If you’ve been an Oxygen fan for a while, chances are you’ve seen Chady Dunmore a time or two. She is the ultimate success story, having lived a lifetime with kidney disease and a mild case of lupus, and having gone from 200-plus pounds to fitness model postpartum. She reinvented herself and became an icon of fitness, earning a pro card in Bikini and appearing on the cover of Oxygen four times. She was a successful coach and fitness competitor and had several lucrative sponsorships. But then she disappeared, leading people to wonder, Where is she now? Now she’s back and better than ever.
What I Did for Love
While on set shooting her upcoming Oxygen course Fast-Track Fitness, Dunmore caught a glimpse of her upcoming cover and all but broke down in tears. “I literally was living out of my car a year ago and I never thought I would be here — almost 40 — on a magazine cover,” she says, trying hard not to ruin her makeup. “It’s like a dream. I never thought I would have abs again, but here they are, stretch marks and all! I am proud of my body and its marks, and I would not change a thing about it at this point in my life.”
Dunmore owns that she gave up everything for a relationship. “You live your life for love — for family, significant others — and every bump I have hit in my life has been because of love or a relationship,” she says. “I was married for 10 years to my daughter’s dad, and I lost myself and my identity. And in this last relationship, I was engaged, I resigned from my job, moved to a new city and revolved my life around a relationship that ultimately did not work out after three years. And again, I lost my identity.”
Dunmore hit rock bottom and finally left that relationship and all that came with it — including clothing, possessions and keepsakes — and returned to Sacramento to be with family and friends with nothing to her name. She also sought therapy to help her buoy back to the surface. “It took months before I could look at myself in the mirror and say, I am worthy, I am capable, I am strong,” she says. “I could be embarrassed about it, but I’m not. I learned so much, and if anything, I know what I don’t want now.”
Dunmore believes that her amazing mental and physical comeback had a lot to do with working out. “The gym was always home for me and it was my safe place,” she says. “I was always in control of that. It is important to know that you’re the only one in control of your health.”
As she became stronger physically, her mental health also returned — and vice versa. “To change your body, you have to change your thoughts,” she says. “Without inner peace, your outer peace fades.”
Today, she brackets her life around her 13-year-old daughter’s schedule — school, gymnastics and cheerleading — and is dedicated to passing along what she has learned about self-love and positive body image to Sofia. “Young women today have it hard — harder maybe than we did — when it comes to body image,” she says. “Social media is a big part of that, and I do my best to teach her to be body-positive, using myself — and my mistakes — as the lesson. She is keenly aware of everything I put out, so it’s important that I make her proud.
If anyone knows about busy, it’s Chady Dunmore. As a single mom and self-employed trainer and nutritionist, she has become a rote expert on timesaving training. “Home workouts and quick circuits are a great way to train,” she says. “They get your heart rate up and your muscles activated in less than 30 minutes.” Incorporate these six moves into your regular schedule or try one of the sample programs for yourself. Either way, you’ll get a fast and furious fat-burning workout you can do anywhere!
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, arms in front of your with your elbows bent. Step your left leg behind and across your right leg on the diagonal. Bend both knees deeply until your knees and hips make 90-degree angles. Then push off your left foot and return to the start. Continue, alternating sides.
Level Up: Do this move with a barbell across your back or with a kettlebell held at your chest.
Tip: “Keep your hips as square to the front as possible to really target your glutes,” Dunmore says.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart, arms at your sides. Take a large step backward with your right leg, bending your left knee deeply and your right leg straight until your fingers touch the floor on either side of your left foot. Pause briefly, then push off your right foot and use your left leg to stand back up to the start. Do all reps on one side and then switch.
Level Up: Hold a set of dumbbells and touch them lightly to the floor on either side of your foot.
Tip: “Try to maintain level hip alignment and keep all your weight in your front leg to really hit those muscles hard,” she says.
One-Arm Dumbbell Row
Hold a dumbbell in your right hand and assume a wide split stance with your right leg back and your left leg forward. Bend your left knee until your thigh is nearly parallel with the floor and rest on your thigh with your left arm. Extend your right arm straight toward the floor, palm facing inward. Keeping your back straight, drive your elbow up and back. Pause briefly and then lower slowly to the start and repeat. Do all reps on one side before switching.
Level Up: At the top of your row, extend your elbow and perform a triceps kickback.
Tip: “Pull your shoulder blade inward and keep your shoulders square throughout,” Dunmore advises.
Assume a fighter’s stance — one foot forward, one foot back — and hold a set of dumbbells at chin level, palms facing inward, elbows down. Alternately throw straight punches at shoulder level, keeping the nonpunching hand in place to “protect” your face.
Level Up: Use a heavier weight or play with your punching speed.
Tip: “Every other set, switch your foot stance,” she says.
Banded Side Leg Raise
Stand with both feet on a resistance band shoulder-width apart, and hold the handles at your hips. Keep your leg straight as you slowly lift it up and out to the side as high as you can without breaking at the hips or tipping over. Pause briefly and then lower to the start. Do all reps on one side, then move to the other.
Level Up: Add an ankle weight or use a heavier band to boost resistance.
Tip: “This is a small move, so don’t overthink it,” she says. “It will burn even in that small range of motion — trust me!”
Standing Triceps Overhead Extension
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold a dumbbell straight up over your head with both hands. Bend at your elbows to lower the weight down behind your head as far as you can, then extend your elbows to lift it back to the start.
Level Up: Use a dumbbell in each hand to work each arm separately and increase the challenge.
Tip: “Don’t let your elbows flare out since this takes the work off your triceps,” she says.
Choose a moderately heavy weight and perform each couplet one to three times through, depending on time and ability level. You can sub jumping or jogging in place if you don’t have a rope.
|Curtsy Lunge||30 seconds|
|Dumbbell Punch||30 seconds|
|Jump Rope||1 minute|
|Runner’s Lunge||30 seconds (each leg)|
|Standing Triceps Overhead Extension||30 seconds|
|Jump Rope||1 minute|
|Banded Side Leg Raise||30 seconds (each side)|
|One-Arm Row||30 seconds (each side)|
|Jump Rope||1 minute|
Complete all reps of one move before going to the next. Rest as needed, but keep your rest intervals brief to keep the fat burn high!
|Dumbbell Punch||60 (30 per side)|
|One-Arm Row||50 (25 per side)|
|Standing Triceps Overhead Extension||40|
|Banded Side Leg Raise||30 (each leg)|
|Curtsy Lunge||20 (each leg)|
|Runner’s Lunge||10 (each leg)|
Using a moderate to heavy weight, perform these exercises in straight sets, resting minimally between sets. As a burnout finisher, do one set of 100 reps of dumbbell punches.
|Curtsy Lunge||5||10 (each leg)|
|Standing Triceps Overhead Extension||5||12-15|
|Runner’s Lunge||5||10 (each leg)|
|Banded Side Leg Raise (right)||5||15|
|One-Arm Row (right)||5||15|
|Banded Side Leg Raise (left)||5||15|
|One-Arm Row (left)||5||15|
Get Her to the Greek
“I love Greek food, and one of my favorite meals is moussaka, which is basically a delicious vegetarian lasagna made from eggplant,” Chady Dunmore says. “I have my own healthy twist on it, with chicken for protein and low-fat cottage cheese and skim mozzarella to reduce the amount of fat. And as a mom, I can attest that it’s a favorite with kids, too!”
Lean Chicken Moussaka
Makes 5 Servings
1 medium eggplant, peeled and sliced into rounds
½ large yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
16 oz ground chicken
2 tbsp no-salt-added tomato paste
¼ tsp allspice
¼ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp dried oregano
1 cup 2% low-fat cottage cheese
½ cup part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
Preheat oven to 350 F. Coat a glass baking dish with nonstick spray and spread eggplant rounds on the bottom. Set aside. Heat a nonstick skillet to medium and add onions and garlic. Saute 1 to 2 minutes, or until fragrant. Add chicken and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until cooked through. Add tomato paste, allspice, cinnamon and oregano and mix well. Spread mixture over top eggplant. Add cottage cheese to a blender and puree until smooth. Pour on top of moussaka. Sprinkle mozzarella evenly over the top and bake 20 minutes.
Nutrition Facts (per serving): calories 234, carbs 11 g, fat 11 g, protein 25 g
Q&A: Chady Chat
Q: How has the fitness industry changed in the last decade?
A: When I started, in order to be relevant, you had to have competitive titles and walk the talk. Now anyone seems to be a fitness expert if they lost weight once and have an Instagram feed.
Q: Are you a daredevil?
A: Not at all. I don’t even like to gamble!
Q: What is your favorite joke?
A: Why don’t blind people skydive? It scares the crap out of their dogs!
Q: You have a twin brother — are you guys alike or completely different?
A: He’s an introvert and I’m more of an extrovert, but we both have the same work ethic and sense of humor.
Q: Are you a girly girl or a tomboy?
A: I’m 50/50. I love wearing dresses but always wear biker shorts underneath — just in case!
Q: What podcasts are you currently obsessed with?
A: A bunch! A few are Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations, Til You Collapse Podcast, TPOS Podcast, The Chalene Show, The Best Life podcast and Leveling Up Podcast.
Q: Are you a good cook?
A: I am when I actually do cook. But being a foodie, I’m better at making reservations than making dinner!
Q: What is one thing people don’t know about you?
A: I swim holding my nose!
Gig: Certified Holistic Nutritionist, Personal Trainer
Birth date: September 14, 1979
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York
Current residence: Sacramento
Daughter: Sofia, 13
Sponsors: Til You Collapse, Omax Health, Wellgrove Health
Get on the Fast Track
Want a simple, effective plan you can do from home on your own terms using minimal equipment? Then check out Chady Dunmore’s new 28-day course Fast-Track Fitness. With time-efficient workouts for anyone at any level, you will strengthen your whole body, burn a ton of calories, and create a habit of clean eating and exercise in less than a month! Join Fast-Track Fitness today.