Star Workouts: Too Intense for Mere Mortals?

Adopting the grueling workouts of Madonna and others is trendy, but is it safe?

ByABC News
February 12, 2009, 6:40 AM

Feb. 12, 2009 — -- After giving birth to her first child, new mom Stephanie Morrison was eager to get back into her old clothes.

Inspired by actress Jennifer Garner's strong athletic build, Morrison went in search of the workout program that turned the actress into an action hero for the movie "Electra."

"Looking like a celebrity is a little unattainable for a new mother," she told "Fitting into my clothes was my incentive. But it's always good to have something to aspire toward. And Jennifer Garner looked fantastic in 'Electra.'"

When Morrison learned that Garner's longtime trainer Valerie Waters was offering an online exercise program based on similar moves she puts Garner and her other celebrity clients through, she signed up right away.

Morrison is not alone. Since Jane Fonda donned a leotard and leg warmers in the '70s and launched the home exercise video craze, the public has been trying to emulate the fitness of its favorite celebrities.

"They are so visible and it does seem like their life is so glamorous," Waters said about celebrities. "But they are not the experts on fitness. They just tend to have a little bit more motivation because they are so visible and people talk about them."

Capitalizing on the public's fascination with celebrity fitness, Waters created Red Carpet Ready, a six-day-a-week, six-week eating and exercise plan that alternates between strength training and cardio workouts.

Using techniques she employs with Garner and other celebrity clients like model Cindy Crawford and actress Rachel Nichols, Waters offers folks at home an e-book; a weekly Web chat, in which she answers questions; and her e-mail for concerns that arise.

"I can't afford a personal trainer," said Morrison, who completed the Red Carpet Ready program. "To have Valerie Waters basically coaching me, I was able to tap into a whole new knowledge base."

Morrison said the program's sensible approach to exercise, which didn't require a gym membership, made the program doable. The exercises, which alternated between high and low intensity, were challenging but not overtaxing, she said.