ICYMI, 54-year old Halle Berry shared the most insane picture of her iconic abs on Instagram.
While we compiled everything the Oscar winner has ever said about her daily diet, exercise and wellness routine in hopes we can all take on her advice and look like her at 54, we thought we’d go a little deeper – because why not?
We asked fitness trainer and Co-Founder of 12RND Fitness Tim West, to share his top tips on getting Halle Berry-abs.
6 expert-approved steps to getting Halle Berry’s abs
1. Train like a fighter with boxing
Research shows that exercising for targeted fat loss or spot reduction is ineffective. There’s little evidence demonstrating core exercises alone can result in defined abs, and instead results are better seen through high intensity resistance training. The full-body, explosive movements from boxing are great for rapid fat loss and lean muscle gain because they incorporate either body weight for resistance or light weights, and utilise speed and power to increase intensity.
Celebrities like Halle often incorporate boxing and other martial arts related exercises into their training similar to that of an elite fighter, in which they combine short, sharp, high intensity bag work and pad work with sports specific strength and conditioning movements.
2. Emphasise core activation
Core stability is incredibly important for athletic function, so through improving your core stability you can better optimise your body’s overall movement in countless other ways. Activating your core throughout every movement will enhance your stability and therefore improve both upper and lower extremity function.
Over time, as your core strength increases, you will also be able to better maximise the intensity of your workouts, and begin lifting heavier and moving more efficiently to continue seeing results long-term without plateauing.
3. Practise variety in your core exercises
It’s important that in every workout you incorporate some form of core-specific exercise to ensure that in addition to activating your core in all other movements, you are specifically targeting the development of that muscle group. People often consider the core to simply be the “six pack”, however it also includes your pectorials, internal and external obliques, pelvic floor, glutes, and other major and minor muscles.
Therefore, to achieve the best results, it’s important to incorporate a variety of exercises throughout your week that exercise these muscles. Try these moves:
- Plank / Prone Hold
- Side Plank
- V Sits
- Russian Twists
- Bicycle Ab Crunch
- Dead Bugs
- Leg Raise
4. Incorporate active recovery
Although high intensity training is beneficial towards achieving a toned core faster, it’s important that your training is counterbalanced with sufficient recovery. Active recovery allows your body to flush out the lactic acid and to reduce any swelling that it may have taken on as a result of training with maximum output in every session. It also gives your body the rest it needs while still moving, and therefore continuing to burn calories on a daily basis.
Some options include yoga, swimming, walking and stretching, which will all assist with muscle repair, and recharging your body’s battery. Having this time to recover before hitting the gym for your next workout will allow you to train with intensity week after week without burning out or injuring yourself.
5. Focus on body composition, not body weight
Tracking your progress using just body weight, whether kilograms or pounds, can be very deceptive; our body weight often fluctuates based on time of day, volume of water, and for females, can be impacted by hormonal cycles. Although using the scales regularly at the same time of day can help to provide a basic understanding of change over time, body composition is far more effective.
Body composition is the analysis of your body’s total weight broken down into muscle mass and body fat, and can also include skeletal mass, percentage of water and other metrics that give you a more comprehensive understanding beyond just your weight. In order to achieve abs like Halle’s, you should aim to reduce your body fat mass and increase muscle mass.
6. Eat and drink like you’re approaching a weigh-in
If your goal is to achieve fat loss and lean muscle mass gain to reveal defined abs, it’s important that you consider what you’re putting into your body on a regular basis. Fighters often incorporate a very strong and disciplined diet in the lead up to a fight to make their weight class with a focus on shedding body fat but maintaining muscle mass. Key staples you’ll often find on their meal plan are protein shakes, lean meats and lots of vegetables. The idea is to focus on food as energy, and consume enough to fuel your basal metabolic rate – the absolute minimum your body needs to function – plus any physical activity you do throughout your day, including exercise.
Your body composition can be altered depending on whether you are consuming a surplus or deficit of energy (or calories). Consuming more energy than your body requires without burning it off creates a surplus and is the cause of fat storage, therefore a deficit is required to reduce fat. Individual energy needs vary from person to person, so it’s best to workout your own requirements and aim to eat a caloric deficit until you reach your goal.
Tim West is the Co-Founder of 12RND Fitness. For more information, head here.