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The Weight-Loss Workout Plan for Women

Colin Anderson / GettyLooking for a workout plan that will kick-start weight loss? We tapped New York City-based CAFS personal trainer Ashley Rosenberg, a group fitness instructor at modelFIT NYC, to develop a four-day weight loss workout plan to help boost your metabolism and build muscle from head to toe. Follow this strength and cardio plan—but remember that to really see results, you also need to follow a clean eating plan. “It really is true what they say—‘abs are made in the kitchen!’ I keep this mantra in my head all week long as I am making quick lunch and dinner decisions on the go,” says Rosenberg. “Our food is the fuel that keeps us going during the day and throughout our workouts.” [RELATED1] When you don’t eat a healthy diet, you might feel too full, bloated, and sluggish, she says. Refined sugar causes that inevitable crash that zaps your energy and you won’t be able to perform as well when you get to the gym, Rosenberg says. You can’t “outwork” a bad diet at the gym. “There is no special trick to losing weight—you simply have to create a calorie deficit,” says Rosenberg. You have to burn more calories than you consume so if you are eating an unhealthy diet you would have to kill yourself in the gym, all day long, to the point it’s no longer fun and enjoyable. Every workout should leave you feeling accomplished, and hopefully on an endorphin high. [RELATED2] Eating the right foods helps give you energy and motivation to stay on track with your workouts, Rosenberg says. A good diet motivates you to keep going, helps you sleep better so you have prolonged energy throughout the day, and keeps your body feeling lean and tight, she says. “I follow the 90/10 rule: I follow my diet 90% of the time. I allow myself to fully indulge without regret when I am sitting down at a beautiful meal with my partner, friends, or family. It’s not about having a cheat meal, but enjoying the full experience with my loved ones,” says Rosenberg. “Because I know I have the freedom to indulge on those occasions, it’s so much easier to stay on track the rest of the week.” Workout Day 1 Cardio: Jump rope intervals Do 30 minutes of jump rope intervals. Start with 2 minutes on (jumping rope) and 1 minute of rest, working up to 3 minutes on the rope, 30 seconds of rest. Strength Training: Arms & Abs This exercise is pretty advanced, but you’ll really work your arms and core. Start in a plank. Bring your right knee forward while aiming for your right elbow. Hold the position for a second, pause, lower yourself into a pushup, push yourself back up, and then bring your leg back so you’re back in plank position. Repeat on each side for 10 reps. Rest 3 minutes, repeat for 3 sets. [RELATED3] Alternatively, for an easier (but still challenging!) abs move, start in a plank, and bring your right knee forward while aiming for your left elbow, hold for a pause, then open right knee to right elbow, hold for pause, send foot back into starting position. For an added challenge, add a push up at the end and repeat on the other side. That is one set. Repeat 10x. Rest for 1 to 3 minutes in between a set. Check out our superfast slim-down training program. Workout Day 2 Treadmill Intervals These are similar to the jump rope intervals. Do these treadmill intervals for 30 minutes. Starting by running for 2 minutes at a fast pace, then hop off to the side for 1 minute of rest. Work up to 3 minutes of fast running and 30 seconds rest of rest. (Try these calorie-torching treadmill workouts when you get bored with your running program.) Strength Training: Thighs and Butt Wearing 3lb ankle weights (Rosenberg’s favorite equipment), start on all fours on a mat. Pull your belly button up into your spine and tuck your hips forward so the back curves, like a cow position in yoga. Keeping your knee bent, raise your leg up into a 90-degree angle and pulse your foot up to the sky once. Slowly lower your leg back into the starting position with your knees lined up, not allowing your working knee to touch the mat. Repeat 20 times. Stop at the top on #20 and do tiny pulses at that 90-degree angle for 20. It’ll look like your flex foot is pushing the ceiling up. For an added challenge, drop to your elbows rather than using your hands. Switch to the left side and repeat. Workout Day 3 Cardio: Repeat day 1 cardio. Strength Training: Arms, Abs, and Butt Start on all fours on a mat (wearing ankle weights for an added challenge). Pull your belly button into your spine, and then lift your right leg behind you (straight knee, foot pointed). Keeping your left knee on the mat, lift your left foot off ground. Pulling your elbows back alongside body, rock your chest forward and down into a forward triceps dip (your arms should be hugging your rib cage). Raise yourself back up, keeping the left foot still lifted off the mat, and pulse your right leg up for one pulse. Repeat 20 times for 1 set and switch the leg sides. Workout Day 4: Strength training: Combine all the strength training exercises listed above—plank knee-ins, sky kicks,  into a circuit. Do each strength exercise at least 3 times and up to 5x for a full-body workout. Rocked this workout? Check out our 12-week transformation workout plan. [RELATED4]

The Workout Plan to Lose 15 Pounds

Michael Svoboda/Getty Images Plenty of people are perpetually unhappy with their weight. Even these folks wouldn’t be considered obese, per se, they might just have enough extra pounds to be considered overweight. But we have good news. Whether your spare tire is a result of holiday overeating or some long-term unhealthy habits, you can beat those last 15lbs by following a killer workout plan. We consulted with Andrew Borsellino, C.S.C.S., co-founder of Precision Sports Performance, and Thomas King, C.S.C.S., strength and conditioning coach with JK Conditioning, to build the ultimate workout routine to get you confident and shredded in two months. [RELATED1] “The hardest part always is just getting started,” says Borsellino. “If you lack self-esteem and are wary about walking into a gym or studio, or visiting a nutritionist to get your journey going, an important first step should be trying to find a place where you feel comfortable and a coach or trainer that you connect with.” But if you’ve been fit in the past and know the ropes around the gym and want to go it alone, our simple plan will help you get off on the right foot. “When getting started, make sure you start the right type of program,” says Borsellino. “If you get going on a program that is way too intense right off the bat, it may keep you from continuing and reaching your goals.” Furthermore, if you’re unprepared for a high-intensity workout program, you could potentially be walking the path to injury. At the same time, starting a workout program that’s too easy or not stimulating could just lead to boredom—and boredom makes you more likely to quit. King adds: “In my experience, the easiest way to sneak fat loss work into your routine is through the use of circuits and complexes. Nobody really wants to spend an hour running on a treadmill when you could be doing more engaging exercises like kettlebell swings, thrusters, and squats. I also like to include at least one more traditional strength training day per week. It allows for recovery from the demanding circuits and the lower reps will help preserve muscle tissue during the fat-loss stage.” [RELATED2] Finally, remember that not all workout plans work for everyone. Everybody is different, and different stimuli will lead to different results, but the most important thing to remember is that this is a lifestyle. “Small changes at a time lead to big improvements and lay the foundation for a healthy life,” says Borsellino. The workout The following workout program, which comes courtesy of King, incorporates three workouts per week: two days of circuit training and one day of strength training. Perform these workouts on nonconsecutive days for eight weeks. Before each session, do a light warmup that includes aerobic exercise (like walking on the treadmill for 5-10 minutes) and dynamic mobility work (like banded shoulder dislocations and rotational hip dislocations). Instructions Day 1 circuit: Perform one set of each exercise before resting. After you have completed one full round, rest for two minutes and start again. The goal is to complete five rounds as quickly as possible. For an added challenge, time yourself and see how you progress as you move through the eight-week program. Day 2 strength workout: The strength day will stick to the basic lifts and pair two complementary movements as a superset. Perform exercises in the same superset (marked A and B), then rest 1½-2 minutes. Repeat for the prescribed number of sets. Day 3 circuit: The second circuit incorporates a dumbbell complex. Choose a dumbbell weight you can use for all the exercises, and be sure to do each exercise without putting the dumbbells down. If that’s not difficult enough, after each complex, row 100 meters as quickly as possible. Complete five rounds of this circuit in as little time as possible. Time yourself and see how you progress over the next eight weeks.  [RELATED3] Topics: Fat LossStrength TrainingBurn FatBuild Muscle

The Ultimate Upper-body Workout Routine

milan2099 / Getty Each and every one of us steps foot into the gym because we want to improve our physical selves. While we all might have different goals, the same theme exists for all of us…progression. Now, there are a few guys out there that get to lift heavy weights for a living. Perhaps they’ve been lucky enough to gain major sponsorship or have lucrative contracts with a magazine and/or sports supplement manufacturer. These guys “get paid” to workout, so for them the gym is their office. For most of us, however, we can’t afford to build our lives around the gym, but must fit the gym into our lives. Between work, family, friends, and errands, we’re lucky to find just 3-4 days per week to train for perhaps 60-90 minutes at a time. Thus, it’s important that every moment we spend fighting the resistance of dumbbells, barbells, cables, or machines be used with maximum efficiency. That means choosing the “best bang for your buck exercises” that yield optimal muscle-building results in a minimum amount of time. Below (the exercises) are the two workouts that will help you craft a strong and sculpted upper body. Perform each one once a week for optimal results. The exercises Bench Press Quick Tip: For maximum stimulation of the chest, position your torso on the bench with a slight arch in the lower back; the ribcage held high; and the shoulders shrugged back and downward. Incline DB Press Quick Tip: Vary the incline of the bench workout-to-workout or set-to-set from 30° to 45° to 60° to target different motor unit pools. Wide-Grip Pullup Quick Tip: Vary grip widths and the angle of the torso when pulling to effectively stimulate all areas of the back musculature. Underhand Grip BB Bent Row Quick Tip: Keep the torso bent at an angle of about 75° and pull the bar into the lower abdomen to best stimulate the belly of the lats. Seated BB Military Press Quick Tip: Use a bench with back support and keep your torso upright throughout the set (leaning back engages too much upper pecs). Bring the bar just below the chin before driving it back to the top. Shoulder-Width Grip BB Upright Row Quick Tip: Raise the bar to a level at which the upper arms are parallel to the floor. At the top, the hands should be lower than the elbows to best stimulate the shoulders. Triceps Dip Quick Tip: To keep chest activation to a minimum and target more triceps activation, make sure your torso remains upright throughout the set. Lower yourself to the point where your upper arms are parallel with the floor. Partial Rack Deadlift Quick Tip: For complete back development, vary the range-of-motion from just above knee-height to as low as the mid-shins. It is best to stick with one range-of-motion per workout. One-Arm DB Row Quick Tip: Keep your upper body parallel to the floor throughout the set. As you raise the DB, keep the elbow close to the body and do not allow the elbow to go higher than the height of your torso. Incline BB Press Quick Tip: Use the same torso position that was mentioned above for the bench press. Lower the bar to the top of the chest, just below the chin. Chest Dip Quick Tip: Keep your torso leaning forward throughout the set to more strongly engage the pecs. Lower yourself to a point where you can feel a slight stretch in the chest before pushing back to the top. To keep more tension on the pecs, do not lockout. Seated DB Press Quick Tip: To put the greatest emphasis on the anterior delts, press the DB’s with the palms facing each other. To work the anterior delts but also bring the lateral heads greatly into play, press with the elbows held back in line with the torso and palms facing forward. Close-Grip BB Upright Row Quick Tip: Take a grip on a BB with your hands spaced about 6″ apart. Raise the bar to about the height of your chin to bring the mid and upper traps into play along with the anterior delts. Close-Grip Pullup Quick Tip: Take a slightly less than shoulder-width grip on the pullup bar. Lift your body up to a point where you feel your biceps are fully contracted, while focusing on keeping lats activation to a minimum. Lower yourself to a point where there is still a slight bend in the elbows to keep tension on the biceps. Topics: BackBicepsChestMiddle BackShouldersTrapsUpper BackBuild Muscle

What it takes to become a professional bodybuilder, according to Steve Kuclo

Per Bernal / M+F MagazineAs a kid growing up in St. Clair Shores, MI, Steve Kuclo would flip through the pages of FLEX and Muscle & Fitness magazines looking for workout programs and lifting tips to help him gain strength and size. “I’ve always loved competing, and I played a lot of sports growing up,” says Kuclo, who after two years of studying at the University of Michigan decided to change directions and become a full-time firefighter. About this time Kuclo also developed an itch to get onstage as a bodybuilder. After a few years of competing as an amateur, Kuclo, then 25, turned pro in 2011 at the NPC USAs. But he still had financial responsibilities, which meant he had to continue to juggle being a firefighter with his career as an IFBB pro—until last year. [RELATED1] Like many top names in the industry, Kuclo uses the name recognition, income from sponsorships (he’s currently sponsored by AllMax Nutrition), and earnings from bodybuilding competitions as a platform to pursue other things. His biggest venture right now is a clothing company, Booty Queen Apparel, which he runs with his wife, IFBB bikini pro Amanda Latona-Kuclo. And being a body- builder, entrepreneur, and a dutiful husband means he “pretty much has three full-time jobs,” he says. We’ll focus on one—being an IFBB pro bodybuilder. Think you have what it takes? ON THE JOBThe lifestyle of an IFBB pro is a 24/7 grind—your training, nutrition, and sleep quality all have to be on point. Otherwise, your odds of flexing your way to glory are dismal at best. If you’re up for it, here’s what you can expect, according to Kuclo (Instagram: @stevekuclo). THE DAILY GRIND“Monday through Friday, Amanda and I wake up early and take care of business for Booty Queen Apparel—answering emails, making sure we’re coming out with new products, and planning out appearances at expos. As for the gym, I’m lucky to have a training partner who is flexible, so I go either in the morning or at night for a couple of hours.”To remain nourished, Kuclo cooks at home and take his meals on the road with him. [RELATED2] SKILLS NEEDED“The one big factor is genetics. If you’re, like, 5’4″ and 140 pounds, and you want to compete in the Mr. Olympia, especially against the big guys who are 275 pounds or more, you may need to rethink your goals. If you’re a big-framed guy, with big joints and muscle bellies, who sees quick results in the gym, then you got it,” Kuclo says. BEST PART OF THE JOB“Meeting and greeting fans,” he says. “At the 2017 Mr. O expo, a guy said, ‘I had cancer, and watching your videos helped get me through some dark times.’ Meeting people like that is the most rewarding thing about what I do.” WORST PART OF THE JOBAlong with the wear and tear of training, doing promotions for Booty Queen, and traveling to competitions, Kuclo says there’s another downside to the job: Your sex drive can plummet close to showtime. “If you put an apple pie and my wife in front of me, naked, two weeks out from a show, I know I’m in shape when I’d rather pick the apple pie…though I still may take my wife.” [RELATED3] The “IT” Factor: Anyone can be fit, but being a professional bodybuilder requires superior genetics, says Kuclo. If you don’t have them, reconsider your goals.

Holly Holm Talks Training, Trash Talk, and Keeping Her Cool Ahead of UFC 219

Suhaimi Abdullah / GettyUFC 219 is quickly approaching, and the title fight is one you won’t want to miss. Former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Holly Holm, the pro boxer-turned-UFC-fighter who won the bantamweight title from Ronda Rousey with a notorious knockout in 2015, will challenge UFC featherweight champ Cris Cyborg for her title. But this is no ordinary title fight. If Holm wins the featherweight belt, she’ll become the first female multi-division champ in UFC history. The lead-up to the fight hasn’t been short on drama or trash talk, which is to be expected ahead of any bout, title defense or otherwise. But Holm isn’t one to play into it. No matter the hype around the fight or what her opponents say, she perpetually seems cool, calm, and collected.  In a one-on-one interview with Muscle & Fitness ahead of UFC 219, Holm reveals her approach to fighting such a formidable opponent, why she plays it cool ahead of big fights, and the opportunity to become a multi-division champ in the UFC.  On training Leading up to a fight, Holm’s training schedule is hectic. She runs five days a week, does mitt work for four or five days a week, and has a class each morning in sparring, wrestling, or grappling. On Saturdays, she knocks out a sprint run for good measure.  On top of training, every fight brings a new wave of media obligations. While it can be tough to stick to her rigorous training schedule amid those responsibilities, Holm says it’s a matter of staying disciplined and looking ahead.  [RELATED1] “I go do my workout, do the media, and go right back to my workouts,” Holm told M&F. “It may mean running in the dark with a headlamp on because I didn’t get it done before the sun went down, but I know that the time put in then will pay off later. I’m disciplined to get it done, but there are times when it’s challenging for sure.” On the highs and lows of her career Holm made headlines for taking down Ronda Rousey with a knockout via head kick and punches to become the UFC women’s bantamweight champion back in 2015, but she abruptly hit a slump, losing her next three bouts and shattering her thumb during a bout against Valentina Shevchenko. But even when she’s down, Holm keeps her head up.  “I’ve had highs and lows in my career before, and it’s easy to be happy and confident when you’re on top. But it’s definitely a challenge when you have losses that come your way, and it’s one of those things where you have to dig deep. It’s not up to anybody else…My dad has always told me that you’re in charge of your own happiness. If you’re letting someone else control your happiness, you’re letting them control how you think and how you feel.” Losses still get her down, of course. Holm is just wired to not stay down. “I knew that I was able to still move forward and push through,” she says. “It’s my life, and it’s not over after a loss. I know that I’m still capable and I still believe in myself, so I just keep trucking forward.” And when it came to recovering from her thumb injury, which required surgery, she took the setback in stride with a simple rule of, well, you know. “If it hurt, I’d still work with it, but if I’d damage it [by training], I’d still be careful,” she says. Despite those setbacks, Holm came back and won her last bout against Bethe Correia at UFC Fight Night 111. Now, she’s ready to give it her all against Cyborg at UFC 219. On the possibility of becoming the first female UFC two-division champ During her career as a boxer, Holm held titles in three weight classes, defending her titles 16 times. If she dethrones Cyborg and wins the featherweight championship belt on December 30, she’ll become the first woman to have held titles in two divisions in the UFC. [RELATED2] “Holding a title in two weight classes is something that motivates me. I want to win a fight whether it’s for a belt or not, but there’s that extra motivation to be able to do something that hasn’t been done.” But even if she does win the featherweight title, she doesn’t see herself going for a third weight class. On the reason she’s not afraid of Cyborg—or anyone Cyborg may not be a UFC vet, but she’s been an MMA powerhouse for more than a decade. Plenty would be intimidated by the thought of challenging her for her belt, but not Holm, who says she’s going into it as prepared as she could be. “She’s dominant and has been doing well for a reason. She’s very good at what she does, but that doesn’t mean she’s unbeatable,” Holm says. “I’m ready to take on this fight, and I fear her, but I’m not afraid of her. I fear her in the way that I fear any of my opponents, because there’s a possibility of losing a fight against anybody. Every fighter presents their own challenges, and there are lots of things to fear in her, but that doesn’t mean that she’s unbeatable.” On trash talk Plenty of UFC fighters are known for their excessive trash talking, which is admittedly a huge part of the hype leading up to big fights. It’s easy enough to bash opponents on social media, but Holm isn’t one to do that. Despite the fact that fans expect trash talk and animosity between fighters, she prefers to let her performance on fight night speak for itself. [RELATED3] “I try to just have my confidence show when I’m fighting,” Holm says. “I want my actions to be what my message is. I don’t really get too much into the trash talk with it, I just want to train hard, and I don’t want to be the fighter who talks a lot of trash and then looks like a fool because it doesn’t go my way. I try to just stay humble and work hard. I know the training and hard work that’s gone into it, and that’s when it pays off. It doesn’t matter what’s been said on social media.” On staying cool, calm, and collected Athletes in every sport have strict, and sometimes downright ridiculous, pre-competition rituals or traditions to get them ready both physically and mentally—but Holm isn’t one of them. Instead, she says good old-fashioned thorough preparation, sans superstition, is her good luck charm. “I just try to stay healthy, keep my body feeling good, eat foods that make me feel energetic but not overly heavy. I like to be surrounded by my team—they make me feel good and confident, and the energy is good,” she says. “Other than that, I just focus on the fight and I know that all the hard work has been put in.” Superstitious rituals, she says, won’t make or break that hard work that’s been done. “The hard work and training’s done, and nothing can take away from that, so I try not to get worked up in my head,” she says. “I try to stay level-headed and keep my body feeing good until it’s time to shine” Watch Holly Holm challenge Cris Cyborg for the UFC women’s featherweight title on Saturday, December 30 at UFC 219. [RELATED4]

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