1. Set Your Deadline
What was it that got you to the gym the last time it rained on a Saturday morning or you felt exhausted after work?
Sure, we all exercise with the underlying ambition of becoming our best selves, but I'd guess that you have a more specific goal in mind. Almost all of us do. It might be bikini season, a high school reunion, a photo session or a marathon- what matters is that we're working toward a fixed target.
The tough part? That target comes with the pressure of an inevitable deadline.
No problem, says celebrity trainer Gina Lombardi, for whom 'Deadline Fitness,' is a way of life (as well as the title of her new book).
Gina has trained Andy Garcia, Kevin James, Leah Remini, Catherine Bell, Isaac Hayes, Val Kilmer, Kirstie Alley, Sally Pressman, Clementine Ford, Robert Towne, Beck, Chick Corea, Les Moonves, Beth Sullivan, film producers Colleen Camp, Craig Perry, Nancy Robertsand a host of other famous personalities who come to her with serious goals in mind- and a ticking clock.
Gina tells of a television star in need of toning who frantically contacted her two weeks before a shirtless scene. His call came just hours before Gina was to be induced and deliver her son. And while she could barely bend down to take body measurements, she was able to customize a diet and exercise plan and said actor met his goal in ten days (and looked great on camera). "Another deadline met, another life saved."
2. Peripheral Heart Action Training
To meet these deadlines, Gina often uses Peripheral Heart Action (PHA) workouts, similar to circuit training but completed with heavier weights and designed to put the cardiovascular system into high gear by alternating lower-body and upper-body exercises. The variations force the heart to move blood up and down the body rapidly, maximizing fat burning and increasing the body's post-exercise oxygen consumption.
To turn your regular routine into a PHA workout, Gina recommends that you order your exercises so that you begin with a leg or abdominal/lower back workout, followed by upper body exercises. Repeat this order until you've completed three sequences of four to six exercises.
Each exercise should have eight to twenty repetitions, and a rest of three minutes is allowed between sequences.
And for her female clients who are worried that lifting weights will lead to bulk, Gina is ready to clear up the myth. "Weight training is really the only way to shape and define muscles and to stimulate muscle growth. This in return gives you a stronger, more toned body and faster metabolism. Who wouldn't want that?"
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3. The 'No Equipment Workout'
As far as Gina is concerned, there's no excuse to skip exercise because you can't get to a gym. For this very situation, Gina developed her 'No Equipment Workout,' a series of resistance exercises like lunges, crunches and push-ups, which she calls 'anything but easy.'
Deadline Fitness outlines 'no equipment' plans at beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. And even when working out SANs equipment, she believes that the right gear can give her clients an advantage.
Gina loves workout apparel from the Skins line (www.skins.net). "[Skins] use compression technology that proves to give you faster muscle recovery and better performance during your sport of workout."
4. Nutrition Counts
Gina is known in Hollywood for getting her clients lean, fast (but safely, she stresses) - so each client's diet is of utmost importance.
To accommodate the busy celebrities that she trains, as well as those who aren't able to afford personal consultation time with her, Gina recently created a collection of organic meal kits that follow her eating plans to the letter.
And if a sweet tooth is your downfall, not to worry. Gina's meal options also offer "lots of desert-type foods like whole grain banana bread, real food brownies that are high in fiber and heart-healthy cocoa and oatmeal raisin cookies."
5. Make Fitness Essential
Above all, says Gina, the key to deadline fitness is taking a realistic approach to goal-setting and then sticking to a program. "I teach my clients that exercise must become a priority, just as brushing your teeth or washing your hair. It's not a luxury.
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I also remind them of how quickly they can lose their shape and gain weight back if they start to slack off. One or two workouts here and there won't make a difference. But skipping workouts often will definitely show on the big screen."