No doubt you crave sexy curves. (Don’t we all?) But how do you get them? We asked more than 1,200 people what’s standing between them and their dream body. Noted. Here’s how to find more time, have more fun and look amazing.
45% sweat to drop pounds
Have a game day. Make them calorie-obliterating, all-out sessions, where you push yourself to the max, says Michael Olzinski, an exercise physiologist and fitness manager for Equinox in New York City. Run at a faster clip or try a bunch of truly breathless intervals. Aim for one or two a week, then use your other workouts as recovery or prep. Go for an easy run, take a toning class or try a quick routine at Self.com/fitness. Those “easy” days will give your body a breather and make you stronger so you’ll be able to push harder— and sizzle more—during challenging ones.
22% want to sculpt sexy muscles
Lift heavy. We’re talking 10-pounders or higher. “To look toned, you’ve got to build muscle density, and you can’t do that with wimpy weights,” says Lisa Feldermann, personal-training manager at Blink Fitness in NYC. You’re using the right size when your last two reps make you feel like letting out a Game of Thrones–like warrior cry. Not sure how big to go? Err on the side of tough girl. You can always switch, but you might shock yourself with your greatness.
19% move to stay healthy
Focus your focus. Ensure that you’ll be hitting the gym from today until forever (and banking the better-body benefits) by thinking about why exercise is a positive part of your life—it keeps you sane, it energizes you, whatever—researchers say. That’s instead of fixating on the physical payoff such as losing 10 pounds or looking hot in a clingy Hervé Léger. Valid objectives, sure, but the desire to achieve them can fade faster than a Brazilian blowout.
Hop on the Treadmill
Do intervals for 10 minutes: Jog 1 minute; sprint (for real) 1 minute; jog at a 2 to 5 percent incline (your tight tush will have these hills to thank!) for 1 minute; repeat 3 times. Finish with a 1-minute dash.
Race to the Elliptical
Next 10 minutes: Alternate 1 minute between resistance level 5 to 8 and 1 minute at level 10 to 15, maintaining pace. Concentrate on pulling and pushing the handles to tackle arm flab while you’re at it.
Find the Rower
Meet the unsung gym hero 99 percent of you aren’t using. For your final 10, set the resistance at 5 and row, switching grips as follows every 2 1/2 minutes to cut up your back: Hold handles, palms down, 2 inches apart; switch to a palms-up grip; slide hands to edges of handle, palms down; move them as close together as possible.
The Jennifer: Take a seat
Yogi Mandy Ingber put a twist on the Chair pose to help whittle her friend Jen Aniston’s waist. Stand with legs together, palms in prayer position. Bend knees until thighs are almost parallel to floor, as if sinking into a chair (Chair pose). Twist torso to right, placing left elbow outside right knee. Hold 5 counts. Return to Chair. Repeat on left side for 1 rep. Do 3 sets of 10 reps.
The Gwyneth: Belly buster
Lie faceup with hands behind head, feet flat on floor, knees squeezing a rolled-up hand towel. Crunch up and, with towel still in place, extend legs straight up. Lower back to start, keeping shoulders off floor in a crunch. Gwyneth Paltrow’s trainer, Tracy Anderson, is famous for lots of reps. Her mandate: 50! Eke out as many as you can muster.
The Beyonce: Tummy shrinker
Trainer Marco Borges calls this move a “plank magnified by 1,000.” Start in push-up position with a towel under toes on a hardwood floor or on gliding disks on a carpet. Engage abs as you lift hips and slide feet toward hands, keeping legs straight, so body forms an inverted V. Return to start. Do 5 sets of 25 reps. (Too Sasha Fierce? Try 3 sets of 20 to start.)
45% of you shake your booty in Zumba.
Shimmy smarter. “My grandma can Zumba, but if you dance like her, you’re not going to accomplish much!” Feldermann says. “Make all movements count. Jump high, really swing your arms, and shake it like you mean it.”
What’s new: Zumba Fitness Core, an Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii game that fuses jazz, Brazilian funk and African dance to “party your abs off.” (Preorder now; it’s out next month!) $50; GameStop.com
29% prefer fast-and-sweaty boot camps.
Get it right. “People think moving high-speed is better, but it’s not if your form is jacked,” says Robert Morales, owner of Krank Systems in Jersey City, New Jersey. Make sure yours is aces; ask your “drill sergeant” for cues.
What’s new: Core Camp at Life Time Fitness (LifetimeFitness.com). It’s the fat-punishing, nonstop drills you love, and it’s designed to declare war on pesky belly flab.
24% love riding at cycling studios.
Pedal like a pro. Don’t slack off during recovery and transition periods. Coasting can cost you more than 50 unburned calories per class!
What’s new: Cycle Clinic at David Barton Gym (DavidBartonGym.com). Learn the most efficient pedal stroke and body position for max power (and calorie) output.
Now that you’ve got all-new moves for your next gym session, download an all-new playlist to pump you up!