Ramona Braganza has made a name for herself as one of Hollywood's premier fitness trainers, having trained VIPS such as Jessica Alba and Halle Berry. We speak to her ahead of her fitness retreat at Soma Bay to get the scoop on all her secrets...
She's trained such A-listers as Jessica Alba, Halle Berry, Scarlett Johansson, and Bradley Cooper to bodily perfection (or the closest thing to it), she’s come to Egypt once before to whip us into shape, and now she’s back again! Celebrity trainer Ramona Braganza, who has essentially become a celebrity in her own right, is coming to Soma Bay for an exclusive 3-day fitness retreat from May 1 to 3, titled ‘8 Steps to Your Hollywood Body’.
The stunning seaside spot is the perfect place for you to get physical, and the three-day schedule mixes things up between stretches, hardcore training, meditation, nutrition sessions, and more healthy, fit things. Braganza will even be having one-on-one consultations with attendants to create a personal workout for each person. The package also includes specially prepared healthy breakfast and lunch buffets and 2 treatments at The Cascades Thalasso & Spa.
In your free time, feel free to bask in the sunshine, or get into some outdoor activities with things like kitesurfing, snorkelling or nature walks because Soma Bay’s beautiful beachside locale is perfect for that.
There are a limited number of spaces available, and it’s not every day Braganza takes a break from her mega-star Hollywood clients and comes to Egypt to get us in shape so we suggest you get booking early on if you want to nab a spot with the celebrity trainer!
Ahead of her visit to Egypt, we spoke to Braganza about her special 321 Training Method, and get her to divulge some of her secrets to achieving that perfectly-toned celebrity bikini bod!
How and why did you get into fitness training?
Sometimes I am asked how my career as a celebrity personal trainer began, the answer usually surprises most people when I explain that I did not choose this line of work, but instead, it chose me. Beginning with my very first love of a sport, Gymnastics, I have always preferred spending my spare time being active rather than passive. Being active as a teen, I attracted unique opportunities that allowed me to have fun and brought in income in an enjoyable way. In my 20s my passion for activity led me to a 10-year dance career as a professional cheerleader for “The LA Raiders,” which was followed by a 3-year choreography position with NFL Europe League introducing the sport of cheerleading to Scotland and London, England. For 5 years I competed in Ms Fitness Contests and booked jobs as a Fitness Model but it wasn’t until I was working in a Health Club that the opportunity of a lifetime presented itself to me and I was introduced to a TV show producer who was looking for a gymnastics coach for his young leading lady.
The TV show was Dark Angel, the actress was Jessica Alba. I became certified and she was my first client. Since that day Personal Training has become my business. It’s a career I love, it is ever evolving and it allows me to help others by bringing a level of fitness into their lives.
You've been known to whip celebs into shape with your famous 321 Training Method - how does it work?
I developed my 321 Training Method during my first years with Jessica Alba. While filming the TV show Dark Angel and on location for various movies such as Honey and Into the Blue, I often found we did not have much time to work out. Filming in remote locations such as Borneo was equally challenging, as equipment was limited, so I needed to find ways to use what we had around naturally. Regardless of the situation, Jess was required to look great as most of her roles had her wearing skimpy outfits. I needed to make our workouts more effective, so I decided to take all the elements I found important to an exercise program: Cardio, Strength training and Core exercises and combine them in an efficient program, whether we had only 20 minutes to train or the luxury of an hour. I also found ways to do a full program using only hand weights and a bench, and this has been my preferred method of training, sticking to the basics, using compound exercises, alternating upper and lower body and natural alternatives to cardio machines such as climbing stairs, jump rope or jogging.
My 321 Training Method consists of 3 segments of Cardio, 2 segments of Circuit Strength training and 1 segment of Core for a fat burning, muscle toning workout.
Taking the boredom factor out of the 30 minutes of Cardio, I have broken the time into 3 x 10 minute segments and include intervals of speed and grade changes. The Strength segments are performed in a circuit keeping intensity high and the final Core Segment improves balance, agility and helps to define and strengthen abs and lower back. The easy to follow program begins with Cardio then Circuit, Cardio then Circuit again and a final Cardio then Core. I have created my 321 Training Method DVD that can be ordered from my website Ramonabraganza.com or as an app Ramona321Pro on iTunes.
Can you give us the inside scoop on some of your celebrity clients? Who works out the hardest? Who's the laziest? Are there any celebs who really dislike exercise? How did Jessica Biel get such a perfect bum?
Jessica Alba and I worked together for over 10 years and since then I have been fortunate to work with many female actresses, including Kate Beckinsale, Halle Berry, Scarlet Johansson and many more. In addition I have also had the privilege of helping many of Hollywood’s new moms, like Jessica, Halle and Ashley Simpson, get their pre baby bodies back. I adapted my 321 Training Method to become the 321 Baby Bulge Be Gone program and it too is sold as a popular postpartum 3 phase DVD series now on my website.
I recently trained Paula Patton for the movie World of Warcraft, due out in 2016. She worked extremely hard for her role. While working on the movie Into the Blue in the Bahamas with Jessica Alba, she also worked very hard for that bikini body. Often they shoot for 16 hours or more and they still get their 5 am workouts in with me before they go to set. Most celebs don’t love those early hours, they are happier when they can train later in the day. My male actors would rather fit in a workout after they get back from the set, so at times I am training at 5 am and 10 pm. All of my clients get their perfect body parts by working hard at it and eating the right foods. It's not a magic pill, it is dedication and sweat!
How long would it take someone to get a Jessica Alba figure? What fitness tips would you give people who don't have the luxury of having a personal trainer?
To get a body like any of my stars, it’s a good idea to give yourself at least 3 months.
Most of us don’t have the luxury of a trainer all the time but it is a great idea to do a once a week workout with one. If you can train with friends who work out hard that’s just as good, they will keep you motivated and accountable.
What about people who say they don't have the time to exercise?
We naturally don’t have time, especially for exercise. It's up to us to make time, to fit in a walk, or a jog, or a visit to the gym, or if you have to bring the gym to you, find a space in your house have the basics and stick to as little as 20 minutes a day it will make a difference.
Cairo's not the type of city where you can get your daily movement in by walking around. What would you suggest as exercise for lazy Cairenes?
If you don’t have a city that accommodates walking then do some things like taking a dance class, kickboxing or even spinning. If you’re lazy and can’t seem to get off the couch maybe you can start with slower paced exercise regimens like taking a yin yoga class, which is very relaxing, or doing mat Pilates. There is always something for everyone. Decide what “moves” you to move!
Is there a single best fitness move that you would suggest above all others?
Best exercises are these:
Squats, lunges, pull-ups, pushups and plank.
Best overall fitness move - the sprawl.
What are some of the most grueling pre-movie workouts you've had to train celebrities for?
Most grueling because it was the earliest workout I had to do was at 3:30 am for Paula Patton on World of Warcraft.
How often do celebs really get a cheat day? Do they break out the burgers weekly or do they stick to religious diets?
When celebs work on a movie they will only cheat one meal a week. Its called the 90/10 rule, 90% of the time they eat exactly what they are supposed to and 10% or one meal, and perhaps a glass of wine or small piece of chocolate, they will indulge.
You're holding a five-day retreat at Soma Bay in October - is five days long enough to feel or see a change in your body? How do you think people will feel after the retreat?
I always say that building a Hollywood body begins in the brain. My fitness retreat is a 3-part program that gives you the tools (the 8 steps) to get ready mentally (your preparation), get set physically (with the program and the eating plan), and go forward emotionally (with the right attitude). It’s a formula I have used with my clients that has them seeing results in every way and almost immediately. You will leave feeling inspired to make a change!
For reservations you can email firstname.lastname@example.org
You can find out more about the retreat and reserve for it by heading to Soma Bay's Facebook page here.