What's the ace-in-the-hole when it comes to your overall health? Resilience. It's what prevents you from getting that nasty office bug and will help you bounce back faster if you do. Personal trainer Michael Gonzalez-Wallace's program strengthens this precious quality along with your mind and muscles (not to mention boost your immune system and sense of balance, all the while burning calorie after calorie). What's not to sweat about?
This workout is a 12-week program consisting of three exercises that keep progressing. Try the routine three times a week for 20 to 30 minutes per session (or, if that's daunting, try for twice a week). To round out the plan, you should add some cardio—at least 20 minutes of brisk walking twice a week.
For beginners: Gonzalez-Wallace recommends following the program to spec. Some of the moves and circuits may be difficult at first. If you're having trouble, try increasing the rest time by about 30 seconds or dropping one or two reps. You may even want to add a week to each stage—in fact, that's a good idea if you've been totally sedentary: No one's counting.
Advanced exercisers, feel free to quicken the pace. But this is not a rush-rush deal. All movements must be mastered before going forward. If you already have a routine you enjoy, you may want to incorporate Gonzalez-Wallace's philosophy into what you're doing now. The concept is to engage the brain and nervous system by constantly challenging every limb with different movements and tacking on some kind of balance position.
You should keep both the upper and lower body busy while forcing your core to find and maintain its center of gravity. Take a biceps curl: You might start seated; next do it standing up; then curl while simultaneously lifting one leg to the side; finally, do all that on your toes. (Grunting in frustration means you're on the right track.)
Props you'll need: energy, breathable threads, a good pair of sneaks, a mat (a fluffy carpet will suffice), a small pillow for kneeling moves, and two sets of weights—three and five pounds.
Exercise One: The Eagle
Exercise Two: The Caterpillar Circuit
Exercise Three: The Jaguar
From the March 2006 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine
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