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Try these training tips from the Tinseltown elite

Be red carpet ready, even if you're just watching from your couch! In “Six Weeks to a Hollywood Body,” Steve Zim shows you how. Read an excerpt.
/ Source: TODAY

The Oscars are here and all eyes are on the stars, but fashion isn't the only thing we'll be looking at. We'll also be checking out their well-toned bods, wondering how we could get the same results. Steve Zim, personal trainer and co-author of “Six Weeks to a Hollywood Body,” visited “Weekend Today” to reveal some celebrity workout secrets. Here's an excerpt from his book:

Secrets of the stars
Many people have been lured into buying a magazine because they saw a celebrity’s photo on the cover and were pitched a how-to exercise story on how you can get that star’s well-rounded butt. I know that I just can’t resist these magazines, and I’ve even written my fair share of those articles. Do you really want to know how celebrities look so great? They work extremely hard to get those hard bodies. So let’s cut to the chase — stars’ bodies look like that because stars are dedicated, they watch what they eat, and they exercise intensely and often. You probably knew that, but what you may not know is that they really do have secrets to looking their best quickly. They do things in a very particular way, in a specific order, and there are special exercises to sculpt specific body parts to create an overall look.

If they can do it, you can do it, and I’m here to help you.

Let’s get very specific about what you most admire about the Hollywood body and how you want yours to look so that your efforts have a focus. The Hollywood bodies you most admire are the sum of many parts — that is, the backs of the arms, the derriere, the sculpted chest, the well-defined obliques, and the highly toned legs all contribute to an overall look. You may notice one or two of these body parts as your favorite celebrity glides down the red carpet in a revealing designer outfit. Merely losing a certain amount of weight will not make you look like your favorite celebrity. However, if while losing that amount of weight you work to create proper muscular balance and definition, you will indeed look great. Throughout this book, I will teach you to take what you have and improve it into the best that it can be so that you achieve a total look that more closely resembles the body of your favorite star.

Spot Toning
Spot toning is truly the secret of attaining a Hollywood body. The next time you are watching your favorite celebrities walking down the red carpet or being interviewed on television, examine their various body parts. Focus on the small details and take in how and why certain areas of their bodies stand out. Look at the body parts containing large muscle groups, such as the legs, the back, the arms, the chest, and the abdomen. All of these muscle groups are the sum of many parts as well.

In examining the large muscle groups of the celebrity body, you will begin to see traits that you admire and may want to emulate. If you look closely enough, many things may begin to stick out. You will notice a certain symmetry that is dazzling. You will see balance between the upper and lower halves of the Hollywood body. Look closer and you will see that the right and left arms are the same size. The right and left legs are equally toned and muscular. The biceps are just about as large as the calves. As you begin, balance will be your primary focus.

It is not uncommon for most people to be out of balance. When we drive, we get out of the car by placing our left foot on the ground, and that leg supports our entire weight as we stand. As a consequence, the left thigh is generally stronger and larger than the right thigh. Also, we all have a dominant arm, and we use that arm most of the time. This dominant arm is probably stronger and larger than the other arm. This imbalance may extend to other body parts. Perhaps one of your shoulders is larger or higher, or one side of your back is more developed than the other. The muscles in your lower back may not be strong or developed as your abdominal musculature. Aside from disrupting proper posture, these imbalances take away from looking fit.

LegsPay particular attention to your legs. When you are doing your sculpting exercises, you should strive to work your legs very hard. The harder you work them, the greater the results will be throughout the rest of your body. There should be a balance between the strength and size of the front and back of the thigh. Commonly, even with well-defined thighs, the rear of the thigh is not well-developed. When the back of the thigh (hamstring) is bowed rather than flat, it will create a better line to accentuate the curvature of the buttocks, providing you with a more athletic and toned appearance.

There are some large muscles in the front of the thigh. Creating greater definition in this area will have fantastic payoffs. Achieving a line appearance down the side of the thigh provides the ultrafit, hard-body look that seems to be in vogue. For women especially, well-defined calves are the secret to looking your best and strutting your stuff. Other than being tortuous, high heels are designed to provide the calf with a certain flex, making it appear well-defined and accentuating the muscle.

ButtocksWorking on your gluteus maximus — your butt — you need to develop the point of demarcation where the rear of the thigh meets the bottom of the buttocks. Strengthen the muscles on each cheek so that they have a rounded rather than flat appearance. Creating this kind of definition will help offset whatever effects gravity has had. The next priority, especially for men, is to develop the edges of the muscle, providing you with the “dimple” or hollow just outside the joint where your thigh and pelvic bone meet.

Back
The back is made up of a very large group of muscles that greatly accentuate your overall appearance. There are three celebrity secrets that can make the back truly stunning. First, there are the shoulder blades. You will be striving to achieve a well-defined musculature on the inside of each shoulder blade. Second, you will develop the trapezius (traps) muscles that look as if they sit on top of the actual shoulder blade. For both men and women, the development of these muscles makes the back appear to be more catlike and sexier. Shaping these muscles will help the shoulder blades pull closer together. This will positively affect your posture, lifting your chest and rolling back your shoulders (the opposite of hunching your shoulders). Not only will you appear to be standing straighter and more lifted, but the musculature running down either side of the spine will be accentuated, providing you with an even more defined look. Third, and perhaps most important, you will strengthen the latissimus dorsi (lats) muscles. These winglike muscles begin in the center of your rib cage and reach up toward your armpit. Depending on your body type, you can develop these muscles to deemphasize a thick waist, create an hourglass figure, appear extremely athletic, make your torso appear longer to emphasize your shoulders rather than your hips, or to appear extremely thin.

Chest
A developed chest can make men appear more virile and powerful, and for women it can be far more enhancing than plastic surgery. The strategy to achieve a Hollywood chest is remarkably similar for both men and women. Basically the chest muscle is shaped like a horseshoe. We will focus on developing and accentuating the outer edges of the horseshoe. It will then be easier to fill in the horseshoe and give the chest a more balanced look. You may notice that many box office idols have developed the upper portions of their pectoral muscles. Aside from defining the outer edge, this upper pectoral development is crucial. Female celebrities spend an even greater amount of time working this area. They concentrate on the upper pectoral area to enhance cleavage and make the collarbone more pronounced; however, they work the bottom half just as hard for lift, and they pay even closer attention to the inner edges of the pectoral muscle for breast separation as well as to accentuate the ribs connecting to the sternum.

ArmsThe development and sculpting of the shoulder muscles can create a stunningly beautiful arm as well as proper posture. Read the next few sentences, then put this book down to determine muscular imbalance. Simply stand up, extend your arms to the sides, release them, and let them fall. Let them bounce and come to a stop. Take notice of which way your palms are facing.

Chances are that your palms are facing behind you and your knuckles are facing forward (to some degree). If not, you represent 2 percent of the general population and probably do some kind of heavy manual labor such as working with a handsaw. The reason why your knuckles are facing forward is that the rear portion of the muscle. There are very few activities that will develop the rear portion of the shoulder, and it is precisely this section that is the coup de grace of the most stunning Hollywood bodies. Ladies, take a close look at your favorite star wearing a sleeveless dress. Notice how there is well-defined point of demarcation that separates the back of the shoulder and the tricep. For both men and women, that will be our focus for shoulder sculpting, as it is the most-prized secret of the stars.

Men and women have very different needs and goals for their arms. Women look to create a well-defined but decidedly feminine-looking arm, while most men shoot for size. For men, this area of the body is of singular importance. Men’s biceps are a symbol of power and strength — an expression of manliness. While our intention will be to create a certain amount of bulk and definition, men should take a look at come celebrity biceps. This is a very simple muscle. It is connected to the skeletal system in just two places, and the only function of this muscle is to contract. Therefore, it becomes easy to have a very short little ball of a bicep.

While watching some celebrity arms, notice how long and relatively full their biceps are. While creating some bulk and a whole lot of definition in the biceps, one of our primary concerns is to develop an elongated bicep. But the biceps are only half of the arm. The main focus is to develop the two “heads” of the tricep muscle and strive for separation between them. Men should try to achieve a relative balance between the size of the biceps and triceps, and women should try to ton and cut the triceps. For women, the more defined the triceps — the more muscle separation you can achieve here — the better your arms will look.

Abdominals
The muscles that comprise the majority of the abdominal section of your body are like eight little boxes. In the gym, people refer to them as a six-pack, and if they are really defined, an eight-pack. Everyone has an eight-pack. Most of us, though, have subcutaneous fat (the fat underneath the skin) that prevents these muscles from being seen. If you can see muscle definition on the tummy of your favorite celebrities it is not because they have big abdominal muscles — it is because they have a very low body fat percentage.

The Hollywood Body Triangle
When the three elements of the Hollywood body system are put together into a comprehensive program, your results are guaranteed. With Hollywood nutrition, you will be feeding lean muscle and burning fat. With Hollywood heart, you will improve your circulation, strengthen your heart, increase your endurance, become more physically fit, and most important, you will be using stored fat to fuel your activity. With Hollywood sculpt, you will be reshaping each muscle from its deepest point. When all three sides of this training triangle are in place, nothing can prevent you from attaining a Hollywood body.

By bringing all three sides of the training triangle together, you create a momentum. Your nutritional program supports your cardiovascular program. Your sculpting program supports your cardiovascular activity and your diet. As each day passes, the three elements of your transformation take a firmer hold. You begin feeling the changes and seeing the changes when you look in the mirror. When your aerobic training, weight training, and diet are all working to complement one another, something magical happens. You begin coasting downhill. You do not have to work as hard, but your transformation unfolds rapidly. Changes occur faster, dramatically affecting the way you look and feel.

No matter what level of exercise you currently enjoy, whether you are just beginning or have practiced these three disciplines all your life, you should carefully read the next three chapters. If you are just beginning, use this information as if it were a one-on-one session with your personal trainer. You will learn the philosophy and the scientific principles that are the basis of your transformation. If you have been exercising for years, attempt to rethink your currently held convictions. You will pick up at least a few precious gems that will take your level of fitness to heights previously unknown to you.

Excerpted from “6 Weeks to a Hollywood Body: Look Fit and Feel Fabulous with the Secrets of the Stars” by Steve Zim and Mark Laska. Copyright © 2006, Steve Zim and Mark Laska. All rights reserved. Published by Wiley. No part of this excerpt can be used without permission of the publisher.