Want Gwen Stefani's Abs? Just Mimic Her Fitness Workout Plan
Whether it’s as a pop music icon, a mother of three or a fashion designer, Gwen Stefani has long been an inspiration to generations of women.
Gwen Stefani Is a Fitness Inspiration to Moms Everywhere
Gwen Stefani was never "Just A Girl," with her platinum hair, sharp cheekbones, perfect pout and Southern California coolness. She has inspired the fashion, music, hair and makeup approach of generations of women globally since she first appeared on our radios and screens in the mid-1990s.
Now in her 50s, she has only become more bold, colorful, quirky and confident in her clothing, hair, makeup and overall styling. One element of her style has always been cropped tops and leg-exposing shorts matched with fishnet stockings. She's always had the honed, muscular body of an athlete and a dancer, too.
So, how does a woman raising three boys, recording albums, hosting television and now married to a fellow superstar maintain her impressive physique over decades? Let’s just say, it’s not easy — but a combination of strength training and serious ab exercises make her an inspiration for busy moms everywhere. Read on to see what her secret is...
She Mixes It Up in a Circuit-Style Workout
Mike Heatlie, Stefani's former personal trainer, attributes Stefani's sculpted abs to a regime of high-intensity weight training interspersed with intense bursts of cardio in a circuit-style approach. Stefani typically completes a round of four to five exercises without rest for about an hour, four times weekly.
Heatlie told “Shape” magazine, "My clients will adopt maybe four to five exercises and perform them without any rest between sets and then do one to three minutes of high-intensity cardiovascular work."
Strength Training Is Key to Her Sculpted Muscles
Heatlie describes Stefani's circuit of strength training as a combination of barbell squats, military presses and bicep curls to hone lean, shapely arms.
In between performing sets of these moves, she does high-intensity bursts of rowing, cycling or skipping to keep her heart rate up and burn calories.
Full Body Cardio Training Burns Maximum Calories
Celebrity trainer Gunner Peterson told “Fitness” magazine that high-intensity cardio is the best way to burn calories in less time, and suggests exercises that use the whole body to maximize calorie burn.
Peterson recommends rowing as the ideal full-body cardio exercise to burn calories fast, also enhancing metabolism and fat burn. “It's easy on joints and works every muscle," he says.
Gwen, Too, Felt Terrible About Her Body During Pregnancy
Like several first-time moms, a major concern for Stefani was her body. She says she felt "horrible" while on stage during her first pregnancy. "I was feeling so insecure," she told “Elle” magazine. "I was getting bigger, and I had to keep getting my costumes taken out. You feel pretty gross when you are first pregnant. You don't feel cute, you feel disgusting. You're getting fat. It was hard."
That feeling didn’t necessarily go away with her second pregnancy either. Stefani admitted feeling so "gross" after giving birth to her son, Zuma, in 2008 that it impacted her ability to write music.
She Sees Herself as More of a Tomboy
Despite her role as No Doubt’s lead vocalist, she admits to feeling like less of a sex symbol than a tomboy. Speaking of her influence on fellow pop stars like Lady Gaga, Rihanna and Katy Perry, Stefani told “Elle” magazine, "I see these girls as more going for the sex-symbol thing. I was more, in the band, like a tomboy."
Stefani adds that she didn't even wear heels until she was in her late 20s. "I took my own road," she says. "I think every girl is sexy, so there's going to be a little bit of that."
She Isn’t Into Yoga and Pilates
In a similar vein, Stefani says she likes to do more masculine workouts, including lifting weights and doing a little boxing. "I'm not into yoga or pilates,” she says. “They don't work for me, and I don't have the patience.”
She much prefers lunges, squats, deadlifts and running to some of the typical workouts favored by other celebrities.
And She Doesn’t Like Talking About Her Body
Despite having been in the spotlight for decades, Stefani told “Harper's Bazaar” that she hates making an issue of her body and her workout regime.
"I hate talking about my body all the time; it's ridiculous. There is no secret: You just have to eat healthy, workout and torture yourself!"
She Eats a Healthy, Balanced Diet
Part of that “torture” involves the “daily struggle” to find the right balance of what to eat, she told the “Daily Mail.” "I'd like to have no rules and eat what I want, but I've learned over the years that I'm so disappointed when I can't wear the clothes I want to wear," she added.
Her diet is typically packed with organic fruits and veggies, soy milk and nuts. Heatlie also advocates “carb and calorie cycling" to burn fat. To do this, carbohydrates are reduced significantly for half the week and eaten moderately on the other days. This is much like the current trend for intermittent fasting in which people eat significantly lower calories for three days of the week, while the other four days consist of their usual daily caloric intake.
Parenting Is Exhausting
Stefani managed to keep up her fitness routine and diet, even during those early parenting years, which she described as "grueling" to “Marie Claire” magazine. "I was definitely swimming upstream, trying to balance everything that's been going on with having kids and a family. There's no way to do all these things."
Despite the demands of family, Stefani pushed on. "I would be up all night because my second baby didn't sleep … then, I'd wake up in the morning and do my workout, which I always felt I had to do, and then meetings for my three clothing lines, and then hang out with my kids … it was really hard."
Her Regime Goes Beyond the Physical
While fitness and diet have always been key, Stefani has also been known to work more on her mental health than her physical. She even took a break from working out for close to a year because she felt exhausted. "I think my body just needed a break," she told “Marie Claire” magazine. "So, I did that, and focused more on feeling good, as opposed to beating myself up."
She also told “Us Weekly” that “I've been working on my spiritual exercising and like really trying to connect and be grateful and considerate, and living in the present.”
Get Her Abs of Steel in Three Moves
Looking to get Stefani’s abs of steel? Other than eating healthy and staying mentally focused, “Harper's Bazaar” fitness expert gave his own advice on how to start a similar fitness regime as the mega rockstar. His recommendations include the Russian twist, Swiss ball jackknife and V sit-ups.
Completing these exercises in a circuit until fatigued, three to five times a week, won't guarantee you Gwen Stefani's body, but it will certainly get you a few steps closer.
Tips to Take to the Gym
And, of course, Heatlie trained Stefani with a combination of weights and high-intensity cardio routines. If you’re attempting a similar routine, it’s safest to do so under the guidance of an experienced, qualified personal trainer (at least at first).
Try doing this workout for 45 minutes, three days a week with recovery days between. And remember to stay hydrated during and after your workout by drinking plenty of water — yet another beauty and fitness rule Gwen abides by!