For many moms, the newborn stage is a tangle of middle-of-the-night feedings, few showers and even less time devoted to working out. Of course, Ciara is not most moms.
Determined to peel off the 65 pounds that came with daughter Sienna Princess Wilson, her 20-month-old with Seattle Seahawks quarterback husband Russell Wilson, the musician went the extra 1, 2 step.
"It was kind of like, wake up in the morning, breastfeed, eat a small meal, go train, come back in, breastfeed, eat another meal, go train, then come back, have another meal, and then a third training session at night," she recently revealed to Cosmopolitan of tripling up her daily workouts.
So basically whenever she wasn't breastfeeding, taking 4-year-old Future Zahir Wilburn (her son with ex Future) to school or eating what she called her "really strict meal plan", she was going hard in the gym. "My workout was really intense, but it was a commitment I made to myself because I wanted to feel good about me, you know, and, like, push myself," she explained to E! News at the 2018 American Music Awards in October. "And when you have babies, it does feel good when you're carrying your baby at, like, five months and you're like, 'Yeah, I'm back in my pocket, keeping it cute.'"
Welcome to Hollywood where everyone's got a dream and most of those ambitions pretty much require one to remain a fit size-two.
Though necessary body positive strides have been made, industry standards can still be strict. Combine that with ever-present paparazzi cameras and you get why personal trainers are de rigueur for stars as are the chefs tasked with transforming lean protein and vegetables (hold the butter and the salt) into something palatable. Because unless you're blessed with the gold standard of metabolisms you're not eating carbs, sugar, dairy or pretty much anything that comes in a package.
But this year, some celebrities weren't content with just maintaining their standard clean diets and sweat-inducing workouts. Kelly Clarkson banned grains, nuts and even some vegetables in an effort to stick to an eating plan she credited with healing an autoimmune issue, Vanessa Hudgens played around with intermittent fasting and Viola Davis even committed herself to a solid food-free cleanse...that lasted all of two days.
A makeup artist on her latest film Widows convinced the whole crew to do a cleanse where "we couldn't chew and we couldn't suck," the Oscar winner revealed on The Tonight Show last month. "So we had to sip all of our food because sucking and chewing was an act of aggression, and it was all about completing everything, living in forgiveness." Initially eager to "release my anger," she dove right in, but a heated conversation with her niece sent her straight to the McDonald's drive-thru for a burger she polished off with a large vodka soda. Shrugged Davis of the short-lived plan, "I need my anger."
Kim Kardashian had more luck with a 10-day program she tried out ahead of May's Met Gala. The cleanse is pretty standard in the entertainment industry and it comes in many forms ranging from the headache-inducing liquid-only plans that give dietitians agita (after all, your body is designed to naturally detox itself whether you're sticking to green juice or not) to varieties that allow for solid food.
The Keeping Up With the Kardashians' standout signed up for the latter in hopes of looking her best in her ultra-fitted Versace. The Sunfare Optimal Cleanse she chose is a mix of shakes, herbal teas and ultra-healthy dishes such as spicy mustard salmon salad, guacamole with veggie chips, butternut squash with soup and salad and romaine lettuce chicken cups.
"I've worked so hard working out, but I started eating a lot of sweets and I wanted to just change my food patterns to eat healthier and cut sugar out of my life as much as I can," Kim explained on her website. "We always have sweets around and it's really hard when there are temptations everywhere."
But it's something she's learned to battle in the months since, her regular, every day diet not exactly a breeze and all. "It's hard work," she admitted to E! News at Tiffany & Co.'s Tiffany Blue Book Collection presentation Tuesday. "I just don't eat as much sugar as I used to. I work out a lot. You know, I try to work out every day for an hour."
Of course, for most stars, sweating alone does not a six-pack make. To ensure her weight hovers close to 100 pounds, the goal for her 5-foot frame, Kim's older sister Kourtney Kardashian maintains a famously stringent eating plan. While she recently relaxed her standards a smidge to allow for the occasional dairy or gluten because "I don't want to throw my body off by eating whatever I want when I travel and then be really strict other times," she's not exactly mainlining brie and baguettes.
Following her morning collagen shot and glass of water mixed with organic apple cider vinegar—"Both of these habits have a ton of health benefits that affect everything from your skin to the way your body processes nutrients," she wrote on her blog—and regular high-intensity interval training session, "I always drink a smoothie for breakfast," she shared. Her go-to is a homemade avocado pudding with organic cane sugar, whole milk and raw manuka honey, plus "added supplements," she says, "like organic protein powder, E3Live blue-green algae and MCT oil."
Lunch is more avocado chopped up with tomato, cucumber and two hard boiled eggs and mixed with a homemade olive oil and vinegar dressing, while dinner features a lean protein (read: grilled salmon, grilled chicken, sole) with a healthy serving of asparagus, carrots or sweet potato. Snacking is encouraged, but limited to good-for-you eats such as watermelon, more vegetables with avocado hummus and her daily protein shake featuring almond butter, almond milk, strawberries, blueberries and honey.
And when she's really trying to eat healthy, Kourtney turns to what she calls her detox salad, a blend of chopped romaine, avocado, cucumber, carrots and salmon: "It's light, has protein and is full of vitamins and omega-3s," she explained on her app.
And should you wish to keep up with another Kardashian diet, Khloe Kardashian shared the exact low-carb meal plan she followed after welcoming daughter True Thompson in April. Formulated by nutritionist Dr. Philip Goglia, it had the new mom eating eight times a day, sticking to whole foods such as eggs, oatmeal, fruit, chicken and fatty fish. "It has lots of protein, so I'm able to go all out at the gym," she wrote on her app, "but the best part is that I'm never hungry because I'm always eating!"
Though we'd imagine the fact that it helped her shed some 40 pounds was pretty sweet as well.
This year, Jessie James Decker found herself on the post-baby body track as well after son Forrest Decker joined daughter Vivianne Decker, 4, and son Eric Decker Jr., 3, in April. Relying on the high-protein, low-carb, low-sugar South Beach Diet she dropped upwards of 17 pounds from her 5-foot-1 frame and discovered the joy of lifting heavy weights. "I started at 5 pounds, and then got up to the 10s, and now I'm at the point where I'm using my 20-pound dumbbells and I feel good," she told People. "It's a slow process but I can just see the gradual progress, and it feels great."
Jenna Jameson is also experiencing the fruits of her labor, finding herself down a startling 80 pounds more than a year and a half after having daughter Batel Lu Bitton. Nixing the gym in favor of hiking and running stairs, she delivers a bulk of the credit to her ketogenic diet.
Starting her day with three hardboiled eggs and an avocado (sprinkled with Trader Joe's Everything But the Bagel seasoning), she has steak over arugula for lunch, cottage cheese as a snack and salmon with asparagus for dinner. And though she stressed in her Instagram post, "If I feel hungry, I EAT!!!!" she makes it a point to try to fast from 6 p.m. until 11 the next morning save for water, tea and her morning coffee with creamer and stevia.
Count Vanessa Hudgens as another fan of intermittent fasting, a practice she tested out ahead of her Women's Health cover shoot. The Second Act star swore weight loss wasn't her goal, she was just inspired by a friend who'd devoted himself to the pattern. "He is literally pulling a Benjamin Button," she exclaimed to the mag of her reasoning. "Homeboy is aging backward!"
Having just marked her 30th birthday herself, the actress has found herself cleaning up her diet act, trading the bacon and Hot Cheetos of her youth for a fridge full of kombucha, cashew cheese, almond milk, eggs and avocado. (An antioxidant-rich smoothie made with acai berries, blueberries, banana and coconut oil is also a staple.)
Her six-day-a-week workout routine is a steady rotation of Pilates, ballet, yoga, SoulCycle and circuit-based Training Mate classes, but she's open to giving anything a whirl.
"If I ever get to the point that I'm not happy with my body, I'll do something about it," she told Women's Health. "You will always have the power to do something. Sometimes it will take a little longer than you would like, and sometimes it may be a little more extreme. But if you honestly have a goal, you can do it. You just need to figure out the right way to get there."
For Kelly Clarkson, that meant attempting a unique approach to eating. Eager to help heal an autoimmune issue and thyroid problem that had been plaguing her for more than a decade, she flipped through Dr. Steven Gundry's latest book, The Plant Paradox: The Hidden Dangers in "Healthy" Foods That Cause Disease and Weight Gain.
Following his recipes (his thinking is that lectin, found in foods such as grains, beans, nuts, fruits and vegetables like potatoes, peppers, tomato and eggplant can cause inflammation, leading to weight gain and other ailments), she shared on Today, "worked wonderfully." Though she cautioned her way of eating might not be successful for everyone, "It helped out so much with health. My autoimmune disease is like, gone and I'm, like, 37 pounds lighter in my pleather."
And then there are the stars who never seem to be striving to tone up because they're pretty much always in peak shape. Take Halle Berry, who uses her sculpted form for good, hoping to inspire others to become their best selves through her inspirational #FitnessFriday posts. "You asked how to get started? It's simple... you just decide to start!" she shared in one post. "You decide today that you are worth it! Trust me, I know it's hard to focus up and dedicate time to working out each day, but with 24 hours in a day you can surely take ONE and dedicate it to YOU! You don't need a fancy gym to get started—all you need is a living room, a patio, a kitchen floor, a driveway or a backyard, and a water bottle."
That's the equipment required for a move her trainer Peter Lee Thomas calls a plank pull (as it sounds, it involves getting into a forearm plank and extending one arm out and in, then the other) and it's just one of the tools in his massive arsenal.
"You better believing we are doing some boxing, some kick boxing, some Muay Thai," he tells E! News of their five-day-a-week workouts. "I'm definitely working on those skill sets with her and she's also doing strength and conditioning. She's using kettle bells, barbells, dumbbells, working on the pull up bar, doing dips, sprinting pushing heavy things, pulling stuff. It's just a really dynamic way to jumpstart anyone's metabolism."
And, as one might expect just from using their eyes, it takes quite a bit of sweat equity to be as strong as the John Wick: Chapter 3 actress. Noting he's "never met anybody that works harder and trains harder," than Berry, Thomas tells E! News, "She doesn't mess around. That's really, really great for me because I know that when we go there it's like preparing for war."
Or, you know, just your average audition in Hollywood.