She’s no Iron Lady, but Gwyneth Paltrowhas definitely got thighs of steel. Snapped sunning herself in the Caribbean just days before her Country Strong Oscar performance, 38-year-old Gwyneth showed off a super-buff bikini body that would shame women half her age.
Naturally slim and infamously health conscious, Gwyneth’s maintained a model perfect physique throughout her career. But after stepping up her workout regime with personal trainer Tracy Anderson, Gwyneth’s on a mission to be the owner of Hollywood’s hottest bikini body.
“Some days I hate it, some days I love it’ revealed Gwyneth of her strict fitness programme. ‘But above all, I stick with it to get the body I want.”
Although criticised for not shaping up as fast as many of her Hollywood counterparts after the birth of daughter Apple, 6, and four-year old Moses, Gwyneth, has no regrets. “All those negative things ended up being really positive’ says Gwyneth. ‘They’ve kick-started me into thinking how I want to look for the rest of my life.”
And while most women would kill to look half as good as Gwyneth as they approached their 40th birthday, the Iron Man star has set herself some seriously high body image standards. “I don’t want to look like a mother who doesn’t care’ spilled Gwynnie. ‘I decided I’d had enough of my saddlebags and post-pregnancy Shar-Pei-like stomach. Then I met a woman who changed my life - Tracy Anderson. She is a dancer, a trainer, an organic plastic surgeon. Her programme works but you have to work it. I mean really work it!”
And work it, she has! Since enlisting fitness guru Tracy’s help, Gwyneth’s body has been transformed. “I work out six days a week, and if we’re not in the same place, I do Tracy’s DVDs. I work freakin’ hard!” laughs Gwyneth, who says she works out in order to eat what she likes. “It’s no accident. When you’re 38, it’s like you either starve yourself, or you eat and you do serious cardio. There’s no easy ride.”
After years on a strict macrobiotic diet, Gwyneth - who still refuses to eat four legged animals - has taken a more relaxed approach to eating.
“I just can’t do it. I cannot diet,” she recently revealed. “I think maybe it’s the idea that you can’t have something. It’s worth it to me to do that extra exercise so I can eat what I want and not think about it.” And when it comes to food, it really does seem that everything is on the menu chez Paltrow. “I love to cook. We have a wood-burning pizza oven in our garden. You can cook anything in there - it’s amazing.”
Despite the new-found pleasures of pizza and pasta, Gwyneth likes to occasionally cleanse her system, although she always enlists the advice of health expert Dr Neish Yoshi before tackling anything extreme.
“I like to do fasts and detoxes a couple of times a year, the most hardcore one being the Master Cleanse I did last spring,” said Gwynnie. “It was not what you would characterise as pretty. Or easy. It did work, however.”
Since Gwyneth has been eating healthily and focusing on her workouts - which are currently tailored to turbo-tone her legs - Gwyneth’s seen results fast, thanks to Tracy’s special method of targeting smaller muscles in order to pull in the bigger ones.
Sound complicated? “Pilates works on this super strong core, but what it does ultimately is build muscular structure ‘out’ by building up the major muscle groups in your abs,” Tracy explains. “Instead of over-using the major muscles, I focus on the muscles around them.When these ‘accessory’ muscles are properly developed, they pull in the larger ones, creating a more compact body structure.”
Tracy says it’s important Gwyneth changes her workout regularly, which is why she sends her video updates or alterations when they can’t work out together.
“Any time you are doing the same movement over and over, you are building and bulking your muscles,” she says. “It is very important to change your rotations and hit your muscles from different angles.’
And while she’s usually tight lipped about her celebrity client base, Tracy recently opened up on her famous fitness follower, explaining the willowy blonde actress didn’t display much natural rhythm at the beginning of their training relationshop.
“When I first started working with Gwyneth - bless her heart - it was like, ‘Step, touch! Step, touch!’ Now she’s like a pop star; she could go on tour herself if she wanted to!”
Gwyneth's buff body workout moves
Second-position plie “Start with your feet a little wider than shoulder width apart, then bend and straighten your leg, making sure you lower your bottom right to the ground. Do as many of these as you can.
Butt pulse “Hold on to the back of a chair. Straighten your leg behind you; lift one leg as high as you can, and then lift it up to the ceiling, moving with a little tiny pulse.Arch back into this movement. You should start to feel it right on the side of your butt.”
Outer thigh flex and point “Feet together, shoulders down, hands on the back of a chair for balance. Lift one hip slightly, then flex your foot and point out to the side. Lift, and point, then swap.”
Tracy’s top fitness tips:
“The most important thing is that you’re consistent, and you understand that fitness has to be part of your lifestyle. You need to have fun with it. Make sure you’re feeling good about moving, and just getting strong and fit.”
Turn up the heat! “It’s |much easier to change your body shape if you train in higher temperatures,” |says Tracy.
Don’t use weights that are too heavy. “I don’t think a woman should workout with any more than 3lb weights.”
Take the pain! “When your accessory muscles wake up, it’s a painful kind of phase, and that’s my main focus.
I really go after the accessory muscles.”
Change it up. “To go after the accessory muscles and to keep them awake and alert, you have to hit them with new rotations constantly.”
“It’s all about the quality of movement, and how endurance-wise, you can perform it. Being a really good performer is the key to great results. Precision, precision, precision!”