In her new lifestyle book, Pretty Happy: Healthy Ways to Love Your Body ($18, amazon.com), Kate Hudson shares her best wellness secrets. One nugget we couldn’t resist: What exactly she does at the gym to stay so incredibly fit. In this excerpt, Hudson, 36, explains her go-to routines for the days when she has plenty of time to work out, and the days when she’s only got 15 minutes.
My approach to how I exercise is based on combining three forms of movement: cardio, strengthening, andtoning or lengthening my muscles. I wish I could work out every day, but I don’t. I try for four days a week, but some weeks it’s only three days—I just don’t have the time. But the reason this minimal approach works for me is that I figured out how to push my body just enough, change up the actual exercises so my body doesn’t plateau, and alternate the types of exercise to maximize their effect. I know that probably sounds like a giant cliché, but I do think if you pay attention to what your body needs in three ways—aerobic fitness (through cardio exercises), strengthening (through weighted exercises), and toning (through stretching/sculpting/lengthening of the muscles)—you, too, can figure out some shortcuts to the body that you want, with minimal time commitment.
Ideally, what you’re aiming for in any given week is this:
- Work out four or five days a week for 30 to 60 minutes.
- Alternate cardio, strength, and stretch/tone/sculpt (this means alternating within one workout or over consecutive days).
Realistically, what will keep you in shape is this:
- Once or twice a week, go for a long, strenuous workout that includes 20 to 30 minutes cardio, 20 to 30 minutes strengthening, and 20 to 30 minutes stretch/tone/sculpt.
- On two other days, do 15 minutes of either cardio, strength, or stretch/tone/sculpt.
Because it feels like I don’t have enough time, I’ve become efficient at putting together some go-to routines—just like I do with my meal prep. Some days, I go to a Spin class—an intense 45-to 60-minute cardio workout to music. Other days, I go to a dance studio and do 2 to 3 hours of advanced jazz-modern, which hits all three of my goals—cardio, strengthening, and toning. And one of my all-time favorite workout classes is pole dancing. This is an intense, full-body workout that is so fun and fabulous—I recommend it to anyone with the guts to try it! Grab a friend or two and do it together—trust me, you’ll laugh, move, and connect with that inner sexy diva who’s dying to come out of her shell!
Twice a week, I try to do a long workout; a typical one includes:
- 30 minutes of dance cardio
- 30 minutes of butt and core
- 10 minutes of arm exercises (which typically means arm “shapeners” using low weights—I love Tracy Anderson’s Method).
- A few short workouts (20 to 30 minutes) I do to a song or two: First half of the song, I do tricep push-ups on my knees (resting in child’s pose when I need to). Second half of song, I do wide arm push-ups on my knees.
Exercise really comes down to moving in a way that makes you feel good. I love music and dancing—that’s my thing. You might love a short run or a walk around the block chatting with your girlfriends. Whatever works for you is what’s best. But remember two really important points: 1) food is more important than you think; the more clean you eat, the more effective even short workouts will be; and 2) you absolutely need to switch up what you do for exercise so you don’t get bored. Trust me on that one.