Read an Excerpt
Strong muscles and sexy tone
wrapped in a can-do attitude
When I first started strength training, I was dating an Arnold Schwarzenegger disciple who was gung ho to introduce me to the world of bodybuilding. We would grunt and hoist massive weights, performing three or four exercises and countless reps and sets on every single little muscle in a vainliterally!search for the ultimate pump. After 6 months of that joyless exercise, my biceps were bulging, my calves were curving, and I could crack walnuts on my ass (well ... almost).
But God forbid I actually had to swing a racket, run a 5-K, or ski down a hill. I had overly developed somewhat impressive but practically useless muscles. Plus, they weren't "all that" in the appearance category, either. Through all those hours of lifting, I had bulked up and looked and felt awkward and unbalanced.
A little discouraged, I scaled back on the endless exercises and repetitions. I included more fluid moves that I learned and sometimes adapted from yoga, athlete training centers, and simple strengthening and toning classes. I lost the bulk, improved the tone, and got fit enough to start competing in recreational cycling and running.
That's when it really came together.
Once I began competing, I started studying methods for working my muscles in more integrated ways, like how I used them in real life. There, I found medicine balls, compound-combination moves, core-body exercises, and much more. I started creating andstringing exercises together in total-body programs. And before I knew it, I had muscle tone that not only looked better than ever but also performed better. No, I could no longer win free beer in arm-wrestling contests, but when I hit the trails or sliced through the water, my muscles harmonized together like a well-rehearsed symphony. The sweetest part: These exercises maintained my strength and tone even when I wasn't competing.
Bursting with enthusiasm, I started sharing these exercises with clients. Even women and men who had religiously pumped iron for years couldn't believe the transformation. Abs firmed, butts lifted, and love handles disappeared.
Sexy and Seamless
Because these exercises challenge and strengthen many muscles at the same timethe way you use them in lifethey vastly improve how gracefully and balanced you hold yourself and how nimbly you move through everyday tasks. Because they emphasize total-body toning including core, major, and supporting muscles, your entire physique will streamline. Instead of having fab abs or killer legs on a so-so body, you'll have seamless tone from head to heels.
That said, you'll quickly notice that not every exercise in this book is a multimuscle integrated move. It's important to start with a solid foundation. And because we tend to overuse some muscles and totally neglect others, many women have muscle imbalances. That's why I start newcomers off with a mix of traditional isolation exercises (one muscle group at a time) along with just a few easy combination moves. As they build a strong overall foundation, we use those muscles together with more challenging, integrated exercises. As the programs progress, there are fewer (though more challenging) isolation exercises and more Perfectly Fit combination moves to fully develop strength, tone, posture, and balance.
The Stuff You'll Need
As you flip through the book, you'll see training equipment of all shapes and sizes. There are balls, bands, body weights, and dumbbells. It looks like a hell of an investment, but don't be scared off. You can buy everything you need to do this program for less than $100. And even if you own just a pair of dumbbells right now, you can still get started. Though medicine balls are ideal for many of the core body moves, a single dumbbell will often work well in a pinch. You'll notice that I've indicated the exercises that allow for easy equipment substitutions.
So why all the different stuff? It's not because I'm a gearhead or have stock in equipment manufacturers. It's just that, in keeping with the Perfectly Fit philosophy, the more ways you can work your muscles, the better developed they'll be, and the more toned you'll become. All of these instruments offer different forms of resistance for your body, so your muscles will never feel stale and your mind will never get bored.
I also want you to go above and beyond the programs you find here. There are more than 80 exercises total and a chapter on DIY (Do-It-Yourself) Programming to put you on the road to creating your own programs once you feel ready to do it. There are also tons of workout ideas included in chapter 5, which explains the many modalities for strength training. Dig in and go nuts.
Be a Go-To Girl
I encourage you time and again to take your strong, agile body out into the world and do something with it. Part of the Perfectly Fit philosophy is that your body was meant to move. It gets more beautiful and youthful the more you use it to dance, play, and run. Engage life large. Don't ever be afraid of failing or making a fool of yourself. Quite the contrary, those around you will admire your spirit for trying.
The back section of this book offers a large variety of activities for you to sample. None of them is extreme; all are healthy, accessible sports and active hobbies that will further shape your body, challenge your mind, and enliven your spirit. Sitting on our butts 24/7 is a very modern development. And it's killing us ... literally. Refuse to live a sedentary life. You'll be happier, healthier, and, of course, more fit.
Think you don't have time? Perfectly Fit women make the time. They and their active lives, as well as the active lives of their families, are the priority. If that concept is a struggle, scope the advice in part 5.
Then take that one beautiful body you have and go conquer this one life you've been given to live. All you have to do is try.
Excerpted from Selene Yeager's Perfectly Fit by SELENE YEAGER. Copyright © 2001 by Selene Yeager. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.