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Stefi Cohen can lose 4.5 kilos overnight, but she wouldn’t recommend it

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Infrared saunas, coconut oil, hot tubs and ice baths: American powerlifter Stefi Cohen shares the intense routine she uses to shred weight prior to competing.

US-based powerlifter, Stefi Cohen – or should I say Doctor Stefi Cohen – is no stranger to hard work.

Not only can she deadlift over 200 kilograms without breaking a sweat, but this professional powerlifter also puts her body on the line – as many professional athletes in weight-restricting sports do – to drop Biggest Loser-style numbers in a short period of time. Like, overnight short.

The petite brunette recently broke not one but three new world powerlifting records in February at the Hybrid Showdown II, a World Raw Powerlifting Federation-approved event – proving adding major fuel to the buzz around women's resistance training. And her secret weapon? Apart from hard work and determination (seriously, check her Instagram)? Her ability to drop a weight category – overnight.

She lost an impressive 8.3 kilograms in total for the competition – and an amazing four and a half kilograms overnight. She documented the extreme measures she uses for her Youtube channel, telling the camera "I went from weighing on average 130-132 pounds [59 – 60 kilograms], for the off-season, to dieting down to around 125 [56.6 kilograms]. Then to cutting down to 114 [51.7 kilograms] – water weight [for competition]."

At her reduced 'competition weight' Cohen set a new standard, deadlifting an unprecedented 205 kgs, squatting 202.5 kgs, and bench pressing 102.5 kgs, for a record-breaking lifting total of 510 kgs (or 1,124 pounds).

She is quick to emphasise this is not healthy behaviour, saying it's "Not something that I recommend, not something that I endorse, but it's just something that you do as part of the sport."

Sitting outside an infrared sauna she details the routine has helps her shed, stating that "for the next couple of hours I'm going to alternate 10-15 minutes in the infrared sauna, and then anywhere from three to five minutes in the pool." She summarises by saying, "It sucks. I'm tired."

Other methods she employs are rubbing coconut oil all over her body before jumping in a portable sauna, and alternating being submerged in ice baths and hot tubs.

"One of the toughest parts of being a competitive powerlifter isn’t the heavy lifting, it is the cut going into the meet. It takes hours to get a competitive edge and I wanted to give you a look into what plays out in my head before and after the meet."

This isn't the first time Cohen has documented the intense and downright uncomfortable process she puts her body through prior to competition, sharing a video journal 'the cut' she went through prior to the Kern Us Open in May of 2019.

Sitting in an ice bath after enduring a portable sauna Cohen pays credit to the professional team behind her training methods, saying 'My boy, Doctor Andy Galpin, helping me through this cut, doing some pretty unconventional things that I have never tried before. He's helped so many people at the higher level that are competing in weight-restricted sports like fighting, diving, weight lifting, powerlifting… so I really trust his judgement and I'm doing exactly what he tells me to do."

When asked by her trainer what the first thing she wants to eat after she hits the weight requirement she pauses a second before (sensibly) answering "Greek yoghurt… and coconut water." No pizza and chips for this champ.

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Kayla Itsines is giving away 4-weeks FREE access to SWEAT

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Kayla Itsines is offering free access to her fitness and health programme SWEAT for four weeks, so everyone can stay healthy and happy while in self-isolation.

It’s true. The Queen of fitness is opening up her popular SWEAT app to new members for free for an entire four weeks. It’s the perfect news we need right now while we’re all adhering to the government’s strict social isolation and gathering rules.

The Australian personal trainer made the announcement to her 12.4 million followers on Instagram, noting the decision is part of SWEAT’s ‘Stay Strong Initiative’ as a response to the current coronavirus pandemic.

“We’ve partnered with and made a contribution to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for the World Health Organization powered by the United Nations Foundation. This fund supports the World Health Organization’s efforts to prevent, detect, and respond to the pandemic,” the fitness influencer wrote.

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“It’s SO important for all of us to make our health a priority during these tough times, so to help women across the world stay strong, we’re also giving all NEW members one month of FREE access to SWEAT, and this offer is available for a week.”

The programme usually costs $19.99 per month (or $119.99 for a yearly package), so it’s a pretty sweet saving and a perfect opportunity to try new workouts at home that millions of women – AKA, the #BBGcommunity – around the world already swear by.

SWEAT is globally available via iOS app and online, and offers a curated range of workouts from five leading fitness trainers (hi Kayla, Kelsey Wells, Chontel Duncan, Steph Sanzo and Sjana Elise), meal plans, recipe collections, shopping lists and nutrition tips.

Regardless if you’re looking for HIIT, strength, yoga or even post-pregnancy workouts, you’ll find it all on the SWEAT app.

If you’re keen to give it all a go, all you have to do is register online here or via the app, but you better be quick because this offer is only available for the next week. And if you aren’t a new member but would love to support Kayla’s ‘Stay Strong Initiative’, you can donate to the United Nations COVID-19 Solidarity Fund here.

Now there’s no excuses not to SWEAT.

More essential coronavirus reading:

Read up on what the government lockdown means for you, understand why Aussie doctors are up arms, be aware of the 'hidden symptom' of COVID-19 carriers, prepare yourself for the long-term mental health effects of the pandemic, get your sweat on at home with these free online workouts before reviving your over-washed hands with this DIY balm, and then console yourself with these unexpected joys.

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Everyday objects you can use to create your own home gym

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Gyms have closed down to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Here, fitness expert Sam Wood reveals which everyday objects you can use for a fat-burning workout.

For regular gym-goers, not being able to stick to your usual training routine or have access to equipment might seem like a complete and utter nightmare.

Whilst I can completely understand that there’s no real substitute for a fully functional gym, there are plenty of every day household objects that can be used to create an effective workout. You just have to get creative.

1. Wine Bottles

Social distancing might make you want to crack open a bottle of red more than usual but put the bottles to better use as a substitute for hand weights and prepare to curl that pinot!

Just be careful not to drop them.. or drink mid set.

2. Soup cans/tinned beans

Canned foods are the perfect substitute for hand weights. Feel the burn with high-reps of exercises like bicep curls, shoulder press, tricep kickbacks and hammer curls.

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3. A full backpack or carry-on suitcase

With travel plans out the window, put the bags to good use by doing all of your strength lifts with a packed backpack or carry on suitcase. Squats, deadlifts, pressed and even rows holding the handle can all be done with a backpack or roll on bag.

4. Couch

Chances are your couch will be getting quite the workout if you’re self-isolating so you may as well use it for a real workout too. Glute bridges, couch squats, tricep dips and decline push-ups can all be done with nothing but a couch.

5. Paper Plates

No sliders? No worries. Paper plates reduce the friction between the floor and your foot so a standard lunge can be made even more difficult if you slide forward into lunge and slide, slow and controlled to return to standing. They can also be used for mountain climbers, pikes, single leg knee tucks and single arm wheelbarrows- just to name a few! If these aren’t sturdy enough, go for a good Tupperware lid.

6. Coffee-table book

Russian twists, weighted sit-ups, leg lowers with book held above your head… put those books purposely bought for decoration to good use by incorporating them into your workout.

If you fall in love with home training like so many people do, of course it’s great to make a very small investment in some dumbbells and bands. But if you want to test out training at home with zero spend, these recommendations are a great place to start.

Sam Wood is a fitness expert and founder of 28 by Sam Wood.

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Workout at home with Chris Hemsworth, for FREE

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Chris Hemsworth is offering free access to his fitness and health online platform Centr for six weeks, so everyone can stay healthy and happy from home.

In case we needed further proof that Chris Hemsworth is the kind of guy you'd want to take home to meet your mum, the Hollywood heavyweight is opening up free access to his recently-launched online fitness and health platform, Centr. For six weeks, no less. Which is just the news we needed to hear after new government lockdown rules have forced the closures of gyms around the country.

From the 23rd until the 31st of March, users can sign up via the Centr website for a zero-cost, six-week trial of the health and fitness programme – which features over 1000 unique video workouts (including HIIT, yoga and strength training), meal plans and over 500 healthy recipes.

Of the decision to offer the free trial, the father-of-three said: “We have been incredibly inspired by the outpouring of support and positivity from the Centr community during this challenging time. We hope that by making Centr available to everyone for this extended period, we can help even more people stay strong, healthy and find a sense of calm at a time when we all need that the most.”

The programme usually costs $19.99 per month, so that's a pretty saving and is a great opportunity to try a new way to workout at home if you don't want to invest in yet another ongoing fitness subscription. (Similarly, you could also try these.)

The app is globally available via iOS app, Apple Watch and online, and offers a curated range of daily workouts, meal plans, recipe collections, cooking demos, and meditation exercises, from experts who are the crème de la crème in the fitness world.

These include actor, fitness author, Chris’ wife and all-round total babe Elsa Pataky, Chris’ personal trainer Luke Zocchi, Special Ops trainer Joseph Sakoda AKA ‘Da Rulk,’ vegan bodybuilder Torre Washington, yoga instructor Tahl Rinsky and chef Dan Churchill, just to name a few.

Keen to give it a go? All you have to do is register via the website (not the app), and select the six-week free trial. From there, you can then download the app and access the members-only Centr Facebook community page.

What have you got to lose?

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