afraid to get professional help, and not the pre-packaged box kind," says Tan. Instead, find personalized, individual help that realistically (and financially) fits the way you live your life. For example, if your goal is to eat healthier, maybe you shouldn't call Jenny Craig right away, suggests Tan. (Unless, of course, you've got a Mariah Carey-sized endorsement deal.) Instead, see a nutritionist twice monthly for the next six months. Want to strengthen your body? Say no to the 10-class group package being pushed by the gym sales team and get a more cost-effective personal trainer once a week for the next month. Have more resolutions than you can handle? Tan suggests seeing a therapist weekly for six months. "A good therapist can help work with you on achieving each goal, overcome obstacles, and make necessary adjustments along the way," says Tan.
4. INSIDE JOB
Don't forget to encourage yourself the same way you give great encouragement and advice to friends. "We tend to be much harder on ourselves that we are towards our loved ones, " says Tan. "Treat yourself in the same way. Provide yourself with encouragement, reassurance, validations, and trust that every day you have a chance to make different choices to do something differently."
Dr. Cheryl Tan is a practicing clinical psychologist specializing in cognitive and behavioral change, emotional regulation, and relationship management. She works and lives in New York City. (X)
Be an "eye spy" and uncover this industry secret for looking your best
(W)ant to get good looking? Start with your eyes, says men's grooming expert Joey Healy. While allergies, smog, or even stress can make eyes look puffy and tired, Healy—2(X)IST's go-to guy who's worked on the most recent ad campaigns—has a trick up his sleeve to revive the weary-eyed.
Healy swears by Collyre Bleu Eye Drops, a richly-cobalt tinted solution that's long been an industry secret but is now readily available to the public. On set, Healy uses the product on top models including 2(X)IST's own André Ziehe.
"I reach for these French drops right when André gets in the chair. It takes about 20 minutes to see the full effect after initial application, " says Healy. "They give André a clear, bright look to his eyes that gives him the appearance of alertness and 'awakeness' … even with a 7 a.m. calltime."
Collyre Blue's manufacturer Verseo claims that the drop's active ingredient, boric acid, and natural plant extracts like camomile, help sooth the eye and constrict red-eye-causing blood vessels. But the real magic is the drops' violet tint, which offsets yellowness in the eye and allows the whites to seem brighter.
But contact wearers be warned: It's all fun and games until someone loses a lens. Warns Healy: "Don't put in Collyre Bleu if you are wearing contacts! It immediately stains them an irreversible blue. If you do wear contacts, use the drops, then wait 20 minutes." (X)
Collyre Bleu Drops are available now at better drugstores and online retailers like Amazon.
F.S.C. Barber's Joey Tasca on his cool workplace, grooming tips, and unscheduling Bad Hair Days
(N)ext to an unsuspecting alleyway in New York's Lower East Side stands Freemans Sporting Club, a trio of unassuming shopfronts that collectively house a revered restaurant, a "made local, buy local" haberdashery, and F.S.C. Barber, a throwback gentleman's den specializing in the (thankfully low-fi) art of grooming. There you'll also find Joey Tasca, one in a team of master barbers and stylists who all seemingly share the same, genial, easy-natured attitude.
"Working with these dudes, it's like a dysfunctional family, but it's awesome and I love it. Every day is different," says Joey.
What remains the same is Freemans' low-key vibe and democratic approach to customer satisfaction. Perhaps that's why this "bro-friendly" walk-in hotspot—no appointments necessary!—is favored by everyone from artists to business execs to celebrities.
"We all have celebrity clients," says Joey (who chooses to keep mum on said celebrities). "But I think that's why they come. They know they're not going to be hassled and can just come in, relax, and kick it with us and get a great cut or shave in the process."
What Joey loves most about being a barber is "you can take this trade anywhere." Case in point, he often finds himself giving impromptu chops in the park or even more random locales like backstage at Saturday Night Live or the latest Sleigh Bells concert.
Joey's "go anywhere" mojo also means he's caught the travel bug. "I eventually want to take off for six months to a year and just see where it takes me. Hopefully far! Pyramids in Egypt, Tikal in Guatemala … jungles, rainforests, mountains, and deserts!"
While 2(X)ISTENCE has Joey Tasca here, we quickly cut to a few questions:
What's you own grooming routine?
Joey Tasca: I keep it simple, which goes a very long way. First of all, throw out your shampoo. It's garbage … a totally made-up product that dries it out and makes it unmanageable.
Then what natural solutions do you suggest for styling?
JT: For grooming, I use coconut oil mixed with a little bit of styling cream. Coconut oil is good for your scalp and hair and acts as an awesome product.
How do you tell a barber exactly what cut or shave you want?
JT: Bring pictures! Some dudes are embarrassed to bring in a picture, [but] we dig it. It's easier to figure out. But mostly just ask us how you really want your hair to look and what you don't like about it, and we will come to an answer.
What about a really insistent customer with a potentially disastrous request?
JT: I usually just tell them what i think as a barber, and if I had his hair, how I would wear it. But at the end of the day, it's your hair and you should wear it how you want it and what makes you feel good. (X)
THE ESSENTIALS: F.S.C. BARBER
F.S.C. Barber (www.fscbarber.com) has two locations in New York City (Lower East Side and West Village) and another outpost in San Francisco's Mission District.
[PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy Joey Tasca; fscbarber.com]