Brazil Butt Lift
Baby Got Brazil, Part II
Q&A with Leandro Carvalho
In Part II of the series, Beachbody® Director of Results Steve Edwards sat down with the creator of Brazil Butt Lift—Leandro Carvalho—to talk history, the myth, the name, and training. Here’s what the “Brazilian Butt Master” had to say about the latest Beachbody health and fitness program.
Q: How did you get into fitness instruction?
A: At first, I was teaching jazz and tap dance. As I learned more, I moved into aerobics. While I was working on my master’s degree (in Recreation), I started to teach children. Some of these kids’ parents worked for Petrobras, a large oil company. Word got out and they (Petrobras) hired me to create fitness programs for their employees. Petrobras is physically enormous, and they have these giant campuses. There, I opened 10 gyms and not only taught their employees, but trained both the police and the firefighters. [Petrobras employs its own police and fire departments.]
Q: When did you realize your first big break?
A: This (Peterobras) job paid very well, so I was pretty set up in Brazil. Then, I got an offer to come to New York and dance with Merce Cunningham. This, more than anything, was my dream! So, I saved as much money as I could for a year and moved to New York—not knowing one word of English.
Q: First impressions?
A: When I landed in New York, I spoke almost no English, and I didn’t know a soul. After wandering around the docks like someone in an immigration movie, I finally found an old lady who brought me to the school where I was going to dance. That’s how it started for me in the States.
From the time I arrived in New York, my life has been filled with angels—both literally and figuratively.
Q: How did you get over the initial shock of being in a new country?
A: After eight months in America, I was accepted to a new program in recreation therapy at New York University (NYU). Since I had the money to pay for their fledgling program, they happily accepted me, even though I had very bad English.
NYU let me work 20 hours at the gym, so I could maintain my student visa. To log my hours, I would teach any class you can imagine. Step (aerobics), water (aerobics), Latin dance, rollerblading, kayaking in the Hudson River—anything they could think of. I also began teaching for the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT). All the work allowed me to get a green card.
Q: When did you start training celebrities?
A: Things seemed to be going my way, so I decided not to go back to Brazil. I applied to every gym in New York, and, right then, the “Latin explosion” hit. I was really getting lucky! So, I started teaching a class called Brazilian Groove, and, pretty soon, all the gyms wanted to hire me. That’s when Equinox [one of New York’s leading gyms] paid me to stop teaching elsewhere, and I met Allesandra [see Part I of this interview]. Things have since been getting busier and busier!
Now, by word of mouth, I’m training all sorts of actors and models (Blake Lively, Gabriel Garcia Bernal, and 26 supermodels), doing my classes, and still keeping my old clients. I do like to go back to Brazil whenever I can.
Q: What’s the “secret” science behind Brazil Butt Lift?
Gyms are very popular in Brazil, but they are very different from the gyms in America. The big Brazilian secret is ankle weights. In Brazil, no ankle weights means no gym. Here, it’s hard to find them at all. In January, I’ll finally start teaching ankle weight classes. There’s still a big resistance, but it’s changing as more Americans want to look like Brazilians.
In Brazil Butt Lift, we use some Brazilian diet techniques, too. Things like lemon and ginger. We use lemon to neutralize acids. Acids create a layer around the fat cells, so they won’t shrink. Fat cells don’t disappear; they shrink. Lemon is alkaline. Having shots of straight lemon, or even lemon in water, helps to neutralize the acids around the cells so they can shrink like they should. And ginger is a natural antibiotic. People who are resistant to weight loss tend to have too much inflammation. So when we start a diet program, two cups a day of ginger tea is a must!
Q: How is Brazil Butt Lift going to change the way we work out?
A: It’s busy! In Brazil, everybody dances. We dance all the time in celebration of everything. All week long, we dance—not just on special occasions, but for any occasion. With Brazil Butt Lift, you get a true glimpse and feel for Brazilian culture.
Everybody wants to be sexy, and, in Brazil, it’s just part of the culture. Bikinis on the beach—it’s all just part of who we are as people, and what we always have been. It goes with the dancing, the vibes, and the whole lifestyle. It’s all about being sexy, and that’s what America wants.
Did you miss part 1 of the Leandro Carvalho Brazil Butt Lift interview.