Guest Post: Exercise Tips from Hollywood Trainer Cornel Chin
Posted by Toni in FGG Guests
This week’s guest post is from an unusual source for FGG: a personal trainer who helps celebrities (including Leonardo DiCaprio, Audrey Tautou, and Colin Firth) get into camera-ready shape. Cornel Chin, author of Celebrity Body on a Budget, talks about what it’s really like to train like a celebrity and shares some more practical body toning moves for the rest of us.

[We probably don't need to tell you this, but you should check with your health care provider to ensure these moves are safe for you to perform]

Training to become super-fit like a celebrity isn’t on every woman’s to-do list. While some women want to lose weight, others simply want their clothes to fit a little better or to be able to catch the bus without panting and sweating. But even if you're not interested in having an “Oscar-ready” body, you may still secretly be wondering what holy grail of exercise celebrities seem to have found that the rest of us haven’t. In truth, celebrities live in the limelight and are constantly under scrutiny, and the dangling carrots of fame and fortune play an important role – where choosing between shedding some extra weight vs. a $10 million movie deal provides powerful motivation.

But don’t be fooled into believing that even the most fit celebrities are doing exercises different from what you may be doing at home or at your gym. Trust me on this: there’s nothing new in fitness--no magic machine that shakes you like a smoothie blender or stretchy cable apparatus that pulls you like a medieval torture device. The biggest difference is that famous people are probably exercising more often and under professional guidance. Many celebrities pay very generously for the right advice and service. They hire personal chefs to serve up their favorite foods, nutritionists to advise their chef what to prepare, and a trainer to do all the fitness thinking for them. All they have to do is show up and perform (no pun intended).

My book, Celebrity Body on a Budget, is designed to encourage people to try working out like a celebrity without having to spend top dollar on nutritionists, trainers and personal chefs. Even if you have no desire to whip yourself into a frenzy worthy of Hollywood, you might find a few new moves to shake up your regular exercise routine--or kick one off if you’re currently sedentary.

Here are a few simple moves that can be easily incorporated into your daily life. I've chosen exercises that don’t require a lot of getting down on the floor and back up again, which can be challenging if you’re substantially overweight, but that will yield visible results over time if you're doing them at least every other day.


The triceps (rear upper arms), also affectionately known as 'bingo swingers' or 'bat wings,' is a troublesome area for many women.

The Dip exercise is perhaps one of the best moves, which can be performed against any safe, fixed bench, desk or chair. Think kitchen counter top, work desk/station, park bench, or waiting room bench--most places have a fixed surface. Simply face away from the surface, place your hands hip width apart and keep your knees slightly bent. Then, bend at your elbows to lower your body to no lower than a right angle. To extend up again to the start position, just extend the arms again avoiding locking out the elbows. Try 10 repetitions and work up to 20 reps. Progress up to a couple of sets of 15 reps, then 18, then 20 etc.


This little discreet number is perhaps one of the simplest exercises, yet it offers a big payout in terms of benefit. This can literally be done anytime and anywhere-sitting, standing, kneeling or even lying down. It works the main core muscle (Transversus Abdominis), which is the main muscle responsible for keeping you upright and maintaining a flat stomach.

All that is required is a little practice, as it's a bit tricky if you're new to it. As you take a deep breath in, draw in the area of your stomach situated between your navel and your upper groin. Pull in this area as if drawing in toward your lower back. Hold for 10 seconds, as you breathe out slowly for the same amount of time. Repeat three more times. As you improve, try holding for longer intervals. Try this several times a day, while standing waiting for the kettle to boil or waiting for a bus or train.


A great habit many people adopt is taking the stairs instead of an elevator or escalator. To further boost that benefit, try taking two steps at a time instead of one. By doing so, the quadriceps (front thighs) and gluteal muscle (buttocks) are engaged and are worked 50% more than if taking one step at a time. If the steps are not too steep, you may wish to attempt taking three steps at a time. As a safety measure, just ensure the knees are not bending more than a right angle or 90 degrees to avoid undue stress to the knee area.

Cornel Chin is a fitness expert to the stars with over 20 years of experience as a fitness professional. He integrates his diverse background to create an all-encompassing approach to fitness. Cornel is credited for getting Leonardo DiCaprio into shape in double-quick time for the film The Beach, and, as a leading fitness expert, he is a frequent guest on numerous television and radio shows throughout the United Kingdom. Cornel has also been featured in, and regularly contributes to, a host of leading international publications.