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Back in shape in 3-2-1


FAT FIGHTER: Braganza does not believe in size zero. She and encourages her clients, like Jessica Alba, Halle Berry and Anne Hathaway, to eat what they want but in controlled portions

Celebrity trainer Ramona Braganza, who got stars Jessica Alba and Halle Berry back into shape after pregnancy, says fitness is an internal feeling

Getting into shape is as easy as 3-2-1 for celebrity trainer Ramona Braganza. "That is three meals, two snacks and one litre of water, " says Braganza, the 51-year-old of Indian origin who has taken Hollywood by storm, getting Jessica Alba and Halle Berry back to bikini bod beauty after having children. 

"It's possible, " says Braganza, who is hailed as a success story for her intensive programmes, complete with cardio and strength training. In a bid to replicate this success story in the country of her origin, Braganza touched down in Delhi to be part of a new project that brings her post-partum workout to Fortis Hospitals' Mamma Mia maternity clinics. "The idea is let women here know that anyone can get a fantastic body with the right care and attitude, " says Braganza, on her second visit to India. "The last one was about five years ago, " says Braganza whose parents moved to Germany just before her birth. "I was created here, and that's why I have always carried a small part of India in my heart. " 

That's another reason a lot of people who feel attracted to India "unknowingly" connect with her, she says, talking about Halle Berry who loves India. "Her baby shower had an Indian theme. She was dressed in a sari and her guests turned up in Indian outfits. I walked in wearing this churidaar kurta, " says the fitness trainer pointing to a yellow-and-red ensemble she's wearing. "I picked this up on my last visit - I hope the cut and pattern haven't gone out of style, " laughs Braganza. 

Her post-partum fitness programme "happened by chance" when Alba and Berry gave birth to their kids. "Having been their personal trainers for years, I had to help them get back in shape, " she says. "They too were willing to be pushed. " Braganza feels not having children of her own helps "because had I known what it is like, I might be softer and that might have come in the way of getting faster results. " 

A fitness freak all her life, Braganza started out with gymnastics in school and then got into dance, competing in fitness contests and professional cheerleading. She was roped in to teach Alba gymnastics and in no time, the Hollywood star asked her to be her personal trainer, a role she continues to play. 

Other clients in her Hollywood diary include Anne Hathaway, Jessica Biel, Kate Beckinsale, Ashlee Simpson and Eva Mendez. "I stress upon the fact that it's not just about the body but the mind too. I tell my clients that a workout is enhanced when you work with all your senses. You need to engage them all sound, sight, smell, touch and taste - to be motivated to work out more. " The idea is to feel good. 

"It doesn't matter what you eat, it's how much you eat. I like to educate my clients, not take away food from them. If they take two helpings, I tell them to take just one. The trick is to grill and keep off fried stuff. But, if you're fond of it, have it once or twice a week. Have salads to balance things out, " she says. 

Not one for the size zero craze even when it was in vogue, she'd rather women be "more accepting of their bodies. It's an internal feeling: Be happy with your body and remain fit and it'll show on the face, " says Braganza who is fond of good food. "I give in when I'm travelling but the rest of the time, I watch what I eat. " 

Her own workout mantra focuses on '3:2:1' - three sets of cardio (aerobics), two circuits (strength training ) and one core (exercises for the stomach and back areas). "Everything I teach comes from what I myself have learnt in my life - gymnastics is the core, my dance training is for cardio and the rest comes from my fitness training, " she says. "My way to do things is for a regular, everyday person. " The Baby Bulge Be Gone programme is for new mothers with a five to seven-day retreat thrown in to teach nutrition and yoga. "Your emotional state helps you challenge yourself to remain happy, whatever be your lifestyle. "

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