The flat tummy workout loved by celebs
The flat tummy workout loved by celebs
Celebrity trainer James Duigan shares his fail-safe formula for good health – and killer abs.
If you're one of the millions around the world who's recently admired the gorgeous Emilia Clarke as dragon commanding Daenerys in Game of Thrones, know that there's an Aussie who helped her achieve that svelte figure, and he can help you, too.
James Duigan has been transforming the bodies of the rich and famous for decades – if a celeb has spent any time in London, chances are they've been trained by him at some point. As well as Clarke, his client roll call includes Aussie actress Holly Valance and British actress/model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, and he's also trained Elle Macpherson – his first major celeb client – and actors Hugh Grant and Zoe Kravitz.
The Aussie-born personal trainer has become quite the health and fitness entrepreneur, with books, supplements and activewear as well as his luxury Bodyism gyms. He's known for his 'Clean and Lean' philosophy that promises a healthier body and flatter tummy in just 14 days.
His latest book, James Duigan's Blueprint For Health has a more holistic focus: "All the things that make people happy – less stress, nourishing foods, a good night's sleep – will lead to a flat tummy," Duigan writes. "A flat tummy won't make you happy, but being happy will give you a flat tummy."
His two-week plan includes plenty of tummy-toning workouts and slimming recipes, but equal importance is put on sleep quality and a healthy mindset.
"A flat tummy is way more than doing ab crunches," Duigan says. He recommends a regular workout that's a combination of body-weight resistance moves (like his flat tummy circuit below) and cardio. He advises starting a workout with mobilising exercises and ending with stretches. For the two-week tummy blitz, he recommends you exercise six days a week, and rest or have a massage on the seventh.
Duigan's not a big fan of gluten because of its irritating effects, and considers refined carbs such as breakfast cereal and white pasta "junk". Carbs are not off the menu, though – most meals include low-to-moderate amounts of root veg, brown rice, quinoa or gluten-free rolled oats. His eating plan has three solid meals a day, and all have a good dose of protein, healthy fats and lots of vegetables, plus daily fruit and caffeine is OK. Drinking at least two litres of water or herbal tea each day is encouraged, too.
Mindset and sleep
A healthy mindset is key for Duigan; his two-week health blitz includes daily meditations, but also morning mantras to make you feel powerful ("I am strong/I am intelligent/I am loving"). Bedtime is at 10pm and Duigan gives helpful tips for pre-sleep relaxation. To improve sleep and reduce stress, for example, he suggests spending five minutes before bed doing a gratitude journal. "If you can master getting a nourishing night's sleep, you'll find you feel less stressed and more likely to be kind to yourself, which feeds into good movement, mindset and nutrition," he says.
James' flat-tum circuit
Lunge forward, keeping your hips facing forwards, with your head still and arms out to the side, parallel with the ground.
As you move into the lunge, slowly rotate your torso over your lead leg, letting your arms rotate, too. Keep your body upright, chest out and shoulders rolled back. Rotate back to the middle, then return to the starting position. This is 1 rep. Do 10 reps, then repeat on the other leg.
High plank to shin tap
Start in a high plank (with straight arms). As you hinge your hips and push your butt up to the sky, lift your right hand and reach under your torso towards your left ankle (if possible, gently tap the front of your foot or ankle). Come back to a high plank, returning that hand to the floor, then repeat with the other arm.
This is 1 rep. Do 10 reps on each side.
Side plank with knee to elbow
Assume a side-plank position on your forearm and edge of your lower foot, elbow in line with your shoulder. Place your top arm behind your head, then bend it down your torso, lifting your top knee to meet it. Keep your hips raised.
This is 1 rep. Do 10 reps on each side
The body saw
Assume a plank position on your forearms, with your fists clenched or your palms facing up. Place each foot on a gliding disc or small paper plate.
Keeping your body in a straight line, press your forearms into the floor (your forearms shouldn't move) to push your body backwards so your feet slide back on the discs/plates.
Reverse the motion by pressing into your forearms to pull your body forwards, back to the starting position.
This is 1 rep. Do 10 reps.
Make it a workout
Warm up with 2 minutes of walking and dynamic stretches. Do 2 rounds of the circuit, then a cardio burst (see below). Repeat. Stretch to cool down.
To raise the intensity of this workout, do these moves after 2 flat-tummy circuits.
Burpees without jump
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Push your butt back and down to a squat, then lower to a crouch. Place your hands on the floor in front of you, shoulder-width apart. Hop your feet back to a plank, body straight, then hop them back to your hands. Return to standing. Repeat for 1 minute.
Assume a push-up position, with your hands under your shoulders, back flat, legs straight, feet together and belly button drawn in. Keeping your core tight, bring one knee forwards, toward your chest. Return that leg to the starting position and repeat with the opposite knee. Repeat as fast as you can for 1 minute.
This is an edited extract from James Duigan’s Blueprint for Health ($29.99, Pavilion).
Bodyism HIIT WHIMN0:31
Game of Thrones workout by Bodyism’s James Duigan.