Saturday, August 6, 2011

30 Days of Blogging: Look Better Naked!

"Naked. Does any word cut so close to the core of our deepest insecurities? Ok, so we aren't technically in the buff at the beach. But these tips and moves might help you flaunt your nearly nude figure with confidence!

To get a physique you'll be proud to flaunt, you must revamp your old fitness routine...

Rule #1: Keep Your Cardio Short and Sweaty

Say good-bye to marathon elliptical sessions! (Thank God!) Despite what you've been told, steady-state cardio is not the most effective way to shed fat. Researchers tracked women who did 45 minutes of steady-state aerobic exercise at 78% of their maximum heart rate five days a week. After 12 weeks, the women experienced no change in their body composition compared with women who didn't exercise or diet.

The secret to torching fat and sculpting muscle is quick bursts of intense exercise followed by brief periods of rest. Trainers call this kind of workout "metabolic circuit training," and the benefits are well documented. A study published by the International Journal of Obesity revealed that women who did up to 20 minutes of interval training just three days a week lost an average of five and a half pounds over 15 weeks. Meanwhile, the other group of women who participated in the study performed up to 40 minutes of steady-state aerobic exercise three days a week...and gained about a pound during the same time period.

Rule #2: Load Up on Iron

Enough with the excuses: With this plan, you will head to the weight room. The point behind strength training is to build lean body mass- that is, to strengthen your skeletal muscles. They're the ones that attach to your bones via tendons and that you use to suck in your stomach or carry heavy shopping bags to your car. (In other words, the ones you're most aware of as you go about your day.) Skeletal muscles make up 30-40% of your body mass, and their movements are largely voluntary, meaning you can control them.

And the more lean muscle you have, the more energy (calories) your body uses throughout the day. So, adding some weight training to your gym routine can help amp up your metabolism so you can burn more calories- and fat!- between sweat sessions.

I know what you're thinking, but don't worry: Strength training on a regular basis won't turn you into the Incredible Hulk. You can thank your biological makeup for that. Compared with men, women produce significantly less testosterone. It's why we gain strength and tone to our muscles, while they gain strength and bulk.

The weight room can be straight up intimidating. But I'm giving you a three week start up plan to ease you into the gym. When you see how dramatically your body transforms, you'll become a weight room regular.

Rule #3: Go Hard, Then Go Home

To get great results, you have to make exercise a consistent part of your life. But that doesn't mean it has to be your life. Instead of sweating away for hours at the gym (because let's be honest, who has time for that??) do a jump start plan. The workouts aren't long but they are powerful. On your weight-training days, follow the one-hour rule: Spend no more than one hour at the gym, from dropping your bag in the locker room to your post-workout stretch. Taking you longer? Monitor your rest periods more closely! People typically take longer breathers than they need. Sixty seconds is the longest break you should take during this workout. Then go home so you can show off your hard-earned hot body!

Jump-Start Plan
(As seen in Look Better Naked by Michele Promaulayko with Maura Rhodes)

Complete two sets of each pair.

1A. Prone Jackknife

Start in a pushup position, with your palms flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart, and your shins on a stability ball. Pull your knees toward your chest, keeping your back flat and core engaged. Straighten your legs to roll the ball back to start. That's one rep. Do 10-12.

1B. Stability-Ball Wood Chop

Position the ball next to a cable machine. Lie with your back on the ball, knees bent, and hold the handle with both hands. Keeping your arms straight, brace your core and pull the handle across your body until it's above your head. Slowly return to start. That's one rep. Do 10-12, then repeat on the other side.

2A. Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift

Stand with feet hip-width apart, right foot raised about an inch off the floor, right arm extended in front of you. Bending forward from your hips, raise your right leg behind you, keeping your back flat and right leg straight, until your body forms a T and your right arm hangs straight down from your shoulder. Return to start. Do 10-12, then repeat with the left leg.

2B. Standing Alternating Overhead Press

Grab a dumbbell in each hand and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent. Hold the dumbbells just above your shoulders, palms facing forward. Press the right dumbbell up until your arm is straight overhead. Slowly lower back to start, then raise the left dumbbell. Continue alternating arms until you've done 10-12 reps on each side.

3A. Lunge with Front Foot Elevated

Stand with feet hip-width apart, two to three feet  behind a step, then place your right foot on the step. Slowly lower into a lunge, keeping your right knee over your toes. Drive through your right heel and straighten back to start. Do 10-12, then repeat with the left leg.

3B. Three-Point Dumbbell Row

Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell in your right hand, palm facing your body. Bend forward at the hips, keeping your back flat, and place your left hand on the bench, then dumbbell hanging straight down from your shoulder. Slowly bend your elbow and pull the dumbbell up toward from your waist. Pause, then lower the dumbbell back to the starting position. Do 10-12, then repeat with the left arm.

4A. Stability-Ball Leg Curl

Lie on the floor with your calves on top of a stability ball, arms to the sides, palms facing up. Squeeze your glutes and raise your hips until your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your feet. Bend your knees to roll the ball toward you, straighten your legs to roll it back, then lower to the starting position. Do 10-12.

4B. Wide-Grip Pulldown

Stand facing a lat pulldown machine and grab the bar with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, palms facing forward. Keeping your arms extended and back straight, sit on a bench with your feet flat on the floor. Pull the bar toward your chest, keeping your elbows under the bar. Then slowly return to start. Do 10-12."

Another great Women's Health workout!

What is one thing you love about your body??

So, make sure you get that confidence to want to show off your body! Look better naked for you! I hope you feel comfortable soon in your own skin...and on your own two feet...

Until the next step bloggers...

1 comment:

  1. Great post today :-) I, too, have read the Look Better Naked articles from womans health magazine. some of these workout look so simple but they are very challenging when you actually go to do it- the one that always gets me is the single-leg romanian deadlift!
    one thing i love about my body? I have some pretty banging arms. lol not exactly the spot every girl tones first, huh?