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Spotlight on The A-List Workout

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Alyssa Shaffer
FITNESS director Alyssa Shaffer explains how you can star in your own Hollywood body-transformation.

Alyssa Shaffer on Celebrity Trainers

Angelina's abs, Jessica's legs, Halle's back: No, these aren't the features of a genetically engineered superhuman. Rather, they're the masterpieces sculpted by Hollywood's hardest-working personal trainers. These motivational mavens know all the right moves to whip their high-maintenance clients into shape.

If you've ever dreamed of remaking your own body, part-by-part, then The A-List Workout is for you. In this complete get-sexy guide, Alyssa Shaffer, Fitness Director of FITNESS magazine, compiles the expert advice of 10 celebrity trainers. The book is built around a 12-week total-body plan that you can customize to own your goals and fitness level. Featured trainers have worked with a host of celebs, from Uma Thurman to Queen Latifah, and they share techniques suitable for every body type.

So, can The A-List Workout really help you "get a hot Hollywood body"? sat down with Alyssa Shaffer to find out. How did you get the idea to write the book?

Alyssa Shaffer: We used to have a column in FITNESS magazine called "Celeb Trainer," so we worked with a lot of celebrity trainers. I thought to myself, it would really be cool if we brought all these trainers together in one big volume. Even though they work with a lot of the same people, a lot of the top people in Hollywood, they all have different approaches. One person might have a great core training program, another person might be great for functional fitness, a third might focus on flexibility. So I thought that bringing their ideas together would be like a sum of all the parts.

F: I noticed that structure in the book -- it's divided by each trainer's specialty. Even though the book features different trainers with different points of view, is there a single philosophy that defines the "A-List Workout" as a whole?

AS: They each have a certain level of expertise that is above and beyond the typical trainer that you find at the gym. They all come to this with a lot of experience, not just with showing how to do an exercise, but with motivation. I think that's a big part of it for many of them: to get these somewhat pampered actors and actresses into shape. They're good at motivating their clients to get out there.

F: So, while you were working on the book and speaking with all these different trainers who are at this highly professional level, did anything you learned surprise you, or contradict what you've been thinking for all these years as Fitness Director for the magazine?

AS: Maybe just the fact that it takes a lot of work. You don't have to spend hours a day, but you definitely can't wish your way to a better body. No matter who you are, no matter what your genes are, you still have to put the time in. You might be Halle Berry, but even Halle Berry works out. In order to get strong and lean, a lot of [celebrities] really do have to put the time in.

F: I think that a lot of people assume that celebrities like Halle Berry are genetically superior. Do you think that it's feasible for a regular person to get a "hot Hollywood body"?

AS: Well, clearly your genes make a difference. If you're short (like me!) you're never going to look like Nicole Kidman. I mean, Nicole Kidman and I could not have more different bodies. So I think that genetics definitely play a role, but I think that everybody could improve their shape by working out and making a commitment to it. I don't want to say that you're going to morph into some superstar, but there are a lot of different body types in Hollywood, too.

F: That's a good point.

A-List Workout book cover

AS: I mean, I think Queen Latifah is beautiful. She lost something like 40 pounds, and she works out pretty hard with a trainer. Her trainer's in the book: Jeanette Jenkins. I think [Queen Latifah] is a good example of someone who has definitely worked to improve her body. She may not have the same shape as someone like Nicole Kidman, but she doesn't have the genes for it.


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