Legs, Bums and Tums.
When I was the Fitness Director on the Crystal Serenity cruise ship a couple of years ago this was actually one of my most popular classes…with the women anyway! Unfortunately these are those areas which attract those pesky fat cells, and of course cellulite – as mentioned in my last blog…but don’t worry, there is advice and exercises to hand!
It was recently revealed in a UK survey that the most envied legs (on a female) were those of Elle MacPherson, also known as “The Body” and she won by getting a massive 39% of the vote, well ahead of Tyra Banks, who came in second with a lowly 9%!
Now I’m sure many of you would be thinking how easy it would be to look like her when you have a virtual army of stylists behind you, cooking, cleaning, shopping, training & organising everything for you – this must cost her a fortune (though she is rumoured to be worth approx. $60 million) and true, most of us don’t have that sort of cash to help us along our way. The other thing Elle has in her favour, is that she obviously has amazing genes – these would certainly go along way to allowing her to look the way she does, that long and fabulous full length hair as well as those legs are not easy to come by after all!
However, this does NOT mean that looking the way she does not require dedication and planning – it does, and YOU can do it too – I can’t guarantee you will look exactly like her, but you can follow the same fitness regime Elle does, and get results. Elle credits her trainer James Duigan to helping her achieve and maintain her amazing body – the good news is that her regime is really not hard to follow, and just takes some common sense. There are some basic rules to follow, much like I have mentioned in my recent blogs
Diet: – You need to cut the C.R.A.P- thats
Refined Sugar.. we all know this, you simply HAVE to cut out as much sugar as possible, especially processed and DO NOT replace with the chemical laden sweeteners (eg equal or aspartame)
Alcohol.. I’m not saying totally, we all know the odd glass of red does have benefits, but again try to limit your intake
Processed foods.. this includes things like white bread, pasta, rice, make an effort to read the nutritional panel on the back of all food packets, to check what is or is not a healthy option.
Elle’s theory is that to maintain your weight & health you need to DETOX, by removing toxins from your body, it will work more in harmony, cellulite will be reduced along with the fat cells. By adapting the above into your diet regime you are effectively detoxing, however you can also take numerous supplements / teas to assist here (her trainer states that she takes fish oil daily and protein shakes as a snack). Your body has more than likely had years of having to cope with many chemicals, from your food, from water, from skin products and of course the environment – it often takes a while for your body to adjust to a new diet, especially a detox one, so be patient and persevere even if your tummy gets upset (try taking some pro-biotics to help with your gut flora if you have problems).
So – back to Legs, Bums and Tums! ..how the elle does she do it?
Working the leg muscles (primarily calfs, quads, hamstrings – the largest muscle group in the body) is beneficial for the whole body, there are many exercises you can do, and as usual my advice is to build up an arsenal and be able to mix it up . Again here many can be done with just your body weight and at home – so no excuse. Here’s some to ponder….
Hip Extension / Bridge – great to get those glutes burning and toning. Lying flat on the floor, feet grounded & drawn up to the butt, slowly raise the hips upwards, then hold and release – slowly, repeat 10 times. Also works the hammy’s!
Lunge with rotation – starting from an upright position, step forward with 1 leg, lowering the back leg (knee) almost to the floor (making sure the front knee does not go over the ankle) – with arms facing out & held rotate to one side, repeat on the other side, x10 each side. SLOW and controlled. If new to this only go down as far as you feel comfortable. Always maintain form.
Side Lunge – this will target the inside leg muscles as well as the above, to make it more effective you can also perform an upright row (pulling the hands up toward the mid-chest area) to work shoulders & trapezius (upper back muscles), x10 each leg, no rest inbetween
Sumo squat - this will also work the inner leg muscles as well as being really effective for powering the butt. Stand with feet past shoulder width, toes out at 45 degrees, bend slowly at the knees, sticking the butt out behind you while maintaining a strong core so you do not curve/bend it forward here, keep it straight, try for 15 reps.
Step-Ups – for this you would need to use regular steps or a reebok step type piece of apparatus. This movement will work the whole leg and your core. And its easy! – simply lead with 1 leg stepping up onto the step then down, and keep repeating, alternating the leading leg each time. To progress just use bigger steps and go for a longer time, start with 1 minute and work your way up, also holding a set of dumbbells will increase the resistance and make the move more effective, with speedier results!
Abs - see my video here for a full workout, but a great compound ab exercise is the crunch with leg extension. Lie flat, with 1 leg just off the floor, as you start to raise your shoulders away fro the floor, draw your knee up toward the opposite elbow, return and repeat. This works upper abs, obliques plus the leg muscles. Feel the burn by doing at least 10 each side
This workout should only take 20 minutes to half an hour max. Add it into your cardio routine and alternate it with more upper body resistance exercises. Plus of course your yoga and Pilates will only add to your flexibility, mobility, balance & core strength.
Why not challenge yourself to one Elle of a makeover. Allow one month of really changing & improving your diet, stick to your Detox, be consistent with your exercise – USE IsoWhey here, either as a well balanced meal replacement or as your snack or protein source after your exercise.
You may still not be ‘TheBody’ – but you’ll be a lot better off with the one you’ve now got!