The media is often pushing body image stereotypes that just don’t work for everyone, for example those girls blessed with a Kim K ass will never have a body like Taylor Swift. Which is why Hannah Elizabeth of food & fitness blog The Green Machine, quizzes WBFF Pro Diva Fitness Model and London based Pilates and yoga instructor Coco Tomas on the most effectively exercise, in order to make the most of ones natural shape. Teaching at The Refinery East London Coco explains how we can train to benefit ourselves as individuals.
“The key to achieving and maintaining a fit physique is acceptance and education. It’s a matter of knowing what to do to make the best of what you have.” Coco encourages clients who are new to group exercise to try Pilates in order to build core strength, enabling clients to learn and understand the activation of the correct muscle groups, which are often needed when they move on to do other types of exercise.
“Classical mat work Pilates activates and tightens up your core muscles (abs, glutes, pelvic floor, obliques) and works on shoulder stabilisation; great for people with desk jobs. Getting those body parts strong gives you great posture and alignment and once you’ve created a solid foundation, you can start building on it and setting realistic and sustainable goals to suit your lifestyle and desired aesthetics.
Sometimes we have to do things that challenge us in order to progress. You don’t need to spend hours every day in the gym to do that. Exercising efficiently for 45 minutes, 3-4 days a week will be enough to notice change. If you want to get a six pack by the summer you don’t necessarily need more time in the gym; simply push up your weights and/or add more resistance whilst being mindful of your diet. For a softer look, keep up with the Pilates, do yoga or take up barre classes.
Resistance and weight based exercises coupled with HIIT will build lean muscle mass, reduce body fat percentage and help your body become more efficient at burning off calories.
For females, the chances of bulking up are largely determined by hormones and genetics. If you want to look and feel better then you will get more muscular but you won’t suddenly start to resemble a body builder. Muscles come in all shapes and sizes and you can determine that by the volume and repetitions of your functional based exercises.
As you become fitter, you will need to fuel and feed your body properly, otherwise all the hard work you put in will go to waste. Post-workout is when your metabolism is still on full drive so it’s the best time to consume carbohydrates. They are essential for recovery both physically and mentally. You need to feel satiated and depriving yourself of complex carbohydrates such as potatoes, legumes and grains will lead to avoidable sugar cravings.
Functional based training such as TRX and kettle bells are fantastic exercises for the whole body or make the most out of your ass(ets) and get squatting, lunging and deadlifting to develop your natural shape.
But lets not get too bogged down with the aesthetics; ultimately its about keeping you active, enjoying a workout and helping your body get you to old age healthy and happy.”