Famous Figures: Shaping Up Hollywood Style
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By Mia Bolaris-Forget
Even with the latest “retaliation” or “too skinny” models, the media “frenzy” still “glamorizes” the “perfect” body. And, nobody better epitomizes than (most of) our Hollywood favorites.
But, although it remains true that, like most of us, they don’t spend endless hours sitting at a desk or eating the latest offerings off the coffee truck or local deli, some have come a long way baby. And, even without personal trainers, nutritionists and chefs, or endless hours in the day to devote to fitness, experts attest that we too can attain a fabulous physique. All it takes is a little commitment and a little determination.
1. Bulking Up: This is for those “lucky” few who are considered “slight” and would like to bulk up and fill-out a bit. Experts suggest switching to a less “stressful” workout. Instead of fat-burning moves try low-intensity exercises such as walking to work your heart but without burning too many calories. You may also want to add some strength-training to your routing so that you can build some muscle mass. They recommend about eight to 12 reps with heavier weights. And, you’ll want to boost your protein and healthy-fat intake via lean meats, fish, beans and avocados.
2. Post-Partum Perfection: Even if you’ve just gained the recommended 20 to 40 pounds during pregnancy, shedding any extra weight can be a “struggle”, but according to experts it “CAN” be done. Cardio is key, but refrain from any exercise that twists the pelvis (like kickboxing) for the first 12 weeks after delivery. They suggest fast-paced walking or jogging on the treadmill for about 30 minutes four times a week. And for targeting your tummy, they suggest doing the plank pose up to five-times each week.
3. Arresting Armpit Overhang: While men do like breasts they may not be partial to bra bulge. According to experts, the best way to get rid of this is by strengthening your back and improving your posture. And, they recommend doing the “prone cobra” up to four times a week. This entails: lying flat on the floor, chest down and arms by your sides. Then, without raising your hands lift your chest off the floor, holding for one minute, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Or, do two sets of 30-second lifts each. For best results do three sets.
4. Fabulous Abs: Beat belly bulge via “hanging leg raises” and reverse crunches, for lower abs that are absolutely ripped. Leg raises can be “easily” done on a hanging-leg machine available at most gyms. Lift yourself up on your forearms so that you’re weight is being supported by your upper body, and let your legs dangle. Now, lift your knees to your chest and gradually lower. Repeat 20 times. For reverse crunches, lie flat on your back lifting your knees to a 90-degree angle from the floor. Lift your butt and lower back up, pulling lower body in toward chest, then slowly lower. Do 20 reps.
5. Accentuate Your Upper Arms: Give arms a lift with light weights and lots of reps. Remember, when doing bicep and tricep curls and extensions, you’ll want to use no more than eight pound weights and do three set of 20 reps. Yoga and Pilates are also excellent ways to firm and tone arms, without adding bulk, so try a few exercises of each a few times each week.
6. Overall Overhaul: As one well-known professional pointed out, while you should never necessarily be “judged” (negatively) by your weight (as a bigger individual), you should be judged on the condition of your health based on your weight and by the risks you may be imposing on your body and may face. With that said, shaping up and slimming down means taking it slowly. Overweight individuals should select activities that are easy on the body and the joints such as yoga, Pilates, aqua aerobics, biking and the elliptical trainer. Kick it into “high” gear with a few personal training sessions and a customized strength-training program.
7. Waist Away: Whittling your middle calls for a nutritional overhaul in conjunction with a proper fitness routine, especially since many foods can result in bloating. With that said, experts suggest drinking plenty of water and avoiding junk food. They also suggest a workout that is focused on cardio, geared toward burning the layer of fat around your middle and toning your center, including sides and back. Keep in mind that focusing just on your abs can make you seem like you are slouching. Add Pilates and yoga for improved posture.
8. Bottoms Up: To reduce your backside and boost its appearance, you’ll need to take a “p-lunge”. In fact, while most suggest that spot reduction is basically an effort in futility, they do note, that lunges are your best bet for targeting and toning glutes, thighs, and hamstrings. They suggest standing feet together, holing five to eight-pound weights and lunging forward starting with your right foot. Hold briefly, then step back as you simultaneously do a bicep curl. Do 15 on each side for a total of 30.
9. Thigh Notes: One of the most difficult areas to trim, especially if you sit at a desk all day. Still the most effective activities to tone and trim thighs involve cardio. Think, jogging, running, biking, cross-country skiing, etc., you know, activities that target and work the legs and leg muscles. In fact, you should engage in such activities to the point of breaking a sweat, at least 30 minutes, for a minimum of four times per week. For added benefits, try some “spot-training” techniques. Stand with your feet together, arms dangling by your sides. Now step with your right leg to the side, into a side lunge (right leg should be bend while left leg should be straight, and torso facing forward. Hold for a few moments, then push yourself backup. Do two to three sets of 20 reps on each side.
10. Going The Last “Final” Mile: Diet, fitness, health and staying in shape are a life-long commitment. However, once well on your way to your goal, the best way to get to the “finish line”, especially when it comes to dropping those last 10 pounds is by circuit training. Experts suggest two minutes of intense cardio (like sprinting on the treadmill or walking quickly at a high incline), followed by a set of light-weight firming and toning moves (like bicep curls with two or three-pound weights). Now alternate for 30 minutes focusing on most of your major muscle groups. For more toning and sculpting, take a cardio-sculpt class.
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