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Los Angeles-based personal trainer Natasha Kufa has worked with some of Hollywood’s biggest names, including Matthew McConaughey and the Black Eyed Peas’ Fergie. Now she’s sharing her coveted fitness and nutrition knowledge with the public via The 10% Rule: Small Changes Big Results. We recently caught up with Kufa to get a sneak peek inside the new book.

So what exactly is the 10% Rule?
The 10% Rule is an expression used specifically in running. When training for a marathon, for example, you add 10% at the end of the week to gradually work up to running longer distances. I would use this for everything, whether it was for meal plans I created or training. I would have clients come to me and say, “I want to lose 20 pounds yesterday — like immediately.” Most of them had already tried all the diets and strategies you can think of without great results. And I would always use the 10% Rule with them for their weight loss, showing them how to make changes. And I would even use it with elite athletes, not just regular people. The 10% Rule can apply to anyone and literally anything that they do. It’s an expression that’s supposed to help people not try to change everything at once. It’s about changing things a little bit at a time over the long term to avoid burning out after two months and throwing in the towel because you were trying to do everything at once.

What are some examples of how you use the 10% Rule with your clients?
If I’m working with a professional athlete, I would apply the rule by taking wherever he is at the time and adding 10 percent to his level at that time and then take it from there. For someone who is just starting off, I would start with, say, a half-mile run and then increase the distance the next week and so on, as the 10 percent gets you closer and closer to your goal. This way, it’s not such a scary thing to people. When you try and change everything all at once, it really scares people off. But if you make small changes and set small goals, those goals are much, much more reachable.

Do you apply the rule a lot to nutrition because diet is so numbers oriented with calories and grams?
The 10% Rule in terms of food means that I start cutting out things or adding things really slowly. So I don’t say that tomorrow you’re going to start eating everything different, from breakfast, lunch and dinner to snacks. I don’t want that. I want people to be able to make a change long term and stick to a healthier way of eating. So when working with a client, I’ll add or take away one or two items at a time.

Purchase The 10% Rule at NatashaKufa.com or Amazon.com.