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Alexa Towersey: The Woman Behind Our Women

Celebrity Personal Trainer, Founder of Creating Curves and Nutrition & Lifestyle Coach Alexa Towersey shares her fitness secrets from training some of MAXIM’s finest cover girls…

“The Woman Behind MAXIM Women” is probably the single most fitting title I’ve ever been given — both literally and figuratively. I’m the woman who has the coveted responsibility of creating the famous curves that grace the covers of MAXIM Australia. I’m also the woman that literally stands behind the women making sure that the curves are doing what they are meant to. On occasion, I might even record the “behind” the scenes action for an Instagram story — you’re welcome!

When I lived in Hong Kong I was the head Strength and Conditioning Coach at a Mixed Martial Arts gym where I only trained men. Women tended to be a little intimidated by my physique and were convinced they would turn into The Hulk overnight if they even looked in the direction of the weights room. Men defined a great workout by how many times they’d had their head down a toilet bowl or their inability to crawl off the floor at the end of a session. They wanted someone to kick their arse and tell them what to do for an hour. Too easy — this is something I’m apparently very good at.

Historically speaking, I have found women to be more psychologically challenging to train than men. They want to know why they are doing something, how they are meant to do it, what the end result will be and how long it will take. Turns out this is not such a bad thing because it means they usually have a very specific goal, and when you actually know why you’re training it’s much easier to figure out how to get the results you want in the quickest time possible. It’s what I refer to as “training for your objective”. The cover of MAXIM is a great objective and one that requires commitment, discipline and a stellar work ethic — which, along with their killer curves, are all things Madi Edwards, Tegan Martin, Kahili Blundell and Renae Ayris have in common.

Gone are the days of women wanting to be waif thin. With the likes of Jennifer ‘J-Lo’ Lopez and The Kardashians shaking their ass-ets all the way to the bank, having a booty is universally being equated with having power and being in control. These days, women are much more likely to come to me wanting a perky posterior than they are to lose weight.

When it comes to training, client demographics aside, building a solid (and firm) foundation is key. My focus tends to be on opening up the front of the body and building the back of the body. This improves posture, helps prevent injury and creates shape and strength. And, in guy talk, that perky posterior is the key to developing strength and power. Looking good naked is a bonus. Whatever your goal may be, here are my top tips to help improve your bottom line — pun intended…

The Five Commandments of Creating Curves

When I was talking about my hip replacement last year, one of the first things Tegan said to me was, “Just think about all that extra mobility you’ll have — you might actually be able to get your legs behind your head. What a party trick!” I’d never thought about it like that but she made a good point. Funnily enough, this was what my surgeon ended up selling me on. I wasn’t sure whether I should be offended or not! The term “mobility” often incurs eye rolls, especially when you’re talking to a “real man”. But forget downward dogs for the moment — I’m not talking yoga. From a performance point of view you need to have an adequate range of motion around a joint to enable you to be efficient and effective in your training — it will allow you to engage the right muscles in the right sequence at the right time. If your hips are too tight, your glutes will struggle to fire. And, if your intrinsic motivation isn’t to look good naked, look at it from a performance perspective — your backside is your powerhouse. If you want big numbers in the weights room or to knock a couple seconds of your 100m sprint, then you need to be able to extend your hips and involve your back end. If you endeavour to start every session with a quick hip mobility sequence as part of a dynamic warmup, it could be a game changer for you.

Like some of the men I’ve dated, the glutes are notoriously lazy. Just KIDDING, guys! But they are — the glutes, I mean. You can do arse to grass squats all day every day and you still won’t be able to build buns of steel unless you actively engage them before you ask them to perform in your major lifts. The glutes are very tactile — they respond to touch. Renae Ayris will definitely back me up when I say I’m very “hands on” with my coaching, being the recipient of a cracking glute activation technique I learnt from my physio. It probably explains why, after we almost broke the internet (and I almost broke my hand), with the technique demonstration, Renae no longer volunteered to help me with my video content. If a solid slap is too politically incorrect for your gym, I suggest buying two “booty bands”, popping them around your ankles and knees and walking side to side. In gym terminology, this is called a monster walk and 20 each way will be plenty — trust me. If you’re worried that you’re going to look like a fool, don’t. I can guarantee if you walked into our gym at any point in time there would be at least five strapping young blokes sidestepping their way through their warmups, and at least a couple of women stopping them to ask if they can borrow their bands after. Win/win!

It’s far too easy to go to the gym just to tick a box. Granted a good majority of you are stuck at your desk all day actually having to “think” about your work, so the last thing you want to think about is your training. However, if you want results then this is exactly what needs to happen. If you’re not in the market to invest in a PT, then you need to find a way to focus on the exercise at hand. If you’re doing a deadlift and you don’t feel your hamstrings then chances are you’re doing it wrong. It’s your responsibility to ask yourself why and modify your position accordingly. Be smart. This is the difference between training and merely exercising. Think about the glutes when you’re squatting (and by this, I mean your glutes, not the chick in the rack in front of you) and you’ll have a much greater chance of them actually doing some work.

Whether you’re prepping your power muscles to perform in the sports arena, or you’re just preparing for the weekend ahead, the Hip Thrust is the penultimate top dog of booty building exercises. If it isn’t in your repertoire, you can stop wondering why you have a pancake and not a peach. For extra burn, and to encourage more glute activation, grab a booty band again and pop it around your knees for something to resist against. The Hip Thrust was Kahili’s favourite exercise and she would pack the bands in her suitcase when she was on the road for UFC, and send me videos of her doing her training in the hotel room (no, not those types of videos).

5 What I’m talking about here is not the fancy footwork of James Tedesco on the NRL footy field or the sneaky sidestep you use as you encounter that 6/10 in the bar, it’s the foundational footwork that is taken for granted in everyday life. I often have my athletes — and yes I do refer to my girls as athletes because they train like them — work in bare feet. This isn’t because I want to judge their pedicures (although Madi Edwards has the prettiest feet you’ll ever see). This is so they can “feel” the floor. If you think about it, your foot is your first point of contact with the ground and it’s the proprioceptive feedback that tells the body where it is in space. Whilst your limited edition Yeezy’s may (or may not) look good, they probably won’t encourage optimal movement mechanics. When you’re setting up for your lifts, grip the floor with your whole foot including the big toe — please shave it first if you’re not wearing socks — and imagine you are screwing your feet into the floor from the heels. This will create tension in the hips and glutes immediately, and will translate into power when it comes time to lift.

So, there you have it — your guide to glorious glutes and the girls that own them. If you and/or your girlfriend (good luck with bringing that up in conversation) want to create some curves of your own, you know where to find me — my Instagram is @actionalexa. Hope to see you soon!

For the full article grab the May 2018 issue of MAXIM Australia from newsagents and convenience locations. Subscribe here.

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