Hollywood fitness trainer Ramona Braganza -- a former competitive gymnast and National Football League cheerleader -- is famed for helping stars Jessica Alba and Halle Berry sculpt their enviable physiques. As she preps to join pop star Ke$ha on her European tour this summer, Braganza shares with Relaxnews her approach to fitness, diet, and life.
Relaxnews: What are some of the biggest fitness or diet mistakes that you see your clients making?
Ramona Braganza: Most of my clients are actors, and very driven, and they tend to not take a rest day. Rest days are important for rebuilding muscle tissue that is torn during strength training. Another big mistake most people make is not lifting heavy enough weights. To make adaptations, you must stress the muscle, so you need to lift medium to heavy weights. Diet mistakes include not drinking enough water before, during, and after exercising, and not eating breakfast before a workout.
R: How can a busy person commit to a workout when it's so easy to let it slip through the cracks?
RB: Mix things up, do lots of different activities. I mix up my workouts by doing strength training, kickboxing, yoga, and dance.
R: If you could offer one piece of advice on achieving better fitness, what would it be?
RB: Commit to working out regularly, choose a goal to work toward, and make a plan that includes scheduling in workouts for the week. Invite a support group of friends to participate to keep you accountable. If you are too busy for a full hour of exercise, commit to half an hour. If that's too hard, you can even break it up into two 15-minute sessions a day.
R: What are you some of your favorite post-workout snacks?
RB: A protein shake with berries, an orange and some low-fat cheese, or perhaps a turkey sandwich.
R: What does a typical breakfast for you look like?
RB: Two eggs, two slices of turkey bacon, and a slice of wheat toast with a little jam. I also have a cup of coffee.
R: What is your top advice for a better, more balanced diet?
RB: Always include vegetables and fruit with your meal along with some form of protein.
R: Do you have a workout or life mantra?
RB: The 3-2-1 countdown is a call to action that is the basis for everything in my life. 3-2-1: get ready mentally, get set physically, go forward emotionally.
R: Any guilty pleasures? And how often do you succumb to them?
RB: I have a sweet tooth for a few things. Every now and then I enjoy chocolate, German gummi bears, and I also like a good glass of red wine.
R: Do you have your own motivational struggles, and how do you overcome them?
RB: I find listening to upbeat music can help get me in the mood to work out. Other ways include using some motivational tools, such as a pedometer or a heart rate monitor. I also ask friends to come along when I'm doing fun things outdoors like hikes or paddle boarding.
R: What is your approach to a happy life?
RB: I love life, and am fortunate and grateful to be able to do what I love and to make a living out of it. I also love traveling, which I can do while spreading the news about fitness. I also have great faith in a higher power -- it allows me to take things as they come.