Where the beautiful people get buff

Check out how and where celebs feel the burn in Canada

Star power
Check out how and where celebs feel the burn in Canada


The odds of getting in a workout with a celebrity personal trainer are about as good as rubbing tennis elbows with the stars themselves. So for those of us listed slightly lower in the alphabet, here’s the scoop on the A-list workouts in a few Hollywood North hot spots.



1114 Alberni St.,

Celebrity clients: Jennifer Garner, Ben Affleck, Scott Speedman, Halle Berry, Harrison Ford, Kristin Kreuk, Kerry Washington

Star status: Owner/founder Nathan Mellalieu credits friends (who are trainers) in places such as L.A. for his steady flow of stars. A-list trainers Harley Pasternak (Berry) and Valerie Waters (Garner) have both sent clients his way. Mellalieu’s workouts helped hone Ford—who’s “as fit as young, athletic guys in their 20s”—with short bursts of cardio, mixed with strength, resistance and core work, interspersed with only minimal rests. Workouts include push-ups—“the best upper-body move you can do”—and traditional lunges. But just like us, stars can get distracted. He kept Speedman entertained—and in werewolf shape for Underworld—with basketball drills on the muraled Madison Square Garden-style court. Washington was inspired by the pagoda and the running stream in the yoga studio.

Cost: Custom memberships start at $300/month.

427 Granville St. and 244 East Broadway,

Celebrity clients: Salma Hayek, Rosario Dawson, Amanda Detmer, Alison Eastwood (Clint’s daughter)

Star status: Trainer Sara Shears frequently travels south to help actors and producers get fit quickly. We caught her in NYC (just as she was about to lunch with Hayek) and got her to share her secret to a star body: Elevate, a six-week program at her Vancouver studios. Subscribing to the same “for a good time, not a long time” mantra as other Hollywood trainers, Shears packs the perfect workout into just 30 minutes. Sessions consist of 30- to 60-second intervals, with a 2:1 ratio of strength exercises to cardio. “You might alternate a forward lunge with a bicep curl, step up with a shoulder press, followed by a mountain climb,” she says. And no need to fear, cardio addicts: “Although you’re doing strength, you still have your heart rate up in your target zone [for the entire 30 minutes],” says Shears. True to its “on [movie] set” inspiration, you don’t need a gym to go through the Elevate program. Elevate relies on functional movements such as push-ups and sit-ups, with a modest arsenal of dumbbells, a BOSU Balance Trainer, a fitness ball, a jump rope and boxing gloves. But the real secret to dropping the 10 pounds Shears guarantees is the daily nutrition plan, which kicks off with a two-week ban on grains, starches and dairy.

Cost: Elevate six-week program (five 30-minute sessions/week), $1,000, or $166/week.

Vancouver • Toronto Montreal



881 Eglinton Ave. W.,

Celebrity clients: Catherine Zeta-Jones, Michael Douglas, Renée Zellweger, Richard Gere

Star status: When guests at the Windsor Arms Hotel (one of Vision by Strolf’s locations) want a workout, they call in Isaac Levy. His signature Strolf System (Stretching, Training, Rehabilitation for Optimum Life Fitness) was designed for rotational sports such as golf and hockey, but quicker than you can say kabbalah, it’s achieved a celebrity following. “We stretch and massage clients between every single set to get the lactic acid out of the muscles, so they’re never sore the next day,” he says. The technique kept Zeta-Jones and Zellweger in their dancing shoes during Chicago and saved Michael Douglas’s bacon when he pulled a hamstring on the set of The Sentinel. “Two weeks later, I had him running again,” says Levy. Workouts incorporate flexibility, core strength and body alignment and include cardio and resistance training. Cardio alone just doesn’t cut it, says Levy. “The minute you get off a cardio machine, your body doesn’t burn calories anymore.” Add weight lifting, though, and “your body keeps burning calories as long as it repairs itself.” Every session ends with “a full rotational stretch,” often in the sanctuary of the hotel spa. If this sounds dreamier than a drill sergeant, Levy agrees. “We basically pamper them.”

Cost: $100–$150/session.


261 Davenport Rd.,

Celebrity clients: On-air personalities from CTV, Citytv and Global; NHL, NBA and CFL stars; a certain someone from Sex and the City

Star status: Clinic director Dr. Sender Deutsch won’t train and tell—partly because as a chiropractor it’s a no-no to do so—but he will say the club’s “cusp of Yorkville” address is convenient for clients staying in the swanky hood, especially during the film fest. A typical workout might start off with boxing, followed by circuits of lower- and upper-body strength exercises and core work or incorporate Pilates or yoga. It always ends with active isolated stretching and massage with an Intracell Stick, “a roller that we use on the muscle to enhance blood flow and circulation and flush out metabolic product, such as lactic acid, that builds up in the muscles.” Then it’s a toss-up: head to the spa for a mani, a pedi or (Madonna’s favourite) an oxygenating facial. Surprised by the polish-and-pump combo? It’s all part of their team approach, says Dr. Deutsch. Clients have access to personal training, therapy, private yoga instruction, an acupuncturist, an esthetician and a concierge. Just consider it your own personal entourage—minus the pesky paparazzi.

Cost: Membership is $990/year or $99/month. Treatment units (which can be used for nine different services) are $75–$90/service.


Vancouver • Toronto Montreal



2070 Peel St.,

Celebrity clients: Katie Holmes, Robert De Niro, Leonardo DiCaprio, George Clooney, Dennis Quaid, James Caan

Star status: More gentry than gym, even the old brick facade and stone-arched entrance of the 125-year-old club look ready to roll out the red carpet at a moment’s notice. And with regulars such as the Alouettes, the Canadiens and even Mitsou, they might as well leave it permanently unfurled. The revolving door of Hollywood celebs usually arrive with trainer in tow, says group fitness coordinator Shelly McDonald. Caan boxed. Quaid stuck to the treadmill (each with its own television screen). Clooney stayed sexy shooting hoops. And a pre-Cruise “beanpole” Holmes popped into several of McDonald’s Spinning classes. “She’s a total cardio freak. She’d be on the treadmill at least half an hour to an hour before and after Spinning,” says McDonald. A-list amenities include a bar and bistro, a pool, four dance studios and a staff of pros that include Olympic speed-skating medallist Nathalie Lambert and choreographers from Le Match des Étoiles, the French version of Dancing with the Stars.

Cost: Membership $75–$115/month, plus a $150 initiation fee, or $20 for a day pass.

203 Place d’Youville,

Celebrity clients: Rachel Weisz (and her fiancé, director Darren Aronofsky), Ethan Hawke, Jacinda Barrett

Star status: The proximity to Old Montreal film studios gets stars in the door, but it’s the trainers’ focus on posture that keeps them coming back for more. “We’re less machine-oriented, so it’s a combination of cardio and stability-ball workouts,” with a heavy emphasis on postural correction, says owner/trainer Stephan Chatigny. Most of Gymnasia’s practitioners are certified by the C.H.E.K. Institute in Vista, Calif., and workouts are designed to “strengthen whatever is weak, stretch whatever is tight.” Alternative services such as osteopathy are offered as well to help exercisers achieve their goals. While filming The Fountain, Weisz was particularly “attracted to the notion of working on her balance,” so her training included hamstring curls, crunches and push-ups on the exercise ball and squats on the wobble board, says Chatigny. With numbers limited to an exclusive half-dozen at a time, stars needn’t sweat stalkers nor long lines to get on the elliptical trainer.

Cost: Membership, $1,000/year or $99/month; $18 for a day pass; personal training sessions, $60–$70/session.

Vancouver Toronto Montreal
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