Quick Weight Loss Exercises; Sculpting Sexy Legs: Ask The Trainer

Time for a new workout? Our trainers have tips!

We've got some very cool stuff in this next edition of "Ask the Personal Trainer."

For one, we have a new panelist, Adria Ali! And Dave put together a couple of great custom videos explaining exactly how to do the quick but challenging workouts he talks about. And as usual, Taylor delivers sound advice you can relate to.

You may notice some common themes among the responses, which is heartening, don't you think? I personally hate it when experts come to opposite conclusions and you have no idea what in hell you're supposed to do next. But the specifics from wise panelists Taylor, Dave and Adria are divergent enough to give you lots of choices.

Join us for some tips on Sexy Legs and Faster Weight Loss. And please feel free to ask a question of your own for future "Ask the Trainer" posts. (And if you already have and it hasn't been answered? Please remind me, as I'm not the most organized crab in the world!)

First question:

Do you have any personal trainer "secrets" to speed up weight loss using exercise? Or is it just common sense?

Adria Ali

[Adria is a personal trainer with 3 certifications and a Bachelors of Science in Kinesology. She's been training full time for over 12 years and running Fit Tip Daily.com for the last 5 years.

(And if you are in need Exercise Stuff, the blog Fit Tip Daily now has its own  Fit Tip Store!)]

RAMP IT UP - Add A Power Move After Every Set.

You can turn any boring routine into a calorie burning furnace by adding power moves after every set of ANY exercise. "What's a power move?" Power moves are defined by explosive actions. This could be a sprint, jumping in place, jumping on a box, burpees, Medicine ball tosses (against a wall or to a partner), medicine ball slams (thrown ball against the floor) Jumping squats, jumping lunges etc.

These moves will spike your heart rate and take advantage of "muscle confusion."

Taylor Ryan:

 [Taylor Ryan is a certified personal trainer and nutrition consultant; check out her personal blog Lifting Revolution for tips, recipes, workouts and more!]

Secrets to lose weight faster with exercise?

I don’t so much have secrets, but I do have some tips that I will freely share to help your workouts be much more efficient.

First off, give up on the 60 minute cardio sessions. While walking or jogging on a treadmill for the length of an entire movie is a great form of cardio, there is a much better option. Intervals. Intervals combine low intensity exercise with short burst of extremely high intensity to help deliver a huge fat burning “pow” to your system.

In fact, over the course of 2 weeks... 2 hours of intervals burn the equivalent number of calories as 10 hours of steady state cardio. I don’t know about you, but 2 hours seems a lot more inviting.

And because intervals are intense, they only take 20-30 minutes. What should you do? Start off easy for a few minutes, then sprint as fast as you can for 20-30 seconds. Slow it down for 1-2 minutes and repeat until your time is up.

Next, double up. While cardio is important, it’s not the only form of exercise to drop pounds and reshape your body. Strength training is essential to helping tone muscles and increase your metabolism. Studies show that workouts that include both forms of exercise burn more calories during and after the workout and help you to shed pounds faster.

Start with a 30 minute full body strength session, including moves such as lunges, squats, push-ups, burpees, etc. And then finish with a 20-30 minute cardio session. If you don’t have time for both workouts, that’s okay. Alternate days between them. Just make sure to have a workout plan that involves both cardio and strength. Not only will you lose fat faster, but you’ll reshape your body faster.

And finally, if you can workout in the morning. This has been a long debated issue but we can’t deny research. Working out first thing in the morning will help you drop pounds by waking up your metabolism and tapping into your fat stores, but also because it starts the day off in a positive way. You will be more likely to make smarter food choices, have less cravings and more energy.

But if you can’t workout in the morning, no big deal. Workout when it works best for you, but try to stick to the same schedule.

Dave Smith:

[Dave Smith is a personal trainer who specializes in quick and effective body weight exercise routines that can be done anywhere, anytime - Check him out at MakeYourBodyWork.com]

Well I'm not sure if this classifies as a "secret" recipe for weight loss but it definitely does work. Here's a 4-step plan that I recommend to anyone looking to shed some unwanted pounds:

1. Aim for less exercise. I know this sounds strange coming from a personal trainer but it's true. Research shows that short, intense workouts offer the best results. Keeping workouts short also increases the likelihood of staying consistent with an exercise program. While a 90-minute trip to the gym is quite daunting, a 30-minute workout circuit is almost always doable (and therefore tends to get done!) I aim for a 20-35 minute workout and always give 100% during that short timeframe.

2. Choose "big bang" exercises. All exercises are certainly NOT created equal. Some, I refer to as "big bag" exercises, engage many muscles in one movement and therefore torch fat way faster than other choices. Watch this video to see how you can easily put together a circuit of these high-reward exercises.

3. Make it social. Research shows that social support gained through vocalizing health and fitness goals increases the likelihood of those goals being achieved. Try to make a few goals public with friends, family, or anyone else who will listen, and then get it done. And posting specific goals on social media outlets enlists hundreds, if not thousands, of instant accountability partners!

4. Emphasize diet over exercise. I once watched an interesting demonstration in which 2 guys were pitted against each other. One ran on a treadmill as fast as he could for 2 minutes while his counterpart ate as much pizza as he could in 2 minutes. The result? The exerciser burned under 30 calories while the pizza packed on over 800 calories!

There really is no exercise secret that can overcome a poor diet. Calculate your metabolic rate and then build a diet that keeps you close to this daily number. Only then will the results from your hard work in the gym really start to pay off!

OK trainers, next question!

Let's say you want to sculpt your legs, and your goal is less about "functional fitness" and more about looking hot. What exercise routine could help you get legs that look defined and muscular without looking really big and wide?


There are lots of exercise to sculpt legs! First off, to sculpt anything, you have to burn off fat that covers the muscle. You can have the best muscle tone ever but if it’s hiding underneath a layer of fat, no one will ever know.

So follow the rules above for burning fat.

For toning the legs, work them every other day (never work the same muscles back to back days).

Because legs are made of large muscles, I prefer to incorporate both high and low reps to really hit them at all angles.

If you’re not eating a high calorie diet that would support muscle growth, they won’t get big. Just lean and toned.

Here are a few of my favorite exercises:

Lunge walks, with dumbbells. Complete 15-20 reps.
Split squats. Complete 8-10 reps/leg. These are the ultimate hamstring and butt toning exercise. One leg is on the ground, the other is placed on a bench or chair behind you. Make sure that as you bend your grounded leg, your knee is able to stay over your ankle. The first few sets, you might have to adjust your positioning. Lower down until the thigh is parallel to the ground and push back up to start position.

Squat jumps. Plyometric exercises (jumping) is amazing for toning the legs and giving a cardio workout at the same time. Simply squat down, keeping feet flat on the ground, and explode up, jumping as high as possible. Land softly and repeat for a total of 10-12 reps.

Calf raises. Since we are not going for functional, but for looks... add these in to your workout. You’ll get a great symmetry of your legs by working the thighs, butt and now the calves. Start with your toes on a step, heels off and push through the balls of your feet to rise up as high as possible. Lower back down and repeat for 25 reps total.

Add these moves into your workout and you will see awesome results. Follow the rep suggestion, do each move back to back and repeat this circuit for a total of 3 rounds.


One prerequisite for achieving a "hot body" is a well-rounded workout routine. Watch how people in the gym are exercising and you'll notice a pattern: Almost everyone focuses on the muscles they most easily see in the mirror. People want sculpted abs, shapely thighs, and sexy arms, but they often forget about the muscles on their back side (and those muscles factor into a "hot body" every bit as much as the ones on the front!)

For anyone looking to create nice-looking legs I would challenge them to think about performing exercises that target their posterior muscles (i.e. hamstrings, calves, and glutes) instead of doing the basic diet of squats and lunges that place more emphasis on the quadriceps. An awesome choice for an advanced exerciser would be the Romanian Deadlift. For anyone looking for some choices that don't require weights, check out this video that demonstrates two leg-sculpting exercises that that emphasize those often-overlooked posterior leg muscles.


First and foremost, muscle can't grow without calories. So, if you keep your calories controlled while working out, you will begin to see the felt melt away to reveal the muscle underneath. I personally had to learn this the hard way.

If you want to add an extra spike to your leg routine do CARDIO BLASTS after each set.

A cardio blast is anything that gets your heart rate back up. The combination of the cardio blast and the weight training mixed together guarantees that your heart rate mimics that of a full on cardio routine with the added bonus of resistance.

The cardio blast could be jumping rope, jogging in place, running on the treadmill, or jogging around a track. Anything that gets your heart rate back up.

Thanks Trainers!  Does anyone have any thoughts about weight loss secrets or sculpting muscular legs?   Or got a question for a trainer?

Photo: Ladies exercising swiped from The Gloss, who found it at  Life Magazine.

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