Madonna has always shocked America with her ability to transform herself with every new album. Over the years, Madonna has also transformed her body into a well sculpted masterpiece. So, how does she do it?! We all know she loves doing advanced yoga, but what does she do in her new state of the art gym? Her trainer lets you in on her workout secrets.
Variety: According to Tracy, a lot of what’s wrong with your work-out is repetition.
“Any time you are doing the same movement over and over you are building and bulking your muscles,” she says. “It is very important to change your rotations and hit your muscles from different angles.”
With celebrity clients such as Madonna and Gwyneth, Tracy says, “I constantly have to invent new things and new systems for each and every work-out.
“I’m making up new ways to keep them motivated and the results constant. You have to really look at what is going to happen to your body as a result of the work-out you are doing.”
With clients, Tracy uses a custom made Hybrid Body Reformer machine she has designed. But whereas the traditional Pilates reformer machine is designed to hit the muscles from one angle, Tracy’s can get at muscles from multiple points. This allows her to create more than 40 new moves a month.
How to start:If you are on your own at the gym, here’s Tracy’s advice. First make sure you have 30 minutes of your favourite songs on your iPod.
Then find yourself a treadmill. Sprint for one song, skip for one song, and gallop for one song. Work up to a 30-minute work-out. Then move on to toning. Start with 10 repetitions and work up to 100 – these should be done every day. If in any doubt about your health, always check with a doctor.
Arm Raise: Using 3lb weights, stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Slowly move arms together straight up into a V above your head.
Elbows and wrists are bent slightly. Then gently lower your arms back down to your sides and without pausing go straight back up again. Work up to 100 reps.
Single arm overhead pulse: Using 3lb weights, stand with feet shoulder-width apart, arms at your sides. Raise one arm above your head with your elbow slightly bent and then straighten your arm completely over your head. Pulse like that, up and down. Work up to 100 reps on one side and then the other.
Ballet Grand Plies: Stand with heels together, toes slightly apart. With a straight back, bend at the knee as low as you can, then go back up again. Work up to 100 reps.
Abdominal Crunches: Lie on the floor with arms at your side, your legs in front of you. Raise yourself slightly until you feel a “crunch” in your abs and then lie back down. The key here is to do it with your legs straight out in front of you, as that will really work your stomach without bulking it up. Work up to 100 reps.
Piking: Lie flat on the floor, arms at your sides. Lift straight legs up to ceiling to 90 degrees and then gently lower. Without pausing, lift them back up again. Your upper body should remain flat on the ground.
Both arms and legs should be straight with your toes pointed. Work up to 100 reps.
Advanced Piking: Lie on the floor, legs straight out in front of you with your arms on the floor stretched out over your head. Hold onto a 3lb weight and bring your hands up to meet your legs when you raise them to a 90-degree angle and lower your arms and legs back down to the floor at the same time. Both arms and legs should be straight with your toes pointed. Work up to 100 reps.
DANCE + TONING – THE WINNING COMBINATION
Tracy advocates a combination of toning with a high intensity cardio work-out. In addition to her toning and stretching exercises, Tracy also uses a cardio dance aerobics programme she created to help clients lose fat. And it works. Many clients lose 9in in the first ten sessions!
Start with:Tracy recommends supplementing toning exercises like the ones above with intense cardio work-outs – it’s this combination that will get you the results you want to achieve.
If you have access to a gym, you can alternate a resistance class with an intense dance cardio work-out. Tracy also suggests taking a ballet bar class, but doing it with 2lb weights on your ankles.
As for the cardio Tracy says: “You can go out on the street and alternate sprinting, skipping and galloping – the important thing is that you mix it up and are not just running all the time.”
IT’S ALL ABOUT THE ACCESSORIES
Tracy believes in building “in” instead of “out.”
“Instead of over-using the major muscle groups, I focus on the smaller muscles around them,” she says. “When the accessory muscles are properly developed, they pull in the larger muscles, creating a smaller body structure. In this way you can reshape your body.”
She adds that if you want to work your accessory muscles, “don’t go the gym and do tons of leg presses. Better to stay home and do 100 plies or something that’s not going to bulk you up.”
Start with: Ask a personal trainer to help you design a work-out to move away from the large muscle groups and steer clear of heavy weights and traditional moves.
If you don’t have access to a trainer you can do toning exercises and cardio at home, but remember these key points:
• NEVER lift anything heavier than 3lb.
• ALWAYS do abdominal crunches and leg lifts with straight legs out in front of you.
• MAKE sure you include both cardio and toning in each and every work-out.
And accessories love change! When you are lifting weights, you need to get creative, moving them in different ways. This will wake up your accessory muscles and keep them working. For example, holding weights, lift your arms out to your side and then raise them up to your head and then immediately bring them back down to your side.
Then while your arms are out at your side, do arm circles and then bring them in as if you’re scratching under your arms. If you change rotations all the time you will keep your muscles lean.
“Dancers have been working out in warm rooms for a long time. Typically because they didn’t have funding for air conditioning! But it actually makes a difference,” says Tracy.
“As a dancer I would notice that when you were sweating in a hot room, it really did increase performance.
“I have worked with doctors and discovered that there is science behind it. It keeps your muscles more flexible.
However, Tracy is not a fan of Bikram yoga, where practitioners turn the heat up to as high as 40C. “Bikram yoga, now that’s too hot,” she says. “I think if you work out at those temperatures it will actually decrease your performance because you get tired or even dizzy.”
Start with: “I like a room to be 80F (26C) but that might be too warm to start out with for everybody. Just work your way up.”
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MOVE EVERY DAY
Madonna spends at least two hours every day working-out and Gwyneth Paltrow has her own personal Pilates machine at each of her several homes. Not everyone has this kind of time and money. But you can move every day.
Tracy says: “I’m a big believer in six days a week. You should work up to 30 minutes of cardio and 30 minutes of toning each time. If you don’t work out, your skin tone is going to be lousy and you will gain weight.
“Because people can cover up not exercising a lot easier than they can not brushing their teeth, for example, they think they can get away with it, but in reality you’re not getting away with anything.”
Stop making excuses – just do it (credit).”
As a trainer, some of Tracey’s advice seems a bit off. One thing that readers must understand is Madonna also has a personal chef creating all of her healthy lean protions. In every case, eating lean, well balanced foods is the key to looking your best. Exercise creates the muscle, but your eating habits help people see it!