It's well-known that there is a fountain of youth: exercise. Sure, you can always frost the cake with injections, extractions, and full-on plastic surgery, but the key is to build on a solid foundation. While there's always some fun workout du jour to try, the best results come simply from focusing consistently on what works. "Through tried-and-true methods, it is possible to reach your fitness goals without jumping on the bandwagon," notes celeb trainer and kick boxer Jeff Halevy, a certified National Association of Sports Medicine (NASM) trainer and life coach who specializes in motivational, non-trendy workouts that concentrate on strength and endurance. "I teach my clients to chase performance numbers, not numbers on a scale." (Happily, for the aesthetically-obsessed, the main side effect of his tried-and-true approach is a hot bod.) And if hiring a personal trainer is too much of a financial stretch right now, then lace up your shoes and DIY because Jeff has this effective workout to get you back in fighting shape at home:
(If you're unsure about some of the exercises, it might be worthwhile to hire a trainer for one or two sessions to make sure your form is correct and that you're using the right weights. But in the long run, all it will really cost you is hard work and commitment...and remember: never underestimate the power of your intentions.)
Forget long boring sessions on the treadmill! Jeff focuses on intense sprints - which are proven to ramp up endurance, increase cardiovascular health, and burn tons of calories.
1. Warm-up: 10 minutes walking on treadmill.
2. Hill Sprints: change the incline to 3 and do 6–12 rounds of sprints. Each sprint should be at close to your maximum speed for 40 seconds. Follow with a 20 second mini rest. (To stay in your most effective zone, try wearing a heart rate monitor watch.)
3. Cool Down: 3-5 minutes easy walking.
You already knew this, but provided you're not dabbling in steroids for whatever reason, lifting weights won't bulk you up like a bodybuilder. The fact is, the more muscle you build in large areas (like legs), the more calories you burn when you're not working out. Instead of heavy weights, Jeff advocates moderately-heavy lifting because it's the quickest route to muscle growth & strength, which translates to gorgeously toned legs, arms, and abs.
1. Leg Workout: Back Squats
4 sets of 8 reps using a weight that's just shy of failure.
Between each of the four sets, take a strict 1 minute rest.
2. Abs Abdominal Circuit:
30 leg raises
30 full-range sit-ups
30 upper abdominal crunches
Holding dumbbells for both exercises, repeat superset twice
Split Squat: 15 reps/leg, followed by :30 rest
Step-Ups: 15 reps/leg, followed by 2:00 rest
4. Abdominal Circuit:
30 full-range sit-ups
15 reverse crunches
5. Arm Workout:
If you don't intend to be a bodybuilder, then work your arms at the same time as you work other large muscles - a combination known as a compound movement. The result is overall toning and weight loss, with a residual benefit of killer arms.
Triceps Pushdowns + Dips Superset: 3-4 super sets
Triceps pushdown: 8-12 reps at a weight just shy of failure, no rest
Dips: At least 6, but as many as possible, followed by 2 minutes rest
Dumbbell French Press + Neutral Grip Dumbbell Chest Press
French press: 8-12 reps at a weight just shy of failure, no rest
Chest press: At least 12 reps, attempting to improve to 20
Preacher Curl + Hammer Curl Superset
Preacher curls: 8-12 reps, no rest
Hammer curls: 8-12 reps, followed by 2 minutes rest
...& FOR DAYS WHEN THE GYM AIN'T HAPPENING:
Keep a pilates or yoga mat and an assortment of dumbells on hand & pop in a DVD from The FIRM TransFIRMer System. The TransFIRMer is a cool 5-in-1 dual step that can be used either at a 6" or 8" height for cardio, inclined for both cardio & strength training, placed side by side, or stacked together to create a 14" platform for The Firm's signature weighted leg-press that we know from experience is completely killer...and actually works. (If you're looking to add some variety to your TransFIRMer workout, we've had no problem substituting in any of the slightly older DVDs designed to go with The Firm Body Sculpting System: Complete Body Sculpting, Total Muscle Shaping & Fat Blasting Cardio.)
For an ass-whuppin' of a different sort, try Cathe Friedrich's imax 2 step-cardio with weights or her Hardcore Kickmax cardio-kickbox DVD...for which we defy you to finish the high intensity cardio portion.
- Lesley Scott
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