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When It Comes to Celebrity Workouts, the Real Move Is ‘a Lot of Money and a Lot of Time’

Whether it’s Hailee Steinfeld’s go-to abs exercise or how Jennifer Lopez strengthens her glutes, as a society we’re fascinated by how celebrities exercise, and often want to know the details of how they work out so we can emulate their fitness routines. That impulse is totally understandable, says Mariah Wellman, PhD, an assistant professor of technology, information literacy, and well-being at the University of Illinois at Chicago, who’s studied celebrity appearance and society.

“Celebrities are the most famous and popular people in society,” she says, “so [we may think] if we’re able to look like a celebrity, maybe we’ll get the same attention and adoration in our jobs or from our personal lives.”

Let’s put aside the problems with assumptions about how physical appearance can lead to success and happiness, or that these idealized appearances tend to take on unrealistic, homogenous beauty standards. There’s another issue with trying to adopt celebrity wellness regimens that needs to be addressed: More than just their favorite recipes, skin-care regimens, or fitness routines, truly recreating any facet of a celebrity’s lifestyle requires, “a lot of time and a lot of money,” says Christian Castano, a coach and managing partner at celeb hotspot gym, Dogpound.

“It’s impossible to put the same effort into a workout regimen when exercising is a pull on your attention from your job, and not a part of your job itself.” –Christian Castano, celebrity trainer

Castano explains his celebrity clients have nutritionists, personal chefs, daily lymphatic drainage massages to reduce water retention, doctors to keep them healthy, and more. “That all costs thousands and thousands of dollars,” says Wellman. That customization is quite a privilege that an everyday person would not necessarily have unless they could afford it, Castano adds. And celebs aren’t necessarily footing the bill for all of this. “That may come out of a celebrity’s pocket,” Wellman says, “or, if a celebrity is preparing for a role in a movie or TV show, a studio may even foot the bill.”

At the same time, Castano notes that celebrities “work their asses off,” and that when they are getting ready for a role or an event, the physical preparation “fully consumes them.” But that’s sort of the point,” he says. “It’s impossible to put the same effort into a workout regimen when exercising is a pull on your attention from your job, and not a part of your job itself.”

So while it can be fun or entertaining to get sneak peaks into the wellness habits of the rich and famous–maybe even inspiring–ultimately, Castano and Wellman want people to understand that even if you follow a celebrity routine to a T, you are not guaranteed the same results because, as Wellman says, “There are so many moving parts underneath it all.”

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