This is the time of year when many of us take inventory of ourselves and in doing so decide to jump on the pulsating energy of a “new year” with the most notable goal being to improve our physiques!
So, we look to our role models, which often times turns out to be those beautiful people who grace the covers of the magazines that stare us in the face while we are in the check-out at the grocery store (perhaps we should re-think the inventory on the cashier’s belt?)
What do these miraculously chiseled men and gloriously thin women do that result in these amazingly thin and lean bodies? Some behaviors are worthy of role modeling in our own lives and some are definitely risky and should be avoided.
This celebrity has established herself as a fitness role model in 2008 as she graced the covers Self and Fitness. She has arms that are being compared to Madonna (known for her vigorous workouts and yoga practice!) and has lost significant weight on a frame that once ballooned up to 170 pounds during pregnancies.
What did she do to go from over-weight pregnant to chiseled super lean? Ripa has been a runner for many years and has returned to her 3-4 times a week 3-5 mile runs. But, she attributes her more recent weight loss and body fat reduction to her new obsession: Physique 57.
Physique 57 is a workout studio in Manhattan with a specific technique that is designed to facilitate increased cardiovascular capacity, superior muscle tone and turbo charged flexibility all in one class! The technique originated out of the work of Lotte Berk, a world-famous ballerina, and is being perpetuated with some refinements by Tanya Becker, owner of Physique 57, who was extensively trained in the Lotte Berk method.
The Physique 57 website describes the technique as “a vigorous and dynamic exercise method designed to rapidly transform your body” and Ripa is a walking testimonial!
Jennifer Lopez is arguably the most notable female celebrity who has always been recognized for her extreme attractiveness in the absence of excessive thinness. She is a role model for women – she has a successful singing and acting career, a successful marriage, is the mother of twins and in 2008 successfully completed the Malibu Sprint Triathlon! (This after giving birth six months prior!)
Jennifer trained in swimming, cycling and running in order to compete in the California triathlon that attracts pro-triathletes and Hollywood stars alike.
Her trainer, Gunnar Peterson, said not only did Lopez work out, but she also followed a sensible eating plan designed to maintain energy throughout the day and for her workouts. Unlike some regimes where celebrities are going without eating for relatively long periods through the day, Jennifer ate her first meal within 30 minutes of waking up in order to block the body from thinking it is starving and thereby hording its body fat. A typical breakfast was a cup of oatmeal with some sliced fruit and several scrambled egg whites.
Eating at regular intervals (every 3-5 hours) has been linked to successful weight loss and weight management. It causes a jump start in your metabolism every time you eat and it stops you from getting so hungry by the end of the day that you eat like an animal!
You would have to be living under a rock to not know that Beyonce dropped over 20 pounds in order to play the Diana Ross character accurately in the movie “Dream Girls” in 2006. She had to be heavier in her (Diana Ross’s) younger years and leaner in her middle years in the movie and so she had to lose weight, and lose it fast, during the shooting of the movie.
Beyonce regularly works out with a trainer, but in order to drop the weight quickly, she decided to use the Master Cleanse. This regime involves taking in nothing except a liquid drink consisting of maple syrup, lemon juice, water and cayenne pepper. It is touted as a purifier and cleanser. Beyonce is reported to have stated that she felt like she was going to die while on the program and that she was driven to eat fatty foods upon completion which lead to a regain of all the weight she lost.
There are several products currently being promoted in the Capital Region claiming similar benefits to the Master Cleanse. These are Isagenix and Metafast. In my opinion, the major flaw to these regimes is that they teach how not to eat and do not promote experiential learning and practicing of how to be with food on an ongoing daily basis. For these reasons, many people who try these and other fasting regimes, have a similar experience to Beyonce. The weight loss does not last.
To Beyonce’s credit, by continuing her workouts with her trainer and changing her eating habits incrementally over time, her body is more buff than at any other time of her life, including the time she did the Master Cleanse!
With his beach boy good looks and lean, chiseled physique, Matthew McConaughey is the epitome of men’s fitness. He added another fitness accomplishment to his resume this year by competing in his first triathlon in Malibu.
McConaughey’s fitness philosophy is to do something to break a sweat every single day. Not one to be what he terms as a “fitness fanatic” his approach to working out is less structured and more consistent. He doesn’t like to do workouts that involve sets of pre-determined intervals or reps and sets. Instead, McConaughey likes to bring an element of play to all his workouts, going by how he feels and making it fun more than having to complete a dictated format.
In the weight room, he likes to keep his workouts varied by throwing in variations in the middle of his workout program. For instance, he will perform a random set of 200 push ups when the spirit moves him!
But he never misses a day and has been seen doing everything from running with a weighted vest to biking next to his buddy Lance Armstrong to surfing with his girlfriend to caving with buddies to getting in a superset weight workout in the gym.
He takes as similar approach to his eating. He generally eats a high protein, low carbohydrate diet, but has said if he goes to a party and they have beer and wings he isn’t going to say “I can’t eat that!”
If McConaughey stays as active as he currently is he can maintain his physique while indulging, but portion awareness will have to come into play as he ages if he wants to stay as lean as he is now.
Bottom line: celebrities use a mixture of healthy and not-so-healthy tactics to look as good as they do. Try to take the healthy behaviors and integrate them into your daily regime of self-care and fitness and leave the others back with the now finished year of 2008.
Judy Torel is a USAT coach, personal trainer, nutrition consultant and psychotherapist. She conducts online services through her website www.judytorel.com. Her office is located in Planet Fitness, Loudonville. She is also a competing triathlete who is currently training for Ironman, Florida.