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Celebrity trainer Ramona Braganza takes a break from training Scarlett Johansson to explain her 3-2-1 method—the best workout for a busy holiday season.
Gold's Gym Fitness Institute member and trainer-to-the-stars Ramona Braganza has helped some of the hottest celebrities—including Johansson, Jessica Alba, Halle Berry, Jessica Biel, Ryan Reynolds and Tom Welling—get in great shape before the cameras start rolling. (We spoke with Braganza while she was on location with Johansson in Scotland.)
To help these stars stay ripped despite hectic filming schedules, Braganza developed the 3-2-1 Method, which combines cardio, core work and circuit training. By keeping the intensity high throughout the workout, her clients can burn up to 300 calories in 30 minutes.
Braganza came up with the idea for the workout when she was on location with Alba for a film. To get the most out of the actress's limited time on the shoot, Braganza decided to divide Alba's cardio sessions into 3 manageable 10-minute segments, including 2 sculpting circuits, and then wrap up the workout with a core interval to blast belly fat. But you don't have to frequent the red carpet to reap the benefits of this simple plan. "My goal as a trainer is to develop a program that anyone can do and get a Hollywood body," Braganza says.
Here's how her method works, in 6 easy steps:
1 Begin your workout with cardio session #1, an easy 3-minute warm-up. Get on the treadmill or the elliptical, or do jumping jacks in place.
2 Next, start sculpting session #1, doing a circuit of 3 exercises for 3 different body parts, performing 3 sets of 15–20 reps, and resting for 45 seconds to 1 minute between sets.
Exercise 1: Lunges
Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Take a giant step back with your right foot and place it down on a diagonal lunge behind you, making sure to keep your leg and your back straight. Your hands can touch the ground, and your head should be up. Once your foot touches down, return to start position. Repeat this move 10 times with your right leg, and then 10 times with the left. Work your way up to 15 reps per side.
Exercise 2: Lateral raises
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold a 5-pound dumbbell in each hand, your arms hanging at your sides. Raise your arms out to the sides while tilting the tops of the dumbbells forward, rotating them internally, as if you were pouring tea from a teapot. Stop when you reach about shoulder height, pause momentarily, then lower your arms back down, and return to start position.
Exercise 3: Biceps curls
Holding a pair of 5-pound dumbells, stand with feet hip-width apart and knees slightly bent. Let your arms hang at your sides, and keep your head back and slightly looking up so that your neck is relaxed. Slowly curl your arms up, squeeze your biceps when you reach your shoulders, and then even more slowly, uncurl your arms. Sticking to a slower tempo (or the time the muscle is under tension) will build your biceps more effectively. Repeat 15–20 times.
3 Next is cardio session #2, 10 minutes of cardio with 2 minutes of high intensity and then 2 minutes of lower intensity. Possible activities include jumping rope, running, doing jumping jacks or any high-impact exercise that gets your heart pumping.
4 Now it's time for sculpting session #2:
Exercise 1: Dumbell fly
Sitting on a bench, hold 5 pound dumbells in each hand, palms facing in, bring your arms straight above you. As you exhale, lower both arms out to the sides, to about shoulder height. Hold momentarily, then slowly raise to return to start position.
Exercise 2: Step-ups
Stand facing a bench or a set of stairs and step onto it with your right foot, then bring your left foot up to meet the right. Return your left foot to the floor, keeping your right foot on the bench. Repeat with your left foot up to 15 times, then switch sides and step with your left foot to begin.
Exercise 3: Lying triceps extensions
Lie faceup on a bench, holding a 5-pound dumbbell in each hand, your arms extended toward the ceiling. Keeping your arms locked in position and elbows pointed forward, slowly bend your elbows and lower the dumbbells on either side of your face until they're in line with your ears, then immediately raise the dumbbells back to start position.
5 Now it's time for cardio session #3, which you'll do in a 10-minute interval. For this segment, pretend to jump rope for 5 minutes to get your heart rate up, then do 5 minutes of shadow kickboxing with punches and kicks.
6 The last step is the core segment. For this you hold a plank position: Lie on your stomach, place your forearms and elbows flat on the floor, and as you exhale, raise your torso, hips and legs to balance on your toes. Contract your abs and glutes during this move, and make sure not to arch your back; try to remain in a long, straight line. Hold for at least 30 seconds, then work your way up to a minute, and don't forget to breathe. Repeat 2 more times.
You can purchase the 3-2-1 Training Method DVD on Braganza's Website, www.ramonabraganza.com. Plus you can find the 3-2-1 Nutrition Plan, which offers a healthy, sensible approach to weight loss and building lean muscle tissue. Good luck!