How Hollywood's hottest bodies stay in shape

Sarah Reid
Friday, November 12, 2010
Do you long for abs like Gwen Stefani, arms like Jennifer Aniston, or legs like Cameron Diaz? Perhaps all three? While lucky genes help, a buff physique can be achieved by anyone willing to put in the work. Here's the low-down on how Hollywood's hottest bodies, well — stay that way.

Jennifer Aniston
Aniston passed her Friends years on the treadmill, but has said she ''was just getting exercise out of the way''. Then, after breaking up with Brad in 2005, Aniston turned to yoga; guided by trainer Mandy Ingber. Aniston has been credited with pioneering the popularity of Bikram or ''hot'' yoga; which is performed in a heated room and is said to increase flexibility and strength. ''My legs got leaner. My arms got strong. I've maybe even grown half an inch from aligning my spine,'' Aniston has said.

Aniston is said to do a 20-minute cardio workout prior to yoga classes, to help her warm up her muscles for the poses.

Cameron Diaz
Blessed with a fast metabolism (pre Charlie's Angels, the former model claimed she hadn't exercised a day in her life) Diaz works out for strength, rather than weight loss. ''I always associated [exercise] with pain,'' Diaz, 38, has said. ''Then, for [Charlie's Angels], we worked out eight hours a day, five days a week for three months, and I learned what it felt like to be strong. Now that I know how that feels, I never want to be too far away from it.''

Apart from surfing, which Diaz likens to a ''religious experience'' (and trainers would call a core workout) Cam usually works out for an hour, five days weekly, often with a trainer. It's said she spends 30 minutes on the elliptical trainer and 30 minutes lifting light weights and doing Pilates.

Gwen Stefani
If it's any consolation, Stefani admits her washboard abs come at a price. The worked out up until two weeks before the birth of son Kingston, and then five days a week for three months to lose her baby weight. "I cried during my last session [before the birth],'' Stefani told Elle magazine. ''All of my life I've had to work hard to stay in shape.''

While Stefani admits public appearances motivate her to work out, she has a no-nonsense approach to shedding pounds: "There aren't any tricks, it's simple maths — you put this much food in, you burn that much working out.''

Jessica Alba
Alba, 29, works hard to maintain her figure — in fact most of her family are overweight. Her secret? "I try to work out every day for 45 minutes to an hour,'' Alba has said. ''I start out on the treadmills or elliptical machine for 10-15 minutes to get my heart rate up to 180 beats per minute. Then I do 50 lunges and crunches. Next I get back on the machine for another 10 minutes. Then I work on shoulders, biceps and triceps."

And those abs? It's reported her trainer, Ramona Braganza, gets her to do 300 crunches, then three sets of lower back presses on a back extension machine.

Fortunately, even Alba has her weaknesses. ''For Dark Angel, [director] Jim Cameron actually made me do gymnastics and dance training so I could be more coordinated,'' she said.

Madonna's bulging muscles speak to a lifetime obsession with fitness. (After all, she had her first child, Lourdes, with former trainer Carlos Leon.) The 52-year-old is credited with popularising the vigorous Ashtanga style of yoga, designed to purify the body and increase flexibility through increased circulation and sweating. And her devotion to Pilates is well known.

More recently, Madonna has become a fan of The Power Plate — a vibrating platform that makes muscles contract and relax up to 50 times a second, giving the body a high-speed workout. And in the lead-up to her Confessions tour, it's thought Madge submitted to gruelling, 14-hour training sessions.

Eva Longoria
For someone who spends as much time as she does in lingerie, Longoria, 32, knows the importance of exercise. Longoria, who has a degree in kinesiology and was also a former aerobics instructor, works primarily on toning. Her fave moves: lunges, leg presses, and squats to keep her butt in top shape, and working out for one hour, three times weekly with trainer Patrick Murphy. "Each session we do 25-30 total-body exercises — lunges with torso twists and one-legged squats with clean and press, for example — with 30-45 second rests in between," Murphy has said.

"With all the lunges, squats and leg presses I've done … I think I've gained an inch of muscle in my butt," Eva said recently. However, Longoria is only human: "Sometimes Pat literally has to drag me out of bed," she says.

Celebrities' careers depend on them having healthy bodies, so many will make the effort to step up their exercise regime, and keep an eye on their diet. Sure, most have oodles of free time and better access to exercise facilities to help them keep in shape, but at the end of the day it all comes down to motivation.

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