A decade doesn't seem to be an extensive amount of time, particularly to make incredible changes in one's life. Imagine in that span of time you would lose more than fifty pounds, and transform a flaccid body into a lean, toned sculptured physique. Imagine entering amateur bodybuilding competitions and placing in the top five each time you compete. You would become a New York Times best-selling author and impact upon the dietary habits of a worldwide following. Moreover, you would be featured on the cover of Oxygen magazine seven times and have a television program on the OWN network. If it sounds insurmountable, then you haven't talked to Tosca Reno, the real life owner and creator of all these accomplishments.
Tosca was born to Dutch immigrants in Lachine, Quebec in 1959. She was provided wholesome foods during her childhood, prepared by her mother. During her high school years, she played soccer and swam competitively. However, her athletic involvement and diet deteriorated while in college and during her career as a pharmaceutical representative. In her twenties, Tosca weighed over 200 pounds and this excess weight continued to haunt her during her thirties and forties. A self-described yo-yo dieter, Tosca tried most of the fad diets to lose weight including starvation diets. None of these eating plans were successful.
An epiphany and transformation occurred to Tosca in 2000. Robert Kennedy, founder of Musclemag, Oxygen and Clean Eating magazines, challenged her to enter an amateur bodybuilding competition in Las Vegas, Nevada. “I was shocked and blown away because I was open to change and opportunities,” Tosca said, explaining her rationale for accepting the challenge. During this time, Tosca knew a change in lifestyle was necessary. She describes her demeanour as follows, “The catalytic moment for me was when I no longer recognized myself in the mirror. I had become a fat blob living a life of no purpose. I couldn’t climb the stairs without puffing and panting. I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. There was something better for me and I had to find it.”
Nine months of intense resistance and aerobic training combined with the adoption of a clean diet miraculously transformed Tosca's body into that of a bodybuilder. This metamorphosis enabled her to place in the top five at an amateur bodybuilding competition held in Las Vegas, Nevada - her first event. Tosca could have taken her trophy, fabulous physique and newfound confidence back to Lachine, Quebec and reverted to her previous eating habits and sedentary lifestyle. Instead, she became hooked on the the regimen that led to her success and adopted a totally new approach to her overall health and well-being. When asked why she continued to stay fit then and now, her response is emphatic; “Results! Nothing I have ever done has delivered such powerful results. Who would want to give up something so rewarding? I worked out hard and achieved health and fitness I have never known before. This is a discipline I welcomed into my life.”
The die was cast for Tosca to dramatically change not only her life, but that of others. She wanted to share her nine-month quest. In conjunction with Robert Kennedy, she developed The Eat-Clean Diet® and authored the book The Eat-Clean Diet in 2006. Initially, the publisher tested the market by publishing only five thousand books. Within a short period of time, the books sold out and a New York Times best-selling author's career was launched. Tosca believes she struck a chord with the public because she kept her story real. She compares herself to The Little Engine That Could. She acknowledges being the person least likely to appear on the cover of a fitness magazine. Based upon book sales, her loyal followers have been inspired by her rags-to-riches health story.
The primary essence of The Eat-Clean Diet is to consume six small meals throughout the day comprised of nutrient-dense, minimally processed and well-prepared foods. Though the diet may encourage eating more and weighing less, the consumer should understand that what you eat is what you get. In other words, don't expect to eat French fries and gravy. Simple processed sugar and fat-laden carbohydrates will be replaced with complex carbohydrates and low-fat, protein-rich foods. In order to fully grasp the concept, one must read the many books that Tosca has authored. To date, she has written the following books on the subject:
- The Eat-Clean Diet
- The Eat-Clean Diet Recharged!
- The Eat-Clean Diet for Family & Kids
- The Eat-Clean Diet for Men
- The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook
- The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook 2
- The Eat-Clean Diet Workout
- The Eat-Clean Diet Workout Journal
- The Eat-Clean Diet Companion
- The Eat-Clean Diet Stripped
- The Butt Book
- Tosca Reno’s Eat Clean Cookbook
- JUST THE RULES: Tosca's Guide to Eating Right
- Your Best Body Now
Tosca practices what she preaches. Though she is committed to eating clean and supports the premise that diet is 80% of transforming the body and feeling healthy, exercise is also and integral part of her program. When asked to describe her exercise program she explains, “I train two days with one day of rest, train two days with one day of rest and so on. I usually train two or three body parts per workout making sure to train each body part with about three different exercises, doing four to six sets per exercise of 12 to 15 reps. I like to know I have worked out and look for that feeling of total exhaustion before I walk away. When I do cardio, I aim for three sessions per week if not more and mix it up between skipping, running, swimming or cycling.” She notes that cable kickbacks are her favorite exercise and credits them for keeping her glutes perky and uplifted.
Tosca will never entertain the notion that decrepit aging is a foregone conclusion to life after fifty. She relies upon the symbiotic relationship of diet, exercise and positive thinking to keep her ageless appearance and youthful exuberance. She shuns the misconception that a physician is responsible for others' health. Her philosophy is that you are responsible for making the key decisions that will lead to lifelong health and wellness. She states her position with vehemence: “I will never subscribe to this pathetic way of decline that we call aging. Most of us accept that we will be on numerous prescriptions, be unable to move around and generally fall into the abyss of old age.” She also believes that many subscribe to a negative misconception of aging due to ignorance and a belief that they do not deserve to be happy and healthy.
As so many ageless/timeless athletes, Tosca will not retire from eating clean and training hard. She knows the rewards have miraculously changed her entire life's perspective. “When the body is in good shape thanks to hard work that is invested in it, the rewards are good health, youth, clear mental capacity, the energy to live life fully, willingness to take on new challenges and to be fully present every day. There is no other way to live. In my fat and yo-yo days I would rather slip into a dark corner and hide. That was no life. I wasn’t living, I was just existing," Tosca said.
“You have to actively seek the highest level of wellness rather than accept what is. Ask yourself if the life you are living is of the quality you desire. How is your mental ability? Are you flexible? Could you step it up and become that seventy-something inspiration who still runs marathons or plays golf every day? Then find the information you need to go there and go fearlessly,” Tosca said, advising those seeking longevity.
Tosca is proud of her accomplishments. She is grounded and quick to tell of her greatest accomplishment, which is having children and making them a priority. She works hard to be a role model to her children and others each day.
In the future, you will likely see more books and articles written by Tosca, and perhaps an expansion to the United States of her television program, Tosca: Flexing at 49, currently on the Canadian OWN Network. And don't be surprised to see her in a boxing ring! She used boxing to get in shape for her first competition and has embraced pugilism as just another challenge. Whatever path she takes, Tosca will continue to inspire and motivate others to live life to the fullest.