Why Fitness Star Anna Victoria Wants Everyone to Stop Apologizing for ‘Bad’ Photos on Social Media

Why Fitness Star Anna Victoria Wants Everyone to Stop Apologizing for ‘Bad’ Photos on Social Media

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Have you ever scrolled through photos from a night out with friends, only to worry about whether you look good enough in any of them to make the cut for Instagram? You’re certainly not alone. Not even superstar fitness blogger Anna Victoria is immune to feeling insecure about what she looks like in a photo before deciding to post (or delete) it.

But when she caught herself feeling vulnerable before sharing a pic from a family vacation the other day, she took it as an opportunity to spread an important message about self-love.

RELATED: Does Makeup Belong in the Gym? Six Instagram Stars Share Their Thoughts

The social media star and trainer behind the Fit Body Guides posted a photo of herself playing in the waves in Hawaii with her niece on a family vacation. In the caption, she wrote, “Of course when I saw this photo I thought, ‘soaked hair, slouched over, makeup all over,’ I could go on. But how silly is that?”

“I’m not saying you have to love a ‘bad’ photo of yourself,” she continued. “But don’t hide away pictures of beautiful memories and beautiful moments with friends and family just because you don’t like how you look.”

RELATED: 5 Inspiring Fitness Influencers to Follow on Instagram

Victoria admits that she felt “nervous” about posting the shot originally, “because it’s hard to be vulnerable and share your less-than-perfect moments,” she tells Health. “But I wanted to use that photo as an example that what we look like is not more important than living life and making memories and documenting them.”

It’s not only so-called ‘bad’ pictures that Victoria wants women to stop worrying about or over-analyzing; it’s also the pictures in which someone is totally happy with how they look. Often times, even when some people share a photo they actually love, they may still crack a joke or apologize for a flaw, she explains, as opposed to writing a positive message about why they love the shot or the story behind it.

“There’s an element of, especially on social media, potentially coming across as just wanting attention if we proudly share a moment in which we feel beautiful. And to combat that, women will often point out a flaw that likely no one else would have noticed otherwise,” Victoria explains. “I think society has conditioned women to avoid using language that would make them appear too into themselves, and we play into this by either refusing compliments or being self-deprecating.”

So next time you go to post something on social media but feel a twinge of insecurity, just “own it,” Victoria urges. “Share it without diminishing your beauty.”

Years of Infertility and Miscarriages Sent Me Into a Spiral of Depression

Years of Infertility and Miscarriages Sent Me Into a Spiral of Depression

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From the time she was small, Jessica Dolan wanted to be a mom. So not long after she and her boyfriend of nine years got married, they began trying to get pregnant. A year later, with no success, Jessica’s doctor sent her to a fertility clinic for help. Feeling hopeful, the couple began the intense process of in vitro fertilization, with every-other-day visits to the clinic for blood tests, exams, imaging, and injections of hormone-bolstering medications.

Then, in the summer of 2012, they received the news they’d been waiting for: Jessica was pregnant. “I was 37, and we were thrilled to be starting a family,” she recalls.

When she was six weeks along, Jessica started having menstrual-like cramps and feeling lightheaded. At first, she chalked it up to pregnancy, but when the symptoms persisted for several days, she went to her doctor. An ultrasound revealed that the fertilized egg had implanted in her fallopian tubes instead of her uterus—what’s known as an ectopic pregnancy—which meant it wouldn’t survive.

“I was crushed,” says Jessica. “The clock was ticking because of my age, but I dreaded starting the whole process over again.”

More heartbreak

Shell-shocked and in mourning, they took a year-and-a-half break to regroup, but by December 2013 they felt ready to try again. “My fertility doctor assured us that he’d never seen a woman have two ectopic pregnancies, and he was confident we’d be successful,” says Jessica. Indeed, in January 2014, she learned she was pregnant again.

At five weeks, however, she started having cramping again—and discovered that lightning can strike twice. This pregnancy, too, was ectopic. “Everyone at the fertility clinic was shocked, and I felt defective, like there was something terribly wrong with me if my body couldn’t do what it was supposed to do.”

With one frozen embryo left, Jessica and her husband decided to give it one final try. A month later, she had a positive pregnancy test—but at the following week’s office visit, a second test came back negative. “That false positive marked the end of our dreams,” says Jessica. “But giving up triggered a painful identity crisis. If I couldn’t have a child, who was I? What would I be if not a mom?”

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Rock bottom

Jessica spiraled into a dark, lonely place. She could barely get out of bed in the morning and began eating anything that made her feel better in the moment—pizza, ice cream, cookies. Over the next year she gained 30 pounds. “I was too depressed to work, and every morning I woke up and thought, ‘F**k, here goes another day.’ I couldn’t imagine what was going to become of my life.”

Still, there were fleeting moments when she felt more positive, and in one of those she downloaded the 7 Minute Workout app and pushed herself to start doing it. “I’d exercised off and on throughout my life, and even though I was ridiculously out of shape I figured I could do seven minutes,” she says.

WATCH THE VIDEO: Kayla Itsines’ Seven-Minute Full-Body Workout

After a few months, she started running on her treadmill and gradually built her endurance to 10 minutes, then 15, then 20. “Instead of beating myself up for doing so little, I told myself that every minute was a win,” she says. The more she exercised the better she felt—less anxious, more positive, more confident and capable. By early 2015 she was working again and began re-engaging with life.

Last June, ready to take her routine to the next level, Jessica hired a personal trainer. “He keeps me accountable and pushes me farther than I thought I could go. Now when he tells me to do 50 push-ups I don’t think, ‘Are you crazy?’ I just do it,” she says.

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Her weekly routine is intense. She gets up at 4 a.m. two mornings for a bootcamp class, does personal training two days, runs at least three miles every weekend, and takes hip-hop or ballroom dancing a few nights a week.

“The fog has lifted and I’m feeling great. I’ve lost weight, and I’m energized by life again,” says Jessica. “Without exercise I would have been lost. It shifted my thinking from negative to positive. It helped me embrace every day instead of dread it. All my life, exercise seemed like a chore, like something I should do but didn’t really want to do. Now I look forward to it, because I know it keeps my mind as healthy as my body. And it all started with a few minutes a day. That’s how powerful it is.”

3 Sports Bras for Big Boobs That Actually Work

Is going out for a run, getting into a downward dog, or doing burpees, jumping jacks, and box jumps a pain in the chest? That uncomfortable bouncing is a sign that your sports bra is not supportive enough—something that can not only hold you back during your workout, but can also be bad for your boobs.

Without good support, breasts move up and down during a workout, which overtime can break down the connective tissue in your breasts. A bra that restricts the movement without suffocating you will keep them healthy. The bra should also be made of breathable and moisture-wicking fabric to reduce the risk of any icky bacteria build-up.

RELATED: 13 Sports Bras for All Body Types

We’ve rounded up three great sports bras for large chests that fit these criteria, tailored to the activities you like to do.

For high-impact training

Livi Active Molded Underwire Sport Bra (starting at $44; lanebryant.com)

If you like to run or do a lot of high-impact training, this is the bra for you. It is designed to give you lots of support with full coverage so you can get right down to the nitty gritty. The thick straps won’t pinch your shoulders, and they are convertible so you can adjust them into a racerback for stealthy support!

For all your cardio training

Glamorise Meduim Control Wire-Free Sports Bra ($40; barenecessities.com)

This sports bra was designed for medium-impact training like the elliptical machine, stair master, walking, hiking, and more. It provides full coverage and features adjustable straps so you can customize the fit perfectly to your needs. Best part: There is a closure in the back so you don’t have to slither out of a sweaty bra post-workout.

Yoga

Wacoal Wire-Free Soft Cup Bra (starting at $20; amazon.com)

Made for ultimate comfort, this bra is best-suited for low impact activities. There is no underwire, but the cups are molded to provide enough support. The full coverage design lets you slip into downward dog (or headstand!) without worrying about your girls running loose. You may even be tempted to swap out your regular bra for this super-cozy alternative!

 

Here’s How Much You Need to Exercise to Make Up for a Day of Desk Sitting

Here’s How Much You Need to Exercise to Make Up for a Day of Desk Sitting

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This article originally appeared on CookingLight.com.

Researchers of a sedentary lifestyle study have good news for office workers who find themselves trapped behind a desk every day from 9 to 5. The negative health effects created by long hours of sitting down can be reduced by daily exercise.

The study looked at data from 16 previous studies, mainly involving people ages 45 and above from the United States, Australia, and Western Europe. They found during their follow-up period of two to 18 years that those who sat for eight hours a day with little exercise had a 9.9 percent chance of mortality, while those who sat for less than four hours per day with one hour of exercise had a 6.8 percent chance of mortality.

The study goes on to recommend that those who sit daily for an average of eight hours should try to exercise one hour per day, while those who sit 6 or less should aim for half an hour of exercise.

“You don’t need to do sport, you don’t need to go to the gym. It’s OK doing some brisk walking, maybe in the morning, during lunchtime, after dinner in the evening,” said lead author Professor Ulf Ekelund in an interview with The Guardian, “You can split it up over the day, but you need to do at least one hour.”

The bottom line: Right now, most health experts recommend 30 minutes of exercise every day. Adding another 30 minutes may seem daunting, but you can squeeze it in without interrupting your schedule. We know it’s not always easy to get up and move during the work day, especially when deadlines loom, but being mindful of movement can really help. When getting up to use the bathroom or get a drink, be sure to take the longest office route possible. When feasible, a quick walk around during lunch time can also help stretch muscles and give your mind a break.

When not at the office, try to insert exercise into your daily life. Start mornings with a walk around the neighborhood and maybe try a visit to the park before dinner, too. Choosing to consistently add activity throughout the day will get you up to one hour of exercise before you know it.

9 Things No One Tells You About Running a Marathon Post-Baby

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This article originally appeared on DailyBurn.com.

This guest post comes from Daily Burn 365 trainer, running coach and three-time marathoner Cheri Paige Fogleman, NASM CPT (pre- and post-natal certified). The opinions expressed below are her own, and should not replace medical advice. After giving birth, it’s recommended to get medical clearance before beginning any exercise/training program.

In so many ways training for a marathon is like being pregnant. Your sleep suffers, and yet all you want is more time in bed. Your thirst is off the charts, despite drinking water non-stop. You try to eat more (because you need more calories), but your belly just can’t handle it. You’d really like a glass of wine, but you know you shouldn’t.

Your every movement is also an attempt to protect your body from injury. You prepare for months for something that scares the crap out of you, and while you just want it to be over with already, you are also still so terrified (so really, let’s not rush things). Your body is totally uncomfortable and achy and you hurt in weird places, but you know that it’ll all be worth it, and you’ll be filled with joy once the big day comes.

So, why once you’ve had a baby would you want to run a marathon?

Well, on Sunday, November 5, there I was — jammed into the corral at the start of the 2017 TCS New York City Marathon. Would my race be perfect? No. Would it hurt like heck at times? Probably. But, like most big and scary life events, I had a sneaking suspicion it would all be worth it in the end. And seeing my little girl at mile 25 reassured me of that.

Here are a few things I learned along my post-baby journey to 26.2, which might help other new moms, too.

RELATED: 17 Tips from Real Moms on Finding Time for Exercise

9 Things No One Tells You About Running a Marathon Post-Baby

Photo by Catherine Martin

1. Take advantage of your superhuman body.

The first thing my OB said to me at my first visit: keep running throughout your pregnancy. Postpartum, you’ll be able to get back to running quicker and you’ll still be able to take advantage of all the cardiovascular changes that happen to a pregnant body. These changes include increased cardiac output (up to 50 percent more than pre-pregnancy), increased blood volume (also as much as 50 percent more than pre-pregnancy), and an expanded ribcage (which offers more volume of air in one breath).

Basically, during pregnancy, oxygen circulates through the body more efficiently, and with increased efficiency, the body can perform better — and with greater ease. And, because a woman’s body doesn’t just snap back after delivery, it can take a year for the postpartum body to operate “normally” again (depending on breastfeeding). But that means we can take advantage of that so-called superhuman body for a while. My OB’s advice: Plan to qualify for Boston just shy of a year, postpartum. It’s nice when you can get a running coach and an OB all in one, yes?

RELATED: The 30 Best Marathons in the Entire World

2. Anticipate a drop in breast milk production.

Possibly because of dehydration, maybe because of physical stress, I found that my breast milk production tapered dramatically once my training picked up. If you are exclusively breast feeding and are less than six months postpartum, a few things can help. Oatmeal, for instance, is high in iron, which is believed to promote milk production. Some experts also suggest performing a series of power pumping sessions (as in milk pumping, not pumping iron). This method encourages over-production going into your training so you’ll have extra in the freezer in case you’re coming up short and the little one is hungry. For me, consuming more gels and drinking more electrolytes (e.g. Gatorade and coconut water) while training also helped keep my production from dwindling.

3. Give your feet special attention.

Because it can take about a year for hormone levels to return to normal after giving birth, be cautious of over-stretching and putting excess strain on your feet. The hormone relaxin is present in the body during pregnancy to allow tendons and ligaments to loosen and the skeleton to make space for the baby. If your feet grew during pregnancy, that same hormone can now cause your feet to shift even more. Avoid minimal shoes (unless you’ve been wearing them all along). And don’t skimp on calcium, which has been shown to help protect not just the bones in your feet, but your entire skeleton. Plus, it fuels your body’s energy production — so make sure you fill up on sources like milk, yogurt, spinach and kale. A postpartum body (and a breastfeeding body) is often calcium-deficient due to “mining” calcium from the mother’s bones to provide for the growing baby.

RELATED: 9 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Running

4. Heed the advice about changing up how you hold the little one.

I was told to switch up which hip I hold my daughter on by more than one person. And I’m a trainer, so I should know better, right? (I have even given that same advice to clients for years!) And yet, when life happens, I have been 100 percent guilty of slinging her on my left hip while scurrying around the kitchen slinging eggs and coffee and oatmeal.

It wasn’t until my 15-mile training run that my back started to feel a little twinge…and then my hip and then my hamstring and then my calf. A few weeks later, after an 18-mile long run, I couldn’t walk. A trip to my PT revealed that (due to holding my daughter only on my left hip) my right lower back and the muscles that run up the right side of my spine had all called it quits. That lead to a chain reaction of pain and suffering down my left hip and leg. Which brings me to…

5. Whatever amount of core training you’d normally do, multiply that by four.

During pregnancy, abs have a tendency to stretch or even separate (aka diastasis recti), and if you had a caesarian, the trauma can be worse. This has an effect on not just your ab strength, but also your back stability and the integrity of your entire kinetic chain. As a pre- and post-natal certified trainer, I recommend planks, side planks, bird-dogs, bridges and supermans. And if you can, make an appointment with an MAT (Muscle Activation Technique) therapist. A MAT therapist can determine where muscle weakness might be causing problems. Next, he or she will work to bring that strength back by palpating muscles, then prescribing specific isometric exercises to continue on your own. It’s been a game-changer for me.

RELATED: 6 Core Exercises for New Moms with Diastasis Recti

6. Make it worth it.

In my before-child days, I never realized I was taking for granted the freedom to run at any time and for any distance. But now I know. The acrobatics of juggling childcare for training has meant driving 45 minutes to my brother’s house to drop off my daughter, squeezing my long run into two hours, and then rushing back home for her nap time. It’s meant waking up in the pre-sunrise hours to run and get home before she wakes. I joined a gym specifically because it has childcare. And, I went out and bought a jogging stroller. While there is a certain amount of peace and quiet that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed while running, the extreme inconvenience of every single run is unavoidable. Whereas my biggest decisions were once which leggings to wear, or which route to take, now it’s: where my daughter will be, if she’ll need food or milk, and when she’ll take her next nap.

Because my better half, my brother and sister-in-law, my friends, my wallet and even my daughter have all made sacrifices for the sake of my training, my performance on November 5 was more important than ever. It took a village to get me to the starting line. For their sake, I could not let the village’s efforts be in vain.

RELATED: How to Run (And Watch!) the NYC Marathon Like a Pro

Photo by Janice Lancaster

7. You’re stronger as a mom.

There’s no way around it: Hitting the wall sucks. But the sudden fatigue caused by depletion of glycogen stores is something all endurance athletes have to learn to push through. As a running coach, one of the ways that I familiarize clients with that “wall” feeling is through repeat speedwork. (Think: repeat 400s, 800s and miles.) It’s brutal, and it perfectly recreates that hopelessness and defeat as your legs feel like they are going to fall off or melt and you crumble into a pathetic heap on the ground.

The “good” news? I now know that the first three months of my child’s life was just hitting the metaphorical and literal wall over and over and over again. I went weeks on mere hours of sleep and then managed to not wake her as I cradled her, stood up from seated on the floor, tripped over the cat (and a pacifier), and finally lowered her into the bassinet. That is pushing through the wall! I now know that motherhood makes you an expert on perseverance. All of my training on the road and the treadmill prepared me for the marathon, but it was my training as a mom that prepared me to win it.

8. Your little one will help you recover faster.

Don’t worry for a second about how you will run 26.2 miles and then be able to squat down to tie your baby’s shoes. You already do daily functional training in the form of squatting, bending, twisting and lifting with your little one. So, as you add on miles, you will naturally continue your feats of strength and acrobatics. In fact, in my before-child days — when I’d allow myself to lounge around after a long run with my feet up — recovery actually took a bit longer. But, because blood flow (from movement) encourages recovery, and a toddler doesn’t allow days off from chases through the apartment, my muscles were surprisingly chipper the day after long runs. They even felt pretty great the day after the marathon!

RELATED: 5 Scientifically Proven Ways to Reduce Muscle Soreness

9. It’s no longer about you.

One of the overwhelming takeaways of running the NYC Marathon is how spectacularly the spectators cheered. Their emotional shouts of encouragement contained something more than inspiration. I felt a very strong sense of appreciation that I was achieving this marathon goal for them — on their behalf. While that’s a humbling duty I’m honored to carry out, I’ve begun to think more about how my every action impacts my child. It’s cliché, but true: Having a daughter has made me want to be a better version of myself. And more than ever, I’m aware of how I can lead by example.

I want my little girl to see that setting your sights on a goal and working to achieve it are key to excelling in life. And, for me, running 26.2 miles through the five boroughs of New York City was achieving a goal on my daughter’s behalf. It was my way of showing her that she has the necessary stuff in her genes to power through the seemingly impossible. That she can achieve things beyond her wildest dreams.

How I Learned to Tell the Difference Between Being Lazy and Being Safe at the Gym
 

How I Learned to Tell the Difference Between Being Lazy and Being Safe at the Gym  

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I once took a face-plant in the middle of a set of plyometric push-ups. One second, I was a machine, effortlessly clapping between each rep and springing into the next one. The next second, my arms gave out and I went face first into the gym floor. I was a little stunned at first but I quickly laughed it off—endorphins are a hell of a drug—and gleefully launched into my next set. 

As a fitness professional in the prime of youth (I was in my mid-20s when I face-planted) and the peak of shape, I considered limits the enemy. It felt good to push them. It felt even better to ignore them, or insist that they didn’t exist at all. So I’d write off any signs of fatigue as weakness and keep pushing through that next set, sprint, or session. And when my trembling muscles and broken brain did finally force me to give up, I told myself that I’d have to do better the next time.

RELATED: Yes, It’s Possible to Exercise Too Much—Here Are the Signs

Then I started teaching a number of high intensity interval, martial arts, and cycling classes. I’d blast songs like “No Limits” by 2 Unlimited and guide my students through the exact same process. 

It wasn’t until I was in charge of other people’s wellbeing that I started to question my fraught relationship with limits. I’d been happy to beat up my own body beyond all rationality in the pursuit of toughness—and then beat my brain up when my body failed—but I had both a professional and moral obligation to keep the people who took my classes safe, healthy, and challenged in responsible ways. A lot of what I was doing to myself, it turned out, was none of those things.

Why we push ourselves too hard

I was hardly alone when it came to my limits issue. Many of my students shared it. Most of my colleagues did, too. In fitness, it’s often hard to find the line between being strong and being reckless. The messages we receive are all about pushing beyond our limits, not quitting, and achieving the impossible, which doesn’t always leave room for things like listening to your body and knowing when it is actually time to slow down or stop. There are no cool t-shirt slogans or high-BPM pop songs about backing off of your resistance training when you can no longer execute a move with proper form, or slowing down when your pulse starts climbing too close to your maximum heart rate. 

Even if you can manage to accept that you are a mortal with at least some limitations, it isn’t always easy to recognize these limits as you approach them. A lifetime of being encouraged to push yourself to the extreme in phys ed, in the gym, and in life in general leaves many of us so disconnected from our bodies and brains that we don’t recognize the signs of fatigue when they start to approach.

There’s also a layer of guilt and self-doubt that comes along with trying to figure out when it’s time to quit. On the rare occasions when I did recognize the signs in myself during my workouts, I’d immediately start to wonder whether I was just being lazy or weak, or whether I was possibly subconsciously sabotaging myself, and then I’d keep going. 

RELATED: The Best Online HIIT Workout Videos

Forget “no pain, no gain”

In my classes, I started to talk about how our bodies felt when we exercised. I would give examples of what it should look, feel, and sound like when we were exercising within responsible limits and I’d stress how important it was to know the difference between testing those boundaries and rejecting them completely. Most people who want to exercise know that it’s human to want to avoid discomfort and there is always a risk that we won’t reach our full potential during a workout because of that, but the opposite risk is just as serious.

I’d argue the value of the old “no pain, no gain” ethos, pointing out that discomfort can be an acceptable part of a workout that responsibly pushes your boundaries, but outright pain usually means that you’re either injuring yourself or on the verge of doing so. 

If we were working in the aerobic zone, I’d point out that we should still be able to talk with some amount of comfort. Being completely out of breath, I’d stress, was only for very short periods of high-intensity interval training like sprints. I was also very anti-vomit. It might make you feel tough to push yourself to those limits, but puke is your body’s particularly unpleasant way of telling you that something is going very wrong in your workout.  “You want to push yourself, but you don’t want to kill yourself” I’d tell my students. 

RELATED: What to Know About Rhabdomyolysis, the Potentially Fatal Condition Caused by Extreme Exercise

Respecting my limits

It took me years to listen to my own advice, both at the gym and in the rest of my life. I started getting sick more often. Then I started having panic attacks, which would often hit right before I had to leave home to teach a fitness class. It wasn’t until I had a meltdown and was finally diagnosed with autism in my late 20s that I started to think it was time to be a little more gentle with myself. 

I’ve made a lot of changes since then—and none of them came easily. Each workout I skipped, each class I stopped teaching, felt like a fatal character flaw. Maybe if I could just be a little better, I’d think, I’d be able to push through. Once I worked through the guilt, though, I was able to step back and start to reassess my life. I started to think of myself as a human being with a unique set of issues and skills that needed to be accepted as a whole. After a while, learning to work within my limits no longer felt like failure. It felt like relief. 

Two years ago, during another rough patch, I took a solid look at my career in fitness and decided that it wasn’t working for me anymore. I quit teaching fitness, and I also took a break from my own workouts.

WATCH THE VIDEO: How to Recharge on Rest Days

When I finally started exercising again, I found that I no longer had the desire to push myself as hard as I once had. Sometimes I miss feeling like a cartoon superhero the way I used to when I was crushing reps, but there’s also something really exciting about getting to know your body well enough to be able to actually feel when it’s had enough.

Thanks to the years that I’ve spent looking for the signs of other people’s limits, I’m starting to get a little better at spotting those symptoms in myself. I know what the difference is between feeling my breathing start to elevate and starting to feel a pain in my chest when I’m running. I know when my muscles are burning because I’m challenging them and when they’re starting to twinge because I’m misusing or abusing them. I know that feeling a click in my left elbow during certain strength exercises means that I need to alter my range of motion, because no good has ever come from ignoring a malfunctioning tendon.

I no longer do push-ups to the point of face-plants. Now I do them until I can no longer maintain good form. It might not be as “tough” as what I used to do, but it’s smart training—and it’s sustainable. If I’d started doing this a decade ago, I probably wouldn’t have had to learn this lesson the hard way at all. If I keep it up, I won’t have to learn it again.

The Surprising Fitness Tool That Ashley Graham Uses to Tone Her Thighs

The Surprising Fitness Tool That Ashley Graham Uses to Tone Her Thighs

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One thing we admire about Ashley Graham is her commitment to fitness. The 29-year-old consistently posts her exercise exploits on Instagram—and we are here for all of it. We also love that when she’s getting her sweat on, she doesn’t always use “typical” gym equipment. (Remember that time she was slamming massive tires with sledge hammers?) Her latest get-fit tool of choice: the prowler, which Graham has been spotted using in her Stories.

At first glance, this simple mass of metal, which typically weighs between 60 and 80 pounds before being loaded with weight plates, doesn’t look like much. But don’t be fooled. “It is one of the most effective tools whether you’re training for performance, functional fitness, or fat loss,” explains Frank Baptiste, founder of FranklyFitness in New York City. “Pushing it works the anterior muscles, while pulling it works the posterior ones. No matter what, though, the legs are driving the movement.”

Intimidated? Don’t be. Pushing or pulling weight across the floor can feel pretty empowering. Give her sled power row a try. (Note: Baptiste advises nailing the form and technique for squats, deadlifts, and inverted rows before progressing to this exercise.)

“It’s a total-body combination that works your entire lower body, back, arms and core,” says Baptiste. “It starts with a powerful hip hinge that generates momentum for a forceful horizontal pull, which is great for developing total-body power and power endurance. And its high intensity will send your heart rate through the roof, and ignite your metabolism.”

Another plus: It’s a good move to help combat all that slouching we do at our desks all day.

RELATED: 18 Moves to Tone Your Butt, Thighs, and Legs

How to do it

Holding straps taut, without slack, step back two or three steps so you are pulled into a bent over position with knees bent, a hinge at your hips, and a neutral spine.

Keeping shoulders held tightly down and back, lean back and drive through heels and feet to push the floor away. As hips and knees extend, follow through with a row, holding hands tight and pulling elbows straight behind you; straps and forearms follow the same line. Finish with a tall body position, glutes squeezed, hips tucked in, core braced, shoulders fully abducted and extended, and squeezing shoulder blades. Repeat movement. 

Your space will dictate how long you are working. For example, it takes 45 seconds to complete a 30-yard distance. After completing, rest for 90 seconds to 1 minute. Repeat for 3-5 rounds.

This may be the only time you’ll want to be saddled with dead weight!