There are lots of great reasons to get in shape. There’s the increase in energy, the boost to your self esteem, the fact that you’ll probably live past your 50s… need I say more? Exercise can pay off in just about every aspect of your life, but there is one goal that seems, above others, to drive us to get to the gym, pound the pavement or squeeze in that fitness class. It’s just natural. There’s no denying it. Who doesn’t want to be hot? Whether your idea of hot is a cherubic pear shape, a long-and-lean dancer’s build, or any of the myriad other ideals of hotness, exercise can get you there. Strength training is the key to that Hot Mama body, because it:
- Creates a toned appearance
- Burns calories during and after workouts
- Revs your metabolism so you burn more calories on a daily basis
- Strengthens the muscles and soft tissues so you can do more, more often
- Helps prevent injuries during sports, cardio activities & everyday work
- Builds a sense of empowerment and does wonders for self-esteem
Like most trainers, I have hundreds of exercises in my arsenal. Some provide spot-toning to work on a specific area or functional fitness to train for a specific activity, while others are good for everyone! The moves below are some that I use with virtually every female client, and they make regular appearances in our Belly Bootcamp classes for modern mommies. No equipment is required! To warm up, jog on the spot, run some stairs, head out for a brisk walk around the block or dance around the living room with your little ones. Perform one set of each exercise, in order, with as little rest as possible. Pause 1-2 minutes at the end of the circuit, then repeat. Complete 2-3 circuits in total. Finish with stretching to lengthen and relieve your tight muscles. Here are some of my go-to moves for building long, lean Hot Mama muscle: The caterpillar push up is a favourite at Belly Bootcamp classes! Begin standing with feet hip-width apart (or wider to make the push up portion easier). Bend forward, keeping legs as straight as possible, and crawl hands out until torso is completely extended, into plank position. Complete a push up. Crawl hands back to feet and return to standing position. Complete 8-15 reps, or continue to the point of fatigue. Begin standing with feet slightly wider than hip-width apart and toes and knees turned out. Cross hands on chest. Keep chest lifted and abdominal muscles contracted as you squat until thighs are parallel with floor. Maintain squatting position and contract calf muscles to lift heels off floor; hold for 3 counts. Keep heels lifted as you press up out of squat. Return heels to floor and repeat. Complete 8-20 reps or continue to the point of fatigue. Too easy? Hold each squat position for 5 or 10 counts. Stand on left leg, a few inches in front of a bench or chair, with right foot elevated behind you. Place hands on hips or out for balance and inhale as you bend left leg and lower body until left thigh is parallel to floor. Pause, then exhale as you press up, placing special emphasis on pressing through the heel of your left foot. Remain upright with good posture and keep left knee from pointing inward and/or extending past your left toes. Repeat 8-15 times on each leg. To increase the difficulty, hold dumbbells at sides. Start in “box” position with hands under shoulders and knees under hips. Extend right hand and left toes along floor until limbs are straight. Keep abdominal muscles contracted as you squeeze your bum and lift arm and leg off the floor. Pause, then pull right elbow and left knee as close together as possible in a diagonal “crunch.” Extend forward and back to repeat. Perform 8-12 repetitions per side.
Assume a pushup-style position with toes and forearms on floor. Suck your abdominal muscles in and up, being careful not to hunch your back. Ensure your torso does not sag toward the floor and keep your gaze downward and your head and neck relaxed. Hold for as long as possible, building up to a minute. Combined with a sensible diet, strength training can reveal that Hot Mama muscle. Aim to complete this workout 2-4 times per week, with at least one day in between each strength workout. Add at least 20-30 minutes of cardio – as intense as you can handle – at least 1-3 times per week. You may choose to do your cardio before or after your strength training, or on alternate days. This Hot Mama workout, if done quickly, will also give you a great cardiovascular challenge! Ready? Set… Go be hot!