Linda Kessler has been selected as a Beachbody model for the “INSANITY” video series, as part of the home exercise DVD company that features Tony Horton’s “P90X” and Shaun T’s “INSANITY.”
She owns her own fitness gym, the Transformation Room, and offers 60- and 90-second videos on her YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/schenks03.
She calls her ab class workouts “HIIT-ilates,” and she has a lot of advice about tightening and toning those abs.
“HIIT-ilates is a class I made up,” Kessler said. “‘HIIT’ stands for high intensity interval training; ‘lates’ stands for Pilates. I made up this class to hit those problem spot areas. A lot of females like this class because it hits your abs, your obliques, inside and outside thighs, your quads, your butt.
All the main areas where we like to hold extra weight, where our bodies have a natural love handle area. I do high intensity for 30 seconds, lower intensity for 30 seconds.”
Kessler answered some questions about abs in general, and her system in particular.
Q: The equipment for your class is just a mat, a Pilates ball and that’s it?
A: Yes, the Pilates ball is for the inner thigh work. It’s sick but the trend right now is to achieve the “inner thigh gap.” People are getting plastic surgery — that is the new popular request. I’m taking the safe route. Let’s work on it in class.
Q: The whole 60-minute class revolved around the core.
A: The whole class. If you noticed, I kept saying, “press your navel to your spine” to engage your core. The more you can hold your core tight, you’re never relaxing. You’re squeezing your butt and your core the entire time.
Q: Everyone in this class seemed so young! Can you help someone who is older than 23? Who’s had children? Or maybe a C-section? Maybe someone who was born without ab muscles to begin with? I’m asking for a friend ...
A: Post-baby abs — that’s the most common one for women — and the most frustrating. They say, “I used to look like this.” C-sections are a big thing. You need to be cleared by your doctor first. And then you’re building up the abdominal wall from the inside out, and not just having pretty “show me” abs.
Q: What else do you recommend?
A: There’s an app I use called “Lose It.” It’s free. Even though we shouldn’t eat processed foods, people do. You can scan the bar code and it will tell the fat, the protein, the carbs. People don’t realize: You eat a lot more calories than you think you eat and you burn a lot less than you think you burn. It’s like, “Oh I worked out today, I can have this.” Really — you can’t have that many cheat meals in a week. It adds up so fast.
Q: I heard this once: You can only do so many ab exercises. The only way to get a good stomach is to cut the junk out of your diet.
A: You cannot outwork a bad diet.
And, good abs always start in the kitchen.
Here’s the deal: You cannot “spot” lose weight. You can “spot” gain muscles. That’s the whole guy thing: they work the biceps, the shoulders and the chest. But you can’t say, “Oh I want to lose weight in my stomach.” I’m sorry, but you’re going to have to lose weight all over to get there.
In this class, I can tighten and tone everything so that when you stop eating the junk and you start eating really clean and you’re getting your cardiovascular in, you can get the abs. It’s going to take the whole body, the whole effort.
Q: What’s one food swap we could all make that would help us get to better abs?
A: Cheese is a big thing. Think about it. If you throw it in a sub, you don’t even taste it. Really. Now, if I were to have a cheeseburger, I would not eat the bun. I would have the meat, cheese, lettuce and tomatoes. I did this cleanse for seven days, and I made my husband do it with me — because if you do it by yourself and your husband eats crap food, you’ll sit there and say, I want that. ... It is funny, I cut out cheese and I feel just a lot better.
Take a lot of the processed foods out — like breads — and have peanut butter and apple. Or any kind of fish.
Q: My worst weakness is my lower abs. Are they dead?
A: That’s everyone, though. My biggest advice for anyone? Get off the floor. Do as many things standing as possible. Knee-highs. Anything that you use to pull up your legs, you’re using your quads, your hip flexors and your abs. Even while standing, talking to me, keep that posture. Keep your feet square, shoulders rolled back, chest up, tummy tight — keeping yourself tight as if I’m going to punch you in the stomach. Keeping that all day is basically a glorified way of sucking in. That’s going to work the abs.
Honest to God when I’m waiting in line at the grocery store, I’m tightening my abs. Driving a car, I don’t sit into it, I have my chest up and I can feel myself working my abs. Most people have “sit-down” jobs. I tell them to sit at the end of their chair. Put an alarm on your phone. Every 30 minutes, have it beep as a reminder to sit up straight. Those little things will add up and eventually you’ll train yourself.