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Spotlight on The A-List Workout

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A-List Workout book cover

Alyssa Shaffer interview, continued

F: I can see that you learned a bit about the celebrities from their trainers. Are there any stories that you can share?

AS: A lot of it goes back to their time commitment. Ashley Borden, one of the trainers, was telling me that when she was on tour with Christina Aguilera, they would go to a gym in the middle of the night after a show and work out, because that was the only time that she could squeeze into the schedule. So here's this woman who's probably just exhausted; she's just given it her all on stage, yet she's still finding time to exercise. I think that was kind of surprising to me.

Also, this isn't really that much of a secret, but a lot of celebrities, like a lot of us, tend to fall off the wagon when they don't have to be in the spotlight. Sometimes they have a goal to train for, like a movie or a concert tour. But if they don't have something going on, many of them tend to do other things, and it's the same for a lot of us. If we don't have a goal set in mind, then we also tend to fall off the wagon, so to speak. But the idea is that you don't need something like a high school reunion or a wedding to keep yourself going: you can set mini-goals all along the way to stay motivated.

F: What are some goals that average people can set? Obviously they're not preparing for a film role or the Oscars, but what are some everyday goals that they might be able to achieve?

AS: Well, different people are motivated by different things. Personally speaking, I like to do races; that's how I stay motivated. Maybe there's something like a 5K race that you want to sign up for, walking or running. Or maybe there's a trip that you want to take: you don't have to backpack the Appalachian Trail, but maybe you're doing something like going to Mexico, and you want to climb the pyramids.

F: What about short-term goals?

A: There are a lot of different short-term goals. I think the most important thing is that you're specific, that you're not just saying, "I want to get in shape for the summer." It needs to be more like, I want to lose a certain amount of weight, or be able to run three miles -- something really specific to keep you going. And then as soon as you meet those goals, it's good to set new ones, and also to have both a long-term goal and short-term goals. You think about six months down the line, but you also think about a few weeks from now.

F: Did this project motivate you to drive harder toward your own fitness goals?

AS: Of course it's very inspirational to talk to all of these trainers and to get their exercises and their moves and their tips. Every once in a while I sort of hear their voices in my head, telling me I need to get to the gym [laughs].

F: Was it hard to fit in workouts around your writing schedule?

AS: Well, I have 2-year-old twins, so it's always hard to find time to work out.

F: That's a workout in itself!

AS: Yeah, it's a challenge. But everybody has challenges, and I think that everyone can find windows in their time. For me, I work out at lunch. That's my opportunity. When I'm not crazy busy at work, I try to sneak away to the gym for half an hour, 45 minutes, because I know that at night when I get home, my life is not my own. That's my personal thing. But I think that it's good for everyone to find those pockets of time.

F: As far as staying motivated, if someone doesn't have a personal trainer, how can they get the most out of a book like yours? How can they push themselves to keep going with their program?

AS: Well, you pay a personal trainer for a reason, because they're obligated to show up. I think the trainers give some great motivation tips in the book. A lot of them recommend exercising in the morning, before things get out of hand, or getting a friend to work out with you. Each chapter has trainer tips and a bunch of them have to do with motivation and staying into it. I definitely think it helps to get a friend or a spouse or somebody to work out with you. That's a big point of success for many people.

F: That's great advice. What else makes this book different from other workout books out there?

AS: There are 10 trainers' points of view represented. A lot of times, you pick up a fitness book, and it's one person and his or her philosophy. What I love about this book is that it's so many different people with a bunch of different flavors. You get a lot of variation, both in the exercises and in their approach to fitness. I think that with other books, you're just in one trainer's head, but this book brings you a wider exposure.


Originally published on, January 2007.


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