Top Tips from Celebrity Trainers

The trainers that tone Hollywood’s hottest bodies (hello, Halle!) share the workout secrets that keep their stars shining

December 30, 2010
Anna Paquin, Matthew Morrison, Natalie Portman
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We'd love to think that the celebrities with knockout bodies have some special gene that turns double-bacon cheeseburgers into six-pack abs. But--just like you and me--it takes some serious sweat for them to see results. So who better to ask for advice about getting in shape than the trainers behind some of Hollywood's most famous physiques? Read on to discover how they keep their clients in top form, and how you can sculpt a body worthy of the spotlight.

PLUS: See Ryan Phillippe's full-body workout

Brooklyn Decker
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Brooklyn Decker

This Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue cover model and actress was a cheerleader in high school and regularly mixes gym workouts with outdoor challenges like hiking and running on the beach. Last year, she also got into yoga. "She liked that it was challenging and that she felt really good afterward--de-stressed, positive, and happy," says Tara Stiles, author of Slim Calm Sexy Yoga, who trained and starred alongside Decker in the Elle Make Better Series: Elle Workout Yoga DVD. Her favorite moves? Grounding balance poses like half moon, tree and dancer's pose.

Discover the in-home solution that will transform your body forever -- the NEW Spartacus Workout!

Jessica Alba
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Jessica Alba

Celebrity trainer and Gold's Gym Fitness Institute expert Ramona Braganza has trained Jessica Alba for over 12 years using her 3-2-1 method, an intense workout that features three 10-minute cardio segments, two strength training circuits, and one core segment. Jessica completes her cardio on a combination of cardio machines and does strength training circuits that feature three exercises targeted to work one muscle group. Jessica knocks 3 sets of 20 reps for each move. She also drinks at least 2 liters of water a day. "I think that's a big reason for why she always looks lean and her skin always looks great," says Braganza. (Video: See the food that helps burn fat!)

Amanda Seyfried
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Amanda Seyfried

To tone up for the title role in her 2011 thriller Red Riding Hood, Amanda Seyfried also turned to celebrity trainer Ramona Braganza. "She was so committed," says Braganza who challenged Amanda with the same 3-2-1 method she uses with Alba. Small-framed and naturally slender, Amanda's workouts were focused on adding muscle definition and building strength all over.

Tina Fey
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Tina Fey

When it came time to sport a sleeveless dress for nearly every scene in Date Night, Tina Fey turned to yoga expert Kristin McGee to tone her upper body. "Doing pushups is not fun, but yoga has a natural, fluid pushup that's really beautiful and effective if you're doing it right," says McGee, instructor in the Body by Bethenny DVD with Bethenny Frankel. Plank pose and the low pushup-position chatarunga supplied Tina with a portable upper body workout she could do anywhere at any time, even after hitting the makeup trailer.

Zac Efron
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Zac Efron

No stranger to shirtless scenes, Zac Efron worked with celebrity trainer Ramona Braganza while preparing for the title role in the film Charlie St. Cloud. Surprisingly, the camera's focus wasn't going to be on Zac's already impressive abs--but on his back. (Bing: See how to get six-pack abs!) To help add mass to his naturally athletic build, Braganza prescribed grueling workouts that included pullups and pulldowns using heavy weights, fewer reps, more sets--and lots of variety. "Workouts need to change constantly. Change the weights, change the sets, change the tempo. You want to shock your body," says Braganza.

Anna Paquin
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Anna Paquin

You don't need one-on-one time with a personal trainer to sculpt your body like a celebrity. Paquin and countless other stars like Kyra Sedgwick and David Duchovny head to Core Fusion classes to see quick body transformations. The hour-long classes take cues from Pilates, yoga, and the Lotte Berk Method, and focus on body alignment and building dancer-like strength and technique. "When you're completing strengthening moves in the correct body alignment, you don't have to do as many repetitions and yet you're going to get results faster and more safely," says Elisabeth Halfpapp, who created the best-selling Exhale: Core Fusion DVDs with her husband, Fred DeVito.

Natalie Portman
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Natalie Portman

To help create the ballet-specific body type needed to portray a prima ballerina in the film Black Swan, Natalie Portman worked with Mary Helen Bowers, a 10-year veteran of the New York City Ballet and creator of Ballet Beautiful, a ballet-inspired training method. When they first started--about a year before Black Swan went into rehearsals--Bowers and Natalie trained 5 to 6 days a week, completing a 2-hour ballet technique class and as well as Ballet Beautiful exercises every day. As the months passed they worked up to a grueling 5 to 8 hours per day, 6-days a week schedule. In addition to dancing, Bowers added cross training like swimming and running on the treadmill or elliptical to help bolster Natalie's stamina and endurance.

Halle Berry
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Halle Berry

With her amazing physique--even post-baby bump--it's no surprise that Halle Berry's trainer Ramona Braganza calls her hard-core. "She likes to be pushed to the limit for 30 minutes rather than do the full hour," says Braganza. "She prefers a shorter but much more intense workout." Braganza also mixes in kickboxing and hiking to keep their workouts interesting. But Halle's healthy look isn't just the result of tough gym-time. "She really appreciates that you have to have time for rest as well," says Braganza. "Halle loves to garden, play with her daughter, and spend time with friends--that all contributes to total wellness."

Miranda Kerr
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Miranda Kerr

How do models get those legs? Genetics and leg lifts, says Justin Gelband, trainer to Miranda Kerr and several top models like Lily Aldridge and Erin Heatherton. To help his model clients strut their stuff on the runway Justin Gelband has them use equipment like resistance bands and gliding discs while completing moves that challenge their balance and posture. "There are so many things you can do to work every single angle of the butt, the hips, and the thighs," says Gelband. "I focus on working the smaller more intrinsic muscles."

Matthew Morrison
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Matthew Morrison

Celebrity trainer Bernardo Coppola is the one assigning homework when it comes to the glee club's favorite teacher, Matthew Morrison. A combination of body-weight and free-weight exercises mixed with machines and cardio keeps this TV teacher and former Broadway star busy after school. Many of Matthew's sweat sessions don't take place in the gym. On the Glee lot, Matthew trains with resistance bands or does body-weight workouts with Coppola. "People don't have to go to the gym in order to get fit and be healthy," says Coppola, co-owner of the Los Angeles eatery Fit Food. "You can easily grab something heavy and start working your biceps or do body-weight lunges."

To steal the secret to Matthew's six-pack, try hanging leg raises.

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