Monthly Archives: June 2015

Kate Hudson's Workout Secrets for Sculpted Abs

Did you happen to catch Kate Hudson in that barely-there bikini photo she recently posted from her vacay in Greece?

While we admit that the locale is pretty sweet, we are WAY more interested in the Oscar-nominated actress’s perfectly taut core. So we did some digging and found out that the 36-year-old attributes her sizzling bod to a few key workouts:

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“I do all kinds of stuff. I get really bored, so I’ll do anything, I’ll try anything,” the mom of two  told E! News. “There’s this thing called Heartcore in London that I love. And so I do that when I am there. And then I do hot yoga a lot in London because when it’s rainy I just want to go somewhere warm. I spin—I love a SoulCycle class. I love to dance. I work out like four times a week,” the Fabletics founder said, while also noting that what she eats also plays a huge role in her knockout physique: “Food plays a big role.”

Another sculpting trick that Hudson lives by: trying to stay stress-free. “I really believe that when you are holding onto stress, you body does the same thing and when you start to let all of that go, [the weight] just starts to fall [off],” she told E! News.

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We also know that Hudson is a Pilates devotee. In fact, she’s been practicing with her trainer Nicole Stuart for over 15 years. Here’s a move straight from Stuart that will help you tone and tighten you own tummy, Hudson-style.

Sculpt killer abs like Kate Hudson

Trainer: Nicole Stuart

The move: The Criss Cross

Why it’s so great: This exercise, which works the entire midsection but especially the obliques, will always challenge you because it never gets easier, Stuart says.

How to do it: Lying faceup, pull knees into stomach. Place hands behind head and bring elbows and knees to touch, or as close as possible (A). Bring left knee to right elbow, pressing both together as hard as you can, and extend right leg (B). Hold for 3 long counts, then return to “A” and hold. Repeat motion with right knee and left elbow while extending left leg. This is 1 rep. Do 10 reps a day to see a flat, toned belly in as little as a month.

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Does the Belly Button Challenge Really Reveal Whether You Need to Lose Weight?

On the heels of the thigh-gap craze, social media is offering up yet another viral and ludicrous measure of a “good” body: The Belly Button Challenge, which started trending on China’s version of Twitter last week and quickly spread around the world, involves reaching one arm around your back to try and touch your navel. The idea is that if you can reach your belly button, you’re fit; if you can’t, you need to lose weight.


Where do we start?

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The Daily Mail reports that web users claim the challenge is based on a U.S. study. But no one seems to be able to find the original research. Read: There’s no actual science involved here!

The notion is totally bunk, confirms Ronald S. Sha, MD, the medical director of the Duke University Diet and Fitness Center. “This is an amusing diversion that means absolutely nothing about an individual’s weight or health,” he told Health. “It’s much more a reflection of a person’s upper extremity flexibility and arm length than of a healthy weight.”

Plus, of course, even someone who “passes” the test because she is slender (and perhaps has extra-bendy shoulders and longish arms) could have many of the same medical issues as an obese person. The so-called “skinny fat” problem is a real and common phenomenon.

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It’s true that waist circumference is one of the factors doctors use to assess a person’s risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and other health concerns. But there is a scientifically-approved method for measuring it, Dr. Sha points out—no contortion required.

If you want to check your belly fat at home, use a tape measure pulled snugly around your abdomen at the top of your hip bones and parallel to the floor. Note the inches after you exhale. For women, a waist circumference up to 35 inches is considered healthy.

As for the Belly Button Challenge, it’s just another example of an arbitrary beauty standard that requires women to twist themselves into pretzels. This time, literally.

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6 Fun Summer Activities That Will Seriously Tone Your Abs

Crunches, planks, bicycles—bo-ring. Yes, they’re all effective at working your core. But so do some way-more-fun summer activities (think hula-hooping and stand-up paddle boarding) that just so happen to tone your abs in a similar way. Both routes to a six-pack can be effective, but personally, I’d rather get some serious enjoyment out of the process too, especially when it’s nice out.

Agree? Check out these sports that secretly strengthen your core—chances are, you won’t even realize you’re getting an ab workout as you’re doing them (though the burn the next day will probably clue you in).

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You’ve got to really move your middle to keep the hoop spinning, so it makes total sense that this seemingly-silly activity might seriously target your tummy. And a new, small study in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research proves just that. Thirteen women were asked to use a weighted hula hoop for five days a week for six weeks, for two minutes on the first day and then for longer and longer stints until they were hooping for 15 minutes a day starting in week three. The result: The women lost 3.4 centimeters from their midsections and 1.4 centimeters from their hips, on average.

Stand-up paddleboarding

All you have to do is get on a board and you will understand how your core is involved—it’s all about balance, and to stay upright your core is engaged the entire time,” says Chris Freytag, a fitness instructor in Minneapolis and founder of If you’re a newbie, Freytag suggests starting on your knees, which lowers your center of gravity and still works your middle, and then moving up to standing when you feel comfortable for maximum perks.

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Just because you’re sitting doesn’t mean you’re not working your stomach. “The majority of your body’s strength while paddling comes from the core, so while it feels like an upper-body exercise, it begins in your abdominals and lower back,” says Ramona Braganza, celebrity fitness trainer and creator of the 321 Training Method. Plus, your body rotation when paddling targets your obliques, too.

Beach volleyball

This classic summer sport is all about moving side-to-side and up-and-down to get the ball. All that quick lateral movement works your middle like crazy. On top of that, “the unstable surface of the sand gets your stabilizing muscles activated,” Braganza notes. Try playing with only a few people, rather than seven or eight folks on each side, which will force you to move more—and burn more.

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Treading water

“Treading water, or really doing any water sport in general such as swimming or snorkeling without fins, can improve your core and provides a lot of cardiovascular benefits,” says Braganza. And that’s important, she says, because it’ll burn off any fat hiding sculpted muscles underneath.


To stay balanced, you have to rely on a strong midsection to keep you upright. You’re also burning lots of calories as you roll, which is great for fat-melting purposes, Braganza says.

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