Their personal trainer and nutritionist unveils what it takes to get an A-list body
What does it take to get a body like Jessica Alba or Eva Mendes? According to their personal trainer and nutritionist Ramona Braganza, the key lies in a mixture of weight training, pre-workout prep and ways to ensure you exercise smarter, not longer when you hit the gym.
Speaking to The Daily Mail’s FEMAIL , Ramona lifted the lid on the workout secrets of some of the best bodies in Hollywood. Relied upon by A-listers including Jessica, Eva, Scarlett Johansson, Kate Beckinsale, Anne Hathaway and Zac Efron to get them buff and in shape, fast, her methods have acquired her a huge following of her 3-2-1 method which incorporates three cardio segments, two circuit strength training parts and one core segment.
Separating the muscle and fitness fact from the fiction, the interview provided an eye opening insight into what it takes to get a celebrity body. These were her top tips...
Weight lifting won’t make you bulk up
A big advocate of weight training for both men and women, Ramona dispelled the myth that it will make you look like a bodybuilder. “Women sometimes shy away from strength training, because they worry it will make them bulk up,” said Ramona. “However my famous 3-2-1 training method is based on strength training and I always recommend lifting weights to my clients, including Jessica Alba, Halle Berry and most recently Paula Patton, and they still look shapely and feminine.”
“I often see ladies in the gym not lifting enough weight. They are afraid of bulking up, but if not enough weight is lifted then not enough stress is put on the muscle to make a change.
“Women don’t need to worry about bulking up; hormonally women don’t have enough testosterone to look like men.”
Eat your way to a leaner physique
What you eat before your workout could hold the key to making your gym session all the more effective. “'Eating the right foods at the right times will make a difference in the way you gain muscle tissue,” she said. Working with protein shake company, Everything But The Cow to encourage more women to incorporate more protein into their diets, she recommends including more into your diet to get the most out of your gym time. “Make sure you have a snack pre-workout such as rolled oats, eggs and toast, or if on the go, a handful of almonds or a protein shake like Everything But The Cow - it is a blend of soya protein and real fruit and will give you the energy you need to work hard.
“Giving your body what it needs includes restoring a natural balance. Training hard produces stress which in turn, creates free radicals which attack healthy tissue in the body. To help your body fight these free radicals, ensure you have a healthy intake of fruit and vegetables each day such as broccoli, berries and cherries,” she recommends.
Getting to the gym during the week is a tough ask. There just never seems enough time. However, with Ramona’s recommendations of exercises to do at home without equipment, there’s no reason not to give it a go.
“Try combinations that include single-legged squats, single-arm push-ups, walking squats and sit-ups. A full-body workout can get you the sweat you need in 10 minutes,” she said.
Workout smarter and harder, not longer
Tempted to hit the gym all day everyday and extend the length of your workout routine in order to get your dream body? You could be doing your long-term goals more harm than good. “If you are one of those people that believes they need to spend as much as ten hours a day in the gym then I have news for you: it is better to train in an efficient effective manner at an intensity level that challenges you, say 30-45 minutes than exercising for longer periods (anything over and hour) and risking overtraining,” recommended Ramona.
“Overtraining can break down muscle tissue and can even lead to injury over time,” she said.
Don’t always believe the scales
Muscle weighs more than fat. Fact. So use the way your clothes fit and look as a better gauge of your progress – they’re a better indication. “Our body composition reveals the ratio of fat to lean muscle tissue and while muscle weighs more than fat, it looks better on a body and it burns calories even while we sleep, so step away from the scales and trust how you feel in your clothes and in yourself,” recommended Ramona.
Carbohydrates isn’t such a dirty word
If you’re looking to reduce your carbohydrate intake, do so by instead swapping them for the right ones instead. A tactic employed by Halle Berry to tackle her diabetes, being selective in the ones your incorporate into your diet could also benefit your long-term health, “Halle Berry has learned to control her diabetes by limiting her carbohydrates to ones that do not cause a rapid rise in sugar levels. This has had the added benefit of weight control,” she said.
Employ the 80/20 rule
As with any diet and fitness regime, preparation is key in ensuring that it fits in with your lifestyle. Speaking about working with Jessica Alba, Ramona said, “'I can tell you that she’s just like everyone else. Jessica has had to work at it by exercising and eating right.
“What Jess understands is the 80/20 rule. While it’s fun to occasionally go for fancy dinners, have dessert and a glass of wine, it’s equally important to prepare most of your meals during the week.
“Jessica has always enjoyed cooking. She knows that by doing so she can control what goes into her food. She eats plenty of fruits and vegetables and enjoys most dishes. Jessica eats only until she is full then puts the fork down.
“Once you are able to eat in moderation, use portion control and make consistent healthy choices most of the time.”