Jackie Warner has built more than a rock-solid body while working in the fitness industry. The Los Angeles-based celebrity trainer, author, reality-TV personality and DVD star has also made herself into a successful fitness brand based on her common-sense approach: ‘There is no magic pill,’ says Warner, 43. ‘You have to work hard.’ She follows her own advice, training six days a week’a mixture of cardio, strength and intense circuit training.
After demonstrating her ab-firming moves for a photo shoot in a Toronto studio, Warner takes a break for a ‘typical’ healthy lunch, this time lean chicken. ‘I have a protein shake every morning and usually a piece ‘of salmon a day,’ along with lots of greens, whole grains and plenty of water. And she isn’t hesitant to share with those sitting around the table her enthusiasm for eating healthily and staying fit: ‘This is a lifestyle, but it is one you can do.’
Warner’s story is classic: small-town girl makes it in Hollywood her own way. At 18, the Ohio native moved to L.A. on a scholarship to study fashion design. But in her first job after graduating, she knew she was in the wrong career. ‘These people breathed fashion, and I couldn’t take it that seriously.’ After that, Warner did odd jobs before finding work in the cellphone industry. Within a few years she had started her own company, which she eventually sold for a hefty profit; by her early 20s, she was a millionaire.
Around this time, Warner found her true love: bodybuilding. She also became a certified personal trainer, and took on clients, including a powerful talent agent. Transforming that woman’s life inspired Warner. ‘The agent made a life-altering change through fitness. She improved her self-esteem, got into AA, and moved forward and upward. I saw the impact fitness had.’ Warner opened her first gym, Lift, and then Sky Sport and Spa, a ‘beautiful’ facility in the heart of Beverly Hills, she says.
Bravo TV approached her in 2004 to film a reality television show at the Sky Sport location and, after meeting with her, decided she should be the star. Work Out catapulted her into the spotlight, focusing on her professional and personal life, including her same-sex romantic relationships. ‘The show was a difficult but satisfying experience. You can’t hide from the camera. I saw qualities in myself I didn’t like, which I changed, and qualities I did like, which I nurtured.’
In 2010, Warner published This Is Why You’re Fat‘a no-nonsense approach to exercise and healthy eating that became a New York Times Best Seller. It advocates clean eating and intense workouts, but allows two cheat days a week. She has also released several DVDs, including Crunchless Xtreme Abs.
In September 2010, she returned to television as the host and trainer on Thintervention (on the W Network), which helps people tackle their weight-loss issues. Says Warner: ‘A lot of it is emotional, and I can relate. After university, I weighed 169 lb. because I was lonely, and food became the drug that soothed me.’
Her advice for someone who is intimidated by the idea of getting fit? Be realistic. ‘Women set insurmountable goals. Decide what you want to go for and don’t just make it about weight’make an athletic goal, too, such as you want to run around the block a few times, and each week do it faster.’ Sounds like a plan!
Jackie’s 5 keys to getting fit
1. Train with intensity. ‘You have to work for it’but you can get bang for your buck even with just 20 minutes. The worst thing is to go to the gym for an hour and lazily go through the motions.’
2. Make a mental switch. ‘We think of exercise as pain, and a cupcake as pleasure. But you can get hooked on exercise because it releases serotonin and dopamine, which bring an incredible feeling of well-being.’
3. Step into the gym with a plan. ‘A training log will keep you interested in your progress. Add a smiley face on days when you are sore, because that ‘burn’ is how you know the exercise is working. And try something new each week.’
4. Never skip meals. ‘Your body goes into starvation mode rapidly, so the next thing you eat is stored as fat.’
5. Drink three litres of water per day. ‘Yes, you will pee a lot, but it also speeds up your metabolism, burns an extra 100 calories a day and helps your liver.’