Below is a guest blog from my former trainer, Amanda Vaughn, with pics of me doing the workout (thanks to my friend Lisa for the use of her home). I have a follow-up at the bottom of the post. For the record (those photos scare me), I am 5’6” and weigh 135 lbs. Not exactly runway material but it’s what I am and I work hard to maintain what once would’ve horrified me.
I guarantee if you do the routine below three times a week for a month, your body will be transformed.
AND, there had better not be rude comments about my rolls and lumps. I’m putting these humiliating photos up and I hope you won’t make me feel more self-conscious than I already do.
Here’s Amanda’s post:
The Devil. Workout Bitch. Princess of Pain. Queen of Torture. These are just a few of the names my clients have for me. The funny part is that I’m actually a nice person. It is my job to come to your house for an hour and kick your butt into shape. And you actually willingly pay me to do so. My name is Amanda Vaughan and I’m a personal trainer….in Las Vegas no less.
Las Vegas. The place I met Melani about four years ago. She called me on a weekend and inquired about the services our personal training company, Forget the Gym, had to offer. We agreed to meet the following Monday for a fitness consultation and complimentary first workout. (I think I hooked her with the free workout – what did she have to lose?)
Melani answered the door, with Kate (who likes to run through Central Park) and trusty English Bulldog Winston (who was inspiration for us to get a bulldog of our own) at her side. In my hand I had a Forget the Gym consultation folder and a tape measure-and that’s when Melani looked at me in horror. I’m lucky she actually let me in the door.
We sat at her dining room table and I began to ask about her health and fitness goals and what she wished to accomplish with exercise. Melani had shared on the phone that she had lost her husband to cancer and was in a deep state of depression. She knew that exercise was something that would make her feel better and was ready to give it a go. I started spouting off all the good that comes with exercise and healthy eating – improved energy, increased metabolism, decrease in body fat, better sleep…. And that’s where she cut me off – “I don’t give a shit about the health benefits. I’m vain, I want to look good in clothes.” (Well, okay, at least she was being honest).
I assured Melani that the combination of exercising at least 3 times a week with me, all of her daily dog walking, and turning in her Diet Coke for water, she could transform her body into the rockin’ Melani body that she was seeking. The Diet Coke was almost a deal breaker….but she soon started keeping a tally of bottles of water she drank and proudly reported to me the next training session.
And so our journey began – Melani worked out faithfully 3 times a week for an hour at a time. For the better part of our time together, she saw only me, and the Starbucks drive-thru guy (who was always trying to figure out clever ways to flirt.) Other than workouts, Melani’s days were filled with walking Kate and Winston and working feverishly on her book – the memoir of her late husband. I absolutely CAN’T WAIT until I see this deserving book on Amazon and in every bookstore.
The book – I truly think is the only thing that motivated Melani to get up every morning. Each day represented another chance to share her share their story—honor her late husband. After writing for two years, Melani had finished a rough draft. I asked if I could read it. She had shared lots of stories so I felt that I knew she and Neal as a couple. She emailed me a copy and I printed it out as soon as I got home. I was absolutely glued, and finished all 300 plus pages in two days. I laughed and cried as I read the memoir. I could hear Melani’s distinct voice telling this magical love story. If you enjoy her writing style and storytelling on the blog—you’ll love the book.
Melani followed my rules and she transformed her body. The good part is that we had fun while doing it. We kept track of her measurements that we took on that first day and sure enough the inches started coming off everywhere – waist, hips, thighs. She was becoming a thinner, more toned Melani.
So you may be wondering what exactly Melani did during a workout. Remember – we never left the house! You don’t need a gym and very little equipment (if any) to get in a great and effective workout. Melani is proof.
Keep moving the whole time!
Repeat each exercise in each group 3 times through, then move onto the next group of exercises. If you’re just starting out, you can repeat exercises twice in each group and work up to three times each!
Pushups (10-15 reps) Help tone your arms and chest – just in time for all the sleeveless tops for summer!
Lunges (10 on each side) The ultimate lower body exercise! No one’s favorite – but everyone loves the results! Lunges can be done in place or walking down a long hallway (Melani’s favorite!)
Jumping Jacks (20 reps) Have to get the heart pumping!
Hamstring Curl with Ball (12-15 reps) Another butt-lifter, while also working your core. Rest your heels on the ball and pull the ball in towards your butt and then back out.
Ball Pass (10 reps) The exercise that uses every muscle in your body! Literally pass the ball from your hands to your feet while laying flat on the floor.
Burpees (10-15 reps) Everyone’s favorite memory from gym class.
Front Raise (5 lbs, 10 reps) Helps tone upper arms and shoulders. Don’t lift weights above your shoulders when you reach the top of the movement.
Side Raise (5 lbs., 10 reps) Same as the front raise except lift weights to the side.
Side Plank (Hold for 30 sec. each side) For advanced, add leg lift. Balance on your elbow and outer sole of foot and just hold! This exercise targets the core and will help get rid of that muffin top.
Mountain Climbers (20 reps) Climb that mountain, baby!
Bicep Curls (8-10 lbs, 10-12 reps) Keep your elbows in at your side and make sure not to swing to lift the weights.
Tricep Dips (12-15 reps) Find a chair (piano bench), couch, that you can use! Slowly lower and raise your body using your arms – make sure you don’t cheat by letting your legs do that work!
Plank (Hold 1 min.) Another great core exercise. Keep your spine inline with your body and balance and your elbows and toes. Hold for 30 seconds and work your way up to a minute! (Or be like Ellen and hold your plank for 10 minutes! Good luck!)
Here’s some background on Amanda’s post:
I was recently visiting Las Vegas, and while there I realized that my NYC yoga practice (3 times a week for 90 minutes) was not hitting all of my problem areas (muffin top, inner thighs, upper arms). The mirror told the tale because we wear fewer clothes in Vegas—at well over 100 degrees in the summer, it’s not just the strippers.
I called Amanda and asked that she give me a refresher. I wanted to head back to the City with something I could do in addition to my current routine.
A little history.
Just before Amanda first came into my world I was at the lowest of low points. My life consisted of two things—writing and crying. I had just begun taking baby steps to get a life that involved more than a computer and kleenex. I knew I needed to get out of the house so the first thing I did was enroll Kate (my dog) in a weekly agility class through Parks and Rec (don’t judge, it was that or square dancing for Seniors).
Kate, the genius, was the star pupil and I asked another participant to take some photos with my camera. What I saw was shocking. I didn’t realize how much I’d let myself go. I was concerned about going to the gym because I couldn’t control when I would cry. Forget The Gym was the perfect solution. It also wasn’t freakishly expensive as I thought it might be.
Amanda showed up with a fucking tape measure. Oh, the indignity.
But what REALLY got to me was her perky little ass. It mocked me.
Photo: Amanda’s Onion
Amanda was always smiling. She knew when to push and when to back off (I admit I was bitchy sometimes) and within a month, she changed my body.
I also had a new friend.
Huge thanks to Amanda for taking the time to guest blog. If you decide to try her routine I’d love to hear about your results. Get out that cruel tape measure and record where you start. One month later, do it again. You won’t be disappointed. I’m back on it and can already see a difference.
Lastly, in Amanda’s post she mentioned Winston, our English Bulldog. He died just before I made the move from Las Vegas to New York. He was eleven years old (ancient for his breed). The Big Boy had a heart of gold. He was always at my feet while I wrote. I miss him every day.
”Old age is no place for sissies.” Bette Davis