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Celebrity trainer Ramona Braganza shares the secrets to getting an Oscars-ready body

22 FEBRUARY 2013

She's the lady behind Jessica Alba's toned stomach and Halle Berry's flawless figure. Ramona Braganza knows exactly what it takes to get the stars ready for the red carpet, and as we gear up for Hollywood's biggest night of the year, she reveals all to HELLO! Online...

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1. Rest and recovery
During rigorous exercise the body is 'stressed', which is necessary in order to get fitter or improve your sport. Equally important though is the recovery period  – a time to rebuild muscle tissue and recharge energy supplies. Schedule rest days in your workouts; a good idea is to train three days on and one day off, especially if you train several days a week.

2. Cardio - train smarter not longer
If you are one of those people that believes they need to spend as much as two hours a day in the gym then I have news for you: it’s better to train in an efficient, effective manner at an intensity level that challenges you, than it is to exercise for longer periods and risk overtraining. Overtraining can break down muscle tissue and can lead to injury over time.

3. Up the intensity by adding interval training
If you find yourself at a constant speed every time you use a treadmill or bike, then you may find your fitness levels plateauing and not seeing any difference despite your consistency. Include some intervals of fast and slow pace to challenge you and to burn twice as many calories.

4. Lift heavy enough weights
I often see ladies in the gym not lifting enough weight. They are afraid of bulking up, but if not enough weight is lifted then not enough stress is put on the muscle to make a change. Women don’t need to worry about bulking up; hormonally women don’t have enough testosterone to look like men.

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5. Body composition should matter more than the number on the scales
Often we measure ourselves by stepping on the scales. Unfortunately that number tells only half the story. Our body composition reveals the ratio of fat to lean muscle tissue, and while muscle weighs more than fat, it looks better on a body and burns calories even while we sleep!

6. Fuel for fitness
What you eat and drink is as important as your training. In fact proper nutrition is half the equation. Not getting enough protein in your daily diet can sabotage your goals. Include complete proteins that contain all the muscle building amino acids, such as eggs or soybeans and if you find it hard to eat protein with every meal then include in shakes with supplements such as Minvita Baobab Superfruit Powder (£14.69, Holland & Barrett).

7. Total wellness
Train not only your body but also your mind and spirit to help bring you balance. Make sure you include some restorative Yin activities, not only Yang (such as gym work or running). Yin activities like yoga, meditation and pilates all have a place in a program that may be mostly high intensity.

8. Hydrate before during and after workout
Dehydration can impair your physical and mental performance in all types of sports and exercise. Being as little as 2% dehydrated can reduce your performance by 10-20%. To achieve best results in a workout drink a glass of water before, sip some during and rehydrate afterwards – it will make you feel more energetic, allowing you to train harder.

9. Antioxidants
Because training hard can put a lot of stress on your system it’s good to include foods or supplements that contain antioxidants to help a body recover faster and repair muscle tissue.

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Ramona's celebrity insights

“I often love to take my clients outdoors to train to mix things up and add the element of nature. I have worked with Jessica Biel a few times and we laugh now at this funny story but when it was happening I’m sure it scared her.
It was late in the day when we decided to do a 5k run around Stanley Park in Vancouver. We began together but at one point I needed to use the loo. When I came out I could not find Jess, I decided maybe she had headed back towards the car. She meanwhile had run forward. We were separated for the entire run and it was getting dark. I ended up ringing Ryan Reynolds her co-star in Blade and together we found Jess. It was traumatic at the time but luckily nothing happened.” 


“When I first started to train Jessica Alba we would often go for bike rides to practice for her role on Dark Angel. The first season no one recognized Jess and we could happily pedal around town.
By the time the second season rolled around our bike rides became a lot more crowded. As soon as she was spotted we had a lot more company! On one of our last outdoor rides we were accompanied by almost 50 additional bike riders all calling her name and asking for a photo or autograph, I found myself taking on a second role of body guard!”  

“This truly was one of the most unique training sessions I had been a part off. I was at  the home of Anne Hathaway on the day of the Oscars a few years ago. It was noon and she was getting her hair done, nails done, and makeup applied while we curled some weights and on top of all that she was warming up her vocal chords for the singing duet with Hugh Jackman. I thought to myself 'Only in Hollywood!'" 

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