Celebrity Trainers' Favorite Fitness Tips and Toys

Find out the music, moves and merchandise best loved by 12 fitness experts (and one professional-triathlete-turned-CEO) who help Hollywood stars look and feel their best—and no, they're not paid to endorse these things!

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Rock Out With Rihanna

"My favorite workout song seems to change with time, but usually the theme is something uplifting about changing life or finding love,” says Barry Jay, co-founder of Barry’s Bootcamp, which has been voted “The Best Celebrity Workout.” Currently, "We Found Love" by Rihanna is my favorite.” 

Barry's Bootcamp

Be Creative

If you have a nagging injury or disability, find a way to work around your limitations. When training a celebrity client who has bad knees and sciatica, Amanda Russell chooses a low-impact workout. “To improvise, we do some incredible water workouts,” says Russell, who was recently voted one of Google’s next top fitness personalities. “I'm talking sprint intervals, water running, high knees—basically I mimic track workouts, but we do them in the pool. It's one heck of a workout!”


Try Suspension Training

“The TRX Suspension Trainer is by far my favorite piece of fitness equipment,” says Steve Ettinger, certified fitness expert and author of Wallie Exercises. "I love that I can take it anywhere—inside or outside—and give myself or my clients an awesome workout. The best part is, it's easy to make adjustments so every workout can be adapted for different fitness levels—and it fits in my backpack!”


Get Vertical

“My favorite gym tip is to do three exercises in a row and then repeat that sequence twice rather than resting and repeating the same exercise for three sets,” says Andrea Metcalf, author of Naked Fitness. “It's called vertical loading and it keeps your heart rate up and the boredom factor down.”

Bill Noll

Use Band Aids

“I LOVE resistance bands and always have,” says Jay. “They come in a variety of resistances and can be used for dozens of exercises. And, if you're not able to make it to a class or the gym, they pack easily for travel or use at home.”

Edward Bock

Upgrade Your Elliptical

“When it comes to cardio machines, I love using the Helix Lateral Trainer,” says Reebok Global Instructor Sara Haley. “Most equipment, like treadmills, ellipticals and bikes, all work in the sagittal plane of motion (front to back) and target the quads, hamstrings and glutes. The Helix not only targets your cardiovascular system and burns fat, but because it moves in a horizontal figure-eight motion, it also targets your inner thighs, outer thighs and glutes. It’s an incredible way to mix up your workout and achieve new results.”


Track Your Outdoor Exercise

“Many of my clients like to hike for cardio,” says Michelle Lovitt, who has trained Hollywood hotties such as Courteney Cox and Julianne Moore. A Garmin heart rate monitor is essential for outdoor workouts because it has GPS. It also tells you calories burned and which zone you're in (fat burning or glycogen burning).


Click here to check out the one we’re eyeing this holiday season (hint: it's pictured left).


Slow Down!

“Our natural inclination is to move faster to get more out of our workout,” says Amanda Freeman, who recently brought SLT: Strengthen, Lengthen, Tone—a new workout that combines Pilates, cardio, strength training and endurance exercises—to NYC. “However, in order to activate the slow-twitch muscle fibers (responsible for fat burning and muscle lengthening) we need to perform strength training moves slower."

Pete Saloutos

Hydrate Smarter

Switch from bottled water to a reusable water bottle, suggests Jackie Warner, whose new DVD, Personal Training with Jackie Warner, was just released on OpenSky.com. Warner loves the Hydros Bottle, which features a built-in filtration system, because you can carry it with you at the gym, at work or while running errands. Drink 3 liters of water a day—flavored with a dash of lemon juice—to speed up your metabolism by 33 percent and burn up to 100 extra calories per day, suggests Warner.


Log Your Meals

If you want to see fitness results, you have to dial in your nutrition, says Warner. “I suggest my clients keep a food journal and write down what they eat seven days of the week. Find a program you like online or can access through your smartphone, such as FitOrbit.com. In one study, researchers found that those that wrote down what they ate lost nearly double the amount of weight as those who didn’t track their daily diet. Journaling also clues you in on eating patterns that may be causing weight gain.”

Sergey Galushko

Change Weights

Switch up your strength training by using SandBells, suggests Stefan Aschan, author of Alpine Weight Loss Secrets. “Unlike kettlebells or handweights, SandBells add moveable resistance and can be used on a sliding surface to tone and shape your body. My favorite move is called “Quick Hands” (not pictured). To do it, get into a modified plank position with your knees on the floor and your hands under your shoulders and on top of a 10-pound SandBell. Move the bells rapidly front to back for 30 seconds. This works your fast-twitch muscle fibers while strengthening your core, shoulders, triceps and chest, says Aschan.


Watch Your Breath

"My favorite yoga practice is pranayama (yoga breathing),” says Greg Barringer, director of yoga at Scarsdale Yoga Studios. It bridges the gap between our conscious and subconscious mind and can be used to invigorate the body, nervous system and energy channels or to calm the mind and body for relaxation and meditation. It can also be used as a meditation practice. To try it, consciously control the pace of your breath and at the same time watch the breath come in and out: into the belly and out, in through the nostrils and out. It's truly a great and transformative yoga practice."


For more information on pranayama and other caffeine-free energy boosters, click here.

Aleksej Vasic

Do Quick Core Work

“I really like doing my FitDeck Core Blast routine in the evenings,” says Nicole DeBoom, a former professional triathlete and the founder and CEO of Skirt Sports. “After following a consistent schedule for three months, I’ve noticed a huge difference in my overall core strength and posture. It takes about 20 minutes three or four times a week, so it's a small commitment, but it has a huge impact.”


Relax to Recharge

“I recommend taking a bath before bed,” says DeBoom. “We work hard all day, so we need to allow our bodies to wind down at night. Taking a bath with salts can relax muscles and allow you to fall asleep faster. Sleep is the key to staying healthy!”

Russell Roberds

Record Your Exercise

“The more convenient, the more likely we are to adopt the habit of accurate exercise journaling,” says Chalene Johnson, author of PUSH:30 Days to Turbocharged Habits, a Bangin Body, and the Life You Deserve. “Some really great sites, such as Sparkpeople.com, provide free journaling tools and community accountability, but when it comes to putting pen to paper, I LOVE  fitbook! It’s simple, inclusive, small and easy to use.”


Measure Calorie Burn

"Other than living in a lab, wearing a body monitor is the best way to know what’s going on with your personal metabolism, sleep patterns and caloric burn," says Johnson. "When I started wearing one just a few years ago I was shocked by how much I was overestimating my calorie burn in certain exercises and underestimating my daily activity rate. The information allowed me to restructure my workout schedule to get the most bang for my buck! Although there are less expensive and less technical options out there, the Bodybugg, which is worn by contestants on The Biggest Loser, is my current pick. I fell in love with its technology and the level of customer support.”


Click here to read our review of 5 health trackers that really work.

Punch with Passion

“To keep my morale up or get rid of negative energy that prevents me from functioning at my top level, I put on my boxing gloves and hit a punching bag (the best investment I've ever made!) listening to the three following songs,” says Valerie Orsoni, fitness and nutrition expert and the author of Le Personal Coach.


1. I Will Survive (Gloria Gaynor)

2. Survivor (Destiny's Child)

3. Aerodynamic (Daft Punk)


“When I punch with my left fist, I visualize that I am getting rid of those extra pounds that have been creeping up over the past few years, a nasty comment from a co-worker, my wrinkles, my husband, a lousy business partner, a friend who dissed me or a boyfriend who dumped me. With each hit, I release negative energy. When I punch with my right fist, I visualize what I want: a boyfriend better than my former one, a new job, a more honest and caring friend, a heavenly body, etc...
 . Important: Play the music as loud as possible without hurting your ears to avoid parasitic thoughts—you must stay focused. And don’t be afraid to scream to get rid of more negative energy!”


Tame Your Tummy

“My favorite ab exercise is the corner sit-up,” says Metcalf. Here’s how you do it: Sit on the floor with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle and your left arm out to the side and resting on the floor. Pressing into that forearm, roll your entire body to the left until your legs just touch the floor and then return to center. Do 20 reps and then switch sides. Aim for three sets. 

Andrea Metcalf

Do More Cardio, Less Weights

New to exercise or coming off a long hiatus? Instead of doing multiple sets of the same strength training move, do cardio work between single sets, suggests Metcalf. “Multiple sets for those just starting out do not reap significant strength gains compared to single sets.”

Tom Schmucker

Drink Up

If you want to lose body fat, you have to stay hydrated, says Lovitt. “My celebrity clients love Activate drinks. They provide essential vitamins and electrolytes without adding calories—brilliant!”


Look Great

No one wants to be uncomfortable while exercising. “Zobha, a new fitness clothing company, provides high-quality athletic wear so you look and feel good working out,” says Lovitt.



The best equipment for indoor and outdoor activity? BBS, which stands for Brain, Body, Sneakers, says Mickey Harpaz, PhD, nutritionist, exercise physiologist and author of Menopause Reset!. All you need to start, perform and succeed is your brain for decision making and motivation, your body to use against gravity instead of weights and a good pair of sneakers to protect your feet. BBS allows you to start an exercise program inexpensively, stick to it and get results."

For a BBS routine you can do anywhere, click here.


Forever Young: Expert Tips for Aging Gracefully


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Eric Hood

First Published December 1, 2011

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