Name from top: Jen Hum, Larry Leclair and Al Pawlowski
Occupation: Personal trainers
You knew you shouldn’t have, but you did, and now shedding the pounds from all that holiday chocolate and booze is a b----.
But simply pounding the treadmill like a madwoman to transform those Rosie O’Donnell hips into Eva Longoria curves for half an hour a day, five days a week isn’t the way to go about it, say fitness experts. The same goes for guys who attack the weights in turbocharged fashion, hoping to morph into Matthew McConaughey overnight.
"Crash exercising and crash dieting are common mistakes people make when trying to get into shape for the New Year," says personal trainer Jen Hum.
Crashing might yield short-term results, but once you stop your mad dash or fall off the rabbit-food diet wagon, your body tends to bounce back to where it was, says Hum. "There’s a saying: the faster you lose it, the faster you’ll gain it back," she adds.
"Lasting results are derived from consistency, commitment and moderation. Vary your work- outs because your body becomes conditioned to exercises too."
Hum, along with trainers Larry LeClair and Al Pawlowski extol the virtues of resistance training. Simply put, that means exerting your muscles through weight lifting, cable pulling, ball lunging and certain cardio activity. Exertion from resistance training increases lean muscle mass, which burns more calories and helps speed up your metabolism. A faster metabolism, bolstered by six small nutritious meals a day as opposed to three heavy meals, translates into less fat.
But losing love handles is a toughie. Basically, all that booze you consumed over the holidays consists of sugar — excess calories with no nutritional value. That gets stored as fat, which beelines its way to the waistline first; sadly, it’s the last fat to get burned off after embarking on a gym routine.
Be patient, gun for long term goals and adopt a moderate approach to getting fit, suggests Hum, because "there is no get-fit, quick secret." For starters, she says, a 40 to 60 minute routine comprising walking lunges with an exercise ball, push-ups, bicep curls, sit ups and an aerobic run might bode well for women wanting to tone up and slim down.
Fat burning aside, guys are also fixated on bulking up. Pecs and arms are tops on the male agenda, say LeClair and Pawlowski, but guys often overlook two key body parts: legs and shoulders. "Leg exercises like squats are tough, so people who are tired often neglect them," says LeClair, a former military man and trainer of 20 years. "Legs are also covered by clothes so they tend not to work them out as much as their upper body." The result: Rocky Balboa with Chicken Little legs.
Pawlowski, who is also a part-time model, says prematurely pumping heavy weights with poor technique is a common error. That can be especially dangerous with vertical shoulder presses, which can damage this sensitive area. "Instead, focus on lateral, front and rear deltoid raises with lighter weights to build up those shoulders," says Pawlowski. His tips for a six pack? Lots of cardio, a low-fat diet and proper ab exercises that don’t strain your neck or back,