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Kathy Kaehler's Celebrity Workouts: How to Get a Hollywood Body in Just 30 Minutes a Day
by Kathy Kaehler
My Hollywood Fitness Secrets
. . . Revealed!
Psssst . . . Want me to let you in on a little Hollywood
secret? The beautiful, sexy bodies that you see on television
and the silver screen aren’t simply the product of good genes. Not
all of your favorite celebrities were born with impeccable figures, or have
been slim and sculpted their entire lives. In fact, most of them have to work
hard to stay so trim, toned, and youthful looking–just like you and me.
Though we tend to put them on pedestals, celebrities aren’t superhuman.
Some, particularly supermodels like Cindy Crawford and Claudia
Schiffer, may have genetic advantages. But they still have to exercise and
watch what they eat. And it isn’t always easy! Like you and me, they have
lazy days. They sometimes feel uncoordinated when trying a new workout.
They get bored when they do the same exercises over and over. They
have cravings for pizza, ice cream, and other fattening foods. They often
want to do nothing more than collapse on the couch after a long, exhausting
day on the set.
My celebrity clients may not have traditional nine-to-five jobs, but
they certainly don’t have all day to spend at the gym. Truth be told, none
of the actresses or models that I train typically exercises for more than an
hour at a time. These women are unbelievably busy! Whether they’re
working on a movie, a TV sitcom, a fashion show, or a photo shoot, their
schedules tend to be very demanding. I’m talking ten- to twelve-hour
days! On top of their chaotic careers, they have families, bills, grocery
shopping, errands, and countless other responsibilities, just like everyone
else. And most of them don’t have a team of personal assistants to help
them, either. Take Julia Roberts, for example. She doesn’t even hire someone
to clean her house. She washes her own dishes, scrubs her own bathroom,
and mops her own kitchen floor.
Celebrities are constantly subjected to the scrutiny of the camera,
whether they’re on a film set, walking the red carpet, or running from the
paparazzi. If you can imagine having your body magnified on screen, or
photos of yourself plastered all over the tabloids, then you may understand
the kind of motivation that they have to look good. Sadly, for some, the
pressure can be overwhelming. In recent years a number of them, such as
Paula Abdul and Carré Otis, have started coming forward and sharing
their struggles to remain so unnaturally thin. To keep the pounds off,
some have resorted to unhealthy, even potentially life-threatening tactics,
such as excessive exercise, vomiting, drug and alcohol abuse, cigarette
smoking, and harsh diuretics. Others have gone under the plastic surgeon’s
knife for procedures like liposuction and tummy tucks.
Fortunately, Hollywood has finally woken up to the realization that
super-thin is super-unattractive and super-unhealthy. A decade or so ago
in the entertainment industry, “skinny Minnie” wasn’t skinny enough.
Size Zero was the norm in Los Angeles. But in just the last few years, the
“ideal” body shape has started to change. The waif look is out. Fit and
toned is in! What’s sexy is looking strong, lean, and healthy. Many of our
favorite stars–including Catherine Zeta-Jones and Jennifer Lopez–are
now embracing their curves. And we all know that’s what men really love!
I know all about the dangers of trying to be skinny. Although I’d never
worried about my weight as a kid, I became unhappy with my appearance
in high school. I wasn’t overweight; I had a sturdy, athletic frame. But I
didn’t think I was thin enough. During my senior year, I started taking
over-the-counter diet pills to lose weight. This insane habit continued
into my college years, when I also battled bulimia. On a typical morning I
would swallow a diet pill, then go without food until I was absolutely
starving. After bingeing to satisfy my hunger, I’d run to the ladies’ room to
vomit. At one point I was taking up to five diet pills a day.
One afternoon during my sophomore year, it all started to unravel. As I
was walking out of my dorm room, I suffered a grand-mal seizure. I woke
up on the sidewalk with a paramedic kneeling beside me. Later, in the
hospital, I lied to my doctors, telling them the seizure must have been
caused by stress and lack of sleep. They believed me, and I was released
from the hospital. But even this scary experience wasn’t enough to make
me quit. I continued in the vicious binge-purge-pill cycle for another
year, until I finally had another seizure. Realizing that I would die if I
didn’t change my behavior, I vowed to stop taking diet pills and stop
With every bit of self-discipline I had, I took control of my life. I educated
myself about healthy eating and started giving my body the nutrients
that it so badly needed. I have never taken diet pills or vomited since. My
all-around good habits lasted about six years, up until the time that I
moved to Los Angeles. At that point, my career was going full throttle,
and I had a full schedule training clients and teaching aerobics classes. But
I was overexercising and not eating enough. At the same time, I was dating
a famous actor who liked to stay up all night and sleep all day. I was partying
too much and only getting a few hours of shut-eye each night. During
the day, I was drinking tons of coffee just to keep myself going.
Throughout all of this, my body was suffering. I felt tired and worn out.
I realized that I wasn’t living healthfully, and as someone whose career was
based on promoting health and fitness, I felt like a total hypocrite. Then,
in 1990, it caught up with me. I suffered a third seizure while hiking with a
client. At the hospital, my doctor threatened to put me on antiseizure
medication, which meant my driver’s license would be taken away. Since
my livelihood depended on driving to see my clients, I promised him that
I would change my habits the moment that I walked out the door. And I
did. After that day, I completely overhauled my lifestyle. I started eating
right and sleeping eight hours a night. I also pledged to give up caffeine for
good. Thankfully, I’ve been in excellent health ever since.
Over the years, I’ve learned a tremendous amount, both personally and
professionally, about how to stay fit, healthy, and looking good. Most of
my career has been spent sharing this know-how with a Who’s Who of
the entertainment industry. Now, it’s time for me to teach you. In this
chapter, you’ll find out all about my personal approach to fitness. I’ll outline
easy ways for you to squeeze more activity into your hectic days, and provide easy-to-follow eating guidelines. I’ll also discuss the basic principles
of weight loss, and tell you why a change in your attitude could be the
secret to your success.
But the most important thing to remember is: No matter how much
you want to look a certain way, no matter how badly you want to get into
those slim-fitting jeans, and no matter how many daydreams you may
have about looking like the fabulous women who populate our favorite
films and television shows, your health is so much more important. Trust
me, I say this to all my clients. In this book, we’re going to work hard to
get your body into amazing shape. But we’re also going to respect it and
embrace it–it’s the only one you’ve got.
The Exercise Equation
No matter who you are, in order to stay young and healthy, you need to
move your body. It’s as simple as that. Almost every system in your body,
from your cardiovascular system to your muscular and skeletal systems,
benefits from regular physical activity. By staying active you can reduce
your risk of numerous health problems, including heart disease, high
blood pressure, many cancers, diabetes, and osteoporosis. Exercise helps
strengthen your immune system, so you can fend off many of these life-threatening
diseases as well as ailments as basic as the common cold.
As many of you know, regular exercise is also essential for staving off excess
pounds. Despite the many fad diets currently making headlines, research
consistently shows that a combination of exercise and a healthy diet
is the best way to lose weight and keep it off. By getting up and moving,
you can burn calories that would otherwise be stored as fat. When you
build muscle, you also speed up your metabolism, so your body burns
more calories throughout the day, whether you’re pushing a cart through
the supermarket or sitting around watching TV.
But the benefits don’t end there! Exercise can also have a powerful effect
on your state of mind. During physical activity, your brain releases neurotransmitters
called endorphins that can help elevate your mood and reduce
feelings of stress and anxiety. Studies show that regular exercise can
be as effective as antidepressants in alleviating mild to moderate depression. When you’re feeling overworked and exhausted, exercise can help
restore your energy, optimism, clarity, and creativity. After a good workout,
you’ll be more productive and make better decisions. You’ll also be
much less likely to fly off the handle.
It follows, therefore, that exercise can have a huge impact on what
you’re able to achieve in life. When you’re better able to handle physiological
and emotional stress, you feel more in control of your life. You sleep
better. You feel better about yourself. You have more confidence, whether
you’re making a presentation at work or slipping into your favorite dress–
or, in the case of my famous clients, accepting an Academy Award or
shooting a steamy bedroom scene.
When a client comes to me wanting to get in shape for a movie role, a
TV appearance, or a fashion show, I always remind them that exercise
shouldn’t be a temporary fix. The same goes for those of you who picked
up this book determined to lose weight or firm up for a special occasion–a
wedding, a reunion, or a trip to a tropical locale for spring break. There’s
nothing more motivating than knowing you’re going to be bumping into
your ex or wearing a swimsuit in public! But if you want lasting results,
you need to make fitness a permanent part of your life.
Fitness isn’t just a goal–it’s a lifestyle that will allow you to look and feel
your best, and in turn, to live your best life. It isn’t a superficial luxury; it’s
a necessity for health and well-being. The celebrities in this book look so
stunning because they have made fitness a regular part of their routine.
They may not always enjoy it, but they’ve committed to it, and that–combined
with a knockout exercise regimen–is what gets them superstar results.
In this book, we’ll do the same for you. You may not love working
out, but if you stick with it, I promise that you’ll love what it does for your
body! And, as you get stronger, you may even find yourself craving every
opportunity to get up and move.
The Triangle of Fitness
Physical fitness has three integral parts: cardiovascular fitness, strength, and flexibility. All three components are vital for a healthy, balanced body–and should be the basis of any solid fitness plan.
Cardiovascular exercise works one of your most important muscles–
your heart–along with your lungs. If you do cardio workouts regularly,
your heart won’t have to work as hard to pump blood through your body,
and your lungs will deliver oxygen with less effort. This translates into
more endurance and staying power, whether you’re running after your
kids or competing in a bike race. Because cardio burns a lot of calories, it’s
also an important tool for losing weight.
The second component, strength training, helps work important muscles
in other areas of your body–your legs, buttocks, hips, arms, shoulders,
chest, back, and abs. As we get older, our muscles and bones get
weaker, especially if we don’t eat right or exercise enough. Strength exercises
can help prevent or even reverse these losses, reducing your risk of osteoporosis.
Furthermore, if your muscles are strong, you’re less likely to
suffer back pain and other debilitating injuries. You also have the strength
Many women think that cardiovascular exercise, such as jogging or
walking on a treadmill, is the best and only way to trim down. That’s just
plain wrong. In fact, strength training is the secret weapon of many of
Hollywood’s hottest female stars. It allows you to develop specific muscles
for that sexy, sculpted look we all admire. When you build muscle, you
not only look more defined, your metabolism gets a boost, so you burn
more calories all day long. Muscle weighs more than fat, but it takes up less
space–so even if the numbers on the scale don’t change, your clothes will
get looser, and your body will begin to look firmer and more taut.
The last piece of the triangle is flexibility. Our muscles are like rubber
bands–they are incredibly resilient. But the less you use them, the tighter
they get. Flexibility is crucial for preventing injuries and staying mobile.
By stretching regularly you can keep your muscles limber, increase your
range of motion, improve your balance, and enhance your posture.
What’s more, research suggests that stretching immediately after your
strength-training workouts can help you build more muscle for an even
bigger metabolic boost.
How Much Is Enough?
And now for the million-dollar question: How much exercise do you
have to do to get all of the benefits and achieve your best body? For weight
control and optimum health, experts recommend at least 30 to 60 minutes
of moderate exercise most days of the week. Thirty minutes a day can help
you achieve important health benefits, and is a good starting goal if you’re
currently sedentary. As you get in better shape, you’ll want to aim for
closer to an hour, and/or work on increasing the intensity of your workouts,
for even more benefits and calories burned.
This may sound overwhelming to those of you who haven’t been exercising
regularly. But don’t get discouraged! With my program you’ll start
slowly, and gradually work on building strength. You can also do the workouts
at your own pace. If time is an issue for you, and you’re worried that
you won’t fit it all in, remember that the benefits of exercise are cumulative.
In other words, you don’t have to do your 30 to 60 minutes all at once. Instead,
you can do some in the morning, some at lunch, and some in the late
afternoon. (You’ll find more details on this type of scheduling in Chapter 2.)
When it comes to fitness, some activity is always better than none. But
too much exercise isn’t a good thing, either. I found this out the hard way.
At the start of my career in Hollywood, I was working out way too
much–even for a personal trainer! On a typical weekday, I’d train five or
six clients in a row in the morning, then teach two back-to-back step aerobics
classes at night. Even though I thought I was in great shape, I soon
discovered that overexercising can lead to injury and burnout. I was fatigued
and frequently in pain from one overuse injury or another.
Your exercise sessions should invigorate you, not wipe you out. So it’s
important to find a happy medium. These days, I take a much more moderate
approach. And to tell you the truth, I feel much healthier, and my
body looks about the same. Fortunately, this message has also caught on in
Hollywood, and I no longer see as much of the exercise mania that gripped
the industry a few years ago.
Excerpted from Kathy Kaehler's Celebrity Workouts by Kathy Kaehler.
Copyright © 2004 by Kathy Kaehler. All rights reserved.
Posted with permission of the publisher.
No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without
permission in writing from the publisher.