The Physique 57(R) Solution: The Groundbreaking 2-Week Plan for a Lean, Beautiful Body

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What if you could achieve your best body starting now? THE PHYSIQUE 57 SOLUTION, celebrity praised and widely loved, is designed to systematically sculpt your muscles to create a lean, beautiful shape. This unique, effective workout combines interval training, isometric exercises, and orthopedic stretches to rapidly and dramatically transform your body. No matter your level of fitness, the Physique 57 technique will keep you challenged, motivated, and entertained.

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The Physique 57(R) Solution: The Groundbreaking 2-Week Plan for a Lean, Beautiful Body

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Overview

What if you could achieve your best body starting now? THE PHYSIQUE 57 SOLUTION, celebrity praised and widely loved, is designed to systematically sculpt your muscles to create a lean, beautiful shape. This unique, effective workout combines interval training, isometric exercises, and orthopedic stretches to rapidly and dramatically transform your body. No matter your level of fitness, the Physique 57 technique will keep you challenged, motivated, and entertained.

Now combined with a healthy and delicious meal plan, this two-week program will help you get your best body fast. Discover:

· Step-by-step, groundbreaking workouts offering major calorie burn

· Innovative choreography, including muscle-defining arm exercises, intense seat-and-thigh sequences, and waist-chiseling ab moves

· A super-slimming two-week meal plan

· A variety of flavorful and healthy recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and dessert

· Motivating tips to help you reach your goals!

Drop pounds, lose up to 10 inches, and transform into the best version of yourself.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This fun workout was transformational; I could see a difference physically within five classes. It changed my life!" --Kelly Ripa

"It takes a lot to motivate me to exercise, but Physique 57 is the ideal workout. It's efficient, fun and targeted to get the results you didn't think were possible!" --Demi Moore

"I really enjoy the Physique 57 workout. It's challenging and the hard work pays off!" --Denise Richards

"Physique 57 makes exercise fun! A great way to get in shape fast and maintain long, lean muscles. I love it!" --Lydia Hearst

"Every workout before Physique 57 was a complete sham! I'm wearing jeans from high school!" --Parker Posey

"The MOST efficient workout I've ever done-and let me tell you, I've don't them ALL!" -Lisa Rinna

"Not only does Physique 57 kick your butt, it tones it at the same time. I'm addicted!" --Brad Goreski

Library Journal
Physique 57's studios in New York City, the Hamptons, and Beverly Hills have made this exercise and diet program popular among the well-to-do. (Most of us in the hinterlands only know of it through television and magazines.) Essentially, the exercises are designed to sculpt the figure by exercising various parts of the body separately rather than all at once. Some familiar exercises have been given new names, and the workouts are done to music, which emphasizes their connection to the Lotte Berk method of conditioning for ballet dancers. The program operates on the theory of interval training, where short bursts of high-intensity work alternate with periods of lower intensity or rest. This burns calories efficiently but is not as good for your cardiovascular system as a long, sustained, moderate workout. The diet emphasizes organic foods, especially greens and grains, and includes several good recipes. VERDICT This will be popular in areas where the studios have a presence, but it's not a necessary purchase.—Susan B. Hagloch, formerly with Tuscarawas Cty. P.L., New Philadelphia, OH
From the Publisher
"This fun workout was transformational; I could see a difference physically within five classes. It changed my life!" Kelly Ripa

"It takes a lot to motivate me to exercise, but Physique 57 is the ideal workout. It's efficient, fun, and targeted to get the results you didn't think were possible!" Demi Moore

"I really enjoy the Physique 57 workout. It's challenging and the hard work pays off!" —Denise Richards

"In just two weeks l fit into my jeans from high school." Parker Posey—

"The most eficient workout I've ever done— and let me tell you, I've done them all!" —Lisa Rinna

"Physique 57 makes exercise fun! A great way to get in shape fast and maintain long, lean muscles. I love it!" —Lydia Hearst

"Not only does Physique 57 kick your butt, it tones it at the same time. I'm addicted!" —Brad Goreski

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780446585330
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • Publication date: 1/4/2012
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 7.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Tanya Becker is the Co-Founder, SVP of Programming and Training. She is the choreographer and instructor behind the popular Physique 57 DVDs. Jennifer Maanavi is the owner, Co-founder and CEO of Physique 57.
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Read an Excerpt

The Physique 57(R) Solution

The Groundbreaking 2-Week Plan for a Lean, Beautiful Body
By Becker, Tanya

Grand Central Life & Style

Copyright © 2012 Becker, Tanya
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780446585330

PART ONE

THE METHOD

CHAPTER 1

WHAT IS PHYSIQUE 57?

IF YOU’RE ANYTHING LIKE US, YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE when it comes to getting fit isn’t a lack of interest—and it certainly isn’t laziness. On the contrary, if you’re like most of the women we know, you are already your own version of Superwoman: hardworking, kind, and capable of juggling dozens of responsibilities and commitments every day. The problem is that everything else on your to-do list often seems far more interesting and enjoyable than exercise. And let’s face it—it usually is! After all, who wants to be running to nowhere on a treadmill when you could be out socializing with your friends or playing with your kids?

If this is your first experience with Physique 57, we can promise you that it is like nothing you’ve ever seen in a gym, and it’s far from a typical aerobics or step class. Our workout is designed for maximum effectiveness and efficiency—but it’s also designed to be FUN. Most of today’s big fitness names and personal trainers use the same techniques and exercises that have been around for decades: a combination of weight training and cardio that includes jogging in place, lunges, squats, side bends, crunches, and all the other classic moves, just rearranged in different combinations. Talk about uninspiring! Our workout, on the other hand, is 100 percent unique: a totally creative sequence of moves designed to keep you challenged, motivated, and entertained. We know that the key to sticking with any workout is to enjoy it so much that you and your body actually crave it, because only then will it become a lifestyle.

We also believe that in addition to the moves themselves, the tone and feel of the workout really matter. Many of today’s fitness gurus apply the straight-talking, boot-camp-style approach to exercise, and while this might make for great reality television, we prefer a decidedly different approach. Because our program is fundamentally based on classical ballet and the Lotte Berk Method, our workouts retain a sense of grace and femininity. We’re all about feeling the burn and pushing ourselves to the limit, but we’re also about creating something beautiful: beautiful posture, beautiful movements, and ultimately a beautiful you. We firmly believe that the way you work out determines how you design your body; if you desire a long, lean, sexy shape, your exercise regimen should make you feel like a dancer, not a bodybuilder. Every single minute of our workouts is designed not only to make you stronger, but also to beautify the way you stand, the way you move, and the way you carry yourself in the world each day.

Now that you understand our fitness philosophy, let’s take a closer look at the Physique 57 method and how it works.

Our Foundation: The Lotte Berk Method

Physique 57’s most important precursor, the Lotte Berk Method, was developed during the 1950s by Russian ballet dancer Lotte Berk. Berk was a London-based, classically trained dancer who had a distinguished career with a prominent dance company until a car accident left her with a serious spinal injury. Working with orthopedic specialists, she began to design a series of exercises based on her own ballet barre routines that would strengthen her spine and core and assist in her rehabilitation. Her aim was to regain her former strength and suppleness, as well as tone and shape her entire musculature, which had weakened substantially during the long months of inactivity.

Berk’s strengthening regimen worked so well that she was able to make a full recovery. Soon she began sharing her exercise method with others, and the results she saw in her students led her to open her own studio in 1959. In addition to being rehabilitative, the method seemed to deliver an especially beautiful, long, lean physique—a dancer’s body, even for women who had never had any dance training at all.

It wasn’t long before word spread about Berk’s method among dancers, actors, and Londoners in the know. In 1971, the Lotte Berk Method studio opened its doors for the first time in New York City, where the technique and its original founder quickly became a word-of-mouth success. Berk’s groundbreaking synthesis of strength training, dance, and orthopedic back exercises was a brand-new combination that delivered a different kind of body and set a new standard for what the average woman could achieve through exercise. Best of all, even though the exercises were rigorous, the workouts retained a sense of femininity and fun—something few women could resist.

In the years since the Lotte Berk Method studio closed its doors, we have used the many advances in sports science and exercise physiology to further develop her technique and create a new incarnation that retains all of the fundamentals, but yields even more impressive results. The difference—and the secret that keeps us ahead of the fitness curve—lies in our own groundbreaking process: Interval Overload + Isometrics + Stretching.

How Our Formula Works

Physique 57 is an innovative form of fusion fitness that combines interval training, isometric exercises, and orthopedic stretches to systematically lengthen and sculpt your muscles to create a beautiful, sexy body. While many workouts do some form of interval training, we’ve taken the concept to the next level to make it even more effective. With our interval sets, your muscles are targeted and overloaded to the point of fatigue, then stretched for relief. We call this process Interval Overload. Bringing the muscle to the point of fatigue—the point where it starts to burn and shake—ensures that you are providing it with the greatest possible stimulus, and as a result you see greater changes faster, and with fewer reps. The stretches between the sets allow your muscles to recover and train them to always take their full length—so that you appear taller and more graceful, rather than muscular and bulked up.

We also make tremendous use of isometrics: exercises that challenge your muscles without any visible contractions or movements. Often, simply holding and bracing a particular muscle can be more powerful than doing a hundred reps, so we begin each of our interval sets with an isometric hold—an innovative starting position designed to engage the target muscles as well as ancillary ones before you even start doing the movements. The isometric hold not only makes the interval sets more challenging, but also pushes you to recruit additional muscles throughout the body to help you stabilize the position and perform the reps in the proper way. In this way, you end up toning far more than just the target muscle group with every single Physique 57 move.

This breakthrough process works so well because it increases your lean body mass more effectively than any other workout. Your body composition includes muscle, bone, and fat, and the percentages of each determine how you look. Two people with the exact same height and body weight can look completely different because they have different body compositions. The key, therefore, to looking slim and sexy is to not only blast away fat, but also increase your lean body mass, or muscle. You can diet all you want, but if you don’t target your muscles in the right way, you’re not going to see the definition that truly transforms your body. Physique 57 workouts are designed to significantly increase your lean body mass in an incredibly short amount of time. By overloading the muscles to provide them with the maximum stimulus possible and then further challenging them through isometrics, we are giving your muscles a one-two punch that pushes them to change at an amazingly rapid rate. We’ll talk more about the science behind this process and how it works in chapter 2.

Creating lean body mass is actually harder than you’d think. For many years, strength training has been considered the most effective way to generate and build lean muscle. Lifting weights again and again not only is boring, but can also stress your joints and lead to injury over time. What’s more, certain forms of exercise can actually decrease your lean body mass if you’re not careful. If your workout focuses too heavily on cardiovascular training, for example, as with running or aerobics, you will actually lose lean body mass because your body breaks down muscle tissue to generate fuel (carbohydrates) for all that cardio. The same is true if you combine a heavy workout schedule with a low- or no-carb diet. In this way, you can end up sabotaging your efforts. An unintentional loss of lean body mass is one of the reasons that people can be working out frequently but still not seeing results.

The good news is that Physique 57 has been proven to deliver marked changes in lean body mass while also boosting cardiovascular health and generating significant caloric burn—a feat all the more impressive because it is done without using heavy weights or equipment. This rapid change in body composition also accounts for the dramatic loss of inches off the thighs, waist, and arms that our clients experience because, quite simply, lean muscle tissue takes up far less space than fat. The more lean body mass you have, the slimmer you will look, no matter if the numbers on the scale change very little or even remain the same.

But the advantages of better body composition don’t end there: Your lean body mass also determines your resting metabolic rate (RMR), or the number of calories your body burns at rest. Increasing your lean body mass is the ONLY way to permanently boost your metabolism: Muscle tissue burns fifteen times as many calories as fat, so the more of it you have, the more calories you’ll burn throughout the day, even when you’re not exercising. After age thirty, a woman’s RMR decreases at a rate of 2 to 3 percent per decade, so now is the time to fight back! With every Physique 57 workout, you’ll be sculpting your body into a lean, mean, calorie-burning machine. And if you combine our exercise formula with our knockout eating plan, which shaves off additional calories and boosts your metabolism even more, you’ve got a recipe for major change, and a body capable of staying fit and slim for life.

The Physique 57 Difference

Our revolutionary combination of isometrics and Interval Overload is perhaps the most important way that we stand out from other workouts. It’s the core of our process and, together with our lengthening stretches, the catalyst that boosts lean body mass and transforms your physique. But there are many other aspects of our program that are radically different from other fitness methods and contribute to the overall package and fantastic results that our clients love. Here are some of the other ways Physique 57 outshines the other techniques and regimens you’ve tried before.

  1. Major caloric burn. A typical Physique 57 workout burns up to 650 calories depending on your body weight and fitness level—significantly more than other forms of exercise, including an hour of Pilates (390 calories), an hour of Spinning (300 calories), running a mile (100 calories), or even swimming a mile (400 calories). The truth is that many popular fitness methods, such as Spinning and running, actually have a surprisingly low rate of caloric burn; Spinning burns fewer calories because you are coasting on momentum for most of the workout, and running, while terrific for your cardiovascular system, just doesn’t burn a lot of calories—you have to run a lot of miles to make a difference on the calorie front. And when it comes to more static exercises like yoga, forget it—you’re hardly burning any calories at all!

    Physique 57’s high caloric burn is a direct result of Interval Overload: Your muscles will burn more calories when you push them to the point of fatigue. When you’re really feeling the burn and the heat, you’ve entered your optimum calorie-burning zone. Plus, our technique focuses on strengthening the muscles, and muscle tissue, as we’ve said, burns fifteen times as many calories as fat. The stronger you get, the more calories you’ll burn during your workouts—a fabulous cycle that keeps the pounds coming off!

  2. Innovative choreography. Our dance-inspired exercise moves are a breath of fresh air in the workout world: Instead of triceps dips, we do the Triceps Can-Can; instead of lunges, we do the Curtsy; instead of squats, we do Thigh Dancing. All of our moves are designed to be fun and feminine and to remove any sense of intimidation. With Physique 57 you can say good-bye to many dreaded moves from other workouts, including jumping jacks, jogging in place, torso twists, and endless sets of crunches.

  3. Variety. If you walk into a class at any gym across the country, the class will likely consist of lengthy sets of reps: eight lunges on the left side, eight on the right side, eight on the left again, and so on. It’s tedious and exhausting and everyone watches the clock. In our workouts, we constantly change up the positions and the tempo, so even if you’re working your thigh muscles for twenty minutes, the variety of exercises keeps you focused and challenged, and time flies by. As a bonus, working the same muscle in different ways actually builds muscle faster than doing the same moves again and again, making better results the icing on the cake.

  4. Efficiency. Physique 57 is designed to make every second count and give you maximum results in the least amount of time. In just 57 minutes, our strategic sequence of moves works every muscle group in the body and even zeros in on different fibers within the same muscle. In addition, because of isometrics, most of our signature moves target not just one muscle group but several. In fact, we use the core muscles during 80 percent of the workout. Our Pretzel move, for example, actually works your seat muscles and your waistline so that you are simultaneously sculpting both. How’s that for multitasking?

  5. It’s good for you. Despite the vigorous nature of our workouts, our moves are based on orthopedic and rehabilitative exercises, and thus provide a safe, organic way of reshaping your body. Remember, Lotte Berk originally developed her own exercise regimen as a way to strengthen and retrain her muscles after an injury. There’s no pounding, as with jumping jacks or running, and our moves don’t put pressure on joints and ligaments the way step aerobics or StairMasters do. Many clients who come to us with injuries say that Physique 57 is the only workout they’ve found that doesn’t cause additional problems or pain. Our leg lifts are perfect for weak knees; strengthening your abs takes pressure off your lower back; and our weight-bearing (or standing) exercises improve bone density. You’ll never finish our workouts feeling beat up. Sure, you’ll feel tired, but you’ll also feel energized and glowing from having challenged your body in a healthy way.

  6. It looks good, too. If you’ve ever studied dance, you know that a ballet master or choreographer will often tell his dancers that their bodies should look beautiful during every single second of a performance, and from every angle. Whether you’re going into a turn or coming out of a turn, whether you’re about to kick a leg up or your leg is coming down, you should always appear graceful enough that if someone snapped your picture, the photograph would turn out well. We couldn’t agree more, and all of our moves and sequences have been created with this in mind. No matter how hard you’re working, we want your body to look like a painting, so we’ve given you moves like Figure Skater, Mermaid, and Gazelle Stretch. Now, isn’t that more appealing than doing sweaty, grunty squats?

While the past few years have seen an upsurge in other dance-based workouts, these regimens lack the innovative variations and sequences that Physique 57 uses to zone in on and target even your deepest muscles. Most important, they fail to challenge your muscles to the point of overload—and unless you hit that sweet spot where you’re really feeling the heat, you’re not going to see the truly transformative changes you desire.

The Anatomy of a Physique 57 Workout

A Physique 57 workout is designed to target and tone every muscle group in the body in just 57 minutes. The six different series within the workout—Warm-Up, Thighs, Seat, Abs, Back, and Cool Down—comprise anywhere from one to three sections. Each section is made up of moves, and each move consists of different sets of reps called variations. Together the moves and variations build on one another to systematically sculpt every one of your muscles and ensure that you remain in the calorie-burning zone. We also stretch in between sections to release and lengthen the muscles you’ve been working, and give your body a chance to recharge so that you can start the next section even stronger.

Because we know boredom saps both strength and enthusiasm, we’ve structured the workout so that no one section within a series ever takes longer than eight minutes, and many take far less. You won’t believe how easy it is to get through a killer thigh sequence when you know you only have three minutes to go before you stretch. And within the sections themselves, we rarely spend longer than a minute working the muscles in any given position. This rapid-fire pacing keeps you present and focused on the moves and variations you’re performing so that you can really give it your all with every rep.

The six different series within the workout are:

  1. Warm-Up (8 minutes)

    A Physique 57 warm-up is unlike any other. We don’t devote time to stretches or gentle aerobics—instead, we grab our free weights and dive right in. While biceps curls and push-ups might be the main event in other workouts, for us they’re just the beginning. Our warm-ups will get your heart rate up and start the caloric burn; plus, this is where we do some of our best shoulder- and arm-sculpting work. Most people don’t realize that working your arm muscles burns the least amount of calories of any muscle group in your body, so we do our main push for the arms here rather than giving them a separate series of their own. We use free weights to generate heat and sculpt your biceps, triceps, and shoulders in a very short amount of time.

  2. Thighs (15 minutes)

    The thighs are the largest muscle group in your body, and they generate the biggest calorie burn; thus, we spend a lot of our time working them because they are your single best ally in reshaping your body. Our Thigh series is split into three different sections, each followed by accompanying stretches; because the muscles themselves are so large, you really need a variety of moves to hit all the trouble spots. The first two sections are done standing up and use different leg positions to target your thighs from every angle, as well as the lower leg muscles, especially the calves. The third section is always Thigh Dancing, one of our signature moves that gets you down on the floor and provides a fun, ultra-efficient way to sculpt your quads and waistline. Together these moves are guaranteed to shrink-wrap your thighs, smoothing and slimming them to be fabulously jiggle-free. Just watch those inches disappear!

  3. Seat (14 minutes)

    Almost every workout regimen targets the gluteus maximus—the two large muscles that form the curve of your buttocks and determine whether you have a shapely, lifted seat. But the seat area also includes the gluteus medius, minimus, and dozens of other tiny muscles that are equally important if you want to look great in your sexy undies or bikini bottoms. In this third series, we work all the angles of the seat to make sure that we’re hitting every single one of those muscles, with a focus on the lower seat, which is where we store the most fat. The first half of our seat work is done standing up to give you a healthy dose of isometrics as you work to maintain the proper postures; the second half is done on the floor, which enables you to go deeper and target the glutes’ innermost muscle fibers. As always, we stretch when we finish each side to release those seat muscles, relieve the burn, and get you fired up and ready for more!

  4. Abs (14 minutes)

    Our totally unique abdominal series includes three sets of moves done in three different positions: Flat Back, Round Back, and Curl. These moves and their variations are incredibly effective at involving and strengthening all four sets of abdominal muscles: the rectus abdominis, the transversus abdominis, and the internal and external obliques. Each position changes the angle of the spine to give you a new isometric hold, which in turn enables you to recruit and engage different muscles. As a result, you can sculpt and cinch even the deepest layers of the entire abdominal wall—something that traditional sit-ups and crunches fail to do. Because we know that ab work is agony for many people, we only spend three to four minutes in each of the positions and intersperse fun moves like the Forearm Plank and Triceps Dips. And rather than stretching between each section, we hold the stretches for your abs until we’ve finished working the other side of your core, the back. We keep things moving so that before you know it, it’s over—and yet you’ve hit those abdominals harder than you ever have before!

  5. Back (3 minutes)

    Often we spend so much time focusing on how our front looks that we forget about the other side altogether. But strong and supple back muscles are an essential part of our trademark physique, and we spend time on these muscles, even if most workouts don’t. This series complements the upper back work already done in our Warm-Up by focusing on the middle and lower back. We start off with Back Dancing, a sexy way of strengthening the lower back that also hits the glutes one more time, and follow that with Back Extensors—a quick sequence of moves that engage your lower back, middle back, and core, and help create flexibility in the spine. This series leads to better posture, making you look taller and more graceful.

  6. Cool Down (3 minutes)

    Ahhhh… at last! In these last few minutes of the workout, we move through a series of stretches to relax and elongate your tired muscles, and bring your heart rate back to normal. Since you’ve already been stretching throughout, there’s no need for anything more elaborate. A few last moves and you’re ready to go, stronger, healthier, and energized from knowing that you were brave enough to challenge yourself—and you won!

The Props: How We Enhance Your Workouts

At Physique 57, we believe that your own body is and always should be your very best workout tool. After all, exercise should prepare you to move with strength and assuredness through daily life, and we don’t go about our days with weights strapped to our wrists or a Nautilus machine draped over our shoulders. Therefore, the majority of our workout moves require nothing more than your own muscles and determination. If you do the moves correctly while maintaining the proper form, and push yourself to increase your precision and stamina, you’re going to see big changes as a result.

That said, there are several props we employ during our workouts to help you get the most out of the moves and ensure that you achieve Interval Overload. Several of these props, such as a chair and cushion, are used to help you find and maintain the proper position throughout the movements. This is especially important when you’re first starting the workout and your muscles are not yet strong enough to hold you in place without support. Others, such as free weights and playground balls, are used to create additional resistance and help you recruit more muscle than you could if you were doing the same movements on your own. Here’s the skinny on the props that you will be using and how they facilitate and enhance your workouts:

  • A chair or sturdy piece of furniture. When we teach classes at our studios, we use a ballet barre for support—this, of course, being the traditional tool used by dancers to help them build strength and balance. For your at-home routine, we suggest that you hold on to the back of a chair or a sturdy, waist-high piece of furniture. Used during the Thigh and Seat series, the chair serves the exact same purpose as the barre, and will help you find and maintain the proper position for each movement. It will also give you some additional support in the beginning while you’re learning the moves and strengthening the muscles that will help you maintain each move’s isometric hold.

  • A two- to three-inch-thick cushion. In the Curl section of our Ab series, the cushion serves the exact same purpose as the chair, helping you maintain the proper form and position—and in particular keep a neutral spine, which is essential for effective, injury-free ab work. Neutral spine refers to the natural curve of your lower back. By placing a cushion on the floor directly behind you, you prevent excessive arching in this area and force the lower abdominals to engage and hold the spine in place. Plus, it provides some extra padding for your middle back, or thoracic spine, as you curl up and down off the floor. If you don’t have access to a cushion of this size, you can use a folded towel (or towels) instead.

  • A playground ball. We use the playground ball throughout our workouts to increase the intensity of certain moves in a playful way, and also to help isolate and target critical yet hard-to-work muscles such as the adductors, or inner thighs. Your adductors don’t get a lot of everyday use, so placing and squeezing the ball between your thighs concentrates the movement on those muscles in a way that is difficult to do with only your body’s own weight as resistance. We also use the ball as a source of support and stability for some of our floor work.

  • Free weights. While your body is the sole machinery for most of our workout moves, we do use free weights during our Warm-Up to further challenge the arm, upper back, and shoulder muscles. Although we also target these muscles through Push-Ups, Triceps Dips, and other moves that use the body’s own weight as resistance, our standing upper body moves require additional resistance to bring the muscles to the point of overload. Our Warm-Up uses two different sets of handheld weights: a lighter set of three to five pounds, and a heavier set of five to eight pounds, depending on your fitness level. As a rule, we like using heavier weights because they produce bigger changes with fewer reps; we can sculpt the arm muscles quickly and efficiently, and then move on.

How to Use This Book

The premise of our two-week plan is simple: Do our workouts five times a week and follow our suggested meal plans and you will achieve the body you’ve always wanted. The two 57-minute workouts presented in part 3 are designed to work together and target your muscles in different ways, so you should alternate between them for a total of at least five workouts a week. If you’re already in pretty good shape and want to do more, go for it! Just be sure that you always switch off between the workouts to get the maximum benefit and variety of moves. But no matter how fit you are, we recommend at least one “free” day per week to give your muscles a chance to recover and recharge.

Although it may be tempting to dive right in, we strongly encourage you to take some time before starting the program to familiarize yourself with the steps for each of the moves in part 2. Your workouts will be far more effective if you don’t have to pause to flip back through the book for more detailed instructions; ideally you want to be comfortable enough with each move that you can see the name, a photo, and the number of reps, and be ready to go. In part 2, we’ll provide more specific guidance on practicing the moves and preparing for your workouts, but in the meantime keep in mind that practice reps DO count—you’re still moving your body, working your muscles, and training them to help you get the most out of your efforts.

We also recommend spacing out your free days each week rather than taking them back-to-back. When you’re first starting the program, try to resist the urge to take a day off right at the very beginning, even if you’re sore (and you probably will be!). Soreness is a GOOD thing. It means your muscles are starting to change, and contrary to what some people believe, working out with sore muscles isn’t harmful—in fact, keeping those muscles loose and limber will help the soreness disappear more quickly. So at the outset, try to do the workouts at least three days in a row before taking a break—you want to build momentum and keep it going!

When it comes to the meal plan, advance preparation is your ally here as well. Part 4 explains our philosophy of healthy eating and provides quick-and-easy steps for a Kitchen Makeover, two weeks’ worth of shopping lists, and Girl-on-the-Go suggestions for eating out that you can use to fit your lifestyle—all of which you should use to prepare yourself and your pantry for the weeks ahead. We then provide meal plans and recipes for each of the fourteen days, including breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks. We recommend that you start the plan on a Monday, which gives you the weekend to shop and prepare some dishes in advance, particularly the various dressings and sauces that can be used in a number of ways. Taking the time to eliminate some of the prep work will make it far easier to stick with the meal plan once Monday arrives and your busy life resumes. As you continue on the program, you can use your free days off from working out to pick up additional groceries and plan for upcoming meals.

We’d also like to suggest that for these two weeks, you put your late-night social life on hold and prioritize getting a good night’s sleep. We know that it’s hard to resist a cocktail or two, but your body is going to be working harder than it has in a while, and getting enough rest will ensure that you can attack your workouts with optimum energy and vigor. The healthier you are over the course of the program—and this includes sleeping well in addition to following our guidelines for healthy eating—the more support you will be giving your body and the more dramatic the end results will be.

HOW TO DO THE PROGRAM: A SAMPLE TWO-WEEK SCHEDULE

Starting the program on a Monday is the easiest option for many people, and the one that we feel best sets you up for success. If you do choose to start on a Monday, here is how your schedule might look:

  • Week 1

  • Monday: Day 1, Workout A

  • Tuesday: Day 2, Workout B

  • Wednesday: Day 3, Workout A

  • Thursday: Day 4, Free Day

  • Friday: Day 5, Workout B

  • Saturday: Day 6, Workout A

  • Sunday: Day 7, Free Day

  • Week 2

  • Monday: Day 8, Workout B

  • Tuesday: Day 9, Workout A

  • Wednesday: Day 10, Free Day

  • Thursday: Day 11, Workout B

  • Friday: Day 12, Workout A

  • Saturday: Day 13, Workout B

  • Sunday: Day 14, Free Day

We hope that you will fall in love with Physique 57 and want to continue doing the workouts and enjoying our healthy recipes even after these first two weeks are up. And the good news is that you can, because your body will only get better and better! We still strive to perfect the moves ourselves, to work a little harder, to go a little deeper, and to keep feeling the burn, even though we’ve been practicing the technique for years. And we can tell you honestly that the rewards and the challenges never stop.

You’ll feel amazing when you finish the program in this book—but right now, you should revel in the fun of getting started and get psyched about the incredible transformation that lies ahead. You’re just fourteen days away from looking strong, slim, and sexy. Let’s go!

CHAPTER 2

SCIENCE CAN MAKE YOU SEXY

WITH SO MANY DIETS AND FITNESS PLANS TO CHOOSE from, it can be tough to tell what’s hype and what’s not. Today it often seems like every personal trainer is hawking a brand-new method to help you get in shape and lose weight faster than ever before: “In just ten days!”… “In just six sessions!”… “In just eight minutes, three mornings a week!” Most of us hear these promises and know deep down they CAN’T be true. But that doesn’t stop us from trying them anyway, hoping that this time the program is for real and we’ve finally found the secret to looking great for life.

At first glance, Physique 57 might seem like just another pie-in-the-sky miracle workout. After all, a loss of ten inches and ten pounds in just two weeks is pretty extraordinary! But we’re here to tell you that our program is firmly grounded in the established, proven principles of science and exercise physiology, and that’s how we deliver on the amazing results we promise. And as we mentioned, our workouts are also founded on principles of orthopedic and rehabilitative exercise, which is why, even as challenging as they are, they are so incredibly healthy for your bones, joints, muscles, and mind. Everything that we promise IS possible because it all falls within the parameters of what your body is designed to do—our workouts fire up your body’s own natural strengthening and weight-loss mechanisms, kick them into high gear, and ultimately supercharge them so they become more powerful and efficient than ever before.

This chapter offers a closer look at the science behind our technique, particularly the physiology involved in our process of Interval Overload. It also explores exactly how the different workout components fit together to produce our signature long, lean physique. When you know that our promises are backed by science, you will also KNOW that the Physique 57 transformation is truly within your grasp. And that’s the very best kind of motivation you can have!

So now it’s time to set aside any lingering doubts about whether or not our program can work for you. We’re going to give you the inside scoop on our innovative method, and delve into the details of how our program works, and why.

The Science of Interval Overload

Interval training has been widely recognized for years as an extremely effective form of exercise. Bursts of high-intensity work are alternated with periods of lower-intensity activity or rest. The idea is that by taking these breaks, you are able to increase your overall output: The brief recovery periods allow you to work harder during the high-intensity periods and continue to exercise for a longer amount of time. Numerous studies have shown that interval training truly does deliver the goods: It is incredibly efficient not only at improving your cardiovascular health and stamina—it increases the body’s aerobic capacity to exercise longer at varying intensities—but also at creating lean body mass, that all-important body component that determines how you look. As we discussed in chapter 1, increasing your lean body mass also boosts your metabolism and rate of caloric burn, making interval training one of the most effective ways to spark fat loss as well. It is the preferred mode of training among athletes, and with good reason: The results are consistent and quantifiable, far surpassing any that can be achieved through simply doing an hour of activity—whether jogging or yoga—at a constant pace.

Physique 57’s interval training regimen is designed to amplify both the process and the results. We stretch between sets to lengthen the muscles and allow them to recharge so that you can start your next section even stronger. But stretching isn’t the only thing we do during our recoveries; often, we’ll shift the focus and work a different set of muscles. For example, we’ll do thirty seconds of Triceps Dips in between our first and second Ab sections, which gives your abs a chance to recover while simultaneously activating and sculpting the arms. Even within the same set, we will often switch from working one muscle to another (for example, from inner thighs to quads, then back to inner thighs), or between different parts of the same muscle. In this way, you get all the benefits of interval training, while also continuing to work different muscles during your recovery so you can make the most of every minute and keep the caloric burn going.

Our interval training sets are designed not only to challenge the muscles, but also to give them the MAXIMUM STIMULUS POSSIBLE. We do this not just by working them hard—after all, that’s what most workouts do—but by pushing them all the way to overload, or to the point known in exercise physiology as momentary muscular fatigue. And when you reach that point—when your muscles are burning and shaking, and can no longer contract even if you try—you know that you’ve also reached the absolute peak of your intensity. You’ve activated those muscles as much as you possibly can, and you’ll absolutely need to take a break if you want them to perform any more.

Achieving overload may not feel fabulous in the moment, but you should feel great about it, because it’s when you hit that point that three major physiological changes take place. First, by stimulating the muscle to such a tremendous degree, you’ve activated the neural pathways between your brain and that muscle at a very high level. These pathways are how your brain sends signals to your muscles to tell them to contract, and by activating these pathways again and again at a high intensity, you create a baseline of activation in the muscle. This means that your muscle fibers remain partially activated, or contracted (as opposed to limp and flaccid) at all times, and this accounts for what we call firmness, or tone. The greater your baseline of activation, the firmer your muscles will be. And that’s what makes the jiggle disappear!

Second, stimulating these neural pathways also allows you to recruit more individual muscle fibers within any given muscle, and this is what determines strength. Whenever you use a muscle—whether you’re lifting or standing or walking down the street—you have the opportunity to activate anywhere from 5 percent to 100 percent of the muscle fibers, depending on your level of conditioning. The more your brain keeps firing signals along those neural pathways, the greater the number of muscle fibers that will respond. You ultimately become stronger because you’re building new neural pathways that are more efficient than ever before, and using more fibers within each muscle as a result. Even better, the more muscle fibers you use, the more calories you’ll burn during your workouts. This is one of the reasons that most Physique 57 clients drop pounds without even having to diet.

The third major change that takes place occurs on a cellular level within the actual fibers themselves. Contrary to popular belief, you cannot actually “build” new muscle fibers—you are born with a set number of fibers in each muscle that is largely determined by genetics. But you CAN build more strands of actin and myosin, the protein filaments within each fiber that are responsible for moving your muscles, thus increasing your muscles’ strength and power, and changing their size and shape, which is what gives you definition. Bringing a muscle to the point of overload will push it to grow actin and myosin faster than regular interval training or any other form of exercise. When the muscle reaches the point of momentary muscular fatigue, it knows it has to adapt to the stimulus being provided, so it responds by growing new strands of these all-important proteins so that it will be ready the next time. Once again, these changes result in greater caloric burn—stronger muscle fibers use more energy, and the more energy you need, the more likely it is that your body will start breaking down fat to fuel the movements.

Of course, the key to Physique 57’s Interval Overload is that there is no time at which your muscles are perfectly adapted and able to breeze through our sets with ease. No matter how fit or familiar with the program you are, we ALWAYS take you to the point of overload. We keep changing the pace, the moves, and the angles to make sure that you always feel the burn and reach that sweet spot where transformation is taking place. We hit these same muscles again and again, sculpting and toning them to give you a lean, gorgeous shape and a rock-star metabolism that will keep you thin for life. But Interval Overload is far from the only way that Physique 57 stimulates change in your muscles. Even as you’re fighting your way through sets of reps, we’re working your muscles in a second way that many consider to be equally challenging: isometrics.

The Beauty of Isometrics

When it comes to fitness, there are only two kinds of exercises you can do: isotonic and isometric. Isotonic, or dynamic, exercises are what we usually envision when we think about working out. These are the exercises that make you move: Your muscles contract, your joints bend, and your limbs shift from one position to another. Most important, the length of the muscle changes as it contracts through a range of motion. When you do a biceps curl, for example, your biceps muscle starts out longer and shortens bit by bit until you achieve a full contraction. The reps, or variations, that we do in our interval sets to bring you to the point of overload are isotonics: From hip shakes to curl-ups to squeezes on the ball, all of these exercises have you moving your body and stimulating your muscles as a result.

Isometric exercises, on the other hand, stimulate the muscles without any visible contractions or movements. With isometrics, you contract and then brace your muscles to hold the body in a static position, rather than move through a range of motion. The muscle is engaged, but there is no movement as there is with isotonics. Instead, you find the optimum point in the contraction and stay there. Yoga, for example, is highly isometric—there are subtle movements that take you from position to position, but mainly you’re finding and then holding the postures. Isometrics are also at work when you keep your abs pulled in and your spine aligned during push-ups, or hold your arm above your head during barre work in ballet.

If you think that isometrics sound easy compared with isotonics, trust us—they’re not! If you’ve ever tried to hold a Roman Chair position against a wall for more than a minute or two, you know that isometrics can be TOUGH. In fact, often simply holding and bracing a particular muscle can be just as rigorous as targeting it through reps because you’re not relying on momentum from the movement to carry you through. You can even achieve overload through isometrics if the muscle contraction is challenging enough and you hold it for an ample amount of time. Even a move as basic as holding a playground ball over your head can really fire up the muscles in your arms, shoulders, and core.

There are two significant advantages to performing isometrics: The first is that they tend to activate a lot of smaller, ancillary muscles that get overlooked if you focus solely on isotonics. Isotonic movements, by their nature, tend to work just one or two muscles at a time—and while that can be very effective, it’s also limiting. You can’t, for example, spot-target every single one of the tiny muscles in your seat or every inch of the inner abdominal wall through isotonic movements. The muscles are simply too small and too deep. However, engaging a larger area of the body in an isometric hold can actually recruit and stimulate those hidden muscles as they are called upon to keep you stable and help the larger muscles maintain the position. Holding your torso at a forty-five-degree incline, for example, during your thigh work, engages the entire core in a way that doing a simple curl-up will not. Similarly, maintaining a T position with your upper body during seat work (see our Figure Skater move, page 94) will not only activate your back and core, but also increase the intensity on the glutes and surrounding seat muscles. Ultimately, isometrics are a fantastic way to involve more muscles, especially hard-to-reach ones, in every move.

We also love these subtle yet potent exercises because they tone your muscles without increasing their size, ensuring that you retain a slender, feminine shape. On a cellular level, isometrics produce many of the same changes as isotonics: They stimulate the neural pathways in your muscle fibers to produce a greater baseline of activity, which in turn leads to greater strength, firmness, and tone. However, because you are bracing and holding the muscles in place rather than moving them through a range of motion, the changes you see in the shape of the muscle are less pronounced. In this way, isometrics are an essential part of what creates our signature long, lithe, dancer’s physique: They tone the muscles but avoid adding bulk.

As we discussed in chapter 1, isometrics provide the foundation for almost every one of our workout moves. Each move begins with an isometric hold, or starting position, that is specifically designed to fire up your ancillary muscles and make the interval sets or reps for that move more challenging and effective. For example, in Standing Crane (page 91), you begin by standing with both hands on your chair, your torso angled slightly forward, and your right leg bent to bring the right heel up behind your seat muscle. From there, you go on to perform your reps—pulses, knee circles, and other isotonic movements designed to get you to Interval Overload—all while keeping the working leg bent at the proper angle and maintaining the position of the torso. The isotonic reps target the glutes, so that’s where you’re going to feel the burn. But with the isometric hold, you’re also activating your hamstrings, calves, core, and even upper arms.

Isometrics are certainly at the heart of our workouts, and you’ll even find that the names of the moves themselves—Power Plié, Skier, Curtsy, Clam, and so on—are specifically designed to cue these all-important starting positions and remind you of where you need to be before beginning your reps. But it’s the reps themselves that give each of these moves their “movement.” So let’s take a closer look at what makes up our interval sets: a sequence of moves within each move called the variations.

The Variations

When it comes to exercise, we believe that variety is the secret to keeping people motivated and engaged during a workout. Luckily, it’s also one of the very best ways to tone and strengthen muscles. Whereas most interval training sets involve performing the same activity again and again, our interval sets are built around a sequence of different movements, or what we call variations. You’re still working the same muscle or muscle group, and the isometric hold, or starting position, remains unchanged. But when it comes to the actual reps, we vary the choreography so that in most instances, you’ll never perform the same kind of movement or rep more than sixteen times in a row.

The variations are what give each move that all-important range of motion that stimulates muscle change and leads to Interval Overload. For example, from our Small V starting position, we go on to perform five different variations: Pulses, Hip Tucks, Hip Shakes, Hip Circles, and Deep Pliés, or knee bends that lower your seat toward the floor. Together these variations encompass a greater range of movement and work the thigh and seat muscles more thoroughly than any single one could on its own—even if you performed it a hundred times. And that’s the best part: When we string them together, we only need to perform each variation for thirty to sixty seconds at a time to get the maximum benefit—and thirty to sixty seconds is nothing! But make no mistake, the effect is cumulative: By the time you reach the end of a set, your muscles WILL be burning and shaking. You’ve achieved overload, but you’ve done it in a way that feels far easier than doing three straight minutes of Hip Circles.

Variations are a large part of what enables us to target all of your muscles and give them the maximum stimulus possible in such a short amount of time. With each new variation, we change the height of your leg, the position of your feet, or the direction of the movement in order to stimulate and sculpt the muscles in different ways. Sometimes just shifting by a matter of inches enables you to target a whole new set of muscle fibers. As a result, Physique 57 involves more planes and ranges of motion than any other workout, even Pilates, making it comparable only to dance. Changing the angles and movement patterns also helps to prevent the kind of stress injuries that can result from working the same muscles and joints again and again in the same way. We also include a good number of standing, or weight-bearing, variations because these help to improve bone density—especially important for women as we get older.

These variations are also another major reason that our clients rarely, if ever, plateau. People often reach exercise plateaus because they become bored with what they’re doing and stop challenging themselves. But our workouts move so quickly and contain such a variety of activity that our clients remain excited to take them on. There are literally hundreds of ways to put together a Physique 57 workout, two of which are featured in this book. Plus, facing a new challenge every thirty to sixty seconds will inspire you to perfect every one of the variations, to do them better and more fluidly as you keep up with the tempo. And if you get tired or find one of the variations especially challenging, you needn’t worry—there’s a new one right around the corner, and you can dive back in and attack the next set of reps with renewed vigor. As a bonus, this rapid-fire pacing gives our workout a healthy dose of cardio: Performing ten Push-Ups in thirty seconds and then moving on definitely gets your heart rate up, as will the variations that involve multiple muscle groups.

Our interval sets generally comprise two to three moves, each of which includes anywhere from two to ten variations. If that sounds like a lot, remember that each variation only takes thirty to sixty seconds to perform—so a single Thigh section may only take three to four minutes. Still, we pack A LOT of effort into those four minutes! And with your muscles getting such an incredible amount of stimulus from all these variations, isometrics, and Interval Overload, the rate of body transformation can be rapid and dramatic. That is why throughout our interval sets, we don’t stop simply to rest, but to stretch and lengthen your muscles at every turn.

The Stretches

Anytime you stimulate a muscle through exercise, you’re doing so in order to provoke change. By stimulating the muscle again and again, you’re attempting to rewire its neural pathways to keep it in a moderate state of contraction, or activation—to achieve that baseline of neural activity that we previously discussed—rather than simply letting it hang there, limp and flaccid.

It is at this point that stretching, the third key element that defines a Physique 57 workout, comes into play. Stretching between our interval sets allows us to reclaim the full length of our muscles while still maintaining the new baseline of activation that we’ve achieved. We believe that stretching throughout your workout rather than waiting until the end is one of the secrets to producing a long, lean shape; stretching your thighs immediately after performing a vigorous Thigh series, for example, not only provides a welcome release for those muscles, but also trains them to always take their full length. In addition, your muscles respond best to stretching when they’re warm, so stretching immediately after the series, right after you’ve generated all that heat, allows you to go as deep as possible into the stretch, lengthening and smoothing the muscles without risking an injury or tear. We don’t spend a lot of time on these stretches as a rule—just twenty to thirty seconds apiece—because we don’t want to derail the momentum of your workout. We want to keep you in the calorie-burning zone and keep your heart rate up, so we move through them quickly, and then get right back to the next section.

Some of our clients initially wonder if doing these brief stretches interspersed throughout the workout is as effective or advantageous as stretching for longer periods of time. After all, in the past, most workout DVDs and fitness classes have started and ended with five to ten minutes of stretching. But in recent years, several major studies have shown that a lengthy stretching period isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. These studies concluded that the maximum benefit you can get from any stretch is achieved somewhere in the range of fifteen to thirty seconds. Holding a stretch for two minutes or more won’t get you any further than stretching for twenty seconds. Similarly, they found that repeating a stretch ten times in one workout gives you no greater benefit than simply doing it once. Physique 57 strives for optimum benefits and efficiency, so we do each stretch once, for twenty to thirty seconds, when each particular muscle group is warmed and most receptive. In this way, our toned and firm muscles become long, supple, and flexible as well, and we get that all-important recovery part of the interval process. Many of our clients tell us that if they don’t stretch between sets, they feel less limber throughout the workout and can’t give each section their all as a result.

Stretching also has real orthopedic benefits, helping to protect you from strain and injury. Tighter muscles that cannot easily take their full length may put pressure on joints and tear more readily, whether you’re hiking in the mountains, carrying heavy packages, or just moving about in the course of your everyday life. So if you’re tempted to skip the stretches in our workouts, remember that you’re not just stretching to achieve lithe, gorgeous muscles—you’re also stretching to maintain a healthy body.

How It All Comes Together

In chapter 1, we explored the structure of a Physique 57 workout and saw how the six different series fit together: Warm-Up, Thighs, Seat, Abs, Back, and Cool Down. But within each of these series, the moves themselves follow a deliberate and precise sequence that is designed to engage every single one of your muscles, prevent injury, and help you achieve Interval Overload as quickly as possible. The order of the moves and the timing in each section work together for maximum efficiency—we give you exactly what you need, no more and no less, to achieve your optimum results. Everything you need to get a great body is contained in our 57-minute workout. It’s going to be challenging, but as our clients like to say, “It’s the hardest hour you’ll ever love!”

And you’re not going to have to do it alone—we’ll be with you every step of the way. We’ll help you find the rhythm by counting the reps and giving you upbeat music that makes you want to move. You’ll be surprised at how natural the movements will start to feel after just a few sessions, and before long you’ll be amazed at what your body can actually do. The isometric holds will become second nature, you’ll breeze through the variations with confidence, and you’ll love the feeling you get when you realize you CAN go the distance and fight through the burn to finish the sets. Even from one workout to the next, you are going to feel your muscles getting stronger and see changes in tone and definition that let you know, THIS IS WORKING! And there’s no motivator like success.

So now that you know how the program works, let’s get right to part 2 and start learning the moves. It’s time to create some long, lean muscles! Let the transformation begin.

PART TWO

THE MOVES

AT LAST, IT’S TIME TO START LEARNING THE MOVES THAT will appear in your workouts for the next two weeks. In this section of the book, we provide step-by-step instructions for each of our exercises—the starting positions, the variations, and the accompanying stretches—and give you everything you need to take on your first Physique 57 workout, including modifications for beginners, advanced variations for the more adventurous, and plenty of coaching and motivational tips to keep you inspired and fired up.

As we said in chapter 1, we highly recommend that you practice and familiarize yourself with these moves before attempting to do the workouts. While some of them—such as Push-Ups, Biceps Curls, or Triceps Dips—may initially seem familiar, we’ve put a unique, Physique 57 spin on every exercise, so taking the time to read through and practice the steps will give you a huge advantage going forward. In general, the descriptions are broken into two parts: the Setup, which provides instructions for the starting position, or isometric hold; and the Variations, which outlines the steps for performing each of the variations along with notes about form, pacing, and flow to help you put it all together and get the most out of every move. Each exercise also includes photographs to help you find the proper positioning and range of movement. Remember, with Physique 57, the magic is in the details, so a matter of only a few inches in your positioning can make a big difference in how many inches you lose overall.

We also recommend that you wear comfortable, formfitting clothes to do your workouts. You want to be able to see the muscles you are working and accurately assess your posture and alignment, and you can’t do either of these things if you’re wearing sweats and a baggy T-shirt. Yoga pants—either full-length or capri—are an ideal choice because keeping your legs covered will also help you keep the heat in your thighs and hamstrings. Similarly, we recommend that your shirt or tank top cover your waist so that you can maintain as much heat in your abs as possible. And most important, no shoes! Doing our workouts barefoot gives you better stability and allows you to be more precise with your foot positions. You will also engage more ancillary leg muscles, especially in the calves and lower leg—another bonus.

Practicing the Variations: The Importance of Micromovements

When it comes to practicing the variations, there are a few that you will spot again and again throughout the six different series of the workout: pulses, tucks, circles, and microbends. These are small and simple, yet highly effective movements that can be used to sculpt a variety of muscle groups with a laser-like precision. We love these variations because their smaller range of movement is like a chisel that allows you to get deeper into the muscle. Plus, they provide a nice interlude between the larger, cardio-inducing movements that can leave you momentarily winded. But make no mistake—these moves prove that it’s not the size but the intensity that counts. You WILL feel all of these “micromovements,” even if at first glance they seem fairly basic:

  • Pulses. A pulse is a small, controlled movement in which we either lift or lower a given part of the body over a very short range of motion—only about two or three inches. We do pulses for thighs, the seat, and even the back, and we like them because they provide a kind of middle ground between isometrics and some of the larger, more sweeping isotonic movements. We’ll often use them to start off a new series of moves, as pulsing is a good way to get settled in a new starting position and get the burn going without diving into a full range of movement right away. We also return to pulses in between sets of more challenging reps because they give you a bit of a break and a chance to recheck your alignment, but keep the energy and caloric burn going since you’re not coming to a complete stop. In fact, we’ll often tell our clients that if they ever need to take a break from one of the larger movements, they can pulse for thirty seconds and then jump back in.

  • Tucks. Hip Tucks are small, deliberate movements in which you roll your hips forward and then release them back. We perform them in the Thigh and Back series of our workout. We love this variation because no matter which muscle group you’re working, Hip Tucks bring your abs and glutes into the mix and zero in on the area right below your navel (the so-called kangaroo pouch that every woman wants to avoid). We like to tell our clients, “Every time you tuck, you’re giving yourself a tuck!” These small, controlled movements also strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and loosen up your lower back. Plus, they’re a little bit sexy and just plain fun!

  • Circles. Throughout our Thigh and Seat series, we regularly use our hips, legs, knees, or feet to draw small circles in the air while the rest of the body maintains an isometric hold. These tiny circles help you to engage the ancillary muscles that support the thighs and gluteal muscles. We like to think of our circles as a way to “connect the dots”—you’re connecting everything together, target muscles and ancillary ones, working them in unison and toning and sculpting both as you trace the path of the circle with precision and control. You can almost see your muscles becoming tighter and more defined before your eyes!

  • Microbends. A microbend is a deep, super-focused movement that involves bending and then straightening the leg in a very small, controlled way. The bend is slight, only a matter of inches, but it still delivers a tremendous challenge to the leg muscles because they have to work hard to control the range of movement. When you straighten the leg, you are pressing out, extending the muscles to produce a longer, straighter leg. Microbends are designed to elicit that truly full extension—something that doesn’t occur naturally in most workout moves.

As you read through the exercises in the chapters that follow, you’ll spot these and other components of our technique: the isometric holds, the graceful dance-based movements, and the stretches that will give you a lean and feminine shape. This is where it all starts to come together, and micromovements are just one part of the big picture. If it initially seems like there’s a lot to master in these pages, don’t worry. Our moves all have an inherent logic that makes performing them a lot easier than you’d think. Just take your time, be patient with yourself, and recognize that there is a learning curve.

If you’re already in good shape and tempted to do more—for example, some additional moves to tighten your least favorite trouble spots—each of the chapters provides a list of Booster moves that you can use to supplement your workouts. You can tack these moves on to the end of your workout or do them when you have a few extra minutes during the day. But you don’t need to do them—everything you need to get a great body is contained in the two classic workouts in part 3.

So now let’s get acquainted with the very first moves you’ll encounter anytime you cue up your playlist and begin a Physique 57 workout: the eight-minute, heat-producing series known as our Warm-Up.

A NOTE ON BREATHING

No matter how you exercise, proper breathing is essential. Not only does it enhance the cardio aspect of your workout, but it also ensures that your muscles have ample oxygen, thus improving your power and stability, and enabling you to perform at a higher level. You ideally want to breathe in rhythm with your body’s movements: Whenever possible, try to exhale during the muscle contraction and inhale when the muscle relaxes or lengthens. Especially when you are doing abdominal work, you want to exhale every time you curl up to contract your abs deeper and tighter. The most important thing, however, is to KEEP BREATHING at a steady pace, even when you’re concentrating or working hard to maintain a position. Holding your breath while exercising can lead to dizziness and fatigue, which can undermine your efforts. And nobody wants that!

CHAPTER 3

WARM-UP

FOR MANY YEARS, THE WARM-UP HAS BEEN CONSIDERED the “easy” part of any fitness regimen—a mild prelude that knocks five minutes off your workout before you take on the more challenging routines. But most Physique 57 clients will agree that our warm-up is unlike any other. We don’t believe in wasting your time with light aerobics or gentle stretching; instead, we want to get your muscles fired up and start generating some serious heat! So we skip the slow build and dive right in, using our free weights to get your muscles pumping, your heart rate up, and your metabolism stoked so that your body is primed for peak performance and will remain that way throughout your workout. We often hear new clients say, “That’s the warm-up?” after they finish their first series because our starting moves are just as intense as the main moves in other workouts. But that’s what makes our warm-up so effective, and why it paves the way for your success going forward.

The purpose of the warm-up has always been to set the stage for optimum results. If you want to create significant changes within your muscles, you need to create the proper conditions for change to occur—and we do this by literally warming the body. Anytime you activate a muscle, you generate heat as a by-product of the movement. And when you generate heat, a host of positive changes take place on a cellular level that make it easier for your muscles to perform at a high intensity. First, your body begins redirecting blood flow, sending more blood to the muscles that are working. Second, the heat boosts your body’s oxygen dissociation curve—the rate at which your red blood cells unload and deliver oxygen to your muscles. Third, heat speeds up the all-important enzymes that control your metabolic process, causing you to start burning more calories. Whenever we do a Physique 57 Warm-Up, we like to talk about “launching into the calorie-burning zone.” Ultimately, the more heat you get going in your body, the better your muscles will perform and the more calories you’ll burn along the way, all of which paves the way for you to see greater changes down the line.

As you move through our Warm-Up, you will also discover that we steer clear of the usual moves like jumping jacks, side bends, step-touches, and torso twists. While we do include some classic moves such as planks, biceps curls, and triceps dips, we’ve either modified them to make them more interesting, or slightly changed the pace and choreography to amp them up and make them super-challenging.

For us, the Warm-Up is also the time when we do some of our best shoulder- and arm-sculpting work. Because your arm and shoulder muscles make up one of the body’s smaller muscle groups, they burn far fewer calories per minute of activity than, for example, the thighs. So as we mentioned earlier, rather than giving them a separate series of their own, we fold them in here and use free weights to generate heat and provide them with the maximum stimulus possible in a very short amount of time. The arm-sculpting part of the Warm-Up takes just under five minutes and tones your biceps, triceps, pecs, shoulder, and upper back muscles to deliver a slim and sexy upper body that will have you looking gorgeous in tank tops and strapless dresses—amazing when you consider that many fitness regimens spend ten to fifteen minutes on arms alone!

When it comes to choosing and working with weights, we strongly feel that heavier is better. Contrary to what many women believe, using heavier weights will NOT cause you to bulk up—in fact, heavier weights will allow you to perform fewer reps and see better results. We recommend that you use two different sets of weights to do your Warm-Up: a lighter three-to five-pound set for triceps work, and a heavier five-to eight-pound set for everything else. We recommend two sets because, in general, the triceps muscles, or backs of the arms, will not be as strong as your biceps and shoulders when you’re first starting out—so we target them using lighter weights until they gain strength and power. For any given exercise, your weights should be heavy enough that you are really feeling the burn by the end of the set. If you’re not, your weights are too light and you need to go higher. We’re not going to tell you it’s okay to use soup cans or water bottles instead of weights because it’s not—hopefully you are committed enough to this program and your health to invest in real weights to help you get the most out of the Warm-Up moves.

And now it’s time to take a deep breath in and, as you exhale, leave the outside world and all your cares behind you. It’s time to tune in to your body… this is your hour for you!

USING FREE WEIGHTS: A WORD ABOUT POSTURE

Maintaining good form or posture is essential for getting the most out of any exercise, but it’s especially important when you’re working with free weights. When you pick up your weights, be sure that you continue to stand tall with your shoulders back and your chest open; don’t let your weights round your shoulders and pull you down. Even when you are directed to lean your torso forward, as with a move like Triceps Pressbacks, focus on keeping your spine straight and don’t let those shoulders drop. Always think like a ballerina: Slouching isn’t pretty!

KNEE LIFTS

A graceful alternative to the old-school march-in-place, this is one of the fastest ways to elevate your heart rate and prepare your body for the next 57 minutes. You’re setting the pace and tone for your workout, so let’s get those knees up!

MUSCLES TARGETED: Entire body

  • The Steps

  • Stand tall and draw your navel toward your spine.

  • Energetically push your right foot off the floor and lift your right knee up to hip level while swinging your left arm up and out in front of you.

  • Now lower your left arm and right knee as you simultaneously raise the left knee and right arm. Continue to lift and lower knees and arms while alternating sides at a brisk tempo.

PHYSIQUE 57 TIP

With every lift, imagine that you are giving yourself a lift—reversing the effects of gravity and aging!

BICEPS CURLS

Biceps Curls continue your warm-up and jump-start your metabolic rate. Make sure you feel the burn—you’ll love showing off those guns!

MUSCLES TARGETED: Biceps

WHAT YOU’LL NEED: 5-to 8-pound weights

  • The Steps

  • Pick up your weights and stand with your feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent.

  • Tuck your elbows into the sides of your body and rotate your arms so your palms are facing up. Draw your abdominal muscles in and drop your tailbone down. Imagine that your spine is lengthening behind you.

  • Curl the right weight up toward your right shoulder and then lower it toward your thigh. As you lower the right weight, curl the left weight up to your left shoulder. Continue alternating at a smooth pace.

  • Your elbows should stay at your sides the entire time.

HAMMER CURLS

Hammer Curls are just like Biceps Curls except that we rotate the position of the wrist to target the biceps from a different angle, ensuring that we hit and tone every single one of those muscle fibers. You’ll be able to see your muscles working and gaining definition with every rep!

MUSCLES TARGETED: Biceps

WHAT YOU’LL NEED: 5-to 8-pound weights

  • The Steps

  • Pick up your weights and stand with your feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent.

  • Tuck your elbows into the sides of your body and rotate your arms so your palms are facing each other. Draw your abdominal muscles in and drop your tailbone down. Imagine that your spine is lengthening behind you.

  • With your palms facing in, curl the right weight up toward your right shoulder and then lower it toward your thigh. As you lower the right weight, curl the left weight up to your left shoulder. Continue alternating at a smooth pace.

  • Your elbows should stay at your sides the entire time.

PHYSIQUE 57 TIP

Don’t be afraid of heavy weights—they are the secret to achieving a sexy, sculpted upper body!

SHOULDER PULSES

Shoulder Pulses keep your heart rate up and carve out the sexy, defined arms we all desire. This subtle move packs some serious sculpting punch—far better than the shoulder press machine at the gym!

MUSCLES TARGETED: Biceps, anterior deltoids

WHAT YOU’LL NEED: 5-to 8-pound weights

  • The Steps

  • Pick up your weights and stand with your feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent.

  • With your palms facing in, bend your arms to a 90-degree angle and raise your elbows to slightly below shoulder level. Maintain the angle so that the weights remain directly above your elbows.

  • Begin lifting your weights in small, upward pulses, making sure that your elbows never come above shoulder level.

  • Draw your abdominal muscles in and keep your shoulders down. You want to feel as though your rib cage is drawn together in the front, like you’re wearing a corset.

Note: If you have any rotator cuff issues, use lighter weights or no weights at all.

PHYSIQUE 57 TIP

Visualize what you want your muscles to look like—long and lean, no bulk!

ROWS

This move is a welcome alternative to the rowing-to-nowhere machine at the gym. With strong back muscles, you will stand taller and have better posture all day long without even thinking about it. Plus, who wants back fat?

MUSCLES TARGETED: Upper back, posterior deltoids

WHAT YOU’LL NEED: 5-to 8-pound weights

  • The Steps

  • Pick up your weights and step your feet wider than your hips, keeping your feet parallel.

  • Bend your knees and lean forward from your hips at about a 45-degree angle. Keep your spine long from the crown of your head through your tailbone.

  • With your palms facing each other, reach your arms forward and then, squeezing your shoulder blades together, bend your right elbow and bring the right weight all the way up next to your rib cage.

  • As you extend the right weight back to the starting position, bring the left weight up to your rib cage. Continue alternating at a good pace.

  • You want to keep your elbows close to your body as you row—feel them skimming along your waistline.

  • Keep your abdominal muscles engaged the entire time to feel more of a burn!

TO MODIFY: Use lighter weights if necessary.

ROWS WITH WIDE ELBOWS

This variation on traditional Rows targets your upper back and shoulder muscles from a different angle. If you like to wear strapless dresses, this is the move for you—your back muscles will look amazing. Nothing soft or hanging out!

MUSCLES TARGETED: Upper back, posterior deltoids

WHAT YOU’LL NEED: 5-to 8-pound weights

  • The Steps

  • Pick up your weights and step your feet wider than your hips, keeping your feet parallel.

  • Bend your knees and lean forward from your hips at about a 45-degree angle. Keep your spine long from the crown of your head through your tailbone.

  • With your palms facing down, thumbs toward each other, reach your arms forward and then, squeezing your shoulder blades together, bend your right elbow and bring it up in line with your right shoulder.

  • As you extend the right weight back to starting position, bend your left elbow and bring it up in line with your left shoulder.

  • Continue alternating at a smooth pace.

TO MODIFY: Use lighter weights if necessary.

PHYSIQUE 57 TIP

Engage those abs! The way you work out is the way you design your body—if you hold your abs in for an hour, they will stay that way when you finish.



Continues...

Excerpted from The Physique 57(R) Solution by Becker, Tanya Copyright © 2012 by Becker, Tanya. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: The First Step to a Gorgeous Physique ix

Part 1 The Method

Chapter 1 What Is Physique 57? 3

Chapter 2 Science Can Make You Sexy 18

Part 2 The Moves

Chapter 3 Warm-Up 36

Chapter 4 Thighs 56

Chapter 5 Seat 89

Chapter 6 Abs 111

Chapter 7 Back 132

Chapter 8 Cool Down 141

Part 3 The Workouts

Chapter 9 Classic Workout A 155

Chapter 10 Classic Workout B 171

Part 4 The Menu

Chapter 11 Eat, Drink, and Be Gorgeous 193

Chapter 12 What's Cooking? 214

Chapter 13 Kitchen Diva 224

Resources 275

Acknowledgments 277

Index 279

About the Authors 289

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2012

    Amazing!!!!!

    I lost 15 p

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2012

    Annonymous

    Reinvented the wheel......been doing all of this sruff in pilates and dance class for years and years Also some inaccurate science and terminology

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