Insider Secrets from a Celeb Trainer

Don’t have two hours to spend at the gym? You can still shape the body you’ve always wanted. Fitness expert Jennifer Cohen spills her insider moves.
Jennifer Cohen

Jennifer Cohen is a celebrity trainer, group fitness class developer and author, but she's no drill sergeant. In fact, she wants to give everyone permission to set their own pace when it comes to activity. “We need to be realistic about our goals,” she says. “Everyone has a different fitness level and a different schedule.”

Translation: You don't need to hit the gym for hours every day (or ever, really) to reach your exercise goals. That anything-goes philosophy informs every workout in her 5-DVD series with Weight Watchers. Each DVD includes a beginner’s workout, a main 45-minute workout, and also an express 15-minute routine – so that no matter what your fitness level or lifestyle, you can make exercise a fun, rewarding habit.

“I think these DVDs can fit into anyone’s lifestyle, just like Weight Watchers can,” says Cohen. We asked her to share more of her fitness insight: How has your background shaped your philosophy on fitness?

Jennifer Cohen: I actually went to school for psychology and I’m really passionate about understanding human behavior patterns; there are so many parallels between psychology and fitness. A big part of working out is mind over body. Anyone can do a squat, but you have to train your brain to actually be motivated to do it and make it a part of your daily life. How will the PointsPlus Fitness Series DVDs help members fit more fitness into their day?

JC: Everyone’s busy. When we have families and jobs to worry about, there’s no way we’re spending two hours a day at the gym. But everyone has 15 minutes for the express workout. We also incorporate different fitness levels and modifications into each workout, so as your strength increases you can work up to more difficult variations of the individual moves. Aside from a “proper workout”—going to the gym or doing a fitness DVD, what are some other ways we can incorporate fitness into our day?

JC: I never say that going to the gym is a bad thing, but it’s not the only way to stay fit. Working out doesn’t have to be this daunting, intimidating process. It’s about small wins. Do 10 push-ups every night before bed. Or do them on commercial breaks when you’re watching TV and compete with yourself to see how many you can do in those two minutes. Other things I like to do: walk to the store or the gym instead of driving, jump rope for three minutes in the mornings, do squats, lunges or crunches any time you can find even two minutes. Tiny things like that can really add up! When you make them part of your routine you’ll see results. What are some misconceptions people have about fitness?

JC: People underestimate the importance of stretching. In the DVDs I incorporate three major components into the workouts: cardio, strength and flexibility. It takes all three of these to create a well-rounded fitness program. It also helps to switch up the muscle groups you’re working on. This has to do with your muscle memory. You’ll start to plateau when you’re doing the same workout over and over. The DVDs help keep it fresh. What advice would you give to a woman starting a fitness regimen for the first time?

JC: Take the time to learn the proper techniques and get comfortable using those muscles before you dive right into a hardcore program. For example, if you’re doing push-ups for the first time, don’t start on your toes. Try them on your knees or even just holding a plank position. Don’t go from zero to 60. Build on the strength you have to work up to your optimal fitness level. And most of all — have fun!

You can purchase the PointsPlus Fitness Series in meeting rooms nationwide. It's also available in our Online Store exclusively for Online subscribers.

You can follow Jennifer on Twitter: @TheRealJenCohen

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