Kelly Ripa recently tweeted out a photo of her insanely toned abs and not surprisingly, the world was instantly buzzing! The 43-year-old mother of three might just have one of the best bods in the biz. What’s her secret? The charismatic talk show host has been training with Anna Kaiser of AKT in Motion for the past three years, so we caught up with the celeb fitness guru herself to get Ripa's awesome abs secrets, stat (can we please have them for Christmas?!).
SHAPE: When Kelly tweeted out the photo showing off her abs, the Internet went crazy! Were you expecting so much buzz?
Anna Kaiser (AK): It’s been so crazy ever since she posted that photo! It’s too funny because I took the picture only because of her cute candy cane socks, not even thinking about her abs—we didn’t realize it would become so buzzed about.
SHAPE: How long have you been training her?
AK: I’ve been training Kelly for three years. She works out four to five days per week for 90 minutes per session. Her work ethic is more insane than anyone I’ve ever met! She’s so driven, present, excited, and focused. She is just a wonderful person. It’s such a joy to work with someone that’s always present with you. It’s really every trainer’s dream for their client to want it as badly as you want it for them, and she really puts in the work. She doesn’t expect instant results yet still is so focused, committed, and intense about her fitness.
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SHAPE: She’s always been in great shape, but what were some of her fitness goals when you first started working together?
AK: She’s definitely always been in shape but she wasn’t in the shape she’s in now! She basically wanted to put everything together that she had learned at different places—whether it was doing strength or doing cardio—but she didn’t have much flexibility training. We all only have so much time in a day or in a week, so I wanted to give her a comprehensive program that gave her everything she needed (strength, cardio, and flexibility) but all in one place. She’s much too busy to be running around doing a yoga class at one place and a barre or a spin class in the other. So for her, it was mostly about combining all that and getting more cardio into her life, leaning herself out a little, and there were also certain parts of her body that were either overdeveloped or deconditioned.
SHAPE: What does her workout routine with you look like?
AK: It really depends on the day of the week. Two days a week it will be high reps, low weight. The other two days it will be high weight, low reps. If we fit in one more day, then it will be a flexibility/recovery day. All days will include both cardio and flexibility, but we’ll switch up the body parts we focus on. Sometimes it’s full body, another time it might be upper body or biceps/triceps. It always has to change. If you’re always doing the same thing, your body will start getting used to that.
SHAPE: We must get her secret to those amazing abs!
AK: The first rule is that you’re not going to get abs by doing a bunch of crunches. If you want to see your abs, you have to lose fat. I want to be sure there are no misconceptions that specific abs exercises will give you abs! I work with the core. Think about your abs and back working together to support your spine—that will give you an amazing physique! If one is stronger than the other, you will deal with instability and one overcompensating for the other. Many of the best core exercises all derive from planks. Think of different variations!
VIDEO: Anna Kaiser's Killer Abs Workout
SHAPE: Can you give us some of your favorite plank exercises?
AK: The side plank and plank jumping jacks are all really great, just be sure to hold that naval to the spine as hard as you can. As for reps, do as many as you can and try for more on your next workout. If you can only do five on Tuesday, make sure you do six or seven on Wednesday. The only rule? Never go back to five! Always continue pushing forward.
SHAPE: What about diet? Does Kelly look to you for any healthy eating advice?
AK: I always say eat everything, but eat it in moderation. I don’t like to inhibit anyone. Kelly is very knowledgeable about nutrition—she knows what’s good for her and loves veggies and eating healthy. She will eat throughout the day but always in moderation.
For more on Anna Kaiser, visit AKT in Motion!