Though I normally seethe silently at the sight of a brand-new mommy with a slammin’ post-baby body—Adriana Lima, feel my wrath—I can’t hate on Amber Owens.
She got back into great shape when her daughter was still teeny-weeny, and she earned her physique.
The Atlanta-based trainer, fitness instructor and mother of now nearly-two-year-old Ava has been in the dance, health and fitness industry for a decade, and in January she opened her own gym, Balance Total Fitness and Dance Studio in Atlanta.
The studio offers a wide array of classes for adults, including Ballet Barre Fit, Bootcamp Intervals, Pilates, TRX Suspension Training, Zumba, and various styles of yoga. Balance also has classes for kids, including ballet and tumbling.
As someone whose family has suffered from diabetes, high cholesterol, and other weight-related health issues, Owens has been dedicated to a consistent health and fitness regime since she started studying dance at the age of three.
“My dream has always been to help others achieve their goals and enjoy their health and fitness journey,” Owens says. “I’m devoted to my clients and I appreciate how hard they work to achieve and maintain their goals. So providing a place for them and others to enjoy a healthy lifestyle—it just made sense.”
Here, Owens shares some tips on tackling two challenges that can be particularly pesky for newer moms: the squishy area near the armpit and—dun, dun, dun—back fat.
Dealing with armpit squish:
“This is a stubborn area to get rid of, but the best way to accomplish this is through targeted muscular training and cardiovascular exercises,” she says. “And to be honest, unless you are trying to build muscle mass the area may mostly become less…squishy.”
Try targeting your pectoralis major muscle, where the fat can deposit and build, by focusing on these moves:
Chest press: Lie on your back with a weight in each hand, then push the weights up so that your arms are directly over your shoulders and your palms face up. Lower the weights down and out to the side. Repeat.
Chest fly: Lie on your back, in the same position as the chest press, but when your arms are extended up, have your palms (and the weights) face each other. Then lower your arms out to your sides and repeat. It should look sort of like you’re hugging a big ball on your chest.
Attacking back fat:
“Many times fat builds over the lattismus dorsi muscle in the upper back, but you can’t just work that one muscle to see results,” Owens says. “You also have to work the surrounding deltoid and trapezius muscles to decrease fat and build muscle tone.”
Address this issue by trying these moves and techniques:
Lat pulldown: Find the appropriate machine at your gym, and sit on the bench with your feet on the floor and knees under the padded bar. Grab the weighted bar from above, then lean back a little bit, squeeze your shoulder blades back and pull the bar to your chest. Bring the bar back up, then repeat.
Lying tri-trap push: Pick up one larger dumbbell and hold it vertically, with both hands on one end. Bring the weight behind your head and let the other end hang. Bring your elbows toward your ears, then push the dumbbell over your head, reaching your arms into a full extension. Return to the original position, and repeat.
“Any exercise that causes those back muscles to contract through pulling against gravity is fantastic,” Owens says. “You can also use just your body weight with exercises like pull-ups, push-ups or planks.”