The R&B/hip-hop star Usher has sold over 65 million records, making him one of the best selling artists of all time. His numerous award wins, including seven Grammys, thirty Billboard awards, and six American Music Awards, attest to his musical talent. However, unlike many of his R&B/hip-hop peers, Usher has proven to be so bankable that he is the spokesmodel for products as diverse as Belvedere Vodka and the Gap in China. How does Usher do it? One way is through his healthy lifestyle, which includes eating well and exercising regularly. So why not take a lesson from Usher and make a move toward sexier, healthier, and stronger in 2012? After talking to two fitness experts, we have just the plan to get you started.
STRONG AT THE CORE
Elite Fitness Expert and Personal Trainer PJ Stahl, MA, CSCS, has worked with numerous celebrities to meet their fitness goals. He designed this quick core-busting workout that can be done anywhere without equipment. Start with three repetitions of this simple sequence 2-3 times per week and you will soon see and feel the results in your abs, shoulders, and hips.
1) HAND PLANK:
A hand plank looks like the top of a push-up with your arms extended and hands placed directly under your shoulders. Place your feet together and toes on the floor. Pull your abs in and squeeze your entire body as tightly as possible, staying as straight as a board from your shoulders to your heels. Hold 20 seconds.
2) HAND PLANK/ARM RAISE:
Keeping the Hand Plank position, move your feet out shoulder width for balance. Alternate raising one arm at a time directly in front of you as if you were reaching towards the wall in front of your head. The hard part is NOT letting your hips or core move. Stabilizing your body and locking in your abs/hips will activate all of your core muscles. Alternate 10x on each arm.
3) HAND PLANK/LEG RAISE:
Keeping the Hand Plank/Arm Raise position from above, alternate raising your feet off the ground (only 2 inches high). Just as before lock in your shoulders, core, and hips so there is absolutely NO movement. This is a small movement, but you should start to feel the burn at this point. Alternate 10x on each leg.
4) SIDE HAND PLANK:
Transitioning to the Side Hand Plank, bring your feet together and rotate your entire body to one arm (right) and the side of your foot (right). Hold your body as straight as possible from head to feet and extend your top arm (left) towards the ceiling for perfect form. This exercise will emphasize your obliques, the abdominals on the sides of your body. Hold 20 seconds on each side.
Finally, your burn-out set. Roll onto your back, bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor. With your hands placed lightly behind your ears (not pulling on your head), crunch your upper body so that your shoulder blades come off the mat. Perform 20 consecutive crunches.
A BEAUTIFUL BANQUET
Registered Dietician and Sports Nutritionist Meg Mangano, RD, CSSD, CLT, has a stellar reputation for helping clients utilize food as a vehicle to health and success. To help your metabolism work effectively and increase the benefits of your workout, she suggests the following:
1) SPACE MEALS – Eat within 30 minutes of waking up and have a total of 4-6 meals every 3-4 hours (three larger meals, plus snacks in between).
2) EAT BALANCED – A meal is lean protein, a minimum half plate of non-starchy vegetables, complex carbs, and healthy fat. For example, chicken, a big green salad, potatoes, and avocado. A snack is fruit with protein, such as banana and peanut butter.
4) PICK YOUR PROTEIN – Beans, nuts, fish, eggs, turkey, and chicken are preferable to pork and dairy.
5) HYDRATE – Convert your body weight into ounces and drink at least half to the entire amount in water each day depending on how much your sweat. For instance, a 160 pound male would drink 80-160 ounces.
6) MAKE SMALL CHANGES – Add vegetables to a turkey wrap or drink unsweetened 100% pure fruit juice instead of soda.
As you move toward a healthier lifestyle, keep in mind, even a superstar like Usher didn’t get there overnight. Meg says, “You don’t have to be perfect. It’s ok to start with small steps build on those each day or week. Use the 80/20 rule: do what is for you 80% of the time, and enjoy a more relaxed approach the remaining 20% of the time.” Also, don’t forget that food should be delicious, working out should be fun, and that looking good feels great! See you in 2012!