Everyone loves a celebrity routine. Last Thursday Yogalosophy, a new book by Mandy Ingber, yoga and fitness trainer to Jennifer Aniston and Kate Beckinsale was released promising to reveal the workout that keeps these dames looking so fresh and hot.
Aniston is even quoted on the front cover: ‘Mandy brought yoga into my life. I’m excited for you to experience her too! This workout will change your body and mind!’ Despite the starriness of it all – and starry it is, Aniston, Beckinsale, Courtney Cox and even Ricki Lake! were at the book launch – Ingber’s has had her share of body ups and downs. She explains in the introduction: ‘I have been all over the map with my relationship with my body. I have been extremely thin, then overweight and at times have worked out hours on end. But since I designed and began following this course in positive reinforcement which I call Yogalosophy, 15 years ago, I have never had a major weight fluctuation.’
Ingber believes consistency – she calls is ‘turning up every day’ – is a key factor in getting and keeping the body you want. As a result, there’s nothing extreme here but an intelligent and moderate mix of yoga, cardio, targeted nutrition and a fair sprinkling of self-analysis – that could get up our noses on this side of the pond – so expect the odd gratitude journal and scented candle to pop up.
Yogalosophy is a 28-day programme based on the routine Ingber uses to help get the stars into shape. There are a few basic components that stay the same throughout the programme. First, the daily workout – a series of 14 moves Ingber has created, hybrids of traditional yoga and resistance exercises for toning. Second, nutrition in which she’s given readers three eating options, all designed by chefs to the stars. Option A is created by Vikki Krinsky an LA private chef and is ‘clean eating’ at its core – a carnivorous plan that favours fish and poultry proteins, slow release carbs and good fats like nuts and seeds with masses of veg. Plan B is a lacto ovo plan created by Melissa Costello who created Karma Chow (a series of cleansing vegan programmes and cookbook) and is personal chef to Hollywood fitness guru Tony Horton and lastly option C, a vegan plan, also from Costello. Each plan has a shopping list and seven options each for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. One thing is certain, Ingber has packed a tonne into this 287-page book.
Each day of ‘Y28’ (what Ingber calls her programme) is a chapter in itself in which, along with the basic routine and your nutrition plan of choice, you also get extra emotional, physical and spiritual activities for the day along with cardio options and also a playlist. Each day comes with a quote from an inspiring thinker such as (day seven): ‘By letting it go, it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go’ – Lao Tzu. In fact, the focus on the mind is almost as strong as it is on the body. For example, day one introduces the idea of setting an intention, a yogic concept along the lines of naming and visualising where you want to be and exactly what you are going to do to get there which Ingber sassily calls it ‘Name it to claim it.‘ The quote for that day is Goethe’s, ‘Whatever you can do or dream you can do, begin it…’ Day One’s playlist suggests fiery motivational songs like Start Me Up by the Stones and Higher Love by Steve Winwood. To be honest, the playlist idea didn’t work for me as I am so precious about my music, I wasn’t bothered downloading songs I didn’t like from iTunes for a single day, knowing I would never listen to them again. Each day also gets a cardio suggestion for example, 30 minutes on an elliptical trainer, 20 minutes of intervals or taking a 30 minute walk or hike to your heart going, which Ingber suggests you do most days, along with the routine.
On to the actual workout. I did the basic routine and chose a 30 minute fast-paced walk as my cardio which I did in my local park just before knuckling down to Ingber’s moves. It was a chilled Saturday and after a morning seeing a friend off back to Australia, doing the washing and Skyping people, I wanted to flop on the sofa with Come Dine With Me rather than onto my yoga mat with Mandy. But alas, the call of the 30 Workouts commitment beckons so I did. Indeed, one of Ingber’s things is to ‘just turn up’. She herself admits that some days she feels like ‘eating crisps, curling up and lurking on Facebook’ rather than doing a workout but by just turning up and moving your body a bit, you can be motivated to do more because any movement makes you feel better, she says. The basic routine and each day’s activities are designed to be eased into without putting too much pressure on mind or limb.
After my 30 minute walk in the park (using my own playlist – sorry Mandy) I came back and began the workout. This yoga / toning hybrid created by Ingber herself differs to traditional yoga because not only do you do the yoga move, for example the chair pose or warrior, Ingber also gives you a toning variation to do – for example backward lunges, squats or push ups – after each pose for eight repetitions and eight pulses each and each set is done twice.
I was sweating aplenty by the end of the session, which took 40 minutes to do two full sets of each move and today my abs are killing me thanks to some tummy toners that – like the whole workout – look deceptively simple but work deep (see above). The whole session including the cardio took an hour and ten minutes though of course you can do your cardio at different times in the day.
On day six, Ingber also introduces yogic breathing into the mix – alternate nostril breathing, the one where they close off one nostril for a breath and breathe through the other and then repeat on the other side – along with ‘breath of fire’, quick, energising belly breath t and ujjayi, the one that sounds like you have Darth Vader’s respiratory system that yogis do when they practice to detox. With the yogic breathing component, Ingber brings you weapons you can use anytime for calming or detoxing the body.
I was half cynical about the la-la ness of the whole thing but also drawn – who wouldn’t be? – by the fact that Ingber is a bona-fide Hollywood insider who is to Jen Aniston what Tracy Anderson is to Gwyneth. To be honest, having felt how deeply her moves work (without making you feel like you’re doing an extreme workout) if I wasn’t on my 30 Workouts programme already, I would probably be doing this because I like the emotional tune-up component it comes with. It looks at first like it’s going to include plenty of sitting around in lotus gazing at one’s navel but actually, it doesn’t. Yes there are gratitude journals involved but that’s because as cringey as the concept sounds, daily gratitude practice really does work to make you feel better about the life you’re living and the body you have now.
Emotional effects aside, Ingber’s basic workout, which is designed to be done everyday for 28 days along with the cardio, means this is a programme that, if you stick with it, will probably result in positive changes to your body too. My workout took an hour and ten minutes in total so doing the equivalent of that daily and eating cleanly can’t not help you shape up.
Ingber and her clients look like goddesses and appear to adore her so she must be doing something right. I do wonder though, judging from the calorie burn I recorded – it wasn’t too high – if the A-listers might do a good bit of extra cardio when they’re getting into shape for extra-skinny roles (like, always).
Where: at home
Time: 40 minutes for the toning workout, 30 minutes for the cardio
Did I pay for it? Yes
Calories burned: 302 in total – 213 for half an hour’s walk and 89 for the toning workout.
Top picture: Getty images