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Pilates Pro Jennifer Yates' Post-Holiday Workout Tips and More

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Welcome to Racked's Fitness Week: five days of workout coverage, so that you can start your New Year's resolutions off right.

Image via Studio Metamorphosis

When fabulously fit stars like Modern Family actress Sofia Vergara and Victoria's Secret model Alessandra Ambrosio wanna whip their gorgeous bods and butts back into shape, they turn to Pilates guru Jennifer Yates. The celeb fitness trainer and founder of indoor cycling and Pilates spot Studio Metamorphosis—set to open in Pasadena next month—is a dedicated disciple of the Lagree Method (also known as "Pilates on crack"), which uses a tricked-out reformer machine called the M3 for a high-energy, calorie-crunching sweat session.

Seeing as the former ballerina (no wonder she's got such good form) has helped sculpt the muscles of fitness newbies, top-notch athletes and Tinseltown talents alike, we turned to the insanely toned trainer to help us stay on the workout wagon this year. From essential at-home exercises for strengthening your core to the best ways to ensuring you see your get-in-shape resolutions through, read on for more of Yates' expert advice.

Many of us tend to over-indulge during the holidays. What are the top ways we can get back into shape quickly?
"There are three vital resolutions to remember that will help the body get back into shape after indulging:

1. Consistency. The best way to get into shape quickly is consistency with diet and exercise. High-intensity workouts that are safe on the joints—such as the Lagree Method—should be done three to four times a week. Eat organic foods bright in colors: Think red, green, and yellow (apples, green salads, squash, sweet potatoes) and lean proteins will nourish the body and keep you on the right path. Remember to control your portions and eat often (every two to three hours), which will help speed up your metabolism."
2. Hydrate. Water is essential to aid in every aspect of your bodily functions. It also facilitates the fat-burning process. Weigh yourself, then multiply your weight in pounds by two-thirds. This is how many ounces you need to drink daily. Then add 12 ounces for every 30 minutes that you exercise to your daily number. Raise your water glass, sip often throughout the day…And cheers to a new you!

3. Rest. Getting at least seven to eight hours of sleep per night is essential for a healthy lifestyle. Sleep helps reduce anxiety, stress and promotes proper hormonal function.

To help track all of this, I use my Fitbit Force that I received as a Christmas present. The Force tracks steps (exercise), links to the My Fitness Pal application (which tracks nutrition and calories), monitors water intake, and clocks the amount hours of sleep and restless sleep. Perfect to help get you back on track after an indulgent holiday season!"

Image via Studio Metamorphosis

Tell us more about the Lagree Fitness Method—it seems pretty intense! What makes it such an awesome workout?
"Lagree Fitness is innovative and it works! It is full body conditioning in 40 minutes and much more effective than almost anything else you can do. The workout strengthens the body, improves endurance, jump-starts the metabolism, burns fat and increases flexibility, leaving you with a rockin', sexy body.

The workout is done on an updated version of a Pilates machine called the M3 Megaformer. The M3 allows for thousands of different resistance-based exercises to keep your muscles guessing and the mind stimulated. While it is intense, it's a low-impact workout that is kind on the joints and spine.

What makes this workout so addictive is the variation from workout to workout. Your body will continually be guessing what's next; that's exactly what you want for your muscles to continue to become stronger and more toned."

Can you share a few of your celebrity clients' favorite moves?
"[Modern Family actress] Sofia Vergara's favorite exercises work her butt. She refers to Lagree Fitness Method exercises, 'Runner's Lunge, Squats, Skating and Bungee' as necessary torture for her lower body.

During award show season training (The Emmys and Golden Globes), we focus on upper-body exercises on the M3 by targeting the triceps, upper back and shoulders. Some of her favorite moves are Sexy Back, Chest Opener, Mega Lat Rows, Swimmer and Shoulder Press. Usually, I will have Sofia finish with a Reverse Plank (pushing against the spring load) for two to three minutes at the end of each workout to target the abdominals and shoulders for one final burn!"

Image via Studio Metamorphosis

What specific moves do you suggest to target the most common problem areas?
"We all have specific parts of our body we want to work on. The most common requests that I receive are for strengthening the core. The most dangerous type of fat is stored in the waist line and can lead to heart disease. Exercises that can help you stay slim and trim along the waistline are crunches, leg lifts, plank and oblique exercises such as side plank.

Another favorite at-home exercise you can do is what we call Bear on the M3 machine. Use a dry towel and place it on a smooth, hard surfaced floor. Start on your hands in a straight arm plank position, step on the towel, raise your heels, move your legs in until your knees are underneath your hips then move back out to the plank position. You will work your lower abdominals with Bear. You can add a push up while you are in the plank position before you move your knees back to Bear for more of an upper-body challenge."

Even after resolving to get into shape for the new year, many eventually fall off the wagon. What are the best ways to ensure this doesn't happen?
"We are all susceptible to falling off the wagon—after all, we are human! Pace yourself and be kind to your body and mind. If you fall off, don't despair. Stay positive. Tomorrow is a new day!
· Group Fitness Classes: The support system of working out in a class atmosphere will keep up your morale. Also, a good instructor will help motivate and challenge you to achieve your goals. With challenge there will be change!
· Work Out With a Friend: Working out with a partner ensures accountability, promotes a positive support system because you are working towards similar goals, and let's face it, it's a ton of fun to talk about calories burned and how sore our muscles are the day after workout. Grab your bestie and get moving. You will be happy you did!"
· Studio Metamorphosis [Official Site]
· All Fitness Week 2014 Posts [Racked]

Studio Metamorphosis

676 E Green St, Pasadena, CA 91101