To the average gym-goer, attaining a star body may seem daunting if not altogether impossible. The sculpted abs, toned arms and shapely legs that float by on the red carpet often look like the product of good genes, a starvation diet and never-ending fitness boot camp.
But celebrity trainers say such a look is attainable without spending a sum on one-on-one training or spending untold hours on the treadmill.
"It is all within your reach," says Gunnar Peterson, whose clients have included Jennifer Lopez, Gwen Stefani and Matthew McConaughey. What's often most challenging, he says, is first getting off the couch.
To that end, instead of playing the drill sergeant, trainers help their celebrity clients develop a fitness regimen they can look forward to, find ways to maximize the gains and push them to meet their goals everyday.
Getting Into A RhythmWhen working with clients like Queen Latifah, Kimora Lee Simmons and Taryn Manning, Jeanette Jenkins, author of The Hollywood Trainer, encourages her clients to incorporate movements and exercises they enjoy in order to ensure a consistency to their workouts.
"It's about the mental fulfillment," she says. "If you're going to make someone do something they don't enjoy, they won't want to do it again."
Simmons, head of the Baby Phat empire, trains with Jenkins four days a week for an hour at a time. Jenkins advocates a circuit training program, which improves cardio and strength simultaneously, in combination with cardio-heavy activities like boxing, hiking or jogging.
"Kimora likes to work her legs," she says, "so I've created programs with interval boxing--something she enjoys--mixed with leg exercises."
While it may seem like celebrities exercise obsessively at least four or six days a week, the government actually recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week. At optimal levels, Americans would sweat through a 60 minute workout regularly throughout the week.
Most Efficient ExerciseJason Walsh, the man responsible for Jessica Biel's lingerie-clad body in this summer's I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, says that maximizing any workout requires a mastery of the basics.
"Learn how to squat properly, crunch properly and how to do push-ups and pull-ups--two of the best upper-body exercises," he says. In addition to a weekly three-day cardio regimen, Biel spends three alternate days focusing on muscle development and toning by doing lunges, crunches, squats and core work.
Walsh suggests that beginners hire a trainer for a month or pick up a book like Core Performance by Mike Verstegen in order to learn the basics and understand how to avoid injuries.
Trainer Gunnar Peterson maximizes the workouts of his clients with a "buy one, get one free" approach.
He recommends holding dumbbells while doing leg lunges or using a medicine ball while doing crunches. While recently training a client who was readying for a tour, music video shoot and album debut, he combined exercises like crunches with a medicine ball in addition to footwork and sprinting on an outdoor track.
Everyday ApproachSticking to a regular workout schedule may be easy when paying a trainer anywhere from $150 to $350 per hour, but just like ordinary people, celebrities have to fight temptation daily.
Kathy Kaehler, trainer to Kim Basinger and Angie Harmon as well as to lawyers, writers and moms, tells her busy clients to carve out 10 minutes a day for physical activity outside of their regular exercise routines. She refuses to allow her clients to focus on just one aspect of their fitness, arguing that daily stimulation is integral to a healthy life.
She recommends keeping an exercise tube--essentially a resistance band with handles--in the office for lateral raises and bicep curls, which help with strength training. Activities like raking leaves, shoveling snow and brisk walks also count.
"I won't let them work out just for a wedding or premiere," she says. "By exercising they are reducing stress and being proactive at preventing disease and the by-product is a great-looking body."