A former Bikini-division physique competitor, Emily Pantaleo pushed through her post-pregnancy slump and rededicated herself to a fit and healthy lifestyle. “I looked in the mirror and thought, ‘Am I ever going to have abs?’” she says. It wasn’t easy, but her planning and hard work made it happen.
Woman with a Plan
A write-it-down kind of gal, Emily jots down everything from household chores and appointments to personal goals and motivational quotes. “Writing things down definitely keeps me motivated,” she says. “Checking items off of my ‘To Do’ list gives me a sense of accomplishment and keeps the momentum going.” Her tip for newbies? Come up with a timeline for your goals. Emily quotes Antoine de Saint-Exupery, saying, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
Another plus: it allows Emily to track her progress. One year ago, she could leg press 40 pounds; now, she’s up to 270! How’s that for motivation?
Sticking to a Schedule
Emily heads for the gym at 8 p.m., once her two daughters are asleep. She admits it can be difficult to drag herself out the door when most people are getting comfortable in front of the T.V., but Emily reminds herself that she always feels better after a workout. “I tell myself to go to the gym and exercise for 10 minutes. If I feel like leaving, I can. But ultimately, I feel better after those initial 10 minutes and complete my workout routine.”
She lifts heavy to cut down on her total workout time. Her splits for the week:
Monday: Shoulders, abs and 20 minutes of cardio.
Tuesday: Back, biceps and glutes.
Wednesday: Chest, triceps and 20 minutes of cardio.
Friday: Legs and abs
Emily’s Shoulder Slam
Emily loves the instant pump she gets in her shoulders after some of her favorite moves:
- Seated dumbbell presses
- Triset of front raises, side raises, upright rows
- Unilateral cable side raises
- Standing reverse cable flye (holding opposite cable attachment at shoulder height)
- Incline bench rear delt-dumbbell flyes
You will never find Emily without a snack in her bag. “Us moms always pack food for our little ones, so there is no excuse to not pack a snack for ourselves!” Her staples? Almonds, raisins, portable fruit – like an apple, banana or pear – and a bottle of water.