Where have you been, summer bod? Celeb trainer Harley Pasternak helps you find it with Rihanna’s go-to workout

Photography by Mark Davis/Getty Images
Photography by Mark Davis/Getty Images

Rihanna knows how to rock a frock. Case in point: Tom Ford, Met Gala, 2012. Her look—badass with a touch of Grace Kelly–glam—turned heads, but it was her trim figure that stole the show. The Bajan songstress’s leaner physique is thanks to five 25-minute workouts each week. (Have you seen her TwitPics? Yep, that’s her on the elliptical in a white bikini.) We chatted with her trainer, Toronto-born, L.A.-based Harley Pasternak, about the singer’s workout methods and how you can get toned and tight by following Rihanna’s plan at home.

Read on and learn how Rihanna trains and how you can do her workout! »

How does Rihanna train?
Pasternak: “Rihanna is fit and young and lives an active lifestyle. She’s constantly travelling, so we have to be efficient with our approach to keep her body looking great. I try to get all my clients to walk as much as they possibly can, and so the more active they are outside of the gym, the less time they have to spend working out. She does the 5 Factor workout.”

What is the 5 Factor workout?
Pasternak: “It’s a workout made up of five phases, which starts off with a cardio warm-up for at least five minutes. Rihanna loves to ride on a stationary bike, whereas some people will jog, walk, run stairs. Phase two is an upper-body resistance exercise, such as a back row or a shoulder raise. Phase 3 is a lower body exercise, like a skater lunge or a hamstring curl. Phase 4 is an abdominal movement like a side bend or a trunk twist. Phase 5 is a cardio cool-down for at least five minutes. So she’ll do a continuous circuit, and each day of the week we do different body parts.”

How many repetitions does Rihanna do?
Pasternak: “For your body to keep changing, the program has to keep changing. Sometimes we’ll do three circuits of 30 repetitions or 40 repetitions of each exercise, and sometimes we’ll do seven circuits of 15 repetitions per exercise. But week to week, we constantly vary the number of sets, reps and the amount of resistance.”

Photography by Keystone Press

What else does Rihanna do to stay fit?
Pasternak: “She eats well. We try to get her to eat five times a day, so breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner. And every time she eats, there should be a low-fat protein, a healthy carbohydrate, fibre, a healthy fat and a sugar-free drink. Then she gets one day a week to eat whatever she wants. For her, she loves Caribbean food, so we will save dishes like roti for her free day.”

What do you need to start the plan?
Pasternak: “You don’t need to go to the gym for anything. I tell people to get a couple of dumbbells or bottles of water or cans of soup. Or you could try a Harley bar, which is a barbell and dumbbells all in one. Then, you’ll need a comfortable pair of shoes. They’ll allow you to walk that extra block and get off the subway earlier. And get yourself a pedometer. I tell my clients to do 10,000 steps a day.”

Get ready for summer with Rihanna’s red carpet-worthy workout! »

Photography by Getty Images

Ready to get toned, Rihanna-style? Here’s one day of Pasternak’s five day, 5 Factor workout plan for the star.

Phase 1: Five-minute cardio warm-up of your choice. (Run, bike, skip, stairs, etc.)

Phase 2 (Upper Body): Bent-over row (20 reps)
– Holding two dumbbells with your palms facing your legs, slightly bend your knees and lean your torso forward at a 45-degree angle. Keep your core tight.
– Pull both weights upward until they your reach your ribcage, then lower them back down to the start position.
– You can also do this exercise on a bench. Perch one knee and one arm on it, working the opposite arm, then switch sides.

Phase 3 (Lower Body): Stiff-legged deadlifts (20 reps)
– Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, holding weights or a barbell shoulder-width apart, arms extended downward.
– Bring the weights toward the ground by bending over, lowering them until your torso is parallel to the floor. (Always keep your core strong and your back straight.)
– Return to the start position.

Phase 4 (Core): Superman (20 reps)
– Lie facedown on your stomach, with your arms and legs extended. Keep your neck in a neutral position.
– Simultaneously lift your arms and legs toward the ceiling to form an elongated “U” shape with your body. (Your back arches and your arms and legs are several inches off the floor.)
– Hold for two to five seconds, then lower to complete one rep.
**Repeat Phase 2, 3 and 4 two more times.

Phase 5: Five-minute cardio cool-down of your choice

When you’re done this workout, do four more workouts this week. Each day, change up the body part worked in each phase by doing a different exercise. For example, if you worked your shoulders and back doing bent-over rows, try doing bicep curls tomorrow and tricep extensions the day after. Check out 5factor.ca for more information.

More Beauty & Grooming