Ask a professional

Ask A Professional: Celebrity Trainer

Gisele Bundchen, Nina Agdal & Sarah Jessica Parker’s trainers answer your questions.

By: Noah Lehava
Illustration: Meghann Stephenson

One mystery of this universe that continues to elude us is the perfect workout. Like, what moves will leave us with visible abs? Or, you know, how do we strengthen our arms? Plus, the whole nutrition-exercise ratio we’re still trying to figure out. Yeah, life’s big Qs.

Lucky for us (and you, of course) we’ve become pretty close with some of the industry' best trainers that have, between them, sculpted the most photographed bodies out there ("Celebrities on the Beach! Real and Unairbrushed!"). And, yeah, while we have a running list of questions we’re continuously asking our roster of fitness pros on the reg, there’s still so much we need answered. So friends, that’s where you came in: you tweeted and Insta-commented, and we connected the dots and got some answers. From the only piece of gym equipment you really need, to catching your breath mid-cardio sesh, to that one move that tones your entire body. Just putting it out into the universe.


Besides sit-ups and planks, what's the best way to tone your midsection?

- @raincitystyle


"Put down the fork! Cut out refined sugar and limit alcohol consumption, and add in some high intensity plyometric exercises like burpees and jump squats to burn fat while building core muscles!"

- Anna Kaiser


"The best way to tone your midsection is to focus on exercises that work your transverse abdominals. They are the deepest of the abdominal muscles and act as a ​corset. You can find your transverse abdominals by lying flat on your back, extending your legs straight up toward ceiling, lifting your hips two inches off the floor. Notice how your legs move​ toward your face? Without dropping the hips at all, press your navel toward your spine, ​move the legs forward so they are directly over the hips—what you feel engaged​ are your transverse abdominals. Continue this action, lifting​ and lowering​ the hips without drawing your legs in toward your face and keeping your navel toward the spine. This will feel like a micro movement but it is super effective in strengthening the ​'corset', ​which will flatten out your entire midline."

- Taryn Toomey


Shortest amount of time for the most results!?

- @PelleModaShoes


"Depends on what you are doing. If you get on a clean eating plan, AND add 20-30min of HIIT workouts 4-5 days per week, you can see results after a week!"

Anna Kaiser


"​Interval training blended with​ ​exercises that work more than one muscle group at a time. For example, try mountain climbers into donkey kicks. This will work your chest, shoulders, abs, and will elevate your heart rate into anaerobic levels, which helps to burn fat."​

- Taryn Toomey

What's the best way to get ripped abs?

- @organicskibunny


"A combination of healthy eating, planks and cardio!"

- Anna Kaiser


"While abdominal definition does require strengthening the abdominals, it is largely about reducing overall body fat, which comes from a healthy diet​,​ cardio and strength training."

- Taryn Toomey


What's one move you can do everyday to tone your entire body?

- @KellyMcleod7


"Plank and/or burpees!"

- Anna Kaiser


"Burpees with a squat at the apex! Start in a plank, jump feet to hands, jump up, land,​ squat down and up​, bring hands to feet, jump feet back—continue the entire length of the body​. It works chest, legs, core, shoulders while ​burning fat—​essentially your whole body."

- Taryn Toomey


What do you do when you reach a plateau?

- @laurenhughes87


"Switch up the time of day you are working out to shock your body and/or try adding an extra 30 min right before dinner!"

- Anna Kaiser


"Mix up your routine. A plateau means that your body has adjusted to the program that you're doing. Take a completely different class, if you don't lift weights, ask a friend to show you how. Find a partner that does a different exercise routine than you do and join in. ​Get yourself out of your comfort zone."​

- Taryn Toomey


How do you get through the workout if you're not in pain but just can't breathe enough? Question from an 8-month ex-smoker

- @gallerinagirl


"Keep pushing through! Eventually you're lung capacity will get better and your VO2 Max will improve. You'll be able to workout longer before you lose your breath, but you have to push a little bit longer every time you workout!"

- Anna Kaiser


"While the body wants to pant in a moment of a high intensity workout, you really need to do the opposite. Slow and deepen the breath. This may feel somewhat counterintuitive but it allows the body to disengage the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight​) and it tells you you're okay. Slowing the breath will actively lower the heart rate even while the movement you are doing is increasing it. Congrats on quitting smoking! Stay on your exercise routine and a healthy diet and your body will heal exponentially from here."

- Taryn Toomey


What is the one exercise that's best for losing weight?

- @maggieglisson


"Anything that gets your heart rate up! Wear a heart rate monitor and try to reach your max heart rate (220-your age). That means you're working as hard as possible!"

- Anna Kaiser


"The After Burn: either on a treadmill or out on a road. Warm up with a jog for five minutes. Then run for one minute as fast as you can (a level of 10 on a scale of 1-10​. You should want to stop pretty quickly, push into that wall​) and then recover at a moderate pace for two minutes (a level six or seven intensity). Repeat that round three more times and then cool down for five minutes. If you are working at the right intensity, you shouldn't be able to do more than about 20 minutes. ​With the afterburn, you will contiune to burn calories way after the workout is over, revving your metabolism for the rest of the day." ​

- Taryn Toomey


What's the best exercise for eliminating back (lat) fat?

- @tiffanyarabia



"Cardio!! Lat pull downs will also help tone the area and build lean muscle while the cardio is burning off the fat. Try 20 pull downs 3x, three days per week."

- Anna Kaiser


"It is a combo of muscular work and decreasing overall body fat. Here's an exercise to help target that area: set up a step underneath a high pull up bar, take an underhand grip a little bit wider than shoulders distance, hop up bringing chin above the bar, then lower slowly ​on a count of three​. Let the toes touch the step, and then immediately explode up again. Lower down on a count of ​three​. Do three sets of 12. This will not only strengthen the back of the arm and the lat but there's a cardio element that helps you shed fat."

- Taryn Toomey


If you can only buy one piece of training equipment, what do you suggest?

- @dcoridas


"A mat. Use your body weight for resistance!"

- Anna Kaiser


"At The Class, we believe that you can accomplish all your fitness goals with just your own body weight. But if you want to purchase a piece of equipment, I would suggest a jump rope. You can do a variety of things with this suitcase/purse-friendly item. Anaerobic interval training with the standard jump roping​ and you can use it like a resistant band for bicep curls, back body, shoulders, lats."

- Taryn Toomey


"Is it really necessary to have a post-workout shake/protein snack? Often I'm not hungry after a workout."

- @iona_ldnr


"Your body is burning the most calories in the 45 minutes after your workout and needs protein for muscle recovery! Grab some almonds or jerky! It’s doesn't have to be as time consuming as a shake!"

- Anna Kaiser


"Right after your workout, your muscles are prime to begin the repair process. Eating a moderate amount of protein supplies you with the muscle repairing nutrients you need to get the most of your workout. If you're not hungry, think small—like a hard boiled egg."

- Taryn Toomey