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Kathy Kaehler: Celebrity Secrets

Julia Roberts. Michelle Pfeiffer. Jennifer Aniston. Cindy Crawford. Drew Barrymore. Claudia Schiffer. No, this is not the list of credits on Hollywood’s latest release. It’s the partial client roster of Kathy Kaehler, personal trainer to the stars.

You may recognize Kaehler from her regular appearances on NBC’s Today Show with Katie Couric and Matt Lauer. At least once a month, Kaehler flies to New York from her Los Angeles home to do a fitness segment on the popular morning program, showing viewers easy workouts they can do at home. When she’s not on the air, she can be found training her famous clients, teaching an exclusive class at the Hidden Hills Community Center, promoting her new book, Kathy Kaehler’s Celebrity Workouts: How to Get a Hollywood Body in Just 30 Minutes a Day (Broadway Books, 2005), or starring in her new DVDs: Kathy Kaehler Basics: Workout Class (a step aerobics session) or Kathy Kaehler Basics: Total Fitness Workout (a cardio, strength training and flexibility program).

But while Kaehler enjoys rubbing shoulders with Hollywood’s A-list, she has the most fun being home with her family. Kaehler is married to Billy Koch, co-owner of Little Red Feather Racing, a horse racing syndicate featuring the Breeders’ Cup-winning colt Singletary. The athletic couple are parents to three active boys: twins Cooper and Payton, and Walker, who are all named after football players (so is the horse!).Kathy Kaehler-Hollywood's Top Trainer Shares Her Celebrity Workout Secrets

When we caught up with Kaehler, she and her boys had just sent a new baby gift to Julia Roberts for her twins, Phinnaeus and Hazel, and Kaehler was ready to share her tried and true celebrity workout secrets.

EA: As a celebrity trainer, what’s your day like?

KK: I get up at 6 a.m. and do my own personal workout. I have a treadmill and I have a stationary bike. I do 20 minutes on my bike then I get on the treadmill. I have a weighted vest that looks almost like a bulletproof vest. It really hugs your body and your body assumes the weight. I started out with 2 pounds and moved up in 1-pound increments and now I am at 12 pounds. I walk a mile with it on. And then my next mile, I alternate running and walking.

EA: What is the purpose of that?

KK: Because I am pushing my heart rate up for short bouts and research has shown that by doing that, one, I am burning more calories than if I just kept walking, and two, it is not long enough that I feel like I am doing a tremendous amount of impact on my body. The third mile I take the vest off and I either walk or walk-jog. I find that it relieves a lot of stress, it allows me to focus on what I need to do and mentally I am a far better mother and wife when I get that done.


Read Kathy Kaehler’s celebrity workout secrets:

You might think Kathy Kaehler’s celebrity clients spend lots of money on the latest machines or fitness gadgets. In reality, Kaehler says a good workout is in the cards.

“One of the best celebrity secrets is to take 20 playing cards and put them on the floor and squat down and pick them up,” Kaehler says. “You get a greater range of motion, it teaches you that you’ve got to be in the right position and you don’t have to count. Just stack one card on top of the other and if you get real crazy, just put that deck down and do 52 pick ups. Some people will complain throughout. Others won’t say anything and look like they are dying at the end. Or others don’t say anything until the next day and then they are like, ‘Oh, my God!'”

Kathy Kaehler’s Fitness Advice-Celebrity Workout Secrets Revealed

Another star secret? Keep your workouts interesting. “If you change up your exercise, you don’t get bored,” Kaehler says. “You feel like you’re challenging yourself in different ways.”

Kaehler notes that when she trained Penelope Ann Miller for her role in Carlito’s Way, the two did a different workout every day. “One day we might have walked on the beach and the next day I might have taken her to the gym and we did all the cardio machines,” Kaehler says. “The next day we did a step class and the next day we went bike riding. That falls back into not so much thinking you are married to an exercise to get the results but be married to being active.”

EA: What’s the rest of your day like?

KK: My husband will get the kids up, he gets them breakfast, he does the lunches and he drives them to school. I do see the kids when I am done and I can kind of help, but then he takes everyone off. A lot of times I might also have clients so it really depends. And then I also teach in my community an exercise class. It’s either a step class or I do a weight class and it’s with all the gals that live in my neighborhood. Once that part is done, it’s home. It’s rare that I would take a shower. I know that sounds terrible, but really, I meet so many moms and it’s like we are lucky if we get the teeth brushed. I’ve got mounds of notes coming to me from e-mails and then phone calls that I have to return. I deal with the household issues. I also have a cottage in Canada so sometimes there’s stuff that I’ve got to do with that. Appointments for the kids. By that time I have to go pick up the kids. Meanwhile, still no shower. And then once they are home, it’s homework.

Kathy Kaehler-Hollywood's Top Trainer Shares Her Celebrity Workout SecretsEA: Do you cook?

KK: Yes, a few times a week.

EA: What do you make?

KK: My kids love steak and they love grilled chicken breast. We do baked potatoes. They all eat steamed broccoli but it is interesting how they eat – some eat the tops, some eat the bottoms. So, sometimes I have plates of just the little furry tops and sometimes I just have stalks. There’s not a lot of variety, which I continue to try push for them. But we do look at colors in our family. So we talk about: What have you had green today? What have you had yellow? For my husband and I, typically we’ll eat what the kids are eating. But sometimes we’ll do soups. Salad we try and do every night. I like trying a lot of different things.

EA: Are you cognizant of the ingredients like keeping it low fat or low sodium?

Kathy Kaehler-Hollywood's Top Trainer Shares Her Celebrity Workout SecretsKK: No. The main thing in my head is that the fresher the better. To me, I think I have always lived by thinking how the French people eat. They eat so fresh they buy food they eat that day. Their kitchens don’t have miles and miles of cupboards. They have a counter and an island and the food they are going to eat that day is on the island. I think we would all be better off if we ate that way. I try to focus on the food in its most natural state and to me I think everything in moderation is fine. A little bit of butter is great. A little bit of salt is fine. Pepper and garlic of course. Olive oil – who can get enough?

EA: What do you think about organic foods?

KK: I certainly love the idea and I certainly am one that goes to Whole Foods, but I also go to Ralph’s. I think when the opportunity presents itself, I choose organic. In the summer I live in Canada and there is a store that only sells organic and it is the closest one so that is where I end up. To me, I am in moderation if I am getting half organic, half regular.

EA: Where do you like to eat out?

KK: My husband and I go to sushi; my kids don’t like it. We also go to Johnny Rockets, we go to different chains that they have across the country. It’s all about the choices you make. I think you can really go anywhere and make a good choice.

EA: What is a strategy parents can use to make a good choice when eating out?

KK: I’ll ask if we can have a plate of steamed broccoli for the table and most restaurants will do that. And then that way I feel like they are getting balanced.

EA: How do you incorporate the kids into fitness?

Kathy Kaehler-Hollywood's Top Trainer Shares Her Celebrity Workout SecretsKK: When they were very little, we talked about using your muscles. And I think that has made them recognize that they need to use their body like a machine and that during the day they need to work their machine. And I have presented stuff for them that captures their attention and their interest. But they also know that I exercise. I now hear them say, ‘I want to come in and exercise with you, Mama.’ I am their biggest role model.

EA: Have you told them that fitness is fun?

KK: I change the words to being active, because being active has a fun flare to it. It allows you to feel like if I dribble the ball, I am being active. If I am skipping rope, I am being active. If I walk down to the end of the road and see who can beat each other, we are being active. My kids find that it’s fun and sometimes competitive and they get a kick out of it.

EA: How do you get kids off the couch?

KK: To me it is always a balance. I let my kids watch TV. I let them play video games. But they also know there is a trade off. If you are going to do that, then after this, or before, we need to do this. We need to check it off that we road our bikes, we jumped on the trampoline 10 times and we played football or threw the ball back and forth 78 times. We made up a chart and on the chart were silly things, but they were fun. We marked on the wall how far up with their hand that they could reach and jump and touch. Every day they had to look at their list and they checked off when they did those activities. One was to run around the house. One was to leap frog with a sibling. It gives them a goal. It also lets them see what they haven’t done. ‘Oh, my gosh. You want to sit and watch TV – look at your chart, you haven’t checked anything off.’

EA: Do you do crafts or projects?

KK: We love crafts. In fact, my kids had a very big craft that turned into a present for my client Julia Roberts’ babies. We made tie blankets where you take fleece and you get two colors that you put those pieces together. And then you cut all the way around 1- to 1 1/2-inch (in width) strips that are about 4 inches long. So now it looks like you have fringe all the way around and then you tie them in a square knot. They become the most adorable blankets. We just went to the fabric store and picked colors that we thought were really cute for a boy and a girl and they made them.

Kathy Kaehler-Hollywood's Top Trainer Shares Her Celebrity Workout SecretsEA: Did Julia like them?

KK: Loved them. And the kids loved doing it. And in the summer we paint rocks. We have a big rock garden and we have these pens that are permanent that are gold and silver and everybody does different sayings and different things that are commemorative of that year.

EA: Tell me about Michelle Pfeiffer, who you started training for her role as Catwoman in Batman Returns.

KK: Michelle Pfeiffer was a big part of my life. I trained her for about 10 years. The thing is, with kids, sometimes you think it’s so hard when they’re babies. But it’s much harder at this age because there is so much more demand of being around and I see that also with some of my celebrity clients like Michelle. She stopped training when her kids started getting close to second grade and third grade. You just have so much going on. She does it on her own now.


“After spending years training with Kathy, I now have the tools to exercise safely and effectively on my own, and fit a workout into my hectic schedule,” says Michelle Pfeiffer. “She has shown me how to stay in shape without having to spend all those hours in the gym that are a waste of time and frankly boring as hell!”

Kathy Kaehler-Hollywood's Top Trainer Shares Her Celebrity Workout SecretsEA: Your life right now seems like it is focusing on your book.

KK: On my book and then also on my company: Health-e-Tips.com. This company started with myself and another mom. We met on the swings at kindergarten. We sold corporate subscriptions for the human resources person to get our tip of the day and then they would pass it out to everyone in the company. They are 30 seconds to one minute to read and written so someone could apply it that day. And it is all basic health, basic fitness, but stuff that really makes sense to that working person. It’s something to do at their desk, something to do when they order lunch or after work. Over time they are going to learn and educate their bodies and minds to making better choices.

EA: How do you balance work and family?

KK: I write everything down. I try to put it on a calendar. I use Sunday to figure out what has to happen that week and priorities and pick ups and drop offs. I try to work out as many days as I can. It may not be every day and some weeks it may be every day. I make sure that we get to church on Sundays. I make sure that when we do cook, that we all sit down. I think there is just a mentally checking in – have I been here in the moment and spent time? I read at night to the twins – a word book, there is no pictures. I think those things make me feel like we are balanced.

EA: How has motherhood changed you?

KK: I think if anything it has extended my childhood and youthfulness. I like to do childlike things. I also think that it allows me to stay very simple. As I was growing up, you fight everything about your parents. Now I see that motherhood is allowing me to continue the path that my parents set out, which was teaching good morals and growing up to be educated, well behaved human beings.

Kathy Kaehler-Hollywood's Top Trainer Shares Her Celebrity Workout Secrets


Read about Julia Roberts’ workouts:

Kathy Kaehler starting working with Julia Roberts when Roberts landed her role in America’s Sweethearts. Kaehler designed a workout that would give Roberts more energy, and also sculpt her long and lean frame through strength training and yoga- and Pilates-inspired moves. You can try the exercises yourself by reading Kathy Kaehler’s Celebrity Workouts.

Julia Roberts-The Pretty Woman’s Workout

“Exercising with Kathy has changed my life in a great, subtle and consistent way,” Roberts says. “I must admit, I don’t love exercise, but I do love how I feel afterward: accomplishment, clarity, energy, strength, joy. These are all things I give myself through working out, and I can feel it in everything I do.”

Now that Roberts is based in New Mexico with her family, she has taken a hiatus from training. “And I am sure she is very happy to be there, away from all the hoopla,” Kaehler says. “She was so, so, so impressive. She had it so under control. When I saw her after she had had the twins, I was just really happy for her. But it is daunting. It is overwhelming. You don’t know how you’re going to respond – mentally, physically, hormonally.”

Kaehler says Roberts is bouncing back from her twins’ pregnancy remarkably well. “She didn’t gain that much weight,” Kaehler says. “She has already e-mailed me that she is taking Pilates in New Mexico. I don’t see that she will have any problem.”