Matheos Viktor Messakh , THE JAKARTA POST , JAKARTA | Wed, 04/01/2009 12:57 PM | Body & Soul
We might forget it sometimes, but celebrities are human too. Like the rest of us, they have to work hard to stay in shape, even as daily pressures, professional requirements and advancing years work against them.And even though they have different strategies for staying fit and healthy, a common theme emerges – that no matter how busy you are, you should always find time to look after yourself.
Actress and director Lola Amaria, who once had to pile on six kilograms for a role, stays in shape through regular gym workouts, yoga and a balanced diet.
Lola joined a gym near her house in Bintaro, and tries to get there for a workout at least two or three times a week. But even if her busy schedule makes getting to the gym impossible, the Ca Bau Kan star still makes sure she does some kind of exercise every day.
“It doesn’t have to be excessive physical activity,” says Lola, who shifted her extra weight by jogging daily for six months. “A brisk half-hour walk every day will keep you healthy.”
The actress also finds yoga an important part of her routine. She learned yoga about five years ago and still practices it regularly. “It’s good for stress release,” she says. “Initially I was helped by an instructor but now I do it by myself at home.”
Yoga, she says, makes her more relaxed during the everyday life, “especially you get stuck in a traffic jam”.
Getting the recommended amount of sleep is generally out of the question for the busy filmmaker, so she naps when she can. “I try to sleep at least six hours a day but it’s quite impossible, so what I do is I have a little sleep in between, in the breaks.”
And when it comes to what she puts in her mouth, Lola admits she is very strict, and rarely touches greasy food or junk food. “If possible, eat fruit and fresh vegetables at least once each day,” she says.
She points out that vitamins and supplements are helpful for people living in a polluted city, but adds that even those who have no faith in supplements can do themselves a favor by consuming fresh and healthy food and drinking lots of water.
“Nutrients are not only from capsules,” she says. “We can get them in fresh water or fresh food.”
Actor and presenter Ferdy Hassan is one of the many celebrities who work with professional personal trainers to stay in shape.
As he entered his 30s, Ferdy noticed something common to pretty much everyone: His body was changing, and he needed to take action.
“I realized that as I’m getting older, it’s not as easy to control my weight,” Ferdy says. “That’s why I need a trainer.”
The 36-year-old, who never fails go to the gym at least twice a week, has followed a regime for two years, in which his trainer helps him with complete body training and dietary advice.
Ferdy had joined a gym in high school but then quit. He didn’t give it another go until his weight exceeded 90 kilograms. It took him four months of tailored workouts to lose 10 kilograms.
“I have tried many ways to lose weight but the gym is the most effective. After doing exercise, we can focus better on other things,” he says.
“We often can’t be bothered to exercise but believe me, you will feel so much better if you do it. There are lots of good effects. It’s also a life investment for us.”
In short, he says, “If you love your family, then do your exercise.”
He also finds reflexology beneficial, calling a massage therapist to his house in the Blok M area in South Jakarta about once a week. “All the reflections of our physical health are in our feet,” he says. “When you are getting [a massage], you fall asleep and when you wake up, you feel much more relaxed and refreshed.”
Ferdy does not worry so much about his diet, but when he feels he has been eating too much fatty food, he makes an effort to balance his diet, although that doesn’t stop his love of eating.
“I’m Sundanese and I like to try anything,” he says.
Similarly worried by the way his weight crept up with the years, actor and presenter Farhan also hired a personal trainer almost two years ago, shocked into action when the scales tipped 95 kilograms.
It took him about a year to get into the habit of doing jogging, weightlifting and crunches for 30 to 60 minutes a day.
“I needed a trainer at the beginning but now I do it myself,” says the star, who believes that when we’re young we can do whatever we want, but have to “pay everything back
The first thing that needs to be paid back, he says, is our diet. “I rarely eat rice at the moment,” he says. “I skip carbohydrates, sugars and meat. My friends say I’m like a goat that eats lots of vegetables but fortunately I never get constipated anymore.”
As part of his new healthy lifestyle, the 39-year-old also skips alcohol and cigarettes and always gets to bed early. “I only bergadang [stay up late] if I really have to,” he says.
But the gym and other forms of indoor exercise are not for everyone. Jazz singer Syaharani prefers to head for the great outdoors to stay fit and healthy.
“Fitness is boring,” the 37-year-old says baldly. “Our space is limited and we repeat our movements like ironing.”
A brisk early morning walk is Syaharani’s favorite fitness habit. Three to four times a week, she heads out in the early hours for a walk around her housing complex in Bintaro, South Jakarta.
When she finds time in her busy schedule – about once every two or three months – Syaharani and her friends get together to go hiking or trekking, most recently in Curug Panjang in West Java.
Also beneficial to her health, she says, is meditation, which she learned years ago when she lived in Bali. “I do it as much as possible because it’s simple but it clears your mind. Mediation and stretching the body … make us relax because they maximize the oxygen in our body.”
Syaharani says that when she moved from Bali to Jakarta in 1995, she stopped meditating, and noticed big changes in her daily life.
“I was trying to work out why I got tired and bored so easily,” she says. “Then I took up mediation again and I felt better. Mediation is good and it works for people in all sorts of professions, especially for a singer like me.” She now wants to learn more about yoga.
Syaharani likes to eat but she recognizes the importance of staying in control.
“I always remind myself that eating is not only for enjoyment but also for the needs of the body,” she says. “If in a week I have been having too much fatty food, I will balance it by having fresh fruit and vegetables.”
The singer especially likes mushrooms and broccoli because they are high in antioxidants and easy to prepare. “I always buy them when I go to the supermarket or ask for them if I go to a restaurant.”
For Syaharani, who has a medical checkup at least once a year, the first step in keeping healthy is stress management. “Stress contributes a lot to health problems,” she says. “Everybody has their own way of dealing with stress but they have to do it immediately.”
The second step is to do light exercise and the third is eating properly, she says. “Never skip breakfast because when you busy in the day, you will forget everything.”
Too many people lead lives that are out of balance, she says – overeating and under-exercising, often because they are under stress and use food as comfort.
The most common mistake, according to Syaharani, is focusing on appearance rather than on health.
“In fact, the important thing is your behavior: Stay active, eat right and feel good today,” she says. “The results will follow.”