Fitness trainer to the stars Josh Salzmann shares simple moves that make the difference to your shape and in just a few weeks – no visits to the gym required!
Holidays spark feelings of excitement, yes, but perhaps also a little dread… On the plus side, you’ll be relaxing (in the sun, hopefully). On the negative, you’ll be baring limbs and body parts that are pale and puffy after being under cover for most of the year.
This summer could be different. Josh Salzmann, a fitness expert who has guided some of the world’s most famous bodies into perfect shape – from Kate Winslet to Angelina Jolie, Pierce Brosnan and Paul McCartney – says getting holiday fit needn’t be daunting.
In fact, Josh promises that just a few weeks of working out could transform your figure – and the process will be cheaper, easier and more fun than you think. ‘Too many people mistakenly think that flogging themselves at the gym, running miles every day or pedalling endlessly on an exercise bike is going to get them into A-lister shape for the beach,’ says Josh. ‘But nothing could be further from the truth – especially beyond the age of 35.’
Convenient and free
None of the exercises Josh recommends for our pre-holiday workout requires expensive equipment or gadgetry. All can be performed in your own home and some are best done with a partner, which makes it more fun.
Josh advises against working the same body part on consecutive days – perhaps do legs and bum one day, arms and tum the next. And he doesn’t want you to become hooked on numbers. ‘I never recommend a set amount of exercises for my clients as it just gets stressful,’ says Josh. ‘Instead, I advise doing a move until you can’t manage another successful repetition of it.’ For some people that may be five times, for others 50. The key is to do the right amount for your body at that time.
In addition to the workouts recommended here, Josh says it’s important to accumulate as much daily activity as possible – be it cycling, walking, swimming or gardening – to help blast away body fat and reveal the leaner, toned physique that lies beneath. Within three to four weeks you will notice that you look and feel better. Here goes…
- ALWAYS warm up with 15 min of step-ups on a bench, stair climbing or a brisk walk.
- ALTERNATE the body parts you work each day. Perform each exercise ‘to failure’ before moving on to the next. As a guide, try to repeat each exercise set 2–3 times, progressing to 4–5 sets in the final week.
- NEVER finish exercising abruptly – the body needs time to readjust, so a cool-down period is essential. Aim to walk for 5–10 min, then stretch out the muscles you’ve worked.
For the tummy
Abs and major muscles in the upper and lower body
1. Lie on your front with your elbows bent at 90 degrees. Lift your whole body up in a straight line, distributing your weight between your forearms and toes. Keep your elbows beneath your shoulders and your neck long, gazing down.
2. Squeeze your buttocks, brace your core and hold as long as you can. Make sure your hips don’t sag or pike up – you shouldn’t feel pain in the lower back.
3. Gently lower to the floor, then repeat.
1. Lie on your back with a pillow, football or beach ball between your knees – this really helps to engage the abdominal muscles.
2. Put your feet flat on the floor with your knees bent and hands behind your head to support it.
3. Slowly lift from the breast bone to raise your shoulder blades off the floor, keeping space between your chin and chest. Draw up the pelvic floor and pull your tummy button towards your spine. Make sure your lower back remains flat on the floor.
4. Gently lower, then repeat.
For the legs
Muscles in the upper and lower legs
1. Stand with a ball (about football size) between your back and a wall. Position your feet shoulder-width apart, two or three steps from the wall. Put your hands on opposite shoulders, elbows lifted so they’re parallel to the ground.
2. Keeping your back straight, slowly roll down the wall until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Make sure your knees don’t go past your toes – adjust your stance if necessary.
3. Roll back up to standing, then repeat.
Leg muscles and buttocks
1. Take a long stride forward and slowly bend your front knee so it’s directly over your front foot. You can place your hands on your hips for support.
2. Allow your back knee to drop until it almost touches the floor – both legs should be bent close to 90 degrees. Engage your abdominal muscles to keep your trunk upright.
3. Push up through your front heel back to the start position. Repeat, alternating the working leg.
For the bottom
1. Starting on all fours, rest on your forearms with your head and body in line, gazing down.
2. Lift your bent right leg off the floor, keeping your foot flexed. As your partner applies pressure to the back of your thigh, lift the leg upwards, pushing from your buttock and leading with your heel.
3. Drop the leg slowly by a few centimetres, then raise again. Keep your hips level and back straight at all times.
4. Complete reps on one leg, then switch.
Side-lying leg lift
Outer thigh and buttocks
1. Lie on your side with knees bent and feet together. Rest on your elbow so your hand supports your head. Place your upper hand in front of your body for support.
2. Lift your top knee upwards to open your legs, keeping your feet together on the floor as your partner applies resistance to the outside of the top knee. Keep your hips stacked on top of each other – don’t roll forwards or backwards.
3. Lower and repeat. When you’ve exhausted one leg, switch sides.
For the arms
Front of the upper arms
1. Stand facing your partner with each of you stepping your left foot forward so they’re in line.
2. Bend your elbows by your sides with your forearms parallel to the floor, palms flat and facing up. Your partner then puts their fingers on top of yours and applies pressure.
3. Keep your elbows tucked in as you slowly curl your hands up to your shoulders, hooking fingers with your partner. Make sure your back foot stays flat on the floor.
4. Lower, then repeat.
Back of the upper arms
1. Stand two or three steps in front of your partner with your back facing them.
2. Bend forward from the waist with your knees soft and back flat. Raise your elbows so your arms are at a 90 degree angle.
3. Keeping your elbows in position, push your forearms back to straighten them as your partner applies pressure to your inner wrists.
4. Return to the starting position, then repeat.
If you only do one more exercise…
Make it the press-up
Experts at the American Council on Exercise have identified the press-up as the ultimate all-over toning move as it works the abdominal, arm and back muscles. More good news: there are three variations depending on your strength (see right). Aim to complete 12 to 15 press-ups to start with, gradually progressing to 2 to 3 sets of 15 every other day.
1. Stand facing a wall at arm’s length with feet hip-width apart. Keep your back straight, hips square to the wall and abdominals engaged.
2. Put your hands flat on the wall so they’re level with your shoulders but slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, fingers spread and pointing up.
3. Bend at the elbows and lean towards the wall. Make sure your back is flat, legs straight and feet in position. Touch the wall with your nose, press away and repeat.
1. Come on to all fours. Put your hands flat on the ground, slightly in front of and wider than your shoulders. Position your knees hip-width apart, ankles crossed.
2. Lean your body forward so your weight is directly over your hands. Keep your core engaged, back flat and spine and head in line.
3. Inhale as you bend your elbows and lower your chest so it hovers just above the ground, then exhale as you press back up. Repeat.
1. On the floor, support yourself on your hands and toes, feet together and hands slightly wider than your shoulders. Your body should form a straight line: keep your back flat, your head in line with your spine and your gaze down (as if you were in plank pose – see photo above).
2. Inhale, then bend your elbows and lower your body in one solid piece so it hovers just above the ground. Push up as you exhale, but don’t lock the elbows. Repeat.
How to ditch the paunch
For many men, middle age brings with it the dreaded pot belly. Whereas once it was relatively easy to stay in shape, suddenly the waistband tightens, your stomach protrudes and love handles appear from nowhere.
What causes it? Of course, lifestyle plays a part. Work and family demands mean there’s often less free time to devote to exercise. Instead of going to the gym to unwind, it’s easy to make a habit of relaxing on the sofa with a glass of wine. And, in time, declining activity takes its toll.
But there are physical changes that influence middle-age spread, too. Body fat and fluid retention can become a problem as metabolism slows with age. From 40 onwards, we all lose an average 1lb of muscle a year through the ageing process. This combination of too much body fat and too little strength makes for a protruding tum.
It’s bad for your health, as well as your looks. A growing body of evidence shows belly fat puts us at much greater risk of serious health issues. The worry is visceral fat – the type that sits around major organs and has been linked to diabetes and heart disease.
What can you do about it?
Leading fitness experts share their top belly-fat blasting tips…
Mix it up
When our bodies burn fat, it takes it from anywhere it can –
sadly, we can’t choose where we lose it. Matt Roberts, personal trainer to David Cameron, recommends a mix of fat-burning and toning exercises. ‘Aerobic activity such as walking and cycling, along with press-ups and sit-ups, can help to get rid of the paunch,’ he says.
The metabolic rate (the rate at which you burn calories per hour, per kg body weight) for using a rowing machine is 12 to 14 – running is 8 to 12, and cycling 6 to 10. ‘It’s a high intensity exercise, which means you burn a lot of calories – and it tones the abs,’ says Matt. ‘Aim to row 500m to start with, building to 1.5–2km over three to four weeks.’
Take a daily stroll
Stress raises levels of cortisol in the body, known as the ‘belly-fat hormone’. Too much cortisol affects fat distribution, causing fat to be stored centrally – around the organs. This visceral fat is linked to a raised risk of serious conditions such as heart disease. A daily walk or, better still, yoga session can help to keep chronic stress at bay.
And on holiday…
Go paddle boarding. ‘I’d say it’s the best thing you can do to correct an expanding waistline and poor posture,’ says Garry Trainer, an osteopath whose clients include Paul McCartney, Emma Thompson and Brad Pitt. ‘It engages the core and encourages correct positioning of the spine.’ Time to head to the beach and give it a go!
*Weight-loss results will vary and are down to your individual circumstances and the amount of weight you have to lose.