Photo Credit: Disney-ABC/ Ida Mae Astute
Getting your body back after having a baby is tough, even if you’re a celebrity like Jessica Simpson. The singer, actress, fashion mogul and new mom says her body isn’t exactly ‘bouncing back like a supermodel,’ but fortunately, she isn’t bowing to the pressure of Hollywood. What she is doing is steadily working towards her weight-loss goals without going to extremes. Simpson has set realistic goals and is determined to stick with them. Above all, Simpson says wants to feel good and be healthy for her herself, her fiancé and her daughter.
To get back on track with healthy eating habits, Simpson signed on as the new spokesperson for Weight Watchers. She’s also working out regularly with her longtime trainer Harley Pasternak, author of 5-Factor Fitness. Pasternak spoke with iVillage about how he's helping Simpson shed the baby weight.
Simpson’s Workout Plan
As no new mom should, Simpson didn’t just jump right into training. Pasternak says she started off walking, and with her doctor’s clearance, added in light resistance training, focusing on low weights with more repetitions. Once Simpson's endurance increased, Pasternak slowly added more challenges by increasing her weights, reps and sets to keep her body challenged -- and changing.
These days, Simpson works out with Pasternak about four days a week for 45-minutes (including warm-up and cool down!) at a time. Pasternak has her following his 5-Factor Fitness plan, combining both cardio and circuit training, which means there's no need for separate training days. Putting strength and cardio together is great when you're tight on time. “Cardio is important for calorie burning, and resistance training keeps the body tight and toned, boosts metabolism and improves posture,” he says.
They start their workouts off with a five minute, low-impact cardio warm up, like brisk walking or the elliptical -- “my boobs are way too big to run at this point” Simpson told USA Today -- and then move right into Pasternak’s customized workout for Simpson: The circuit begins with one upper body resistance exercise, (such as a row, followed by a lower body resistance exercise, like a stiff-legged deadlift. To do it, Simpson stands with feet hip-width apart, legs straight, but knees not locked, holding dumbbells, then hinges forward from the hips keeping back straight and then lifting back up to start. Other pieces of her workout: An abs move and then a low-impact cardio burst (walking up and down stairs quickly). Simpson does 25 reps of each exercise, moving quickly from one exercise to the next to keep her heart rate up and burning calories, and completes the circuit five times in total.
A sample circuit workout might look like this :
-- Upper Body: Row
-- Lower Body: Stiff-Legged Deadlifts
-- Abs/Core: Supermans (lying facedown on the floor, arms and legs outreached, extend the spine, lift the chest, arms and legs up, then lower)
-- Cardio Burst: Walking up and down a set of stairs
Create your own 5-Factor Circuit using more of Pasternak’s favorite moves with his Hot Hollywood Body Workout.
Because Pasternak targets different muscle groups during each workout, Simpson can exercise two days in a row without needing a rest in between, which is great because she can work out whenever she can fit it into her busy schedule. Pasternak doesn't make Simpson do hundreds of daily crunches to get her pre-baby stomach back, either! He says crunches are a waste of time for everyone. Instead, hit your abs from all angles with moves like rotations, extensions and planks. They target the transverse abdominus -- he calls it the ‘corset muscle’ -- to draw in your waist.
When it comes to fueling up for her workouts, Simpson sticks with her normal eating schedule because she isn't depleting her body of glycogen (stored carbohydrates) with long or high-intensity sessions. “She usually comes to train with me after she has had breakfast or before lunch,” he says. If weight loss is your goal, there’s no need to up your daily calorie count with extra pre- or post-workout snacks. Pasternak says high-intensity training is where an increased appetite comes into play -- if you eat the wrong foods, you'll cancel out your efforts to lose weight. Too many people head to the gym and take an intense spin class and then stop by the juice bar for a muffin and juice, taking in all the calories they just burned, he says.
So how does a busy new mom like Simpson stay motivated to keep her workout schedule no matter what? “She knows that working out consistently means consistent results,” Pasternak says. Taking one day off can easily turn into two, and so on, which means the speed of your results slow down and it gets easier to just give up, he says. Whether she’s tired from waking up with Maxwell in the middle of the night, or even injured, Simpson never skips a workout. Simpson injured her toe once, and instead of canceling their session, showed up in open-toed shoes for her workout, which Pasternak modified and supervised carefully to ensure she stayed safe while exercising with an injury -- she worked out like a trooper with no complaints.