Achieving a flat belly can be challenging once you hit 40, as your metabolism slows down, making it a lot harder to get rid of stubborn belly fat. But it's not impossible — just take a look at the many celebrity women over 40 who have managed to slow down the aging process and stay in fighting shape.
So what's their secret? We asked some of Hollywood's top fitness trainers and dietitians about how they help their celebrity clients maintain a flat belly, improve their health, and look damn good on the red carpet and beyond. Here are their A-list workout tips and nutrition advice, so you can look and feel just as good, in time for bikini season.
Even at 73, Cher proves that working out frequently can help keep your body in great shape. Good Housekeeping recently reported that the singer told Hello! that she works out five days a week, even if she tries to play the age card with her trainer.
What the expert says: Although you may find that your energy levels may not be where they once were once you turn 40, celebrity fitness trainer Tadeo Arnold suggests that keeping on a solid workout schedule like Cher is crucial, as consistency becomes even more important as you age. “Schedule your workouts as you would a meeting or doctor’s appointment,” Arnold says.
Chelsea Handler, 44, is no stranger to lifting weights and having a solid strength training routine. And while hitting up the weight room, like Handler, guarantees toned biceps, shoulders, triceps, and more, Arnold says that it can also help you achieve a flatter tummy.
What the expert says: “Lift 10 to 20 percent heavier weights two to three days a week in order to increase the results of your workouts,” Arnold recommends.
Jennifer Lopez, 50, is the epitome of workout goals. The music mogul and actress manages to maintain a solid six-pack that would make any gym rat envious.
A grueling workout regimen is definitely a key part of Lopez’s success, but nutrition is also what keeps her abs in tip-top shape. In 2015, she told People that she has a carefully planned diet which includes healthy snacks like fruit and veggies. J. Lo also recently posted on Instagram that she's been following a 10-day low-carb, no-sugar diet.
What the expert says: While following a low-carb diet is hard to sustain long-term, Arnold says everyone can rip page off of Lopez's healthy snack habit. “Just as you did when you were a child, make sure to have three meals and mini snacks to help keep your body feeling full,” Arnold explains. This will help relinquish fat as a result of being properly fueled, he says.
Of course, working out, like Berry, is also going to help you get that flatter stomach. Berry works out five days a week with a trainer, alternating between yoga, boxing, cardio and strength training. But it's her sleep schedule that helps her maintain that killer bod, too. Halle Berry, 53, credits her success to nine hours of sleep each night, she told People back in 2011.
What the expert says: To keep cortisol levels low and allow your body to burn fat, Arnold says it’s crucial to get six to eight hours of solid sleep each night. “That solid sleep state is when your body will burn the most fat as your body properly resets,” he explains.
Sugary foods are a major no-no for stars like Eva Longoria, 44. She told Glamour that she won’t eat sugar for three months and cuts out all carbs that turn into sugar, including rice, bread, and pasta. Instead, she incorporates plenty of vegetables into her diet including broccoli, spinach, and Brussels sprouts.
A no-sugar diet isn't sustainable for a healthy, balanced lifestyle, but Amy Shapiro, MS, RD, CDN, explains that avoiding and/or limiting your consumption of processed and sugary foods can help you achieve a tighter tummy.
What the expert says: A quick candy bar may give you a quick boost of energy, but these foods cause us to store more belly fat, Shapiro says. High sugar intake can also lead to increased cortisol levels. “To decrease these levels, you’ll want to lower your sugar intake,” she says.
Drinking enough water throughout the day can help keep your hunger cues in check and ward off sugar cravings. Gabrielle Union, 47, as she told The New York Times that she tries to drink at least one gallon of water a day.
What the expert says: Chugging H20 is what also gives Union her ethereal-looking skin, but Shapiro says that staying hydrated is another key component in busting unwanted belly bloat. “When we are dehydrated, our bodies hold onto whatever water it can, which can cause us to feel bloated,” Shapiro says.
FODMAPs are carbohydrates found in certain foods that some people find harder to digest and can cause stomach issues. Tyra Banks, 46, told Glamour UK that she is a fan of the low-FODMAP diet, which cuts out gas-causing foods like garlic, cauliflower, asparagus, and beans.
What the expert says: You should always talk to a dietitian or your doctor before starting a new diet. The low-FODMAP diet is for people who find it hard to digest certain carbs in foods, but it's not for everyone. If you're experiencing more bloating than usual, talk to your doctor. It could be a sign of something else.
Instead, Shapiro advises avoiding any gassy foods on days where you need to look and feel like you have a flat belly, as these kinds of foods can cause the belly to expand.
“These include healthy foods such as cauliflower, kale, broccoli, and Brussel sprouts,” she says. To keep your stomach looking toned, she recommends eating sweet potatoes, lean proteins, easy greens like spinach and romaine, cucumber, and celery because they remove excess water from the body.
Eva Mendes, 45, likes to keep things simple in the diet department. Shape reported that the actress followed the 5-Factor diet at one point, which calls for eating five meals a day with recipes that contain no more than five ingredients, five days a week.
What the expert says: While adding one extra meal a day might seem like the wrong recipe for weight loss, Shapiro says eating small regular meals, like Mendes, can help prevent overeating, which leads to weight gain.
These smaller meals will keep your blood sugar levels stable, and your belly flat. Doing so will also prevent you from overeating due to extreme hunger, causing your stomach acids to be underactive. Overactive stomach acids can lead to bloating, she says.
Portion control may seem like the oldest diet trick in the book, but Jennifer Aniston, 50, swears by the Zone diet, which calls for eating three portion-controlled meals (plus two snacks) daily.
What the expert says: Celebrity trainers like Eraldo Maglara, NSCA-CPT, see the value of eating portion controlled meals, as he says consuming extra calories can help prevent weight gain around your midsection. “Our bodies are designed, by nature, to fight off starvation,” he says. “Therefore, any food that is not eliminated or secreted through our bodies is stored as fat," he adds.
One could argue that Gwen Stefani, 50, looks the same or even better than she did over a decade ago when she was lead singer for No Doubt. Her secret to a lean physique: Working out with a TRX suspension trainer, she told Shape.
What the expert says: Maglara says working out with a TRX band can help bust unwanted belly fat because it can tone and sculpt a variety of muscle groups, especially the core. Maglara suggests that it may be wise to incorporate a total-body training regimen — with cardio — into your regimen to reduce overall body fat in areas like the midsection.
Penelope Cruz, 45, is a follower of the anti-inflammatory diet, according to Health. The anti-inflammatory diet consists of eating plenty of vegetables and fruits and limiting sugar and refined foods
What the expert says: Maglara says that managing inflammation is an important part of keeping belly fat under control. Refined grains, like white bread and crackers, and processed sugars from foods like baked goods and soda, can increase inflammation in the body, which can hinder your ability to eliminate belly fat. Instead, stock your fridge and pantry with wholesome foods, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats, to lower inflammation.
It’s safe to say that Elle Macpherson, 55, defies the laws of aging — and she has her diet to thanks for it. Elle reported that the supermodel follows the alkaline diet to help her body stay in top form. Macpherson also limits her coffee and alcohol consumption, in order to balance her body's pH levels. Proponents of the alkaline diet believe that foods that are too "acidic," like processed meats and dairy, can cause inflammation in the body.
What the expert says: Following an alkaline diet might become too restrictive for long-term weight loss, but if you're curious about the diet, be sure to talk to a registered dietitian before you get started. They can recommend the best weight loss plan that fits your lifestyle and needs.
When it comes to drinking alcohol, it's no secret that too much of it can be detrimental to your weight loss goals, much more your overall health. “Limiting your overall intake will not only conserve the longevity of your internal organs but also do wonders for your midsection and your skin,” Maglara explains.
Practicing mindfulness and positivity through meditation is something Oprah, 65, swears by to reduce stress and find focus. She says she meditates 20 minutes every day to help boost her creativity and productivity.
What the expert says: Maglara says that meditating, like Oprah, can also help boost the effectiveness of your workouts. “When we are in a positive mindset and focused on the mission at hand, the likelihood of success in anything we do is magnified tenfold,” Maglara says. Meditation can also help you get in tune with your breath, which will help you get the most out of your workout. Using your breath with each rep can help you tough things out when it becomes uncomfortable.
Alison Sweeney, 43, witnessed the benefits of working with a trainer when she hosted The Biggest Loser, but that doesn’t stop her from engaging in simple workouts she can do at home. Sweeney once shared an incredibly easy eight-move core workout with Fitness Magazine. The best part is you can do it sitting down.
What the expert says: Celebrity trainer Astrid Swan says you can keep your core active, even when you're not working out by engaging your ab muscles as you do everyday tasks, like lifting groceries and opening doors. “Your core should be working even when you are not working out,” she says.
Although most people assume that exercises, like crunches, guarantee rock-hard abs, Sofia Vergara, 47, proves that working with weights are just as effective for tightening your core. She posted this Instagram video of herself doing deadlifts.
What the expert says: Exercises, like deadlifts and kettlebell swings, work your glutes as well as your core because they force you to recruit your ab muscles to maintain balance, Swan says.
It's no surprise that Gwyneth Paltrow, 47, is a fan of kombucha, a probiotic-rich drink. Probiotics, which are essential for maintaining good gut health and strong immune system.
What the expert says: “A balanced microbiome is the first line of defense against a bloated belly, regardless of your age,” says celebrity chef and holistic nutritionist Serena Poon. Once you hit 40, your hormone levels begin to change, which can lead to bloating and weight gain in your midsection. To keep your gut happy, she advises using a high-quality probiotic supplement and eating fermented foods to help balance your gut and keep the belly flat.
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