Katie Byrne: It takes blood, sweat and tears to get a body like Halle’s
Trying to get fit? You're not trying hard enough, according to Halle Berry who has recently transitioned into an Instagram Fitspo star with an unashamedly militant streak.
We've long known that the 51-year-old actress is part ageless Goddess and part freak of nature. Now, thanks to her regular #FitnessFriday posts, we're beginning to realise that she is also one part machine.
"We all skipped rope as kids, right?" she asked in a recent post that sounded like it was being boomed through a megaphone.
"Well, wrong! Not this kind of skipping. The kind where you do 200 to 500 skips without stopping. The kind where you throw in a few tricks and keep on skipping until sweat is dripping off your body. That's the kind I'm talking about."
If you haven't already collapsed at the mere thought of this exercise (the actress herself admits that she thought she was going to die the first time she tried it), you could move on to the "lunge jump". Berry recommends 3-5 sets of 20-30 repetitions. You may want to write out your last will and testament first.
For the masochists who want more of a challenge - or for those interested in modern torture techniques - her personal trainer suggests putting some "hot sauce" on it by adding a squat. Just be sure to call the ambulance before you begin.
The actress's #FitnessFriday posts are designed to motivate. There are dark and moody boxing shots that look like they're from a gritty Nike campaign. There are impressive yoga postures that showcase every sinew of her age-defying body. There's a photo of her doing a gymnastic stretch in a leotard thong, just to rub it in.
Granted, her glutes look like they could withstand nuclear attack, but that's to be expected when you work out five times a week and stick to a Ketogenic diet (no sugar, no flour, no bread, no pasta, no rice).
It's also worth remembering that she lives in LA, where personal trainers are known for upping the ante and fitness classes are loosely inspired by The Hunger Games. Do you know that point during a workout when your legs begin to quiver? That's the sweet spot for the Hollywood trainer. Anything else is a warm-up.
Berry admits that her body is partly the result of good genetics and partly the result of being a gymnast growing up. However, she says it's mostly down to her "secret weapon", personal trainer Peter Lee Thomas, who regularly appears in her #FitnessFriday posts. We can probably expect his first fitness book in January 2019. Berry's own line of fitness apparel will no doubt follow...
The actress has been generous with her fitness advice, and her forthcoming approach has amassed plenty of Instagram fans. However, anyone who thinks they can get a body like Berry's by following her regime needs to remember that Hollywood physiques are built with blood, sweat and tears.
Twenty-something female celebrities often claim to have really high metabolisms that allow them to "eat like a horse". But from their thirties onwards, they start to come clean about what it really takes to stay slim in an industry that adds 10 pounds.
Jessica Alba says she subsisted on 1,200 calories a day to lose her baby weight. Julianne Moore says she is hungry all the time. Elizabeth Hurley skips breakfast and Naomi Watts says she starves ahead of awards ceremonies so that she can fit into the teeny-tiny sample sizes. We don't even want to know what Madonna is at...
The Hollywood diet isn't a lifestyle shift. It's an all-consuming way of life that requires relentless discipline, near-monomaniacal enthusiasm and the ability to do five sets of 30 lunge jumps.
Good luck and Godspeed to those who are on board. The rest of us would prefer to eat the burger.
You are now entering the comfort zone
In a recent magazine interview, actor Hugh Jackman talked about the false advertising that many of us engage in during the honeymoon period of a new relationship.
"When you're dating, you put on the best version of yourself," he said. "On the dance floor, you're like, I'm pulling out my best moves, I've got my best clothes on. [But] how do you transition from that person to truly being yourself? The tracksuit-pant version of yourself."
The answer, in case he hasn't realised, is that it's only a matter of time before waistbands become elasticated.
To be more specific, it takes roughly two months before exotic lingerie is replaced by mismatched sets; three months for ship-shape showroom apartments to deteriorate into 'doing it tomorrow' squalor and six months before it is deemed appropriate to leave false eyelashes on the bedside table. You never claimed to be perfect...