Hugh Jackman Workout

October 20, 2011

Here’s a detailed article showing how different celebrities struggle to get into shape for their movie roles. Some good advice here.

Celebrities seem to get amazing results out of gruelling fitness programs but would they work for us?

Name a star and, inevitably, they’ve got a gimmicky fitness regimen.

Elle Macpherson’s trainer, James Duigan, is among those hyping the so-called 12-minute, or Tabata, workout. Consisting of three rounds of intense four-minute interval bursts of exercises such as jump pull-ups, kettle-bell swings and bench dips, the regimen claims to get people fit quickly because it combines muscular and cardiovascular stimulation.

Halle Berry, meanwhile, is reportedly a fan of the 3-2-1 method employed by trainer Ramona Braganza, in which an hour-long session is broken up into 10-minute segments: three cardio, two weights and one core workout.

And Kelly Ripa? The American talk show co-host swears by the Interval Overload training carried out at Los Angeles gym Physique 57, where isometric exercises, such as bench presses, are combined with orthopedic stretches in order to take muscles ”to the point of fatigue, then stretched for relief”.

But Mark ”Spudd” Carroll, Russell Crowe’s trainer and owner of Spudds Gym at Woolloomooloo, says there are many reasons to be sceptical of the claims and results of such regimens.

”Half the time you don’t know if they’re airbrushed and five chins have been turned into three,” he says of the celebrity pictures that turn our heads. Not to mention, he adds, that they have an unfair advantage that helps them stick with often-punishing routines: ”All these celebrities have their own chefs, so they can mix up their meals so quick, they can make 1000 calories [taste] like 3000 calories [12,540 kilojoules].” So for us ordinary folk who want to become fit and feel fantastic for life, Carroll – a former rugby league player – has a few guidelines.

”The main thing is you’ve got to enjoy training and look forward to training; lock it in your diary,” he says.

Carroll practises what he preaches. While we’re on the phone, he squeezes in 30 minutes of exercise on a cross trainer, which he says burns off what he ate for lunch.

Michael George, a celebrity trainer who’s worked with everyone from Reese Witherspoon to Meg Ryan, also notes that not all workouts are created equal. And settling on the right regimen depends on what result you’re after.

For instance, when actor Dennis Quaid sought George’s help to go from being near emaciated (for his part as gunslinger Doc Holliday in Wyatt Earp) to ridiculously ripped (for his role as a dragon slayer in DragonHeart), the trainer prescribed ”a bodybuilding-type approach” and steered clear of cardio, which would burn too many kilojoules.

By mixing intense periods of bench presses, pull-ups and push-ups – in addition to a strict diet of lean meats, vegetables and fruits – Quaid was able to accomplish a total body overhaul.

For Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash, however, a regimen of plyometric exercises – which focus on creating lower-body strength, with seated twists and double stair jumps – were prescribed. These helped him get him ”functionally fit” for life on tour and trained him to ”twist, bend, grab, carry and squat … in a much more precise, uniform way”.

Both trainers say ordinary people should not be disheartened by all those stories of celebrities accomplishing seemingly instantaneous body makeovers, apparently without much effort.

They struggle with training, too.

When actor Tobey Maguire came to see George, for instance, in order to become fitter for his role in Pleasantville, ”it was a mental hurdle”, George says.

”He wasn’t really that into it. So I incorporated things he liked to do, like basketball. I told him to bring his friends and he ran sprints, did basketball drills and shot hoops on the street.”

And Hugh Jackman recently told Men’s Fitness he struggled with keeping super-buff for his film roles, whether taking on the body of a broken-down boxer for his latest movie, Real Steel, or beefing up to play Wolverine in the X-Men movies.

”I don’t really enjoy training,” Jackman said. ”People say it’s addictive but I’m like, ‘not so much’. If I weren’t getting paid or didn’t have a character like Wolverine to maintain, I would just be a tall, lean, fit guy.”

The key for anyone wanting to remain fit for life, say both George and Carroll – whether celebrity or not – is mental toughness.

”Training is highly psychological … it’s not brain surgery,” George says. ”Until people make eating healthy and exercising a consistent part of their lifestyle, it’s always going to be challenging.”

His tip?

”Too many people are focused on the end result [with a workout],” he says. ”I tell my clients all the time, ‘Go into a workout with a neutral mind.’ If you don’t visualise how well or how poor your workout’s going to go, if you go into the gym with zero expectations, you just show up [and do the best you can, which is what’s needed].”

Meanwhile, Carroll’s mantra is, ”Don’t let fear hold you back.”

”The main thing I say to people is, ‘You’ve got to back yourself.’ So you’ve had a shit day at work. You say to yourself, ‘Tomorrow won’t be the same.’ At the end of the day, the only person you answer to is the person in the mirror.”

EXTREME FITNESS REGIMENS

Lean and mean

We seem to be forever hearing celebrities gush about the latest life-changing exercise regimen. Gwyneth Paltrow, for example, has called Los Angeles-based trainer Tracy Anderson ”the exercise genius of all time”.

The Oscar-winning actor, who has opened a gym with Anderson and collaborated on fitness DVDs, says the workout guru has ”changed my DNA”.

No wonder. Follow Anderson’s instructions and you’d have to be the size of a sumo wrestler to avoid ending up matchstick thin.

In her 30-Day Method – ”the weight-loss kick-start that makes perfection possible” – the trainer, who also coaches Madonna, advocates a minimum three hours of exercise a day, six days a week, with an emphasis on high-intensity, non-stop intervals of cardio, such as treadmill sprints and jumping rope. Ouch.

Meals recommended in the first week are mainly blended, including a ”Power Juice” made from kale, spinach, beetroot and apple, and a sweet potato pudding.

Sounds painful – and it seems the demanding exercise program could do damage.

Catherine Collins, principal dietician at St George’s Hospital, London, warned the online magazine Oh No They Didn’t! the regimen could result in severe health problems, including hyponatremia (low sodium levels in the blood), anaemia, balance difficulties and exhaustion.

 

Easy does it

Forget the latest crazy workout schemes, says a top celebrity trainer, and then you’ll see results.

Michael George, who has whipped Reese Witherspoon and Dennis Quaid into shape for film roles, says exercising consistently while paying attention to what your body needs is the key to improvement.

“Give it 10 minutes and start by walking,” George says of those times when you simply don’t feel like exercising. “If in that 10 minutes you aren’t enjoying working out, you should go home, because there’s a very good chance that you really do need a rest.”

If your mood improves, however, ”You will get the gumption to do different things and before you know it you’ve done a full workout.”

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