It’s only mid-January so you probably haven’t made good on all your get-in-shape resolutions just yet. Or maybe, like me, you never even made them. (I had my third kid two months ago; unearthing a hot bod isn’t on top of my to-do list). But we all want to look good, right? Like, right now?
I spoke with Mary Helen Bowers, the former American Ballet Theater ballerina-turned celeb trainer (she worked with Natalie Portman for Black Swan) for her best no-time-to-hit-the-gym-but-need-to-look-like-I-did tips. She shapes some of the most incredible bodies in the world with her brand of ballet-inspired fitness and swears by the following three tricks for anyone looking to feel more toned, more confident, and less stressed before heading out the door. She has the Victoria's Secret models do them right before walking down the runway! “Anything you can do to get the blood pumping and activate the muscles quickly will make an instant difference in how you look and feel,” says Bowers, whose DVD “Ballet Beautiful: Sculpt & Burn Cardio Blast” just launched. “Even if it’s the last minute, it’s never too late.”
Seriously, all it takes is 10 minutes to bang these out and you will see results. Yes, please!
- For your arms (so you can rock that sleeveless dress): Classic dips on the edge of the back of your couch. Begin with your back facing the couch, feet shoulder-width apart, hands on the couch behind you with fingers pointing toward your toes. Open the chest and lift the body up with the elbows straight, then bend the elbows to 90 degrees. Do five sets of 10.
- For your legs (to show off in a short skirt): Quick calf lifts or relevés. Bring the heels together and open the toes slightly to first position. Bend the knees into a plié and then lift up onto the toes stretching the knees all the way. Bend the knees again and lift into a relevé. Repeat for two sets of eight (check out this YouTube video if you’re confused).
- For your butt and core (to help hold in your stomach): Open feet wide, more than hip width apart, and slightly turn out your toes. Take a deep bend in the knees and hold the plié in this position for two sets of eight. (Make sure when you bend your knee you go right over the toe.) “Even if you just have time for one quick grand plié before you walk out, you will feel more energized,” says Bowers. “It helps you shake off a little stress too…I’ve even done them in my elevator!”
You may not be able to make it to spin or devote an hour to the treadmill every day but everyone has 10 minutes to spare. Now pull your shoulders back, hold your head high, smile and strut your stuff (yes, confidence goes a long way to making you look your best). Fake it till you make it, baby!