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Jorge Cruise

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HIS CHARISMA, boundless energy and simple, straightforward approach to exercise have made Jorge Cruise one of the world’s most successful health gurus. By combining a talent for communication (he edited and published a college magazine when he was a student at UCSD) and fitness (he was a personal trainer at The Sporting Club in University City), he’s built an empire on wellness for busy people. He’s the author of three New York Times bestsellers, including his latest, The 12-Second Sequence; his books have been published in 14 languages; and his USA Weekend column reaches more than 50 million readers in 600 newspapers. He has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Good Morning America, The Today Show, The Tyra Banks Show and Dateline NBC. Cruise lives in Point Loma with his wife, Heather, and his young sons, Parker and Owen.

TOM BLAIR: Okay, let’s get right to it. How tall are you, and how much do you weigh?

JORGE CRUISE: I’m 6-1, 178 pounds. But have you seen my fat picture?

TB: I have. In fact, I was showing that around the magazine office, and my colleagues were suggesting it was Photoshopped.

JC: Oh, no, no, no.

TB: How much did you weigh then?

JC: I weighed 214 pounds!

TB: You couldn’t make your stomach that big now if you tried.

JC: No, man. It was just all grease.

TB: So you were also a fat kid?

JC: I was. I grew up eating emotionally, because my dad was never around. So food became a good friend. I’m from a Latin family——I was born in Mexico City——my mom and my grandmother brought me up. So when it came to food, there was just a lot of excess. It wasn’t that it was bad food; it was just too much food.

TB: What inspired you to take control of your body?

JC: At 16, my appendix burst, and I almost died. Then, two years later, my dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer. So that was a big thing, because they gave him only a year to live. He was just 50-something. But he went to this place in Lemon Grove called the Optimum Health Institute. Phenomenal place for anyone who has cancer, HIV, AIDS, leukemia. I went with him for a week——he stayed three weeks——and it was very powerful. When he left there, he was renewed. And he’s been alive for 20 years since then. So it inspired me that he was able to make such a shift with his health.

TB: A lot of people would look at you and say, “Well, it’s just good genes.” Can every body have six-pack abs?

JC: Not a six-pack; not all men, because that’s genetics. I just covered that in my new men’s book. Genetically, some people can only get a four-pack; some can get an eight-pack. But you can always get to your best, defined, sculpted self——and you’ll see muscle.

TB: Your book Eight Minutes in the Morning was a national bestseller. Can a person really get fit, and stay fit, with just eight minutes of exercise a day?

JC: Absolutely. We did four Eight Minutes books. They were in 15 languages; two and a half million copies. Here’s the thing: In January, most people say, “I’m going to get in shape.” It’s the New Year’s resolution. They join the gym——that’s January, when all the people join the gym. And people will go every day for a week. By the fourth week, they’re not going at all, because going every day is unrealistic. You need a sustainable plan. All my exercises are done at home, in eight minutes.

TB: And that includes cardio?

JC: There’s no cardio. There was a cardio bonus thing we had in the back, if people wanted to do it. My whole thing has always been about getting rid of belly fat, because the most dangerous fat of all is visceral fat. The deep fat——underneath the abdominal wall, near the liver——starts to secrete toxins and wastes and hormones. What’s on the outside is the subcutaneous stuff. But whatever you have there doubles on the inside. When that happens, fat on the inside literally begins to come to life——like a creature. And it affects the liver; that’s when you get type-2 diabetes. And when it goes to the heart or cardiovascular system, it starts to put a corrosive oxidation on it, and that leads to heart disease, the biggest killer in America.

TB: You say eight minutes in the morning. Is it really that important to do the exercise in the morning?

JC: Yes. For one thing, 90 percent of people who exercise in the morning are consistent. People who exercise in the afternoon or evening, distractions come up. Whatever you do in the morning usually represents what’s most important——what’s first! So it’s psychological commitment. But second, all research shows that if you exercise in the morning, you get an elevated state of metabolism. And you get an endorphin high that lasts all day.

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