Photography by Richie Chance
A healthy lifestyle has always been a top priority to me. Since I was a kid, I have incorporated good eating habits and exercise into my daily routine. I firmly believe that those who practice overall wellness from a young age have a much easier time metabolizing food and burning fat as they transition into adulthood and even their later years of life, not to mention a drastic decrease of disease and other health issues.
As a model, I’m asked regularly what my diet secrets are and how I keep in shape. Unfortunately I don’t have a magical diet plan. It’s no secret that eating clean will help give you the body you’ve always wanted but we’ll talk about diet in our next health post. Today I want to share with you the way I get in a quick workout everyday that doesn’t require a gym membership, equipment or a space bigger than the length of your own body.
If there was such thing as a miracle workout plan, this would be it. I use the following exercises to stay fit whether I’m in the gym, my own living room or at a hotel during my travels and it only requires your own body weight to work. The best part is that it only takes 10 minutes of your time each day. For most people, you will see a difference after only a week of this routine.
We all have busy lives but exercise is crucial for your overall health, happiness and state of mind. In these 10 minutes, try only to focus on the task at hand. Concentrate on your breathing using deep and methodical breathes in and out. Keep your core strong and always be conscious of engaging your abs throughout each exercise. Safety and proper techniques are the most important so if anything ever hurts, stop immediately. Of course this is exercise, not a stroll in the park, so you’re going to feel the burn but whenever I feel like giving up I remember this quote, “Pain is weakness leaving the body”. These exercises are designed to target all of the major problem areas such as arms, legs, butt and those pesky abs. I’m a big fan of kickboxing and mat pilates but lately I haven’t had enough time to take classes, so I utilized some of the most effective parts of each to come up with a routine that I could easily do no matter where I am.
We all want to look and feel sexy so get inspired and try different workout combinations each day. At the risk of sounding like a late night infomercial, getting the body you want is really as easy as 10 minutes a day. Now, I can make time for that!
1. Stretching Your Obliques- Always begin your routine with an ample amount of stretching. It’s important to warm up your muscles and not jump directly into a high intensity workout. Stretching your obliques will help you maintain correct posture, align the spine and prevent future injuries. It also engages the core, giving you a little head start on your ab workout.
Stretch your obliques by standing shoulder width apart with your feet parallel to each other. Raise your hand above your head, keeping the other one on your hip. While slowly bending your body to the opposite side of your raised arm, exhale through your mouth and keep your hips still. Once you’ve bent over as much as you can, hold your pose for 15-20 seconds and then return to an upright position. Repeat on the other side. 2. Arm & Shoulder Stretch- This stretch feels great and prepares your arms and shoulders for the upcoming exercises in this routine. Swing your arm to the opposite shoulder (keeping your elbow straight) and use your free arm to pull it into yourself and hold for as long as you like. 3. Jumping Jacks- At this point I’m going to start to get my heart rate up. C’mon, you remember how to do these from gym class, right?! They’re super easy!
Try doing 1 straight minute of jumping jacks. 4. The Dreaded Squats- Here comes the not so fun part. If there was only one exercise I could do for the rest of my life, this would be it. Although it’s the most difficult part of the routine (in my opinion), squatting is also the most beneficial and rewarding. This is where the toned abs, firm tush and legs come from. It’s one of those all-inclusive deals that really work the core and gives you that healthy, sculpted look. The areas I need to work on the most are fully covered by this one simple technique, so have at it and you’ll see the results quickly.
To squat correctly, place feet at shoulder width apart with your toes facing slightly outward. When lowering your backside down at a slow, methodically pace, imagine you are about to sit on a really low chair by keeping your eyeline straight ahead, shoulders back, chest out and your lower back straight to slightly arched throughout the entire exercise. This is extremely important to ensure you do not herniate a disc. As you lower your body, your knees should never extend past your toes, keeping most of your weight on the heels of your feet. My kickboxing coach told me to imagine picking up a set of keys on the floor only using my bum. I’m not sure if that really helped my form but I sure never forgot it. The burning in your quads will let you know you’re doing it right. One last thing: breathing is important in preventing light headedness and fainting. Inhale on the way down and exhale on the way up each time.
Try doing 20 squats and increasing it by another 10 each week.
5. Sit-ups- There are multiple ways to include sit-ups into your routine. With a variety of ways to execute this exercise, I tend to combine the traditional technique with a twisting motion where the elbow of one arm makes contact with the opposite knee and vice versa. This movement helps to sculpt the obliques as well as the lower abdominal area for a more efficient workout.
Try starting out by doing 25 reps and adding 5 a day for 30 days. Another option is to extend your leg straight out with a pointed toe and mimic the action of riding a bicycle, bringing the other knee towards the chest to meet your upper body. Keep your straightened leg parallel to the ground. Do not let either of your legs touch the floor during this exercise. It’s tough but works the ab muscles really well. 6. The Side Plank- Remember when planking was a thing? Luckily, this plank doesn’t involve taking silly pictures like a stiff board in random locations but works your core and strengthens your back. Prop your body up in a straight line and rest the weight of it on your forearm. Engage your abs by pulling them in firmly. Keep your head and neck in line with your spine and don’t forget to breathe!
Hold for 30 seconds or longer and then switch sides! If you feel like taking this exercise to the next level, balance on your forearm while extending your other arm up towards the sky with all fingertips pointing up and making a ‘T’ shape with your body.
7. The Original Plank- Here is the conventional plank. Again, this is good for core strengthening. Lay belly down on the mat and pop up on your toes and forearms. Keep your eye line out in front of you, creating a straight “plank-like” form. Hold your abs in tight and squeeze your glutes.
Hold the plank for a minimum of 30 seconds or until you begin to tremble. 8. Leg Lifts- As you’ve probably noticed by now, my main focus in this routine are core and abs. After all, isn’t that the hardest battle for most of us? I like to do a set of leg lifts, keeping both my legs together and slowly raising them from one inch above the floor, up to a 90 degree angle and back down again. Use your abs to control the motion of this exercise.
Try another set with the same action as the leg lifts above but this time scissor your legs and reach upwards towards your toes.
And there you have it! It seems like a lot but the more you do it, the easier it becomes. I promise.