Ramona Braganza to whip you into shape. Kate Beckinsale had Ramona by her side in Vancouver as she shot the fourth film in the "Underworld" series, "Underworld: Awakening," which opens January 20th. We talked to Ramona, who also works with Jessica Alba, Halle Berry and Scarlett Johansson, about the exercise program she created for Kate and how she keeps clients motivated during the cold winter months (hint: dig your bathing suit out of the closet!).When you spend most of a movie playing a vampire warrior in a skintight catsuit, it makes sense that you’d call celebrity trainer
Kate looks amazing in this film but what was her particular goal when you started to train? I’d worked with Kate in the past but I hadn’t seen her in a while. She wanted to stay lean and strong-looking. Her challenge is more the lower part of her body versus the upper body. So we worked on keeping the shoulders square to accentuate her already small waist and not bulking up.
Talk me through the program.I use what I call my 3-2-1 training regimen for all my actresses in action roles. It’s three segments of cardio, two segments of circuit strength training, and one segment of core work. The workout goes back and forth between the elements to keep their heart rate elevated. I just adjust the exercises to include what they like to do.
What are some of Kate’s favorite exercises?
She doesn’t like traditional exercise. I introduced her to yoga when I was working with her. She likes to incorporate moving from downward dog to plank, balance moves where you’re standing on one leg and kicking out the other leg without wiggling all over the place. She loves to work on core and mental focus. We did a lot of single body parts. Unilateral training. Instead of using two legs, we’d do single leg squats. That way you get symmetry all over the body and you use lighter weights because you’re only doing one leg at a time, so you don’t bulk up.
Were there any particular challenges when you were training for this film?
It was a nighttime shoot, which is hard because your time clock gets confused. She had to eat breakfast at 5pm and dinner at midnight. But she had to keep to a schedule. If you don’t keep your metabolism going by hydrating and eating you can slow down your metabolism quite a bit.
How much does diet count?
It’s 50 percent of the equation. You need to stick to a food plan at least 80 percent of the time. Kate had a chef, so that helped.
If you’re preparing for a film or just a big event in your personal life if you're not a movie star, how far in advance do you recommend starting a program to see results?
In a perfect world, three months out. If you want to look great in June, start in April. One to two pounds a week is the rule for permanent weight loss. You can’t speed up nature in a healthy way. The longer you have, the less intense it has to be. You’re giving your body time to adjust and change not just shocking the body for a month.
What’s the No. 1 excuse you hear from your clients?
The time factor. Nobody can find an hour to go to the gym. I can respect that. The thing is, try to find 10 minutes in your day here and there because it’s about the total number of calories you burn in a day. If you can’t burn them all in one hour, take 10-15 minute walks, do some stairs or a 30-minute DVD program at home.
Even your celebrities have excuses?
Yes! All actors struggle. They have kids. Jessica has two kids, Halle has a kid. They have a lot of time constraints, too. They’re working 16-hour days and then they have to find time to workout to stay in shape for the part. But the mental commitment is high because they’re on screen.
What do you say to your clients who are not on camera to motivate them?
Find things you like to do. If you hate to go to the gym, try a new sport or a dance class and find tools-- music is a great tool. So is a pedometer and a heart rate monitor. My clients love Omron HR-210 because it’s strapless. If you're training with intensity every time, then you’re going to see results, which can also be a motivation.
What about when you’re not around to remind them?
Tangible goals make a difference. If you’re getting ready for a specific event -- a wedding, a party --hang the dress you’re going to wear on your closet door as motivation. In wintertime we hibernate. I tell people, keep the bathing suit around. If you try that on once a month, you see what’s really happening.
For some how-to instructions, with Ramona, watch below:
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