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Top 10 Tips from Univision's Weight-Loss Reality Show Dale Con Ganas

Consider these experts your Spanish-speaking Bob, Jillian and company! The creator of The Biggest Loser have launched Dale Con Ganas (Give It Your All), which premieres on Univision on January 11.

Trainer Maria Simon teaches her contestants gym-free ways to get fit. (Photo courtesy of Univision.com)

We asked the show's nutritionist and three trainers to pass along their top 10 tips to help their contestants—and you!—lose weight in 2012.

Your dream team:

  • Monica Montes, nutritionist
  • Marcelo Crudele, trainer
  • Maria Simon, trainer
  • Oscar Luna, trainer

1. Take notes. "The most important first diet step is to write everything down," Montes says. Each time you eat, track the time, food groups included, portion sizes and calories. "Contestants used food journals to adjust their meal schedules and food choices and learned how to measure proper portions throughout the show," she adds.

2. Go easy on the joints. Sure, jumping moves like plyometrics burn major calories, but they aren't the best choice for fitness newbies. "Try interval drills on the elliptical or in the pool, alternating challenging bursts and recovery periods to allow for increased heart rate with minimal impact on the joints," Simon says.

3. Eat like a pro. "We enjoy meals and snacks more when they are colorful and full of flavor," Montes says. Try this sample meal plan that contestants prepare on the show.

  • Breakfast: Six egg white veggie omelet (spinach, tomato, onion, zucchini, red bell pepper, mushrooms), fresh salsa, high-fiber whole grain tortilla, orange
  • Snack: Greek yogurt with blueberries
  • Lunch: Grilled salmon with black pepper and lemon, black bean soup and salad (made with spinach, basil, radish, broccoli, bell peppers, green onions with lemon, olive oil, black pepper and sea salt)
  • Snack: Hummus with carrots and celery
  • Dinner: Chicken soup (including chicken, corn, zucchini, onion, tomato, cilantro) with one or two corn tortillas
  • Snack: Jicama, mango and cucumber salad

4. Focus. One motto that the contestants live by: "Train your mind to train your body." The mental work comes first, then the physical, which is why the trainers love getting in the ring.  "Boxing is a sport that requires full concentration," says trainer Crudele, who is also a licensed boxing and kickboxing instructor. "It's fun and improves both your mental and physical conditioning."

5.  Fit it in your life. Unlike on Loser, show participants "remain in their real life environments, including keeping their jobs and family responsibilities—as well as all the stress and temptations that come with these dynamics," Simon says. Don't radically overhaul your routine when trying to lose weight because this will likely be unsustainable. Find ways to revamp your current lifestyle to make it more wellness-focused (for example, switching to low-fat milk in your coffee rather than cream).

For five more pointers from the reality show's experts, keep reading.

Schedule in breakfast! (Photo by Laura Doss)

6. Avoid these diet "don'ts." Montes noticed seven common problems among the contestants before they stepped foot on camera. Steer clear of these seven weight-gain culprits:

  1. Skipping meals, especially breakfast
  2. Confusing boredom, stress and anxiety with being hungry
  3. Thinking you can easily burn off the calories you consume
  4. Including too few fruits and vegetables in meals and snacks
  5. Consuming supersized portions (most contestants were eating two to three times more than recommended for their size)
  6. Drinking too many calories—and not sipping enough water
  7. Eating too much high-fat animal protein and not enough vegetable or lean animal protein (fish, chicken or turkey)

7. And break these bad fitness habits. Gym etiquette isn't part of your DNA, so those new to the scene learn from others or as they go. Here are three common errors Luna spotted in his contestants, and aimed to fix stat:

  1. Feeling intimidated by the weights, machines, mirrors and physical shape of others
  2. Doing exercises too quickly and failing to maintain proper posture
  3. Bringing personal problems and excuses, rather than energy, into the gym

8. See success. "If we're doing boxing drills, I'll blast 'Eye of the Tiger' on the stereo and describe a climactic scene about the last few minutes in the ring," Simon says. Visualize yourself succeeding and surpassing challenges.

9. Turn it up with intervals. New to running? A treadmill can help you learn how to pace yourself and find the right speed for your body. Luna suggests amping it up to high-intensity intervals after you get comfortable on the machine. Try one of these two routines:

  • RUN 40 seconds, WALK 40 seconds; repeat for 15 minutes
  • RUN 5 minutes, WALK 90 seconds; repeat for 20 minutes

10. Step outside. Clear your mind and avoid distractions like TV, mirrors or too-loud music by taking your workout outdoors. "It makes physical activity more fun," Luna says. "Hiking and break bootcamp workouts with medicine balls are my favorites since they really boost your endurance."

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