You might call Alicia Marie a true innovator. Since 2009, she’s gained momentum as one of the fitness industry’s foremost personalities, has graced a total of 94 magazine covers (including 11 for Oxygen alone!), and is one of the most sought-after models and experts in the business. She has been publishing her own books and DVDs for several years, has a mega-following on social media and is involved in everything from charity functions to comic-book conventions. The only venue from which she has been missing is the very one that introduced her to us: the competitive stage. Now she’s back to conquer that again, too.
“Yes, I am returning to competition after six years of unofficial ‘retirement’ — I must be crazy!” says the 39-year-old Los Angeles resident, laughing. “After competing and traveling for six years, then getting my pro card in Figure in 2008, I wanted to take a break and get some businesses going. But for 2015 I wanted a new challenge, and there is nothing more challenging than putting your body and mind to the ultimate test — especially when you’ve been coasting with a casual workout regimen since 2010!”
Casual or not, Marie still looks ridonculous but does admit to having lost a bunch of muscle. In light of her pared-down physique, her coach Kim Oddo recommended she try the Bikini division instead of Figure. “Bikini is great for me because I still get to work out hard, but I also get to indulge my cardio fetish,” she quips. “Plus, it’s geared toward presentation, and I am looking forward to bringing my stage walk back to life! I am a huge ham and I love performance, and being up there is a rush, even though it’s also terrifying.”
It’s a stretch to believe that someone as outgoing and confident as Marie could ever be terrified by Lucite heels and a spangly swimsuit, but she’s also human. “Hey, let’s face it: I am not 27 anymore,” she says. “Being onstage and putting yourself out there to be publicly judged is not easy. But my goal this year is to conquer the things that scare me, and that is what I am doing with this contest. Now I have to figure out how to apply that to spiders!”
The Comeback Trail
In order to regain some size and definition, Marie started lifting heavier last summer and added drop sets to her training to boost her volume and intensity. “I can’t tell you how good it feels to get stronger again,” she says. “It’s motivating, for instance, to start working with 50 pounds, then after only a few weeks, start reaching for the 80-pound bar!”
Marie believes in sticking to the basics with her training, even as a veteran in the field. “Fitness is not about coming up with the craziest, toughest, weirdest exercises possible,” Marie says. “Usually the simplest moves combined with a heavy load and a solid focus on each rep is the answer to all physique issues.”
Related: Alicia Marie's Killer Playlists
This Warrior Workout reflects Marie’s training philosophy and is a program she actually did herself this year to target those trouble spots all women have — legs, glutes and abs. “Those are the toughest areas to get tight because we women store fat there naturally,” she says. “Our bodies and hormones are geared toward preparing to bear children, not do a fitness contest!”
So it looks like her #YearofNoFear is moving along nicely, and we look forward to seeing Marie’s resurrected stage walk, reading her insanely funny posts and learning how to pray for better bottoms with her Booty Bible. Now about those spiders …
Standing Isolation Crunch
Do 20 to 30 reps of this move before you begin the workout to help connect your mind to the muscles that should be working when you train. Do each rep slowly and mindfully, even closing your eyes to really focus on feeling the contractions.
Inhale deeply and stand up tall to disengage your abs (a). Exhale and contract your abs, driving your navel inward. Curl your shoulders forward and tuck your pelvis under (b).
Standing Twist and Raise
Setup: Stand with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart and hold a 10- to 15-pound weight at your chest.
Move: Twist your torso to the right while bringing your right knee up in front of you. Pause and squeeze, then return to the start. Do all reps on one side before switching.
Tip: Bring your body toward your knee as you “crunch” in a standing position, keeping your pelvis tucked under and your abs engaged.
Curtsy Lunge With A Plate
Setup: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold a weight plate at your chest.
Move: Take a large step behind and across your other foot, keeping your head and chest up and your hips square. Bend both knees and sink into a lunge. Extend your legs and step your feet back together. Continue, alternating sides.
Tip: Take these up a notch and do them on a step. Start on top and curtsy with one foot down and behind you off the step.
Reaching Side Lunge
Setup: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold a dumbbell in your left hand, right hand on your hip. Take a large step to the right with your toes forward and your knee over your ankle.
Move: Bend your right knee and lower into a deep side lunge, keeping your left leg straight. Bring the dumbbell to the floor on the inside of your foot, then extend your knee and straighten your leg. Do all reps on one side before switching.
Tip: Go as deep as you can without letting your knee stray past your toes.
V-Up Off Bench
Setup: Sit on a bench and place your hands behind your butt on either side of the bench. Lean back with a straight back, lift your feet off the floor — knees bent — and balance on your tailbone.
Move: Draw your knees inward as you lift your torso up to meet it in the middle, then unfold once more to complete one rep.
Tip: To make this move more challenging, try keeping your legs straight or semi-straight, using your lower abdominals and core to lift them up.
Setup: Crouch down and place your hands on the floor in front of you, shoulder-width apart.
Move: In one fluid motion, balance on your hands as you pop your lower body up, straightening your legs and landing with your feet spread wide. Immediately jump your feet back together and underneath you to return to a crouch.
Tip: Pop straight up with your lower body; think of being pulled up by a string.
Setup: Lie facedown and come into a forearm plank with your elbows underneath your shoulders and your head, hips and heels in line.
Move: Keeping your forearms flat, slowly rotate your hips to one side as far as you can, then rotate back to center. Continue, alternating sides.
Tip: Press into your elbows, spread your shoulder blades apart, and tighten your glutes to help keep your torso and hips stable and prevent them from sagging as you twist side to side.
5 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Alicia Marie
1. Geek alert! “I am a huge Star Trek fan and attend conventions dressed as Lt. Uhura.”
2. She’s a big bang-er. “I love all branches of science and attend monthly gatherings with a group to discuss things like modern physics and hadron particles.”
3. A veteran eavesdropper. “I am legally deaf. I can hear sound, but speech patterns are not very clear most of the time. I use lip reading to fill in the gaps, and I am so good at it that I can use it to ‘eavesdrop’ on conversations being held across a room — or the gym!”
4. Look out Jason. “I am a horror-film junkie and have a huge library of psychological thrillers that my boyfriend and I watch on the weekends. After Star Trek reruns, of course!”
5. Alicia was kung fu fighting. “I have trained with a master in sword handling, weapons, and some staff and kali/escrima, practical combat martial arts.”