Love your shapestarting right nowwith this 5-week plan that gets you strong, toned and thinner than ever.
Shaun Chavis and Su Reid-St. John
September 04, 2014
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This is the moment to get real
Love your shapestarting right nowwith this five-week plan that gets you strong, toned and thoroughly thin (15 pounds down in just 5 weeks).
Whether you want to tone up after an indulgent vacation or finally drop that 10, 20, even 50 pounds, we've got the plan that will truly transform your body. We built this simple slim-down around the three key strategies that actually lead to weight loss.
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You’re spelling out your goals
Writing down the reasons you want to drop pounds gets you invested in the positive changes you're about to make. And reading that list whenever temptation hits is like a quickie intervention that keeps you strong.
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You’re burning maximum fat...
...and building calorie-blasting muscle. Workouts that combine cardio and strength burn more calories per minute than other methods, so we created a metabolism-boosting routine to get you fast results. Bonus: The more muscle you build, the more calories you’ll continue to torch throughout the day.
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You’re eating hunger-stopping foods
Plenty of diets starve you, leaving you hungry enough to eat your iPod—and what’s next? A calorie pile-on and a failed plan—not for a lack of willpower, but a lack of sustenance! Real success comes from eating the good-for-you foods proven to fill you up.
Put these secrets together, and you can shed pounds fast—and build the kind of muscle that helps you keep it off for good.
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Best body secret: Put it in writing!
Reminding yourself every day why you want to get slim keeps you focused and on track, says Judith S. Beck, PhD, psychologist and author of The Complete Beck Diet for Life. Jot down all your reasons (try to come up with at least 15 to 20), and keep your list handy – whether it’s on your smartphone notepad or an old-school sticky note on your fridge or in your handbag.
"People who write this down—and read it daily—are significantly more successful than those who don’t," she says. "Read your list every morning, because you never know what you day is going to be like, and pull it out at your most vulnerable moments, too."
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Best body secret: Burn fat and build muscle!
The most effective way to get rid of flab isn’t to spend countless hours on the treadmill. "Circuit trainingdoing both quick, intense cardio intervals and strength trainingblasts fat and calories faster than anything else you can do," reveals trainer and exercise physiologist Amy Dixon, who created this workout.
In fact, a new study confirms that circuits incinerate more calories per minute than other methodsand burning off excess fat is the key to getting slim. Plus, when you add strength, you create muscle that continuously burns fat and calories.
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Cardio: Side squat hop and reach
(Do this circuit 3 times, which should take about 40 minutes, to burn up to 450 calories. Do the workout 4 times per week).
Start standing with feet together and arms by your sides. Step your left foot out to the side, and come down into a low squat with feet slightly wider than hip-distance apart. Touch the floor with your right fingertips or hand, then press back up and step your left foot back in. Immediately repeat on the opposite side; continue alternating for 1 minute.
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Strength: Reach out and pull
Kneel in front of a stability ball, and place your elbows on the ball at 90-degree angles to come into a modified plank position with forearms on the ball, chest off the ball, and core braced; raise both feet off the floor. Extend your arms, rolling the ball away from you, then bend your elbows to pull the ball back in. That’s 1 rep; do 12–15 reps. (For more of a challenge, do the move in a full plank position with legs extended.)
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Cardio: Jump rope
Keeping your upper arms by your sides and feet close together, circle the rope, and jump as fast as you can for 1 minute.
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Strength: Punch and twist
Sit on a stability ball with knees bent and feet on the floor, holding an 8-to-10-pound dumbbell in your right hand. Roll down until only your head, neck, and shoulders are on the ball, with feet directly under your knees. Bend your right elbow to 90 degrees with your palm forward and elbow directly out to the side; at the same time, extend your left arm out to the side.
Pull your left arm in, twisting your torso to the left while pressing into the ball with your bent left elbow; at the same time, punch the weight up with your right arm. Return to previous position. Do 12–15 reps; switch sides and repeat.
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Cardio: X-Jack jump
Stand with feet together and arms down by your sides. Circle your arms in, up, and out while jumping your feet wide apart. Circle your arms back in and down as you jump your feet together. Repeat, but this time try to get into X position while you're in the air, landing with feet together and arms down. Continue alternating for 1 minute.
Strength: Diagonal row to single arm shoulder press
Stand tall with feet slightly wider than hip-distance apart, toes turned out, and knees slightly bent. Hold an 8-to-10-pound dumbbell in your right hand with arms by your sides. Bend both knees to 90 degrees, and pivot on your right foot so the right knee is facing the inside of the left leg; at the same time, hinge at the hips, twist through your core, and reach your right arm across your body toward your left ankle.
On the return, straighten both legs, and pivot your right foot back to original position while simultaneously bending your elbow to bring the weight up to your right shoulder, palm forward; extend your arm to press it up. Return to starting position; that’s 1 rep; do 12–15 reps, then switch sides and repeat.
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Cardio: Roll the ball shuffle
Stand with feet wider than hip-width apart and a stability ball in front of you; push your butt back to lower into a squat. With your left hand, push the ball so it rolls to the right; at the same time, shuffle sideways and "catch" the ball with your right hand. Quickly push the ball to the left, and shuffle back to the left to "catch" it. Continue alternating for 1 minute.
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Strength: Single leg stability ball roll and triceps extension
Stand with your left leg extended back and the top of your left foot on a stability ball, holding a 5-to-8-pound dumbbell in each hand. Keeping your upper arms close to your sides, bend your elbows to bring the weights to the sides of your chest.
Bending your right knee slightly, hinge forward at the waist to form a straight line from head to lifted toe; at the same time, extend your arms back. Return to starting position; that’s 1 rep. Do 12–15 reps, then switch sides and repeat.
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Cardio: Get down–Get up tuck
Lie facedown on a mat with hands alongside your chest, elbows bent and back. Engage your core and press your entire body up, jumping up to a standing crouch. Explode off the floor with both arms extended in front of you, palms down, bending your knees as you jump to try to touch your thighs to your palms.
Land softly, bring your hands to mat, and jump your feet back into plank position with elbows slightly bent and hands under shoulders. Slowly lower to starting position. Repeat sequence for 1 minute.
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Strength: Single leg curtsy curl side knee lift
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and turned out, an 8-to-10-pound dumbbell in each hand, and arms by your sides. Keeping hips forward, bend knees as you bring left foot back and behind body to right side of right foot with heel lifted, as if curtsying.
As you straighten legs, press into right heel and do a side knee raise with left leg; at the same time, turn palms forward and curl the weights up to shoulders. Return to A position; that’s 1 rep. Do 12–15 reps; switch sides and repeat.
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Cardio: Reverse lunge and reach with front kick
Stand with feet together. Step your right foot back, and bend your left knee to 90 degrees to come into a reverse lunge. Reach your right arm down, and touch the floor directly by the inside of your left leg.
Next, press up through your left foot, and bring your right foot through and into a front kick without touching it to the floor; at the same time, curl your fists up toward your chin in fighter position. Return to lunge position; repeat series for a total of 30 seconds, then switch sides and repeat for 30 more seconds.
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Strength: Double knee drive–pike plank
Come into the "up" part of push-up position with feet and lower legs resting on a stability ball, hands directly underneath shoulders. Engage your abs and use your core strength to roll the ball in toward your hips, knees bending and hips lifting. Lifting your hips even higher, straighten your legs to come into pike position; hold for 3 seconds. Bend your knees again, then return to starting position; that’s 1 rep. Do 12–15 reps.
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