A celebrity trainer shares his wisdom. Craig Ramsay has shaped up A-listers from Hollywood to Broadway. He gives you his ultimate tips to get fit, whether you’re new to working out or a dedicated gym junkie.
1. Let the good times roll. Dial-up the fun, because it helps you exercise longer and harder – and it puts the kibosh on dreading workouts. Crank up the music and dance like nobody’s watching. Take a Zumba or pole-dancing class. Play tag with your kids.
2. Go social. Social media can boost your motivation and keep you on track. Announce your fitness goals on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. “You’ll be surprised how many people help,” Ramsay says. They’ll rally behind you, offer tips, and steer you away from missing a workout.
3. Make the world your gym. Do stretches in the grocery line. Do ballet moves while pumping gas. Take the stairs. Sitting in traffic? Squeeze your lower abs, then release. “You’ll be amazed at how much you can develop your core strength while driving,” Ramsay says.
4. Pump yourself up. Positive self-talk can boost your motivation. Look in the mirror and observe how strong your muscles are. Applaud yourself for getting fit. Recognize the goals you’ve met.
5. Break up your workouts. If you dread a long workout, break it into small chunks. “Five minutes here, 5 minutes there — it all adds up,” Ramsay says. Stretch for 10 minutes before your morning shower. Take a brisk, 20-minute walk at lunch. Lift weights while you wait for your pasta water to boil.
6. Stretch. It makes you more flexible, relieves muscle tension, and improves posture. It also helps you tune in to your body, Ramsay says. No time? No problem. Stretch while watching TV or lying in bed.
7. Say no to sports drinks. “Unless you’re a pro athlete, they’re not necessary,” he says. “I see it all the time at the gym.” Sports drinks are loaded with extra calories. Try water with lemon instead.
8. Pair cardio with weight resistance for fast results. “For my celebrity clients who need quick results, I combine cardio and resistance training,” Ramsay says. While pedaling on an exercise bike, add 30-second sets of bicep curls and overhead tricep extensions. Add bursts of shoulder presses while you walk on the treadmill.
9. Embrace the next level. Don’t balk at super-challenging workouts. They’re tough for a reason: They work. When Ramsay asked actor Cheyenne Jackson which exercise he dreaded most, he said burpees. “So I put him on a 30-minute burpee routine, five times a week,” Ramsay says. “In 6 weeks, he was a different man.”
10. Challenge yourself. Step it up. Work out 5 minutes longer. Raise the incline level on your treadmill. Go for a few extra repetitions. It makes a difference. “We should always be pushing ourselves,” Ramsay says. But if it feels too intense or you don’t have enough breath to hold a conversation, slow down.