fitness in a flash

Legs: The Running Start To A Trim Tummy

IMG_7922_FF_HRWith summer right around the corner, leaning out and keeping your body tight is becoming a race against the clock for a lot of people. I’m here to share some of my fitness secrets to getting the most out of your fitness routine while trying to keep the muscle on your frame and the fat dripping off. 

Your body is the most sophisticated piece of machinery you will ever operate; it’s very smart and very efficient.  It’s important to strategize your fitness routine and nutritional intake according to your fitness goals.  With bathing suit season coming toward us like a speeding bullet, keeping the tummy nice and trim is something on everybody’s minds. My little tricks for keeping trim and tight are legs and cardio.

Your legs are the largest muscle groups in your body, so it should come as no surprise they would also consume the most energy when worked at a rigorous pace. You want to try to get the most musculature moving at once in a healthy way. 

When trying to keep my core looking tight I never neglect my legs. A healthy serving of squats, dead lifts and lateral lunges are my go-to moves that rev my metabolism up through the roof as well as cardio in the morning and evening.  Cardio before breakfast in the morning can help your body consume more calories throughout the entire day, while cardio in the evening will help turn your body into a fat incinerator while you sleep. These muscle-defining moves combined with cardio in the morning and evening are sure to get you seeing a difference in your body in no time when you keep them a ritual.  

The cardio in the morning can be done at the gym or just around your neighborhood. 20 rigorous minutes is all it takes to get your body up and running while seeking out stored energy in your body, which would be your carbohydrate and fat stores. Repeating this in the evening, which I take a little longer with, will do the same thing but while you’re sleeping. When your body goes to sleep you’re actually fasting. So when you’re not taking in any food your body will be forced to burn through what it was available and stored.

Group-Shot1-360x2211The amazing thing about combining these cardio tricks with some demanding leg exercises is that by getting your muscles to respond and grow it will actually make them demand more energy to do the same movements as you progress through the exercises session by session. The three moves I mentioned are essential in my mind to any leg routine or any fitness regimen for that matter.

A squat is a great move for the entire leg. Loading some weight on your upper back and taking your butt to the ground while making sue your knees don’t cross your toes are the first steps. Heels shoulder width apart and toes slightly outwardly rotated are key to this exercise as well. Load a weight that is challenging for you and take your butt below 90 degrees. Four sets of 10 to 12 at a challenging weight will be quite sufficient along with the other two exercises that I’m going to explain. 

Lateral lunges are next on my list of fundamental fat burning leg exercises. A lateral lunge is basically a step out to the side while still being conscious of taking the butt back and making sure the knees don’t cross the toes.  One leg will be stretched out underneath you while the other will be directly under your body weight while the knee maintains a 90-degree angle while really taking that butt back behind you.

Last but certainly not least on my list is the dead lift.  The dead lift is a move that can be quite tricky your first time through. The most important thing I can stress is popping the butt out to close up the vertebrae in your lower back, bending forward from the top of the pelvis and keeping your shoulders, back and chest open. You want your feet about shoulder width apart, a tad narrower than your squat position. You really want to feel a stretch down your hamstring when delivering your barbell to the ground and snapping the butt forward to bring your body into a straight line when you come to a standing position.

Do four sets of these exercises with 10 to 12 repetitions each combined with your cardio and you’ll be seeing a trimmer, fitter you in no time. I personally like to do legs twice a week when I’m trying to lean out while doing this cardio regimen.

Happy shredding!

The Phoenix Effecta metabolic bootcamp that gets you in shape fast, is offered exclusively at Mansion Fitness, 7914 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood.