The good news is, you can have enviable abs like Gwyneth Paltrow, Jessica Alba and Jennifer Aniston, maybe even in time for summer bikini season. The bad news? You are going to have to work hard and maintain a strict diet if you want a lean, mean physique like Hollywood’s healthiest leading ladies. From Pilates and CrossFit to gluten- and sugar-free diets, stars are spilling the secrets of their flat ab success.
Kate Hudson’s abs are always ready for a little bikini action, thanks to her Pilates trainer Nicole Stuart. "There is no favorite ab workout," Hudson told Women’s Health in 2014. "Abs are nobody's favorite. Maybe some people, but not me. I would say the ab workout that I love cause I hate it so much, is Pilates. It's the ab [exercise] where you bring in your legs up and your arms back and hold it and bring them back in again."
Gwyneth Paltrow, who had done yoga and Pilates in the past, accredits Tracy Anderson’s Method for her fit physique and flat abs. “I never thought I could change my shape, or that I would be much more comfortable in a bikini now, at 40, than when I was 26,” she admitted to Redbook about the transformation.
Jessica Alba’s flat abs have been a conversation topic for over a decade, but the mother of 2 has not only worked hard with trainers like Ramona Braganza and CrossFit guru Yumi Lee, but maintains a healthy diet to keep her enviable physique fine-tuned. “I have the same food philosophy for myself as I do for my kids," she revealed to Self. "We eat mostly lean protein and fresh fruit and vegetables, nothing processed or from a box, if we can. For me, when I don’t eat a ton of carbs, I have more energy.”
Rihanna may have trainers like Harley Pasternak and Ary Nunez on speed dial, but the fabulously fit star credits cardio as the secret of her success. “A lot of hard work and a lot of running on the treadmill,” she told Fabulous magazine about staying in shape. “Cardio is the key.” She also tries to keep carbs at a minimum and eats lean protein like fresh fish and egg whites paired with fruit and veggies for meals.
Stacy Keibler’s ab-fab secret is Pilates pro Nonna Gleyzer and a super clean and healthy diet. During her pregnancy, the duo focused on keeping her core strong, doing a lot of lower ab work. “When Stacy returned after giving birth, we really worked on building her stomach muscles back up, doing a lot of the same exercises we did before but also lots of obliques to retract her ribcage,” Gleyzer told LivingHealthy.
Flat abs don’t come naturally to Jennifer Aniston. The star works out 4 to 5 times a week, alternating strength training with cardio, spinning, running and yoga. “I really like changing it up so the body never gets used to it,” she told In Style in 2015. She also maintains a gluten-free and low-carb diet, though admitted to the magazine that she cheats on pasta every now and then.
“There is no secret: You just have to eat healthy, work out and torture yourself!” Gwen Stefani told Harper’s Bazaar about maintaining her trademark washboard abs.
“I work out with Nat Bardonnet three times a week, an hour at a time,” Halle Berry, famous for her gorgeous curves and flat abs, told In Style. “I do cardio, very light weights, and exercises that use a lot of my own body weight. I just try and keep everything lean and toned—the days of trying to get a body are done.”
Famous for her crazily gorgeous curves, Sofia Vergara recently firmed up her physique with the help of LivingHealthy expert Jennifer Yates. “I have designed her training sessions on the Megaformer and with free weights to have no rest time in between the exercises so Sofia’s heart rate will stay elevated and she will get some cardiovascular work in as well as strength training,” she told us about the Modern Family star’s workout. Even while on-the-road, Sofia stays on top of her routine by mimicking her Megaformer routine.
Kim Kardashian owes her post-baby body to Gunnar Peterson, who revealed one of her most effect ab workouts, the waist cincher, to Self. “Start in side plank, resting on left forearm with legs stacked, hips lifted; hold a weight in right hand, elbow bent 90 degrees, to start. Maintain plank as you rotate torso forward, bringing weight to left armpit. Return to start for 1 rep. Do 8 reps. Switch sides; repeat.”