diet

Brooke Shields: fit and fabulous at 40

Friday, March 24, 2006
Brooke Shields

Elle and Brooke's fitness guru reveals how she helps them keep their gorgeous bodies in shape.

Ever wondered how fabulous 40-something mums Elle Macpherson and Brooke Shields stay that way? They've both been trained by former dancer-turned-celebrity fitness guru, Karen Voight.

When Elle was working on her fitness video Your Personal Best, she asked Karen to star in it with her. So just how did Karen manage to improve on The Body?

Elle's boost

"At the time of filming, Elle had put on a little bit of weight, but she didn't really need to lose any," Karen says. "She just had to tone up a little. Elle also doesn't have a lot of time, so we'd train three days a week for an hour."

Elle's regimen included a lot of light weight training, stomach crunches and some aerobics such as low-impact step sessions.

"It wasn't like we went jogging," Karen explains. "We just had to keep Elle's energy up, boost her metabolism a little bit and keep her muscles strong. It's a well-rounded program that has more emphasis on toning than weight loss."

Brooke's turn

At the other end of the spectrum is Brooke Shields, who has just signed a deal to star in Karen's at-home fitness programs, available on DVD and video.

She will no doubt turn to Karen to help her get back in shape after the birth of her second child later this year. Karen was on hand to help the actress after she had her first child, daughter Rowan, in 2003.

"Brooke has a strong body and great technique, but finds stretching a little harder and time-consuming," Karen says.

"She likes aerobics and weight training, so I make sure we do a lot of stretches while lifting weights, which combines them and is time-effective. We do full-range squats and arm exercises, too."

Karen's signature style for all her clients is to do a three-in-one program that includes weights, cardio and flexibility.

"Cardio boosts your energy, weight training builds muscle and stretching doesn't leave you feeling tight and sore," she explains.

"You can also emphasise specific areas. If you want to show off your arms in a dress, weight-train a little more. If you want to wear a slim pair of pants, do more cardio.

"You can customise — but you do want to do all three of them, not just one exclusively."

Post-pregnancy tips

- Don't worry about getting back into shape too quickly. Focus more on your energy levels and your health.
- Try to find activities that don't take you away from the baby. Exercise videos are good because you don't have to go to the gym.
- The program Karen put together with Brooke involves Pilates and yoga-inspired stretches. They're good for the body but don't require you to jump around the room and make noise.

Karen's top exercise tips

- Try to spend 30-45 minutes a day doing something physical, whether it be stretching, cardio or weight training. Go for a walk, followed by abdominal curls, arm exercises and stretches. Put together a few combinations, making sure you do them all within a week.
- Start your day eating healthy food. It gives you the energy to exercise, which encourages you to continue eating healthily throughout the day. If you start out eating sugar, then you have low energy and end up wanting more sugar.
- Take each day as it comes, and try not to overwhelm yourself with too much exercise at first. You can burn out and derail your goals.

Diet tips

- Fill up on vegies at the start of a meal. People make the mistake of having three pieces of pizza or a hamburger and a bit of salad. Turn it the other way around.
- Eat something light at 5pm, so you're not starving at dinner. This curbs the eating-out splurge.
- Have bigger meals for breakfast and lunch, and smaller meals for dinner. This will help to maintain your energy levels during the day.
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