Taylor Lautner used to be a skinny teenager. Now, he's a symbol of ripped fitness.
Lautner, of course, stars in the Twilight movie series. And when you're playing a werewolf, you can't be wimpy.
Trainer Jordan Yuam guided Lautner from meek to muscular. Here, he shares the keys to Lautner's workout success.
"There are three aspects to changing your body," Yuam says.
- Your workout. "You want to be sure you are doing the things that meet your goals," he says.
- Your diet. (You knew that, right?)
- Recovery between workouts. "This is what most people don't do," Yuam says. "Less is more."
Don't start bench-pressing yet. First, you need to know what you're doing.
Consider hiring a trainer to get you started. Look for a trainer who is certified by a reputable group, such as the American College of Sports Medicine or the National Strength and Conditioning Association, says Avery Faigenbaum, a professor in the College of New Jersey's health and exercise science department.
Pick a trainer who is knowledgeable and fun to work with, Yuam says. He recommends splitting the cost with a few buddies.
Yuam's fitness video, The Werewolf Workout, features people of different heights and builds doing the same exercises to underscore that machine settings must fit your body size to prevent straining.
Pediatric sports medicine expert Andrea Stracciolini, MD, of Children's Hospital Boston, says poor technique and poor supervision are top causes of injury for teens who strength train.
Yuam describes examples of exercises that helped Lautner. With each exercise, reps depend upon fitness level.
- Swiss-ball plank. Get in plank position with your toes on the floor and forearms and elbows resting on a Swiss ball. Your back must be straight. Hold for 10 counts. This works the transverse abdominals.
- Reverse crunches. Lie back with your palms on the floor next to your hips. Bend your hips and knees so both are at 90 degrees. Raise your hips and crunch them inward. Usually, hold for five counts then slowly lower your legs until your heels gently touch the floor.
- Planks to pikes. Start in face-down plank position. Breathe while slowly raising your hips upward -- using your abdominal and gluteus muscles -- to a V. Then, lower back to plank position. Hold for a moment at the top and at the bottom positions.
- Hanging leg raise. Hang from a chin-up bar (or use lifting straps) with your feet together and knees slightly bent. Lift your thighs to your chest as your knees bend comfortably. Hold and exhale. Slowly lower your knees to the starting position while inhaling.
- Prone cobra. This helps with core stability. Lie face down with your legs straight and arms next to your sides, palms down. Contract your stomach muscles and those of your lower back, and raise your head, arms, chest, and legs off the floor while rotating your arms so your thumbs point to the ceiling. Only your hips should be on the floor. Try to hold the position before resting. "Yoga and Pilates have versions of this," Yuam says.
Don't Overdo It
A Lautner-style fitness plan does not mean hours in the gym.
Yuam says that at the end of a workout, Lautner would ask him, "You mean we are done?" and say, "I'm not breaking a sweat."
"The resistance program should be no longer than 50 minutes with [an additional] 15 minutes of abdominal exercises and 10 minutes of stretching," Yuam says.
Be honest with yourself. It's not really about looking like Lautner. It's about becoming a fitter, healthier version of you.
"You also want to keep in mind -- this is very, very important -- that you may want to look like a certain person. But if that person is Shaq or Tim Duncan, and you are 5 feet, 8 inches, how are you going to look like him? You have to be your own version of whomever," Yuam says.
That’s not to say you should give up if you don’t see the effects that you want. Stick with it. It may take you longer to see results than your friend. Everyone is different.
Remember, there are no shortcuts, and eating a healthy diet is a must. And, of course, never use anabolic steroids to bulk up.
Allow for Recovery
Forget about lifting every day. That's not in Yuam's plan -- and it's not what your body needs.
Yuam recommends resistance training three days per week -- on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, for example.
"Taxing the body by doing too much sabotages one's goals," Yuam says, while leading to burn out both mentally and physically.
Faigenbaum agrees: "It is during the recovery that the gains take place."