The Q&A

The Twenty-Minute Morning Workout Routine To Do Each Day, According To A Celebrity Pilates Instructor

Kristin McGee counts the likes of Tina Fey, Steve Martin, LeAnn Rimes and Bethenny Frankel as clients. Here, the twenty-minute morning workout routine that keeps them (and herself, of course) in tip-top shape.

With three young boys (two of whom happen to be six-month-old twins), celebrity Pilates and yoga instructor Kristin McGee has literally every excuse in the world not to move her body daily. Lucky for her, McGee can accomplish what she needs to in just twenty minutes each day—and lucky for us, she is sharing that routine with Kale.Life. Here, the twenty-minute morning workout routine McGee swears by, for herself, her clients and all of us. All you need is one piece of equipment: a sculpting TheraBand.

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Step 1: Pilates lunges.

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Twenty-Minute Morning Workout Routine

Start standing in Pilates V stance, with heels together and toes slightly turned out. Engage your abdominals, and step out to the side in a lunge as you pull the band back with your rear deltoid (almost as if you’re elbowing someone). Repeat 12-15 times on each side.

Step 2: Plies and side bends.

Twenty-Minute Morning Workout RoutineStand with feet wide and toes turned out. Plie squat down as you pull a theraband overhead. After twenty reps, stay in squat and hinge side to side for twenty reps.

Step 3: Rows.

Twenty-Minute Morning Workout Routine

Sit upright with band wrapped around your feet. Hold an end of the band in each hand, pulling the shoulder blades together and squeezing your elbows back behind you. Repeat twenty reps.

Step 4: Rows with twist.

Twenty-Minute Morning Workout Routine

Hold both ends of the band in one hand, and, as you pull back, twist from the obliques. Repeat twenty times on each side.

Step 5: Upright rows.

Twenty-Minute Morning Workout Routine

Hold an end of the band in each hand, palms turned down, and lift your elbows straight up and back as you pull the band to work the upper back and rear deltoids. Repeat twenty reps.

Step 6: Frogs.

Twenty-Minute Morning Workout Routine

Lie on your back with the band around your feet, holding the band in each hand. Keep your elbows glued to the floor and press the band out, bending the knees back in and keeping the toes turned out. Repeat twenty times.

Step 8: Single leg circles.

Twenty-Minute Morning Workout Routine

Lie on your back with the band around one foot and your elbows pulling the band taut down to the floor. Circle the leg around eight times in one direction, then switch and circle in the opposite direction. Keep the abs engaged the entire time.

Step 9: Swan dive.

Twenty-Minute Morning Workout Routine

Come on to your belly, holding the band overhead in your hands. Inhale, lift up and pull the band apart. Repeat 8-10 times.

…And there you have it: A twenty-minute morning workout routine that completely hits every muscle in the body, and engages the core the entire time. If you have more time, repeat the entire thing through for a second set. If short on time, keep moving from one exercise to the next and your heart rate will stay elevated, too.

Now, a bit more about the woman behind those toned abs.

Why did you become a yoga and pilates instructor? What impact do you hope to have with your clients?

I was an acting major at NYU in the early 90s when I discovered yoga and Pilates, and I was immediately hooked. I love how connected and in touch with my body I feel when practicing. I want to help my clients learn how to tune in to themselves, connect their mind and bodies and work mindfully.

What do you do regularly that helps you lead a happy and whole life?

I prioritize my family.
I spend time with people I love.
I move daily.
I meditate.
I smile.
I eat breakfast.

Got a go-to recipe? 

As I’m nursing twins and I just LOVE breakfast, I am a huge fan of overnight oats these days.

  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/2 scoop vital proteins vanilla collagen
  • 3-4 crushed walnuts
  • Small ripe banana
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • Flax/chia/coconut (a teaspoon of each, or you can use Barlean’s pre-mixed one)
  • Cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

Combine all ingredients, refrigerate overnight, and wake up to deliciousness!

Your favorite way to move?

Yoga. I LOVE to stretch and open up my body. When I am more flexible in my body, I move with ease and grace. I feel like opening up my body physically inspires me to open up my mind and heart as well.

How do you squeeze in a workout, no matter how busy (or beat) you are?

I bring my boys on the mat with me!

Any tips for eating well?

Listen to your body. As long as you are in touch with how food makes you feel, you will be able to eat for energy and enjoyment.

The one place on earth you can always count on to help you reset, refresh, and refuel?

My hometown in Idaho. I grew up there, and always feel so amazing being there in the mountains and fresh air with my family.

Got a wellness muse?

Probably my favorite yoga teacher, Nevine Michaan, the founder of Katonah Yoga.

The travel destination you can’t wait to explore (or explore again)?

India.

How you relax and unwind after a long day?

I truly love to snuggle my boys, butonce they are in bed, I am a fan of a nice glass of red wine and a small square of dark chocolate. I also love warm baths and back rubs.

The hobby that nourishes your soul?

Skiing in Sun Valley Idaho.

The best piece of advice you ever received?

That everything you could possibly ever want have or need is right here inside of you.

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