WHO Brenda McColgen, 38
HER GOAL To banish "jiggle" and add muscle tone to her naturally lean frame
CURRENT REGIMEN None
OBSTACLE Although she's always been active, Brenda has never had to formally exercise and doesn't know where to start.
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WORKOUT # 1: Dumbbell Circuit
Expert Erin O'Brien
Creator of the fitness DVD Kristi Yamaguchi: Power Workout
Few fitness tools are as easy to use as dumbbells. The weight workout I created for Brenda will tone her entire body, and because the moves are done in a circuit—one right after the other at a quick pace—it'll get her heart rate up too, all in less than 15 minutes. She should start with 5-pound weights, bumping up to 8 pounds after 3 to 4 weeks. Brenda should do this circuit 3 times in a row, twice a week. I'd also like her to plan fitness dates with friends so exercise feels like fun, not punishment. (Search: How to make exercise fun)
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1. MARCHING HAMMER CURL
March in place with a weight in each hand, palms facing one another. As left knee lifts, bend right elbow, bringing dumbbell toward shoulder. Switch sides. Repeat 1 minute.
2. DUMBBELL SWING
Stand in wide squat, holding dumbbell low. Swing dumbbell up, thrusting hips forward and straightening legs. Do 25 reps with both hands, then 25 with left hand and 25 with right hand for 1 set.
3. PEC FLY WITH CRUNCH
Lie on back, knees bent. Hold dumbbells with palms up and arms open to form a T. Lift arms over chest, raising head and shoulders into a crunch. Lower to start. Do 15 reps.
SECRET WEAPON: Exercise Calendar
Brenda should add group activities, such as walks with friends or bike rides with her hubby, to her schedule. These fun outings will burn calories and help her rethink her attitude about exercise.
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WORKOUT # 2: Do-Anywhere Moves
Expert Nicole Cea McDermott
Owner of Healthy Balance NYC, a boot-camp training program
Since Brenda doesn't work out often, I chose exercises that use only her body weight—they're effective without being intimidating. Best of all, they can be done anywhere, which means no excuses! These three exercises—which are variations of staple strength-training moves—work the full body. Brenda should do this trio 3 or 4 times a week, starting with 1 set of each and building up to 3 sets. To increase cardiovascular health and all-over tone, she should go for a brisk 30-minute walk after each strength session. (Related: 30-Minute Power Walks That Blast Fat)
1. CLOCK LUNGE
Step left foot forward into a lunge. Step left foot back to start position. Then lunge with left leg to side, and then behind. Continue with right foot, lunging behind, then to side, then forward to complete circle.
Repeat for 2 minutes.
2. SQUAT WITH PULSES
Bend hips and knees to squat, keeping weight in heels and knees behind toes. Hold squat for 3 counts, then do 3 pulses up and down an inch. Return to standing. That's 1 rep. Do 15 reps.
3. SIDE AND CENTER FOREARM PLANK
Support weight on forearms and toes, spine straight; hold for 15 to 30 seconds. Lower and roll to right side, lifting left arm and hips; hold for 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat to left for 1 rep. Do 3 reps.
SECRET WEAPON: Stopwatch
Brenda should use a stopwatch to time lunges and planks and to add speed intervals to her 30-minute walks.
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WORKOUT # 3: Lower-Body Boost
Expert Phil Page, PhD, PT, ATC, FACSM
Instructor of kinesiology at Louisiana State University
To get rid of "jiggle," I crafted three moves that work the glutes, quads, and hamstrings. I chose resistance bands because they're as effective as weights, but they take up less space and are less expensive. Brenda should work up to 3 sets of 15 reps with the red band, then move up to a green band, which offers greater resistance. She should also do 150 minutes a week of cardio, such as walking or using a stair-climber, to sculpt her lower body.
1. BRIDGE WITH LOOP
Lie on back and place Thera-Band loop just above knees. Lift hips, pushing knees out against loop. Hold for 2 seconds, then lower hips to starting position.
2. STANDING KICKBACK
Place loop around ankles. Extend left leg back, keeping knee straight. (Hold on to a chair for balance if needed.) Hold for 2 seconds. Do 15 reps left and 15 reps right for 1 set.
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3. LATERAL WALK
Stand in a half squat with loop around thighs, just above knees. With right foot, step to right 4 to 6 inches and hold for 2 seconds. Step to right with left foot to return to width of starting stance. Take 3 steps right, then 3 steps left, for 1 rep.
SECRET WEAPON: Thera-Band Loop
This rubbery exercise band comes in four different resistance levels: yellow, red, green, and blue. ($5 to $7; optp.com)
Which workout did Brenda pick? Workout #3!
Why She Chose It: "I loved that I could do the moves anywhere—watching TV, checking e-mail—and that the bands traveled easily!"