Fab over 40: how to make the stars' workouts work for you
The skin routine of your 20s and 30s won't work for you in your 40s
Published 05/10/2011 | 05:00
It might have been Helena Rubenstein that said "there are no ugly women in the world, only lazy ones," but it's the sort of quote that Madonna probably has as her screensaver, J-Lo has on her fridge and Courteney Cox has printed on her work-out T-shirt.
A legion of tight-tummed, fresh-faced Hollywood forty-, and in Madge's case fifty-, somethings are sending out a clear message to women in their peer group: "Don't blame your age if you don't look your best, blame yourself."
And before anyone rolls out the standard excuse of "how we could all look like celebrities on a film star's budget and schedule", it has to be said that the basics of what Hollywood's over-40s are doing are within the reach of everyone. Essentially, it boils down to doing the right exercises, the right diet, a bit of skincare knowhow -- and plenty of motivation.
In order to look hot enough to snare younger men in her Cougar Town role, Cox (47) works out fiendishly.
She follows the infamous Tracy Anderson method four times a week which involves between one and three hours of exercise a day, doing a complex series of 40 toning Pilates-style moves, aerobic leaps and star jumps.
It's a punishing workout but according to Dublin-based personal trainer Siobhan Byrne from BodyByrne gym, it doesn't have to be that way.
She says: "I would never want to diss another trainer but I don't think Anderson's workout is necessarily good for older women. One style does not fit all and while someone like Madonna has a very good body, I think it's extreme."
According to Byrne, older women would do well to avoid plyometric exercises like star jumps because of the potential harm it could do to joints and instead she recommends alternating between weights and cardio.
Anderson frowns on running but Byrne believes interval training -- alternating between one minute fast running (or swimming) and one minute slow for no more than 20 minutes -- is an excellent heart strengthener.
Regular load-bearing exercises are well documented to stave off ageing by improving bone formation, building muscle, burning fat and improving skin elasticity.
Anderson's epic toning exercises can be adapted to Byrne's five-minute workouts mixing reps of lunges (for glutes, quads and burning calories), mountain-climber moves (holding a plank stance and bringing alternate knees to the opposite side of the chest, great for core toning) and press-ups for upper body strength.
Yes, you have to work hard, and regularly. As a recent picture of Mariah Carey (41) working up a sweat in a bid to lose her pregnancy pounds recently proved, weight loss after a certain age really is a case of no pain, no gain, but staying fit shouldn't be endless hours of discomfort.
Siobhan says: "I don't believe anyone should be working out more than an hour a day -- any good fitness professional will agree with this -- and I always have a rest day."
Looking good also means living well.
Continued on p34
Continued from p33
You'll never catch J-Lo necking glasses of chardonnay or Courteney Cox chowing down carbs at more than one meal a day.
In a typical day, the former Friends star consumes a diet of coffee for breakfast, chicken salad for lunch and steak, chicken or fish with vegetables for dinner.
Best pal and former co-star Jennifer Aniston (42) follows a similarly vegetable-filled regime and both women drink lots of water. Water is a big anti-ageing weapon, with women over 40 recommended at least six to eight glasses a day to keep the body hydrated and prevent against dry, flaky skin more susceptible to wrinkles.
Aniston may confess to enjoying the occasional glass of wine but none of Hollywood's hot over-40s are big boozers. The kidneys get overworked processesing alcohol and remove too much water from the body leading to wrinkle-prone skin.
The actresses' meals might sound tiny but it's worth bearing in mind that portion sizes should get smaller as you get older as the body no longer needs, or burns off, as many calories.
Aveen Bannon of the Dublin Nutrition Centre says: "Healthy eating in our 40s isn't too different to any other age but you do need to watch portion sizes and include more of certain foods to look and feel good inside and out."
In particular, women in this age category need to be including oily fish, like salmon, mackerel, trout, sardines or tuna in their diet twice a week for good heart health, joint health, memory and good skin.
Glowing, youthful skin also comes from foods rich in antioxidants, such as vitamin E-filled nuts, seeds and avocados and Vitamin C-rich, brightly coloured fruits and vegetables that help with collagen production.
Iron-rich foods such as lean red meat help build muscles (keeping bingo wings away) and boost energy levels. But don't be lulled into adopting fad diets that endorse cutting food groups.
Bannon says: "Avoid carbs and you'll reduce your fibre intake; avoid dairy and you run the risk of a low-calcium intake possibly leading to osteoporosis; cut out red meat and extra care needs to be taken to ensure an adequate iron intake. Balance is key."
When it comes to beauty routines, every celebrity has their own can't-live-without product -- Kylie Minogue (43) credits bargain-buy Pond's Cold Cream Cleanser with keeping her skin fresh; Jennifer Aniston loves organic skincare range Dr Hauschka and Sandra Bullock (47) wakes up looking younger thanks to Declor Aroma Night Regenerating Cream.
"A really good skin care regime is very important at this stage of life to rejuvenate the skin that will often have been environmentally damaged and lost some of its glow," says Dublin-based make-up artist Adele Miley (adelemiley.com). "Cleanse the skin morning and evening, using a gentle, alcohol-free product such as Nimue cleansing gel or Bobbi Brown Extra Balm rinse.
"Use night cream and eye cream to keep crow's feet at bay and toner to remove excess make-up and freshen the skin. Exfoliate skin once a week, get a facial every six to eight weeks and most importantly never, ever go out without SPF."
Get the skincare routine right and it's easier to nail the right make-up look. Skin changes over the years and the products and routine that have been your 'go to' look in your 20s and 30s won't work in your 40s.
Miley says: "Less is definitely more. It's vital to get a foundation matched to your skin colour, if that's wrong it can make you look older. A good concealer, such as Bobbi Brown's creamy concealer, can take years off, as can a nice fresh blusher, such as Mac Dollymix, applied to the apple of the cheek and blended back towards the hairline."
She adds: "Don't use eye shadows that are glittery or very shimmery as they can emphasise fine lines and wrinkles and very bright eye shadows can be quite ageing -- I find neutrals more flattering. Fill in eyebrows and use a liner to define the lips.
"If it all seems too daunting, treat yourself to a professional lesson and find out what colours and products now suit you, you'll soon be looking and feeling younger."