'Ripped' Fitness Star Jari Love by Christine Lynn Harvey

Jari Love is Canada's answer to America's Denise Austin. Love's new DVD, "Ripped" (55 minutes $19.95 VHS/DVD) takes fitness to a new level. Developed with the help of an exercise physiologist and physical therapist, the program is being used by all sorts of people from Olympians to cancer survivors. Love's 5-phase regimen promises to burn 500 calories per workout.

What makes Love's program different is that the exercises were chosen for their ability to burn the most carbs because it uses large muscles. Love's road to fitness, was kind of round-about. Love, with her five sisters, were in a singing group that opened for Bob Hope when they were very young. Being in the entertainment industry puts unreasonable demands on a person and so Love's mother, a natural health believer, had put the family on a non-processed, no "white" foods diet.

"She instilled in us we had to be thin to be famous, but over time, all of us became very underweight," Love says. "It got so bad someone reported my mother to a social worker, saying she was unfit because of how thin we were." A social worker came over, looked in the refrigerator and determined, that yes, her mother was feeding her family, but with mostly fruits and vegetables. "It's funny because it wasn't until after high school that I rebelled and ate everything in sight," says Love. "I ate chocolate bars, chips, french fries, gravy, you name it." Unfortunately, that behavior ended up putting 50 pounds on Love.

"I went from a size 4 to a size 12. I had become the talk of the party as to how much weight I put on so quickly." So at age 20, Love tried to overhaul her body with the quick-fix method from diet pills to fasting. Nothing worked until Love got a job as a receptionist at a gym. One day, the gym's aerobics instructor did not show up for class and Love was asked to fill in, not knowing anything about teaching a fitness class. Love wore shorts found in the lost and found and the nylons she was wearing and she did her best to wing it. "The class I taught was disastrous. People walked out. They said it was the worst class they ever took. But the exciting thing for me was I absolutely loved it. I loved teaching." After that, Love became certified and lost the excess weight. Twenty-one years later, she and her husband own fitness centers in Calgary Canada.

Love does 45 minutes of cardio a day, 5 days a week and teaches "Ripped" classes three days a week. "One of the reasons why I developed the DVD is because I was overtraining. I lost a lot of muscle tone and shape, I was getting abnormal cancer cell readings and I became run down. With the "Ripped" program, you develop muscle so you don't have to kill yourself doing cardio." Love gears her DVD to both men and women, but says it's most important for women to continue weight training as they age. "The typical 65 year old woman has 45% body fat, while the healthy range is 18-25%," says Love. "My program uses free weights, body bars and the body itself to build muscle. It is designed for anyone to do it."

Love says she gains weight by just looking at food and so she really watches what she puts in her body. Love's both parents, who were overweight, passed away when they were in their fifties. "The sad thing is, my mother promoted a healthy lifestyle, but she herself didn't follow it." Love eats 5 smaller meals throughout the day, lots of vegetables, chicken and fish and drinks plenty of water. "Portion control is also important. Eating too much in one sitting is also a bad thing. When you're in shape and you're eating right, you have a positive effect on your friends and family," Love says. Exercise also gives you energy and more mental focus as well.

Exercise has given Love so much she feels obligated to give back something to the Universe. "We all have a special gift. Help others and pay it forward. Too often, we focus on self-self-self. When you get your life together and you feel good about yourself, go out and help someone else feel good about themselves. We're a vessel, when you go to heaven, God will ask you what you did with your life." In her spare time, Love is involved in various children's charities.

For more info about Jari Love or her DVD, please visit www.rippedworkout.ca or call 1-866-800-8678. Photos courtesy of Kristian Bogner (www.extreme-media.net www.kristianbogner.com).