Harley Pasternak: How to Get into 'Catwoman' Shape Like Halle Berry

A 25-minute workout and several small meals every day can transform your body

Photo: Courtesy Harley Pasternak

The best part of my job is transforming my clients’ bodies in a short period of time for a specific role.

Whether it’s an actor playing a superhero or a biblical figure, or a model posing for Sports Illustrated, everyone requires a different program.

Following her Oscar win in Monster’s Ball, I trained Halle Berry as she prepared to play Catwoman in the 2004 film.

I was beyond excited! The actresses who had previously played Catwoman, like Eartha Kitt, Julie Newmar and Michelle Pfeiffer, all embodied sexy, lean and dangerous personas (and bodies).

I knew Berry would have to be elegant, sexy, strong – and elusive like a cat. But how was I going to take one of the best bodies in Hollywood and make it even better?

As if that wasn’t challenging enough, how could we do it while working out on set (without much equipment) during her lunch break (in under 30 minutes!)?

Circuit Training

I created a nonstop cardio/resistance exercise circuit that allowed us to do more in the least amount of time.

Each workout involved five phases:

  • Phase 1: Five minute cardio warm-up. Jump rope, jog, jumping jacks, or find a flight of stairs
  • Phase 2: Focused on the upper body
  • Phase 3: Focused on the lower body
  • Phase 4: Focused on the abdominals. Phases 2-4 were repeated back-to-back, without rest. We would usually repeat this exercise circuit a few times. We focused on a different upper, lower, and ab exercise every day.
  • Phase 5: Five minute cardio cool-down.
  • The workout took about 25 minutes.

Simple Compound Exercises

In an effort to keep the workouts short, we chose exercises that worked more than one muscle at a time.

Moves like squats, lunges, curl presses and back rows all targeted multiple muscles at the same time. This burned more calories per minute while sculpting and strengthening.

Eating All Day

You may be wondering why someone who wants to lose body fat should eat all day.

While pursuing my master s degree at the University of Toronto, two of my professors were nominated for a Nobel Prize for their research in the area of “grazing vs. gorging.” Their research proved that by eating several small meals a day, people could control their blood sugar levels, regulate their blood sugar and insulin levels (the hormone that helps us store fat), keep their energy levels stable, and have more control over how much and what they eat. Sounds pretty good, doesn t it?

As a diabetic, Berry really benefited from the five small meals I prepared for her on set each day.

From my 5-Factor pizza and turkey chili to a delicious Tex-Mex salad and vegetarian lasagna, I prepared some of the actress’s favorite dishes in less than five minutes, using five or fewer ingredients.

Recipes To Try

Try these recipes to help keep your diet on track.

Protein Packed Fruit Salad (2 Servings)

• 3 medium oranges
• 1¼ cup low-fat cottage cheese
• 1 teaspoon ginger (ground)
• 1 scoop whey powder
• 1 cup strawberries (sliced)
• 3⁄4 cup blueberries
Peel and section two of the oranges and squeeze the juice from the third. Whisk the juice from the orange, protein powder and ginger into the cottage cheese. Spoon cottage cheese into bowls and top with orange sections, strawberries and blueberries. Serve chilled.

Pita Pocket Snack

  • 1 4-inch mini whole-wheat pita
  • 2 oz. deli-style sliced turkey
  • ½ oz. reduced-fat Swiss cheese
  • 1 medium tomato (sliced)
  • ½ cup alfalfa sprouts
  • Slice an opening in the pita. Fill pita with turkey and cheese. Toast if desired. Add tomato and sprouts.

Check back every Wednesday for more insider tips on Hollywood’s hottest bodies – and learn how to get one yourself! Plus: follow Harley on Twitter at @harleypasternak

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