Mike Alexander, owner of MADfit training studio in Beverly Hills, has worked with some of Hollywood’s hottest celebrities, including Jessica and Ashlee Simpson, Kristin Chenoweth and Amanda Bynes. He gives us his insider tips for getting red-carpet ready. Turns out, you don’t have to be famous to flaunt an A-list body!
Q: How do you prepare a client for a role or concert tour?
A: “It’s specific to the role. When Jessica [Simpson] was playing Daisy Duke, she had to wear those super-sexy jean shorts, so we put a lot of focus on her butt and legs. She’s done other roles where she had on pants the whole time, but was going to be wearing a tank top or a wife beater, so we put more focus on the shoulder and arms.
“If I’m training someone for a concert or tour, I focus more on cardiovascular exercise because they’re going to be singing and dancing and running around. So it’s less about how they look and more about conditioning.”
Q: Speaking of getting Jessica Simpson ready to don Daisy Dukes, what suggestions do you have for reshaping your backside?
A: “I can’t promote squats and lunges and step-ups enough, because those are all exercises that you can do with your own body weight and you can do them anywhere with very little or no equipment.”
Q:What tips do you offer clients who want to slim down for an event in a short period of time?
A: “Diet is very important. You have to eat really clean because every calorie counts at that point. At the same time, you don’t want to cut out too much. It’s important to eat because if you don’t your body’s going to hang on to the calories it does get and go into starvation mode. For exercise, I’d recommend doing two-a-day workouts: In the morning do cardio and in the afternoon do a quick weight workout with high reps. That will burn fat and create muscle tone.”
Q: What are common mistakes people make when starting an exercise program?
A: “You can have the greatest trainers in the world get together and devise a workout plan for you, but if you only do it once a week, you’re not going to get the same results as someone who works with a mediocre trainer, but exercises four days a week. Also, the more consistent you are with your workouts, the less intense your sessions have to be. And again, diet is very important. I think people start to work out and they see it as an excuse to eat whatever they want. Sadly, that’s not the case.”
Q: When you work with busy stars, how do you make sure they maximize their time in the gym?
A: “I have them do a lot of upper-body exercises while holding a lower-body position, like a lunge. You can do the same thing with a squat. Just lower into a squat and stay there while you do lateral raises or curls. This works more muscles in every move, which saves you time.”
Q: You’ve helped a number of celebrity moms get their pre-baby bodies back. What slim-down suggestions do you have for new moms?
A: “One of the reasons a lot of new moms have a hard time losing weight is because they get so overwhelmed with the experience of being a mom that they kind of put their own lives on hold. Find time for yourself to work out, even if it’s naptime and you’re just doing squats and lunges. It’s important to make it a priority and ease yourself back into working out.”
Q: Can you share any fitness secrets of the stars?
A: “There really aren’t any secrets. In many ways they’re just like you and me. They might have great genetics, but nobody’s born with six-pack abs. Everyone has to work for it. Even if you read interviews with girls who are in ridiculous shape and they say, ‘Oh, I don’t even go to the gym. I eat ice cream sundaes,’ nobody believes that. The important thing is not to see a celebrity and say, “I want to look just like that!” Consider how you can improve yourself and say, ‘I’m going to make these changes and look my best.’"