Michelle Obama has only been the First Lady since January, but her toned arms have already become legendary. But it doesn’t stop there. Mrs. Obama has the abs, legs and overall physique that makes us scratch our heads and wonder…“How does she do it?”
We caught up with fitness expert to the stars Kacy Duke and top New York City nutritionist Jeffrey Morrison, M.D., to get the insider scoop. Keep clicking for the 411 on getting and keeping a body like First Lady Michelle Obama’s.
The First Lady proves that it is possible to balance being a supportive wife and a caring mother with our own busy lives while still maintaining a fit physique.
Both the President and the First Lady have exercise routines that would put most to shame. Mr. Obama has made it known that he has a priority to start his day with a workout. Mrs. Obama is equally devoted to her fitness routine, telling People magazine last summer that she manages a 90-minute workout three times a week.
“What I really like about Michelle is that she is happy with the body that she has,” says Duke, observing that the First Lady is not a size 2. “So many people start [their weight loss] from a place of self-hate. Michelle says, ‘This is who I am and I’m going to make sure I take the time to honor myself,’” Duke adds. Honoring your body first is essential before starting the process of transformation, says Duke.
Personal trainers across the country have experienced an influx of requests by women who are interested in toning their arms and admit to being inspired by the First Lady. In the past many women would shy away from from strength training because they were afraid of big muscles. Mrs. Obama shows that toned arms do not necessarily lead to the mythical bodybuilder frame. Her womanly curves are still present in her athletic build.
The First Lady has been quite vocal about the importance of fitness and healthy eating in her life. Reportedly Mrs.Obama used to join a friend for 4:30 A.M. workouts. Since she moved to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, she has maintained a strict fitness routine.
Duke explains, “You don’t just get great arms overnight. Michelle finds the time to take care of herself. She’s not just going for physical flash but rather maintaining a healthy lifestyle.”
The First Lady is an advocate of healthy eating. Follow her lead, as Dr. Morrison advises, and steer away from artificial ingredients and embrace whole foods like brown rice, whole grain breads and whole wheat pasta.
Mrs. Obama’s toned arms are becoming her signature as she is known to show them off in her trademark sheath dresses and sleeveless tops despite fodder from harsh critics. Her body and confidence is a source of inspiration for women all over the world.
Duke, who has worked with a host of celebs including Mary J. Blige, Denzel Washington and Iman, credits a strong sense of self to the First Lady’s inspiring confidence level.
Not sure you have the willpower to keep your physique slim and trim like the First Lady because of those annoying munchies? Drinking a protein shake before and after workouts can help to maintain muscle tone and kill cravings.
Your slim-down secret weapon could be writing in a health journal. Experts say that keeping track of what you eat, when you exercise and how you feel will keep you motivated, help you understand your habits better, and make you a weight loss success story. To get started, check out the journal in ESSENCE’s “The Black Woman’s Guide to Healthy Living” (Time Inc. Home Entertainment).
Is the First Lady your motivation to shed those extra pounds you picked up over the winter months? Well, visualize your success—if you can “see” it, you can achieve it. Try tacking a full-length picture like this one of Mrs. Obama on your fridge at home or in your office at work. You just might think twice before grabbing that candy bar when you catch a glance of her fit frame.
Remember how the Obamas took both of their staff out for burgers and fries last week for lunch? Well, according to Dr. Morrison, this is normal and still healthy. Moderation is key.
“Occasionally it is okay to reward yourself with a meal. And a hamburger doesn’t have to be unhealthy. It’s all about portion control,” says Morrison.
Ladies, take a note from the First Lady and showcase your assets as much as possible. Mrs. Obama has a shapely figure and is quite smaller on top, thus she plays up her toned arms and enviable decolletage regularly.
“Even larger women can have beautiful lines. When you work out you’re sculpting your curves,” advises Duke.
Dr. Morrison, who has been a nutritionist for five years, suggests that Mrs. Obama is probably the type of person who shops on the outside of the grocery store and eats fruits and vegetables that are grown locally. (She planted a White House garden earlier this year.)
Morrison adds that the First Lady “always talks about the importance of healthy eating” in addition to her exercise routine.
It’s unclear what kind of specific exercises Mrs. Obama does to maintain her buff arms, but experts agree that it appears to be both back and arm workouts. She may be working out on machines, using dumbbells, bands or using her body weight. Pick the option that seems most suitable to you. Duke warns that alternating your fitness routine every few days is essential because of the body’s muscle memory.
Follow these tips and tricks to get and maintain your own body beautiful, just like the First Lady.
Duke reveals that one delay for women in starting a regular fitness routine is lack of time. “They wonder, ‘Can I find the time to do it?’” shares Duke, who is the author of “The Show It Love Workout” (McGraw-Hill).
However, maintaining an active lifestyle is easier than you might realize. Try parking your car a little farther at the mall to sneak in a power walk in the parking lot. Or, lift household items like 1-quart size bottles of water while you watch “American Idol.” For an extra push, try freezing those bottles of H2O.)
Too cash-strapped to join a gym? Don’t fret; Duke informs us that there are tons of exercises that don’t require major equipment. Walking or running outside is free and in the right moderation can achieve excellent results. Invest in an instructional fitness video or one of the aforementioned books to help you get started and take baby steps.
Push-ups are another way to get your workout on at home or in a local park without the need for expensive gym equipment.
Morrison advises that an easy way to save money while eating healthy is by purchasing foods when they are in season. They will be a lot more abundant and less expensive. For example, grapefruit is in season in the spring, says Morrison.
Duke stresses the importance of maintaining a healthy spirit as well as a healthy body. Proper rest and meditation are two ways to achieve this balance.
“We are all works in progress and the First Lady understands this,” says Duke.
Duke is an advocate of being active all day—not just doing a workout. Why not take the steps to your meeting instead of hopping on the elevator? Maybe you can hand deliver that memo at the office instead of e-mailing it. Sure, the First Lady has resources that you may not have, but she is constantly on the move, whether sitting Indian style on the floor while reading to kids or on her hands and knees planting a garden.
Love your body and it will love you back!
Do you exercise regularly? Has the First Lady encouraged you to get and stay fit?