In case you missed it, Mama June—the larger-than-life matriarch of Honey Boo Boo and co.—is creating a huge stir after going from 460 pounds to a size four during the filming of her new WEtv show Mama June: From Not to Hot.
In a recent interview, Mama June's daughters Alana (a.k.a. Honey Boo Boo) and Lauryn (a.k.a. Pumpkin) told Entertainment Tonight that their mom lost some weight on her own before reaching a plateau and deciding to undergo bariatric surgery. Post-surgery, Mama June continued to lose weight with the help of trainer Kenya Crooks.
To get the scoop on Mama June's workout routine, we talked to Crooks, who created his own fitness method specifically for weight loss.
“I essentially asked her what she wanted to improve and make sexier,” Crooks says. “I believe language is very important when trying to help a client. I never say ‘What don’t you like about yourself?’ because that’s negative and defeated language. Mama June wanted to lose weight and tone up at the same time, so that was our mission.”
To accomplish it, Crooks worked out with her two to three times a week, in person or through Skype. To meet Mama June’s intense weight-loss goals, Crooks focused on core moves like elbow crunches—a variation on a standard crunch where you bring your knees up to meet your elbows (three sets of 20), reaching sit-ups (three sets of 20), and Russian twists using a medicine ball (as many as she could stand).
Nutrition was also a big part of her transformation. “I really stressed lean meats, vegetables, and fruits,” Crooks says, in addition to reducing her portion sizes. (Hit the reset button—and burn fat like crazy with The Body Clock Diet!)
The made-for-TV transformation is pretty stunning, but that doesn’t mean it was easy, says Crooks. “When you decide to lose weight, you have to be a little selfish and focused all the time. Mama June is a giver, and it’s hard for her to say ‘no’ sometimes,” he says. “I had to remind her that this is her time. I had to say ‘You can’t be everything to everybody else and be nothing to yourself.’ Once she gave herself permission to put herself first, she was fine.”
While Mama June’s transformation is incredible, an intense workout and/or eating plan isn’t safe or effective for everyone. Always check with your doctor
before jumping into a strict workout or diet.
This article originally appeared on WomensHealthMag.com.