Lesson 1: Eat like Gwen
According to personal trainer Mike Heatlie, who has worked with Gwen Stefani on and off for more than 10 years, 75 percent of exercise is overrated. "It's not that it doesn't help," he explains, "but if you want a slim waist and six-pack as defined as Gwen's, you need to reduce your overall body fat, and the only way to do that is by changing your diet."
The fat loss strategy
"We live in an obesogenic environment -- meaning fatty, sugary foods are everywhere, making it hard for us not to get fat," Heatlie tells Metro. "If your diet is rich in white carbs -- pasta, cereal -- then you're probably consuming too much energy. Carbs stop the fat-burning process because the body prefers using the energy provided by carbs -- glycogen -- over the energy from fat. The body will only start burning fat if carb levels are low and it has no other option."
It's not what you eat once in a while that matters, but what you eat consistently, Heatlie explains: "A diet plan that's too strict becomes unsustainable. If 90 percent of your diet is 'good' then the remaining 10 percent that's 'bad' doesn't really matter. Choose five to six days in the week when you aim to reduce your intake of carbohydrates. Maybe swap your breakfast of cereal for a protein smoothie with fruit. In the evening, have something like salmon or chicken with vegetables -- which you should always have with your dinner -- rather than bread and pasta. But make sure you give yourself one to two days off where you can eat more or less what you want, as this then becomes a sustainable lifestyle rather than a quick-fix diet."
The secret to Gwen's six-pack
"The key to a six-pack like Gwen's is to follow a strict low-carb diet combined with regular resistance training," Heatlie says. "You could have the most amazing six-pack, but if there's a layer of fat over it, you won't be able to see it. The body fat must be around 15 percent for women and less than 10 percent for men if you want that six-pack to show."
Lesson 2: Move like Gwen
We asked Heatlie to share the workout he does when he's training with Gwen.
Holding a dumbbell in each hand, position your legs shoulder-width apart with your toes pointed ahead. Pull your weight down through your leg muscles and keep your weight back on your heels as you descend. Push your chest out slightly to balance. Push up powerfully from each squat.
Sets: 4 Reps: 12-15
Dumbbell shoulder press
Grab the dumbbells, keep your feet hip-width apart and slightly bend your knees. Bring the weights up to your shoulders and lift your arms up towards the sky, keeping your stomach and lower back tight. Bring your arms down (weights should be by your neck), three seconds on the way down, and then press the weights back up.
Sets: 4 Reps: 12-15
Stand with your feet together, hands on hips. Make sure your shoulders are back and your chest is out, and then take a big step forward with your right leg as you drop your left knee to the floor. Once you've dipped to the floor, push off and drive back to the center using your right heel.
Sets: 4 on each side Reps: 12-15
Sit on a bench or chair and put your hands by your sides.
Step out just far enough so that your back is barely touching the bench or chair. Remain in control of your movements as you dip up and down.
Sets: 4 Reps: 12-15
Lesson 3: Live like Gwen
Check out No Doubt's newest video -- "Settle Down" -- and you'll see that Stefani looks more like 22 than 42. "The only way to appear naturally younger is to lead a balanced lifestyle," says Heatlie. "If you carry excess weight and have too much stress in your life, it will start to show on your face, making you look older than you are."
1. "Avoid eating too much salt, which causes water retention and will make you look bloated."
2. "Keep your diet high in antioxidants by making the effort to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables every day as well as drinking four to five cups of green tea and about three liters of water. Antioxidants prevent and repair damage to our body's tissue by slowing or preventing the damaging effects of free radicals."
3. "Cut back on or cut out alcohol and cigarettes. Chemicals in tobacco smoke damage collagen and elastin, the fibers that give your skin its strength and elasticity, which can lead to wrinkled skin. Alcohol intake can reduce the level of vitamin A within the body, allowing free radicals to spread and accelerating the deterioration of collagen and elastin -- leading to more wrinkles and fine lines."