Star Strategy #1: Celebrities Aren't Afraid to Sweat
Regular exercise is a must if you want to fit back into your prepregnancy jeans. "Committing to it is the only way to lose the weight," says Holly Robinson Peete, a mother of three who stars in Like Family. "Plus it makes you feel more energetic and strong. You'll need that when the kids start crawling."
Wait for your doctor to give you the go-ahead, usually about six weeks after you give birth. Then ease into exercise. And if you're currently with child, keep moving. "I never stopped exercising while I was pregnant," says Catherine Bell, who stars on JAG. "You should stay active all nine months, even if it's just walking around the block." Kate Hudson, whose son, Ryder, was born in January, agrees: "You can't do everything you did before, but you can adjust your routine."
Even if you weren't keeping in shape during pregnancy, there's hope. Trainer Gunnar Peterson, who works with star moms including Jennifer Connelly, explains, "If you're out of shape and start working hard, results will come quicker and easier." To keep things interesting, he recommends varying the exercises you do. "Trick yourself into thinking it's a good time," he says. Uma Thurman used her Kill Bill martial arts and sword training to shed 50 pounds; Catherine Zeta-Jones favors fencing. Other hot workouts include exercise boot camps, aerobic striptease, and spinning.
For a less cardio-intense session, celebrity moms such as Melissa Rivers, Brandy, and Vanessa Williams swear by Pilates, an exercise method that strengthens and lengthens muscles while increasing flexibility. Yoga, too, has a large cadre of A-list devotees including Madonna, Melanie Griffith, and Reese Witherspoon. It's become so popular that most YMCAs offer $10 classes, and for both yoga and Pilates there's a wide array of videos and DVDs, TV programs, and books.