Getty Images/Ramon Gamarra Stars aren't like us.
Yes, they crave cheeseburgers, struggle to take off baby weight and even—gasp!—get cellulite. But they can throw money at the problem, spending upward of $300 an hour on the best trainers to transform their bodies. Not to mention, an A-lister's paycheck often hinges on her staying in peak form. "Celebrities have motivation, determination and, most importantly, pressure," notes Los Angeles trainer Michelle Lovitt, who has worked with such age-defying beauties as Courteney Cox, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Julianne Moore. "If you were in a movie that was opening in two weeks and two million people were going to critique how you look, you'd feel the same pressure to get to the gym."
Even if there are no red carpets in your future, you can still channel stars' can-do mind-set. We've leveled the playing field, tapping the most respected trainers for their secrets to scoring a great body, minus the hefty price tag.
Make your workout fast and furious
"Most celebs aren't gym rats," says Los Angeles trainer Harley Pasternak, who has worked with Katy Perry, Lady Gaga and Jessica Simpson. "They don't have time, and they don't enjoy it because they have to deal with people pulling out their cell phones snapping pictures of them." Pasternak's solution: short, high-intensity circuits that sculpt muscle, boost metabolism and can be done anywhere.
Halle Berry also swears by short bursts of intense exercise, reveals her trainer, Ramona Braganza. "Halle likes a hard-core 30-minute workout, so I typically do interval training at a high intensity," says the Los Angeles fitness pro. "This requires you to expend more energy; you can easily burn about 400 calories an hour." And that doesn't count the bonus calories you continue to torch after an interval session is over.
Have your heart in the right place
A heart-rate monitor may sound old-school, but it's a secret weapon of today's leading ladies. "When Lauren Graham was trying to get cover-ready for a magazine shoot," says Lovitt, "I did a combo of interval training, biking and hiking, but used her heart rate as a guide to make sure she was in the fat-burning zone." That means working out at 60 to 85 percent of your max heart rate, a sweet spot where your body is actively burning fat for energy. "People get frustrated when they've been busting their butt, but the weight isn't budging," Lovitt says. "A simple change like a heart-rate monitor can help the weight melt right off."
Here's why: When we don't pay attention to heart rate, we have no idea if we're working out too hard or not hard enough, both of which can hinder results, Lovitt explains. She recommends the Pear Mobile Bluetooth Heart Rate Strap ($70; pearsports.com).
Let your clothes be the judge
Going by the scale isn't the only way to keep an eye on your weight. Says Braganza, "I do what I call my catsuit close-up"—fitting, considering she helped both Halle Berry and Anne Hathaway prepare to slink across the silver screen as Catwoman in unforgiving leather outfits.
Assessing your shape by how your clothes fit is a practice Braganza—a former NFL cheerleader—extends to her own life by occasionally putting on her old Los Angeles Raiders uniform to see if it still zips. (It does!) She suggests letting your favorite little black dress or a pair of slim jeans be a gauge; slip them on once a month. "People can gain or lose a pound a week, so four pounds in a month is a reasonable fluctuation," she notes. "After that, it's time to find balance again."
David Kirsch, the New York City trainer who famously whittled Heidi Klum's body back into shape just six weeks after the birth of her fourth child so she could strut her stuff at the Victoria's Secret fashion show, agrees. "Feeling your clothes fitting better is going to make you feel better."
Walk! (to work, to the shops, away from the paparazzi, you know)
"If you look around the world, people who walk more in general are thinner, fitter and younger-looking," Pasternak says. That's why he makes all of his clients strap on a Fitbit, with the goal of logging 10,000 steps per day—and receives e-mail alerts that let him know who is moving and who is slacking off. "People overestimate how active they are throughout the day," he says, "and wearing a pedometer makes you aware of your activity level." Pasternak confides that Jordana Brewster is good at hitting her daily target, as are those in his mommy crew: Jessica Simpson, Megan Fox and Hilary Duff. Post-baby, women can't do resistance training or heavy workouts right away, Pasternak says, but "strolling with the little ones is something simple that helped them all get a jump-start on reclaiming their pre-baby bodies."
Find the right toner for your shape
"You may see a shot of a gorgeously fit celebrity in her SoulCycle shirt and think, 'I need to work out where she works out,'" Kirsch says. But one workout does not fit all, he stresses. Celebs have their trouble zones, too, and must tailor their sweat sessions accordingly. For example, Drew Barrymore is apple-shaped, so if she gains weight, it's going to go to her midsection. Jennifer Lopez is a pear, which means her weight goes to her butt and thighs. Apple-shaped women, Kirsch notes, should stick to rowing machines—which will engage the core from shoulder to belly—as well as boxing and planks. Steer clear of pull-ups, rows or bench presses, he advises. "Apples need to find their waist, and placing emphasis on the back and arms will just make you look blocky."
Pear-shaped? Heavy-weighted exercises (think leg presses) and too much cycling can add bulk to your bottom half. "Avoid any exercise that is quad-centric," Kirsch says. "None of my clients come to me because she wants bulkier quads—you aren't fitting into your skinny jeans with those!" Instead, tighten and sculpt by doing increased reps of moves such as pliÃ© toe squats and sumo lunges (go to health.com/lower-leg-workout for the how-to on this lower-body sculptor).
Give yourself an Oscar for trying
Kirsch has clients keep a list of their daily successes. "I tell them, 'Did you drink water instead of soda? Write it down. Did you take the stairs instead of the elevator? Write it down. Sure, you want to lose five more pounds, but you already lost 20, right? Well, write that down!' Appreciating what you have accomplished can be empowering."
Lovitt encourages nonfood rewards such as a pedicure—just not right before a workout. "I once had a client tell me she couldn't work out because she had just gotten a pedicure!" she recalls. "She said she couldn't put sneakers on because they'd ruin her toes." Lovitt's response? "Oh, well."