It's been six years since Kate Upton burst into the internet's awareness as the model who danced the dougie at a basketball game. She's gone on to cover Cosmopolitan, Vogue, and the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue—and she only just turned 24 today.
Kate has always been famous for her curves, but eight months ago, she started working out with trainer Ben Bruno, starting a whole new diet and fitness plan that has dramatically changed her figure. We spoke to Bruno about the things Kate did to get the body she has now.
1. She came in focused. When she first started working out with Bruno, Kate wanted to get really fit—like, in the greatest shape of her life. Even before she got engaged earlier this year, Kate "made a big commitment to it and made a hard push."
2. Strength training has been the biggest part of her fitness program. Five days a week, for about an hour each day (sometimes up to two hours), Kate does a strength-based circuit training program and works her full body every time as opposed to focusing on specific body parts. The exercises include a mix of dead lifts, hip thrusts, lunges, rows, and sled pulls. According to Bruno, "A lot of girls are scared to do strength training because they fear that they're going to bulk up, but if you do the right stuff and focus on the right exercises, it actually helps tighten everything up. Kate has really tightened up her physique noticeably as she's gotten stronger."
3. No gerbil cardio. Bruno incorporates the cardio into the circuit work instead of having Kate run on a treadmill. Again, Bruno believes that strength training is the key to getting the shape Kate wants.
4. Her diet plays just as big a role as her workouts. When it comes to slimming down, Bruno believes that "nutrition is more than half the battle. She committed to both the training and the eating right from the get-go, and that's why she's seeing such great results." She's treating this not as a short-term weight-loss plan but a longer-term healthy lifestyle change.
5. She eats a lot of protein. Bruno says it's really important to get enough protein, and Kate follows that by having a lean protein at every meal. Working with a meal delivery service, Kate gets 4 to 6 ounces of protein in favorite foods like a salad with lots of veggies and chicken, or turkey meatballs.
6. She doesn't eat much of any sugar or processed food. Since working with Bruno, Kate has essentially cut out added sugars and processed foods (though an occasional doughnut isn't out of the question). "That's been key," Bruno says. "If you limit sugar and processed food, that takes care of most of the problems."
7. She's always improving. "One of the main tenets of my program is what's called progressive overload," Bruno says. "It's a fancy way of saying that you try to improve your workouts in some capacity, whether that be with more weight, more reps, or by doing a harder exercise." Eight months ago, Kate could only deadlift a 20-pound kettlebell, and she's now lifting almost 200 pounds. The first time she did a sled pull, she pushed about 180 pounds, and she's built up to over 500 pounds.
8. She's self-motivated. "She makes that part of it easy for me," Bruno says. "She has a good attitude about working out. She's not a whiner. She's actually excited and energetic in the gym."
9. She competes with Chelsea Handler. Another one of Bruno's clients, Chelsea Handler, is "a maniac on the sleds." She and Kate play off each other, trying to one-up the other person. They push each other in a healthy competition that even bubbles up from time to time on Instagram.
10. She works out with her dog. Kate's dog Harley goes everywhere with her, including to the gym (you can see him in most of the videos Kate posts of her workouts). Sometimes, Kate will do a workout in the morning with Bruno and go on a hike for a few miles with Harley in the afternoon.
11. She lets herself indulge once in a while. Kate loves wine and does drink occasionally in moderation. " I don't want it to feel like an unbearable diet," Bruno says. "There's not a set cheat day or anything like that, but she does have treats here and there."
12. There is no magic bullet. She's still training very hard eight months in—and there are no signs of stopping. "I don't think there are really any secrets. I think a lot of that stuff frankly is bullsh*t," Bruno says. "It just comes down to a good, solid training program done consistently with effort. She worked out five days a week for eight months. That's a lot of workouts. Workout to workout, you're never going to see huge change. But if you're consistent at it and chip away a little here, a little there, and you're really on it, it's amazing what can happen in eight months doing that. That's where the magic happens."
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