Without looking for it, my first job as a trainer found me. And what an incredible opportunity it was. In 1998, a writer friend had just written a TV show called Dark Angel and approached me to train the actress on it – none other than Jessica Alba. When I first started working with Jessica, she was only 17. She was sweet and young, and almost like the sister I always wished I’d had.
People often ask me how I began my career in the fitness industry. I tell them I was always active as a child and teenager. Gymnastics was where I spent most of my spare time from ages 4 to18, followed by over a decade of dancing with the NFL team the LA Raiders. I then moved into fitness contests, which gave me my first introduction to the world of bodybuilding. And then this amazing opportunity to train Jessica landed in my lap.
We worked on Dark Angel for two seasons and then continued together on various other movies, including Honey, Into the Blue and Fantastic Four. Being on the road was a great deal of fun but it was also challenging: time is limited and equipment can be too. And this was particularly true on our two-week shoot deep in the rain forests of Borneo.
There, I had to be creative. For cardio, I had Jess run around the resort pool. And body weight exercises replaced dumbbells to keep muscle tone. Then Jess came up with the idea of breaking the cardio up into segments. Our circuit of 3 exercises done 3 times, keeping reps high and weight medium, kept her heart rate up and gave her a quick workout she could do every morning before her 16-hour shoot day.
Over the years, the workout has adjusted depending on the movies we did. And it also got a name – 321 Training Method.
Our biggest challenge came after the birth of her baby, Honor. A Campari ad she’d committed to had been scheduled less than three months after the birth, so this gave us a clear goal. We started training within two weeks after Honor was born. Luckily, a few months before this, I had already started workouts with another new mom and client of mine – Halle Berry.
This workout would eventually be named 321 Baby Bulge Be Gone and would also be used with client and new mom Ashley Simpson Wentz as she prepared for her role on Melrose Place. Jess had amazing results, dropping 25 pounds in two and a half months, but I credit a lot of her success to the continuous training she did from age 17-29. Her body was able to bounce back – just like Halle’s and others moms who include a form of exercise into their daily lives.
In my life at 49, exercise has been a big factor in keeping me feeling and looking younger. I couldn’t imagine life without activity. That’s why a big part of my message to all young girls and women I meet is this: it’s never too early or late to start. DO IT FOR YOU!