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Tired of the exasperating zipper dance you perform each time you don your favorite pair of jeans? Well, get ready to zip up with ease: We've got the perfect plan to firm your butt, flatten your belly, tone your thighs, and blast fat everywhere.
"To instigate real body changes, you must shake up your typical routine," says Tracey Mallett, owner of the ATP Specific Training & Physical Therapy Center in South Pasadena, California. One of Mallett's top transformational strategies is to use a flight of stairs for both cardio and strength workouts. "Stair climbing instantly boosts your heart rate, builds endurance, and provides an added muscular challenge," says Mallett.
Do the following strength and stair workouts three times a week on nonconsecutive days. Add one hilly hike or longer run on weekends to blast even more calories and you'll be slipping into those skinny jeans in one month!
Beginner Option: Step up without hopping; hold the end phase of the exercise for 2 seconds, touching back foot to floor to help with balance.
Beginner Option: Lower halfway down into a semi pliť; keep hands on your hips (no weights).
Beginner Option: Lose the weights and bend knees only 45 degrees. Do 12 reps on each leg.
Beginner Option: Do this exercise on the floor instead of the stairs, and perform only 6 reps per leg.
Beginner Option: Do the rotations without weights; bend knee only 45 degrees.
Explosive Toe Tap
Do: Choose a darker wash to minimize your build; find jeans with some Lycra in them for a more comfortable fit.
Don't: Be afraid to show your shape. Avoid baggy silhouettes, which can make you look heavier than you are.
Do: Get pockets that are on an angle to give the illusion of shape; wear low-rise cuts to show off your waistline.
Don't: Go too baggy.
Do: Choose a mid-rise or classic fit to camouflage your middle.
Don't: Go too tight. Beware "muffin top."
Originally published in Fitness magazine, April 2006.