It's easy to look at celebrities' bodies and dismiss them as owing genetics a huge favour. That is, until you talk to Harley Pasternak.
The Toronto-born trainer to the stars has worked with everyone from Halle Berry to Ke$ha (and many more), and knows firsthand the sweat and tears that go into those rock-hard abs and burning biceps. He's currently part of the team of experts on ABC's new daily show The Revolution, alongside Tim Gunn and Ty Pennington. Pasternak advises the show's "heroes" -- everyday women who are looking to completely overhaul their lives -- on their fitness and weight goals using his 5 Factor Diet as a jumping off point.
"It's not like one of those makeover shows where people are taken away from their jobs and their families -- this is everyday life," Pasternak told the Huffington Post Canada. "And with my system, you don't just lose body water and lean tissue, you’re actually lose body fat. You're sculpting and toning your body with 25 minutes a day of exercise, with equipment you can use at home. You're making simple five-minute recipes, and everyone has five minutes." Pasternak is appearing on The Shopping Channel starting February 11, selling his complete system, including workouts, shopping lists, cooking DVDs, exercise logs and equipment, across North America.
The trainer's popularity amongst the celebrity set means that he knows just what it takes to make them look that way. He told us which exercises his famous clients use to enhance their -- let's admit it -- pretty perfect body parts For each of these, Pasternak recommends three sets of 20 reptitions, twice a week, to start:
Lady Gaga's Abs: The key is training her abs is from all four directions. We train the front of her abs by doing a double crunch, where we have her lie on her back and have her do a regular crunch, but we also bring her knees into her chest and bring her chest into her knees (see slide #2 for video). The next exercise is a dumbbell side bend. That works the sides, the obliques and the love handles (see slide #3). We also do a trunk twist. That works the torso muscle that wraps all the way around the mid-section (see slide #4). And we also do an exercise called 'superman', and that's tightening the back of her mid-section, which is also important so she can look good from every angle (see slide #5).
Rihanna's Legs: Pasternak: We focus on her legs from every angle as well, so we'll do a simple movement like an alternating forward lunge for the front of her thighs (see slide #7). We'll also do a stiff leg dead lift for the back of her thighs (see slide #8) and we'll also do a cable abduction for her inner thighs (see slide #9). And we try not to do too much outer thighs, as the outer thigh is already a pretty strong muscle in most women.
Megan Fox's Butt: We do a skater lunge for her, which is like a lunge, but you step back and across your body. I love that because it tones and tightens your butt (see slide #11). We do bench step-ups, because that's another great one where you really access your butt (see slide #12). And we'll also do a single leg dead lift, which works the hamstrings straight into the butt (see slide #13).
Amanda Seyfried's Arms: The key for her is we do an exercise called a curl press, and we use a Harley bar, but you can use a bottle of water or cans of soup. It's a bicep curl, straight into a shoulder press. It gives you great shoulders and arms, because they're kind of one thing (see slide #15). As well, we'll do an overhead dumbbell tricep extension for the back of her arms, which covers her shoulders, her biceps and her triceps all together (see slide #16).
Katy Perry's Chest: Believe it or not, the key to a great women's chest is actually leaving the chest alone. You don't want to do any push-ups, any bench presses that will pull your shoulders forward more and actually make your boobs sag. So the key to having a great chest is to strengthen the upper back. And we do that by strengthening a muscle called the rhomboid by doing a dumbbell row into a seated dumbbell row, and that pulls the shoulders back all the way (see slide #18). Also, we focus on the triceps -- we focus on strengthening the muscles in the back of her arm, which helps roll the shoulders back a bit. And for that we'll do a lying dumbbell traction extension (see slide #19).
Hilary Duff Post-Pregnancy: We just recently met about her plan of attack of what she's going to do as soon as she gives birth. Once she gets medical clearance, we're going to make sure she starts off walking with her baby, spending as much time as possible. We're going to show her lots of exercise she can do with her baby, a little baby circuit. And then from there we're going to have her right on to the 5 Factor full blown program: the workouts, the diet and the exercise and eveything all together.