Longtime jock Madonna, 26, worked with Washington trainer Fairfax Hackley III when she stopped in D.C. during her spring tour. “She’s extremely disciplined,” says Hack. “She’d get one or two hours of sleep and exercise for two hours, no matter what. She’s solid—very strong in the hips and buttocks. She dragged in her entourage of about 10 people. In the aerobic workouts,” he adds, “she outlasted all her bodyguards.”
Chairman Lee Iacocca, 61, exercises for at least 45 minutes daily in Chrysler’s executive gym; at home he works out on a rowing machine.
“Ballet works the entire body without making me look like a football player,” says the 5’4″, 110-pound Donna Mills, 41. She sloughs off Dorito binges with hour-long sessions five or six days a week in the studio above her Benedict Canyon garage.
Since the 1976 Olympics, decathlon winner Bruce Jenner, 36, has taken 10 pounds off his 6’2″ frame by shunning red meat and embracing fresh vegetables. Exercise for the publisher of Bruce Jenner’s Health and Fitness Magazine now means skiing, biking and playing tennis.
Indy 500 winner Danny Sullivan, 35, works out with L.A. trainer Dan Isaacson (left). Danny prefers weights to running, because his knees get painful, but he loves tennis, skiing and squash.
In the Kennedy tradition, JFK Jr. keeps his hunk’s body honed by playing touch football (here, in Central Park).
Linda Blair, 26—who was “in constant pain” after hurting her back shooting The Exorcist—swears by the Orthopod, an exercise device for back pain sufferers used by West Hollywood sports medicine specialist Leroy Perry. “It helped put my skeletal system back in shape,” she says.
Barbi Benton claims the reason she posed for Playboy in 1969 is that she believed her body at age 19 would never look that good again. Why, then, did the 35 year old show her stuff again just last month on Playboy’s cover plus 12 inside pages? The still pulchritudinous Benton says she wants to spread the gospel: “I’m trying to say to 35-year-old women that you can look damn good. If you’re 19 and you don’t look good, it’s nature’s fault. If you’re 35 and you don’t look good, it’s your own fault.”
Benton’s exercise plan is a demanding regime best suited to those with leisure time (and funds) to spare. Barbi, who is married to mobile home park developer George Gradow, daily devotes 2½ to 3½ hours to exercise. In Pasadena she works out in the $30,000 gym at the couple’s 40-room mansion; in Aspen she sweats off the pounds in the exercise room in their ski lodge. It works: In 1984 she ran an L.A. marathon and has her eye on the triathlon, which calls for a 26-mile run, 112-mile bike ride and 2½-mile ocean swim.
“The best thing,” she says, “is one hour of aerobics and one hour of anaerobics.” Every other day Benton runs six to 12 miles at a nine-to-10-minute-per-mile pace, then swims for an hour. On alternate days she bicycles for an hour and a half. She also stretches for 15 minutes daily first thing each morning and puts in an hour of weight lifting. She bench presses 75 pounds but uses only 15-pound weights for arm curls, butterflies and shoulder exercise. Barbi and fellow fitness fanatic Gradow, 45, have made 300-mile trips on their tandem bike. “It equalizes our speed. If we rode separately, George goes much faster and he’d constantly be turning around to come back to me.”
The 5’3″ Benton keeps her weight at 107 by exercising discipline at the table. She sticks to fish and chicken and at parties drinks white wine spritzers or Perrier. Eternal vigilance is the watchword: “We are both obese people in thin bodies,” admits Barbi with a laugh. “We live to eat.”
George Hamilton, with his taut skin, suave manner and picture-perfect physique, is one of the best-preserved members of the over-40 set. At 46, the 162-pound, 6’2″ Hamilton has the same sleekly muscular look he had when he was making such movies as 1960’s Where the Boys Are, and he is dedicated to the notion that aging need not extract its aesthetic toll. Despite his demanding Dynasty shooting schedule, he finds time for meditation sessions, cell implant treatments, therapeutic massages, killer workouts and meals planned with the understanding of a biochemist. “Your body,” he says, “is your temple.”
Not only does Hamilton approach the task of keeping fit with a religious zeal, but he is an introspective sort who rises at 6 a.m. most days to meditate and watch the sun rise. “I always thought there is a spiritual side to life that far exceeds the physical,” he says.
The actor’s temple maintenance program is also highly idiosyncratic. “What’s right for one person isn’t necessarily right for another,” he notes. “Each type of food—carbohydrate, protein or fat—takes a different enzyme to digest. When people consume large amounts of different foods at one sitting, the body has difficulty breaking them down.”
The country kitchen at his Beverly Hills house is staffed with a full-time cook who prepare meals based largely on fruit and vegetables (just 10 percent fat, 30 percent protein and 60 percent carbohydrates daily). He has foresworn sweets, caffeine and dairy products and drinks alcohol (straight vodka, on an empty stomach) only rarely. Fasting is a habit (“Nothing centers you faster than two or three days of it”), but he doesn’t go cold turkey. Instead he keeps his blood sugar level from dipping too low by drinking a concoction of eight ounces of cold water, the juice of two or three lemons, half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper and a dash of maple syrup to taste.
Hamilton exercises with alternate-day, one-hour workouts at the Matrix One Fitness Complex in Beverly Hills, where he puts himself in the hands of Olympic track champion and coach Vinx De’Jon-Parrette. “Vinx pushes me to the point where I want to say, ‘I can’t do it,’ and then he starts screaming at me to go beyond that point,” Hamilton reports. Kinks are smoothed away as needed by a masseur.
No form of therapy, it seems, is too unorthodox. He has gone to Switzerland for injections of fetal sheep cells (a regimen designed to stimulate and rejuvenate the internal organs).
The sprawling second-story bedroom suite in Hamilton’s house bears evidence of his dedication. A small gym includes an electromagnetic machine that resembles a hair dryer and, Hamilton claims, recalcifies the bones and recharges the cells, putting the body back in balance. He also occasionally employs machines to stimulate alpha brain waves—those associated with deep relaxation—and combats pain with the help of sonar electrodes.
While Hamilton has made a Herculean effort to achieve bodily perfection, he has yet to lose his perspective. His zealotry is tempered with a healthy sense of humor. The contemporary philosophe speaks like a child of the ’80s when he cautions against losing oneself in mid-quest. “The body isn’t something you should be preoccupied with,” he says. “But honing it is a good investment, because it can make you feel so good.”
As co-founder of the world’s largest chain of health clubs, multimillionaire Roy Zurkowski, 55, is an advertisement for the hard-core approach to fitness. In 1953, when he won the Mr. Chicago title, gyms were populated primarily by muscle heads. Today, Zurkowski and partner Donahue Wildman, 53, who set up Health and Tennis Corporation of America 22 years ago, own 330 facilities, including the Jack La Lanne and Vic Tanny clubs, the Holiday Spas and Manhattan’s celeb-studded Vertical Club (first-year membership: $1,200).
Zurkowski—who keeps his own body taut with 1½-hour daily workouts—values sweat, but he says the look of the facility is key. He recruits high-watt heavenly bodies like Linda Carter, Cher and Victoria Principal to shill for his facilities. “The atmosphere should make you want to exercise,” says Zurkowski. “The secret to not getting bored is to change the sequence and type of exercise. One day the bicycle, the next the treadmill. Our clubs are successful because they’re 90 percent environment and enthusiasm, and 10 percent equipment.”
Though she makes at least a million dollars a year as a syndicated columnist, Ann Landers—Chicago’s Eppie Lederer, 67—isn’t above dispensing free advice on health and fitness. “Always eat breakfast,” she says, “and get plenty of rest.” She insists on eight hours nightly, even if she has to back up her schedule and go to bed at 8:30 p.m. Landers shuns tobacco and alcohol, uses salt only on eggs and hasn’t had a steak in 25 years. Except for a yen for chocolate and rich desserts, she says, “I seem to like the foods that are good for me.”
Her 45-to-60-minute program includes yoga (“I’m big on the lotus position”), stretching, six minutes of jogging in place and six running through eight rooms of her co-op on East Lake Shore Drive. “It’s an obstacle course. Don’t hit the Picasso and don’t bump the bust by Dali.” On mild days she trots down Michigan Avenue to her office 16 blocks away, her chauffeur-driven limousine creeping respectfully behind.
When PepsiCo President Wayne Calloway, 50, reports to the company’s Purchase, N.Y. headquarters every morning at 6:45, he’s usually wearing Nikes. Before getting down to business at the giant conglomerate ($8 billion in sales), he puts in a 60-minute workout in the state-of-the-art employee gym (open to plebs and executives alike). “Exercise sharpens your mind,” says the 6′, 200-pounder.
PepsiCo has installed exercise facilities in 11 of its plants and corporate offices. The $2 million fitness center where Calloway hones himself has Nautilusand Universal equipment and computerized treadmills, as well as space for karate, yoga and ballet classes.
Calloway occasionally drinks a Pepsi (80 calories a serving) but is enamoured of Diet Slice, the company’s latest fruit juice soft drink (14 calories). While the company offers no financial incentives for fitness, it makes every effort to sweeten the deal. After his workout, for example, Calloway drops off his exercise gear (another PepsiCo perk) at the company laundry, where it’s washed and hung on a rack with the uniforms of his corporate teammates. “The goal is to make it as convenient as you can,” Calloway says, “so you can get everybody to participate, even me.”
Thomas Monaghan, 48, president of Domino’s Pizza, Inc. (the world’s largest privately held fast food chain) frets about the health of the Detroit Tigers. He’s owned the team since 1983, and, he laments, “in the clubhouse they eat candy bars, doughnuts and pop. They’re supposed to be making a living from their bodies!”
Fitness freak Monaghan is similarly exercised about his pizza employees. In 1981, for example, he offered one lardy staffer $50,000 if he would lose weight and run a marathon within a year. When the man dropped 90 pounds and completed the 26-mile race, Monaghan paid off. His company’s new Ann Arbor headquarters will include a $750,000 fitness center, complete with an indoor track and outdoor hot tubs. He believes everybody should walk at least two miles daily.
The 5’10”, 163-pound Monaghan explains, “Exercise is the only way I’ve been able to get my weight under control.” Six days a week he does 45 minutes of floor exercises in his bedroom—push-ups, sit-ups, stretching—and runs 5½ miles in the hills near his home. He fantasizes about his business or recites the rosary as a distraction. Twice a week he works out for more than an hour in the weight room of the University of Michigan. “My tailor says that I’ve gained two inches in my chest and two in my legs,” Monaghan reports, “so I’m finally seeing some results.”
Over the years Monaghan has given up cigarettes, liquor and caffeine. He allows himself desserts only 10 times a year—on six family birthdays and Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving and St. Patrick’s Day. On Fridays Monaghan sticks to a 500-calorie fruit-and-vegetable diet. But the pizza king is not giving up pizza. “A slice of plain cheese pizza is only 170 calories,” he maintains. “It is the most nutritious of all fast foods.”
Donna Dixon, 28, has tried them all: Scarsdale, Pritikin and, in the spring of 1982, she fasted for 20 days. Nonetheless the female lead in Spies Like Us (her second film with hubby Dan Aykroyd) confesses, “I love to cook, and I love to eat.” Yet at 5’9″, Dixon seldom goes more than five pounds over her ideal weight of 125—partly because of her addiction to athletics.
She sleeps as little as five hours a night and, when in L.A., is often at the gym by 8 a.m. Three times a week she works out with weight coach Dorie Pride, who within a month will have reduced Dixon’s waist by one inch—at 36-24-35 she’s now a size 8. “I love Nautilus and stretching,” the actress says. “The results are immediate, and that gives me the motivation to continue. I’m very hard on myself because I know how good my body can look. Dorie has taught me to use less weight and more repetition so I don’t become too muscular.” (She was bench pressing 80 pounds and has dropped to 40 pounds.)
At the Aykroyds’ house in the Hollywood Hills, Donna swims in the heated pool for at least 45 minutes each morning. There is also a stationary bicycle, which she pedals for 15 minutes a day, and there are plans for gyms with Nautilus equipment in their Canadian home and Martha’s Vineyard retreat.
Vacations often involve sports. The two love to ride on the beach at the Vineyard, and Aykroyd lined up his wife for snowshoe trekking and cross-country skiing over their Christmas holiday in Canada. On summer jaunts to Canada’s Loughboro Lake, “we swim for miles and miles,” Donna says. “The water is like Perrier, and we spend a good four hours a day in it.”
While filming Spies in London, the couple kept fit by rising an hour and a half early to walk to the locations. “The weight poured off us, and we were eating whatever we wanted,” she says.
Dixon usually is more discriminating. She has not eaten red meat in six years (“It tires me”), and dairy products—including cheese—are taboo. She no longer eats three meals a day. Breakfast is often a cup of coffee. She picks at fruits and vegetables during the day and nurses large tumblers of mineral water doctored with lemon or lime juice. In the evening she may eat simply prepared chicken or fish dishes.
The battle continues, however. “It’s so difficult,” Dixon sighs. “Sometimes if I have dessert, I think, ‘Well, I blew it.’ That’s something I need to work on and control. But still there’s nothing like a buffet.”
Nothing—not even the Flügel—is too outré for the new wave of fitness freaks
It grows in trays of specially made compost, tastes bizarre at best and looks when pressed like nothing so much as green blood. It is also one of the fastest-growing health food phenomena. Served in one-ounce portions that cost about 75 cents per, wheat-grass juice is touted as a rejuvenating, vitamin-packed potion that can detoxify the body, build up the immune system and pump one’s energy level into the ozone.
Not surprisingly, Los Angeles is now the seat of the craze, and the chi-chi belly-up daily at establishments like Rosebrock’s Garden Cafe in Malibu and Get Juiced in Santa Monica. The ritual is nearly always the same: An attendant clips a handful of wheatgrass from a flat, runs it through a mean-looking juicer and serves it up—still foaming—in a tiny plastic cup. Some devotees knock back the foul stuff in a quick shot; others nurse it thoughtfully.
“Everyone has a different style,” notes Robert Rosebrock, whose juice bar supplies wheatgrass to Cicely Tyson, Vidal Sassoon, Brian Wilson and Burgess Meredith. “Lindsay Wagner takes it in a quick shot,” says Rosebrock. “Joni Mitchell sips it a little at a time.”
The nostrum has been the rage among L.A.’s health food enthusiasts for at least two years, but of late its popularity has grown exponentially. “It’s built up to a point where there’s a shortage,” reports Rosebrock. “It’s like Perrier, which was around for years, but didn’t become chic until Jackie Onassis started drinking it.”
By most reports the short-term effects of the juice (which is derived from sprouted wheatberry, a grain commonly used in bread) are understated. According to Wagner, “It’s subtle. It doesn’t give a lift then and there, but within 10 minutes, I’m more alert.” Lindsay believes the long-term benefits to be considerable: In the four months since she’s been on the regime, her appetite has diminished and her stamina has improved.
Scientific backing for such claims is hard to come by, although Leslie Labowitz-Starus, owner of Malibu’s Sproutime, the firm that supplies flats of wheatgrass to health food stores and individuals, calls the substance “the best food you can put in your system. It’s the richest source of Vitamin A, B-complex, C, E and K. There is nothing purer, more healing.” Or more convincingly unpalatable. One Rosebrock regular says he gets a psychological boost every time he swills the stuff. “The taste is so bad,” he says, “I figure it must be good for you.”
As always, fitness fanatics are flocking to fads. West Coast favorites include race-walking, whose practitioners maintain that striding five miles at a fast clip is as beneficial as running. There’s mineral water everywhere, and hiking two to three hours twice a day is hot at popular spas like Ashram, east of Malibu. Flugelwork is the last word at Arizona’s Canyon Ranch, where balloon-like Flügeln (German for wings) are attached to guests’ arms and legs to increase water resistance during 45-minute pool workouts. Beverly Hills’ Matrix One Fitness Complex offers the bun machine (a fanny slimmer that resembles an upside-down rowing machine).
And personal trainers are raking in status conscious clients. In L.A., Dan Isaacson, who currently coaches Lisa Hartman and race-car driver Danny Sullivan, charges $1,000 a month for a three-times-a-week workout. New York’s Radu ministers to Candice Bergen and Bianca Jagger, and Washington’s Fairfax Hackley III pulls in Madonna and Anthony Quinn when they’re in town. Says L.A.’s Steven Kates, who coaches Cheryl Ladd and Herbie Hancock: “A trainer’s mission is to get clients so motivated that they’re almost chewing on their goals. That way, they can endure the suffering.”
Others keep pounds at bay with grit and determination
The dieting strategies of America’s pop-culture elite tend to be ad hoc. The Chicago Bears’ William “the Refrigerator” Perry, for example, keeps himself at his fighting weight of 308 by eating smaller portions of nutritionally balanced meals such as pork chops, green beans and macaroni and cheese. (He’s paid an extra $2,000 weekly during the season to stay under 310 pounds.) Beverly Sills didn’t go near pork when she went on the 800-calorie regimen that helped her shed 80 pounds in seven months. Instead the diva emerita followed a spare, balanced diet. Actress Julie (Bad Medicine) Hagerty eats whatever she wants one day, including hamburgers and pizza, and fasts the next to maintain her weight. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) has dropped from 267 to 195 since April 1983 by rejecting the food at rubber-chicken dinners and keeping the cupboard in his Washington quarters absolutely bare. (Ironically, Barney found that some constituents liked him better tubby.) Capitol’s Catherine Hick-land, who suffered from anorexia six years ago at age 24, eats just a quarter of what’s on her plate when she goes to an elegant restaurant and passes over any dish that “doesn’t make my taste buds throw a party for my mouth.” Bonnie Bedelia (who is in the forthcoming Violets Are Blue with Kevin Kline) occasionally drinks a Bloody Mary “as an appetite suppressant” before dinner. The 5’4¼”, 110-pound Morgan Brittany relies on sheer perversity and denial: “When I go to dinner, I order something I don’t like, then pick at it all through the meal. I know it’s wasteful, but you don’t get fat that way.”
The hottest diet book for the last four months has been Fit for Life (Warner Books, $16.50) by nutritionists Harvey and Marilyn Diamond. The authors maintain that when and how one consumes food is just as important as what one actually eats. The Diamonds don’t believe in counting calories. Instead they suggest meals contain 70 percent high-water-content foods (fresh fruits and vegetables) and 30 percent “concentrated” food (e.g., beef, chicken, fish, breads). A signal feature of their regimen is the commandment that dieters consume only fresh fruits and juices between 4 a.m. and noon. Milk and most dairy products are out, although traditionally verboten fare like spaghetti and steak are permitted. A big booster is veteran dieter and TV talk show host Merv Griffin, who has shed 27 pounds in just six weeks on the Diamonds’ diet. “It just makes sense,” says Merv of his all-fruit breakfasts.
Dick Gregory’s Slim/Safe Bahamian Diet is still going strong, and Cernitin, the firm that bought it from him last year for a reputed $100 million, estimates sales at $35 million for 1986. The diet features a protein supplement derived from natural vegetable sources; the formula is mixed with juice for a 270-calorie meal. Cernitin lists as Slim/Safe enthusiasts the Celtics’ Bill Walton, Diana Ross, Art Linkletter, Bill Cosby and, not least, Gregory. He ran from Los Angeles to New York in 1976, 50 miles a day, using only his supplement and lemonade—a mixture he claims “tastes real good.”
Santa Barbara nutritionist Patricia Bragg has advised Tom Selleck, Bo Derek and Cloris Leachman. Bragg insists that clients fast 24 to 36 hours each week. She preaches an ideal diet consisting of raw fruits, vegetables, some seeds, lots of garlic and very little dairy products or red meat, although for a baby of Clint Eastwood, a client for 23 years, she once recommended a mixture of goat’s milk and wheat germ oil.
One appealing balanced-diet book comes from Jane Brody, who writes a column on personal health in the New York Times. Her Good Food Book (W.W. Norton, $19.95) describes “an eating and exercise management plan for the rest of your life.” Brody’s theory is that whole grains and starchy fare like pasta and potatoes should serve as the foundation of meals, with high protein foods like meat and cheese taking a subsidiary role. The 5′ Brody keeps her own weight at 105 by adhering to the dos and don’ts she offers in her book:
Do nibble something filling before going out to dinner.
Do a vigorous exercise every day.
Don’t keep junk food in the house.
Don’t skip meals.
Don’t cut out your favorite (fattening) foods; instead, eat them occasionally in small amounts.
Don’t go on a diet. Adapt an eating plan you can stick with forever.
Former White House Deputy Chief of Staff (and erstwhile fatty) Michael K. Deaver—who shed 33 pounds after putting himself on a diet and exercise program in 1983—is a devotee of ginseng. Deaver insists that a daily quarter-thimbleful of ginseng extract in a cup of hot water is “super stuff that gives me a tremendous pickup.” Used by the ancients as a general tonic to tone the body, ginseng is reputed to stimulate both physical and mental functions and even serves as an aphrodisiac. Salty, brown and bitter, the stuff isn’t all that easy to down. But, ah, the possibilities.
What does a 7’6¾” basketball player eat for breakfast? Anything he wants—and then some
At 7’6¾”, Washington Bullets’ rookie center Manute Bol—a Sudanese native who grew up herding cattle with his fellow Dinka tribesmen—has the makings of a first-class basketball player. With a wingspan and a reach of more than 10 feet, he could be one of the greatest shot blockers in the history of the game. If, that is, the 23 year old can keep from being swept off the court. He weighed just 195 pounds last summer when the Bullets drafted him, and the team’s management was worried that the rail-thin crowd-pleaser might snap like a willow branch in bruising NBA play.
To protect their exotic star (who reportedly was given a $100,000, three-year contract), the Bullets have put him on a strenuous exercise and weight-gaining regimen. Two or three times a week, Manute pumps iron for an hour under the supervision of the University of Maryland’s strength coach Frank Costello. He follows a high carbohydrate, 5,000-to 6,000-calorie daily diet, designed by exercise physiologist Tim Moore. To keep Manute from converting calories to fat, Moore encourages him to have more frequent but smaller meals and snacks. By Halloween, Bol was up to nearly 210 pounds, and his “body management team” hopes to see him gain gradually and reach 225 or 230 by next season. In fact Manute’s training already has paid off. Last month, against the Milwaukee Bucks, he proved his mettle by scoring 18 points and blocking a team record of 12 shots. And considering the volume of food that goes into his rangy frame, gaining weight seems assured. A typical day’s menu:
8 a.m. 12 ounces of fruit juice, eggs (Moore says only two or three a week), bowl of cereal, bowl of fresh fruit, two pieces of toast or five pancakes.
11:30 a.m. Medium pizza or chicken sandwich, or fried chicken and potatoes; to be followed by a milk shake or 650-calorie diet supplement.
2:30 p.m. Lasagna, spaghetti or sloppy joes.
4-6 p.m. Milk shake or fruit.
9:30 p.m. Steak (eight to 14 ounces) or spare ribs, or chicken, or pot roast with green beans, mashed potatoes or corn, salad, fruit salad, milk shake or diet supplement, fruit.
Bedtime snack: Leftovers, milk shake or fruit.
—Written by Michelle Green, reported by our bureaus