How do the stars stay in shape? We asked some super fit celebrities to share their secrets.
RUNNING, CHICKEN, GREENS & DISCIPLINE
Anyone who has marvelled at Hugh Jackman’s ripped torso in his latest film, Logan, could imagine that the boy from Oz spends many hours in the gym. It turns out that he prefers running to pumping iron and working the machines.
“I don’t really enjoy training,” Hugh says. “People say it’s addictive, but I’m like, ‘not so much’. I’m more of a wake-up-and-swim-in-the-ocean guy than a gym rat, and 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.
“So much of staying fit is mental. When it comes to getting my body ready to play Wolverine, over the years it’s gotten a lot tougher. I have to follow a stricter diet. I have to train even harder. I can’t get away with what I used to.”
Hugh, 48, might be blessed with a naturally angular frame, but he says lean meat, especially chicken, is his go-to diet food, especially when it comes to getting into Wolverine-level shape.
“I know there are vegan bodybuilders but chicken is what works for me, lots and lots of chicken,” he says. “I’ve always believed in eating a lot of greens at mealtime. The more vegetables and fruits that are part of the diet, the healthier you’re going to be.”
But no matter how good the intentions, Hugh says in the long run it’s discipline that’s perhaps the single most important factor in fitness. “When I get up at four o’clock in the morning to train, I’ll immediately start to complain. So my wife goes, ‘you love it, get of bed and stop complaining’. And I know I enjoy the challenge of it.”
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YOGA, RUNNING & ORGANIC COOKING
Jessica Alba parlayed her body beautiful into screen fame as the star of such films as Fantastic Four and Sin City. But now all that has been overshadowed by her billion-dollar natural baby and home product empire The Honest Company.
A lifelong workout addict and dedicated yoga practitioner, the mother of two girls, aged nine and five, recently announced she is expecting a third child. This means easing back on her normal, pre-pregnancy routine, which involved jogging three to four times a week and squeezing in as many intensive workouts as she can fit into a week.
Still, she remains committed to maintaining optimum physical and mental fitness. “What I’ve discovered is that yoga is just as important in keeping my body toned,” she says. “Since my day is very busy with the kids in the morning and my job, I love finding time to do yoga because it also relaxes and centres me.”
Jessica, 36, says being fit and healthy helps give her the confidence to deal with the daily challenges of being a mother and a corporate executive, and role model for other young women.
“I’ve changed my thinking over the years,” she says. “Women shouldn’t feel the pressure to be perfect. You don’t have to do it all to feel good about your role as a mother and the way you look after your family. I’m much more relaxed now.”
Apart from her commitment to exercise, Jessica says her reliance on organic cooking is key to maintaining her fitness while keeping up with her two young kids and running a company.
WEIGHTS, PILATES AND PLANT-SNACKING
Television presenter and producer and businessman, Todd Sampson is accustomed to training his body to perform daring and sometimes downright crazy feats. In his TV shows, Life on the Line for ABC and Body Hack for Channel Ten, he has faced such challenges as climbing a skyscraper using suction from two household vacuum cleaners, and cage fighting in Mexico.
When he’s not completing extreme training for these shows, the former advertising executive is co-hosting ABC TV’s Gruen alongside Wil Anderson and Russel Howcroft, and also sits on the board of Fairfax Media and Qantas. But he still keeps up a rather full-on fitness routine.
“Fitness is a lifestyle thing for me. It is my No. 1 priority – if you’re not healthy, body and mind, you can’t take care of your family, you can’t work – it’s the basis for everything,” Todd says.
His routine includes lifting heavy weights three times a week, Pilates once a week and high-intensity interval training or some sort of aerobic movement.
“There’s such a misconception behind weights that it’s connected to vanity and not so much functional strength,” he says.
“I think as you get older you need the stretch in your muscles – everyone would benefit from stronger muscles at any age.”
The 47-year-old father of two believes people in the Western world generally eat too much, and often the wrong sorts of foods. For him, a healthy diet is all about fruits, vegies and fish.
“I haven’t eaten meat for 25 years, but I do eat fish so I don’t consider myself a vegetarian,” he says.
“Plant snacking is a really simple thing. I teach my children that fruit is nature’s candy – it’s full of fructose, but it’s good and it’s better than eating a bag of chips.”
Despite his seemingly strict regime, Todd insists he’s not all that fussy when it comes to food.
“I’m not really particular about diet; I’m not that kind of person,” he says. “I eat sweets, I’m not someone who calorie-counts – I don’t do any of that because I’m active enough so I don’t need to worry about it.”
GRUEN \ returns September 13, 8.30pm on ABC
YOGA, PLAY AND SEASONAL WHOLE FOODS
Being mum to six kids under 11 and having an intense work schedule keeps Madeleine West busy, but she still finds time to focus her body and mind.
“I like to do yoga anytime between five and six in the morning. I think it helps my mental state even more than just my health and fitness. It calms me and evens me out and gives me the strength to do whatever I need to do in the day,” Madeleine says.
That can be anything from looking after the kids, to a full day on the set of Channel Ten’s The Wrong Girl, or working on her latest book. “It’s to shut out the white noise and just sit in the silence. It’s more precious than gold in this day and age.”
When she’s not keeping her focus on the mat, Madeleine, 37, is letting it all go playing soccer or jumping on the trampoline with the kids. “This year my New Year’s resolution was just to play,” she says.
“I find I get a more intense workout than I would otherwise because I’m just unconsciously following the children’s lead and running as hard as I can and jumping and bouncing and laughing hard.”
Madeleine, who is married to celebrity chef Shannon Bennett, says she tries to eat a variety of unprocessed foods. Equally important is eating locally sourced, seasonal, organic foods.
“I think people overlook seasonality – we’re all used to eating watermelon in June and strawberries in July, when, realistically, those foods don’t grow in our local area at that time,” she says.
THE WRONG GIRL \ Thursdays, 8.40 on Channel Ten
MARTIAL ARTS, WEIGHTS & ANTIOXIDANT FOODS
The sexiest former Israeli army soldier in movies (she spent two years in the military), Gal Gadot’s career took off this year playing the title role in Wonder Woman. Skilled in martial arts (she once served as a fitness trainer for Israeli combat troops), Gal has led an active lifestyle since she was a lanky teenager.
“My father and mother encouraged me and my sister to be very independent and strong-minded. They wanted us to be very self-confident and believe that we could accomplish anything in life if we were serious, determined and worked hard,” Gal says.
“My mum is a gymnastics instructor so, growing up, I always knew that sports was very, very important,” she says. “I did a lot of sports like volleyball and dodgeball and basketball and learned to be very competitive … It also gave me a lot of self-confidence moving forward in my life.”
Gal, 32, says her intensive military training helped her get her big break as an action star in the Fast and Furious franchise. “The martial arts and (hand-to-hand) combat techniques I learned in the army became part of my system – you never really lose those basic skills and other fighting abilities.”
Four to five times a week, Gal trains with weights (curls, bench presses) and works out with a heavy bag as part of her regular training routine. “I like to do kick boxing, and music has a lot of influence. I can literally go crazy while boxing and listening to The Matrix soundtrack – it gets me into the mood!”
Gal, mother of a five-year-old daughter, Alma, and baby Maya, born in March this year, also likes to eat a fish-based diet complemented by foods loaded with antioxidants. “I’m a foodie and I like to explore different types of foods but I also look at food as fuel and I want the best fuel for my body. So, I try to eat as healthy as I can, but I also don’t restrict myself from eating burgers or chocolate or ice cream,” she says. “If you’re working out on a regular basis, you can get away with a lot!”