Weight Loss: Summer Slim Down Secrets

06/15/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Summer Slim Down Secrets
By Jodi Lipper and Cerina Vincent

It's that time of year again when sales of diet pills skyrocket, every magazine cover features a new fad diet for summer, and we're inundated with nauseating radio ads for tummy tucks and liposuction. It makes us sick, but the truth is that the sun is shining, summer is coming, and many of us do want to shed a couple of pounds of winter blubber so that we can feel our best in our tank tops at the park and bikinis on the beach. With so much emphasis on diets and surgery, we don't want you to forget about good, old-fashioned exercise. It's not only essential to create muscle tone and burn fat, but it helps you manage stress and stay focused, too. We'll give our own workout tips in the upcoming Live Like a Hot Chick, but until then, we thought we'd ask celebrity fitness expert Paul Katami what he thinks we should all be doing in the gym to slim-down for summer.

1) Paul, you have not only trained many celebrities, but you are also the group fitness manager at Equinox in West Hollywood, which is a very star studded gym. Do you give the same fitness tips to celebrities and average folks who want to look their best?

A: Yes! My philosophy is hard work equals amazing results and that goes for everyone. Of course celebrities many times feel required to stay in shape and I see how that motivates others to do the same. My thought is why try to look like a celeb when you should strive to look like the best/hottest YOU possible. Don't compare yourself to celebrities that have the time and resources to workout that most everyday folks like us don't have. Set your own schedule with your own goals and go after them like your life depends on it. Everyone can make time to get a good workout in everyday. Excuses leads to being unfit. Get to it!

2) We're all so busy and are definitely feeling the economic strain right now, so for all those folks who don't have the time or money to join a gym, what are three moves they can easily do at home to keep looking and feeling fit?

A: You can absolutely kick start a great workout schedule at home. Google your nearest park or recreation area and that can be a source of outdoor workouts. If you live in an area where climate is a challenge and you need to stay indoors you can always fall back on these three basic exercises to help you burn some calories, tone up and slim down:

Squats and Lunges: These are the most powerful leg exercises you can do and since the legs are a big muscle group they heat up the body and get you burning calories fast. I like to alternate between the two exercises. Start with your feet about shoulder width apart and toes pointed forward. Sit back into the legs by bending your knees (but not allowing them to move too far forward or to the sides at all) and imagine you are sitting in a small chair. On the way up press into the heels systematically tightening your legs and butt. At the top you should feel connected and solid all the way into your core. Repeat this move 15 times then start a series of lunges. Start with one leg in front of the other and both feet point forward. Bend both knees (trying to get to 90 degree bends) and lower the body. On the way up press into the front heel a little more to activate more butt on that side. Repeat this 15 times on each side. Repeat the Squat and Lunge set three times for a total of 45 squats and 45 lunges on each side. If you want a little more push add some weight to your body by grabbing hand weights, or a couple of gallon jugs of water to add increased intensity.

Push ups: I know no one loves the dreaded push up but this exercise blasts your chest and arms into shape. It's also an amazing exercise for core stability if you add some intention there. You will get stronger faster and increase the number of push ups you can do which is a great motivator. Here are the details. Get yourself into a toe push up position. Yes, this is the real kind. Start here with your shoulders above your elbows and elbows above wrists (bad form is a no-no -- make sure you are not in a down dog position). Tighten your core by bracing your abs and back then lower yourself towards the ground. Exhale on your way back up. Do as many as you can on your toes and THEN allow yourself to do a leg assisted style. Bring the tops of your quads towards the mat/ground and make sure to not rest on your knees. If you do this variety keep your torso long and remember to keep the shoulder, elbow, wrist alignment correct.

Planks: Planks are a great alternative to basic crunches (we all do those right!?). A proper plank forces you to hold your core connected while gravity resists. It's good in so many ways. It's similar to a push up position but on the forearms instead of the hands. Shoulders should align with the elbow. Get up on those toes and lengthen your spine as if someone was pulling your head and feet in opposite directions. Bracing your core tight just hang on. And on! Try to go for at least 30 seconds without bringing your knees down. Do this 10 times with only about 15-30 seconds rest in between each set. If you can, start holding the plank longer.

3)What is the best workout plan for someone who is looking to lose 10 pounds and how should we break up weight training and cardio?

A: This all depends on which 10 lbs you are hoping to lose! The first 10 is usually a lot easier than the last 10. Eating right is the first BIG step to taking off weight. It's true if you just eat right you can take off some weight but if you want to fire up your furnace you have to hit the workouts as well. I love to do interval training that pushes my limits. This is the best, and fastest way to get a kick butt workout in that will torch calories. I also highly recommend weight training. You can customize your weight training to make sure you aren't getting bulky. Did you know that adding lean muscle to your body helps you to burn calories all day every day? You can also break up your cardio days with weight conditioning days or combine them for an all out scorching workout. If you get bored on one piece of equipment but still want to burn off some calories try this: Jump on a treadmill and run it out for 15 mins. Then hop on a stair stepper and work it out for another 15 min. Top it off with 15 mins of the crazy versaclimber (one of the best cardio pieces ever). 45 mins done!

4) We talk in our books about how much we love butt classes*, which we define as group exercise classes that force us to do hundreds of squats and lunges and give us a better booty. Why are these classes so effective and what is your advice to all those Hot Chicks out there who feel insecure about stepping into an aerobics room?

A: Group Fitness is the best! You have to love these classes b/c they deliver the goods in a safe, fun, and inviting environment where you can have a blast. All those squats and lunges are powering up your legs and lighting the fire in your body to burn. All those reps are giving you that body you want. Group Fitness also offers you so many options. It's like having different trainers at your fingertips. The variety is huge and there is no better place to feel welcome as you start or continue your fitness goals. Group exercise is how I lost 40 lbs and started my career!

5) You've created your own brand of workouts with bands. Can you tell us how these work and how the light, inexpensive bands can help us get fit for summer?

A: Resistance tubes/bands are brilliant! The number one request I get is for a good workout while at home or on the road. Tubes are literally a portable fitness club in your hands. You can do so many exercises and also vary the resistance levels as you desire. Resistance tubes have varying levels of intensity so you can pick and chose which one is best for you. The tubes also create extra resistance in each direction of the exercise which makes you work a little harder to get the job done. There are literally hundreds of exercises you can do with exercise tubing. My popular class Band Camp is on DVD and gives you 45 minutes of solid work with the tubes. You can check it out by writing me at