Pre-CMA Awards Fitness Plan

OK. The CMA awards are one week away! So, I thought I’d let you in on the regimen that my trainer, Joe Johnson of Marathon Fitness puts me on whenever we’re trying to “tighten up “ 😉 before a photoshoot, video shoot, or awards show.

This fitness plan is also perfect as a pre-wedding, or pre- formal event, or any time you need a good kick in the booty. I usually do this for about a month leading up to an important event, or photoshoot.

So here’s Joe, he has a PHD in Biomedical Science, a cult following of personal training clients and boot campers from all over Nashville, and ,generally speaking, is one of the most inspiring people I know.


Right….his body is crazy!

Back to us girls… body image is a huge issue ….and I’d like to go into greater depth about it at a later date, but suffice it to say that I’m passionate about women being healthy, and healthy in the specific body that God gave them. We are who we are ladies, and we’ weren’t meant to all look alike. I’m guilty of body envy when I look at my friends, magazines, and other people in the media, but ultimately I really want to protect, and strengthen this one body that I have, and not spend my time focusing on all the things I *wish* was different about my appearance.

So let’s talk about healthy bodies! I started seeing my trainer Joe about 2 years ago, because I was on the road constantly and needed a good healthy routine that would keep my energy up, and my body looking and feeling good while I was on tour and traveling. The first thing he did was put me on a meal plan. THIS IS NOT A DIET. Let me repeat. THIS IS NOT A DIET.

When I see the women around me crash dieting, or starving themselves or trying another crazy cleanse, it really does worry me, and makes me think…there’s gotta be a better way.

So here’s what we do. (Now the amounts of food are based specifically on my weight and percentage of body fat, so they would vary slightly for different body shapes and sizes. When I’m trying to tone up before a photoshoot or important even the first thing I do is get back on this meal plan…and it’s a lot of food. Two extra rules: no booze (I know, cry into someone else’s beer), and no processed sugar!!


The main point of all these meals is to give your body enough fuel to build muscles, and enough consistent calories that your body isn’t holding onto fat because it’s afraid you’re not gonna give it enough food. When you starve yourself, you might drop a couple pounds but you’re stealing from your body’s muscle content which may help you drop an inch in the short term, but you’re going to look soft. And muscle burns fat.

Now…Onto the Workout

Legs: I love to focus on legs, so here are some of my favorite leg/butt exercises.  We usually do 2 leg focused workouts a week, but If you’re a beginner just start with once a week.

SQUATSI would do 3-4 sets of 20 reps. (Beginners do 2 sets of 2 reps).

Most everybody knows how to do a squat…but just in case. This is your starting position. I’m holding a 10 weight for counterbalance. Feet are hip width apart.

Squat down as deep as you can, don’t let the knees go in  front of the toes.

LOW SQUATS 3 sets of 10 reps. (Beginners try 1 set of 15 reps or 2 sets of 10 reps)

Starting position: knees hip width apart (use a mat for your knees’ sake).

Bring your right leg up.

Bring your left leg up to meet it…you’re now in a low squat position.

Bring your right leg back down to kneeling position.

Return left leg to kneeling position.

Now, repeat this same set of movements, but leading with your left leg. Alternate leading right and left till you get to 10 reps.

LOW LUNGES: 3 sets of 10 reps. (Beginners try 1 set of 15 or 2 sets of 10)

Starting position: feet slightly apart. Medicine ball for counterbalance, and arms parallel to the floor.

Lunge out with your right leg. Try to make your knee form a 90 degree angle.

Keeping the medicine ball parallel to the floor bring the left leg up to meet your right.

Lunge back with your right leg.

Bring your left leg back to meet your right and stand up.

Now, repeat this same set of movements, but lunging/leading with your left leg. Alternate leading right and left till you get to 10 reps.

HIP ABDUCTION: Do this exercise in one direction across the length of the room (leading with one leg), and then go back the other direction (so you lead with other leg.)

Starting position: feet slightly apart and hold the band up and tight so there is tension/ resistance.

Step out with your right leg (as far as you can…this should be really hard.)

Next (not pictured) just bring your left leg to meet your right so you’ve taken a small sideways step across the floor.

What am I doing here? Well, that’s a very good question…just being a huge dork and demonstrating that you can use different size bands for greater/tougher resistance.

FIRE HYDRANTSI’m using a 5lb weight behind my knee and doing 75 reps on each side. (Beginners, use a lighter weight, or no weight at all and do 50 reps)

Starting position: place the weight in the bend of your knee. Hands shoulder width apart.

Bring your knee up so that it is at least parallel to the floor. (Squeeze on that weight so it doesn’t fall.)

Return to starting position and repeat for 50-75 reps. Then switch sides.

Cardio: In addition to the leg workouts, I usually do one day focusing on upper body strength (we’ll post some great arm, back, shoulder workouts another time.)  And I usually run 2-3 times/week. 3-4  miles. If you’re a beginner start out with a one mile run 2-3 times per week and work up to longer distances.

Awkward hug photo!!!

HUGE thanks to Joe for his amazing help on this post. Go check him out. My Joe Body. Marathon Fitness. And follow him on twitter/periscope (@marathonfitco) for some awesome live workouts.

Hit me up with questions. Xo

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