Want to know the secrets to getting a toned, trim body in record time? We did too, so we went straight to the top personal trainers, exercise physiologists and fitness instructors for the ultimate moves and motivation tricks to kick a fitness routine into high gear. Put a few of these tips into action each week and you’re guaranteed to see faster results!
- Tone Up on the Treadmill
“Save time at the gym with this 10-minute cardio/sculpt session: Hop on a treadmill holding a three- to five-pound dumbbell in each hand, and set the speed to a brisk walk. Do a one-minute set each of shoulder presses, biceps curls, triceps extensions, side laterals, front laterals and standing triceps kickbacks one after another as you walk. It’s an amazing upper-body challenge that also gets your heart pumping. Do this series two or three times each week. As you improve, work up to doing four-minute sets.”
- Power Up Your Runs
“Adding wall sits to the end of every run will strengthen your quads, hamstrings and glutes, improving your speed and endurance. Lean against a wall with your feet shoulder-width apart, then squat until your knees are bent at 45 degrees. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds; work up to doing 10 sets. Add a challenge by including heel raises: Lift your left heel, then the right, then lift both together twice.”
—Mindy Solkin, owner and head coach of the Running Center, New York City
- Chart Your Progress
“Stay motivated using a fitness report card. Jot down these subjects: Cardio, Muscle Conditioning, Flexibility and Attitude. Set goals (for example, doing 10 “boy” push-ups) and grade yourself A through F at least four times a year. When you see how much you improve, you’ll want to stay in great shape.”
—Ken Alan, Los Angeles—based personal trainer
- Try This All-in-One Toner
“A side-step squat with wood chop works your arms, torso, abs, back, legs, inner thighs and butt. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart holding a three- to four-pound medicine ball in your hands. Bend your arms up so that the ball is at eye level over your right shoulder. As you bring the ball toward your left knee, step out with your left leg and bend it no further than 90 degrees, keeping your right leg straight. Return to the starting position. Do 10 to 15 reps and repeat on the other leg.”
—David Kirsch, trainer and author of The Ultimate New York Body Plan
Be sure to pick an activity you actually enjoy doing, suggests Los Angeles celebrity trainer Sebastien Lagree.
“If you hate weights, don’t go to the gym. You can lose weight and get in shape with any type of training or activity,” he says.
And choose something that is convenient. Rock climbing may be a great workout, but if you live in a city, it’s not something you’ll be doing every day.
- Watch the Clock
Your body clock, that is. Try to work out at the time you have the most energy, suggests Jason Theodosakis, MD, exercise physiologist at the University of Arizona College of Medicine. If you’re a morning person, schedule your fitness activities early in the day; if you perk up as the day goes along, plan your activities in the afternoon or evening.
“Working out while you have the most energy will yield the best results,” Theodosakis says.