Do You Find Celebrities Working Out Motivating?

by Charlotte on August 6, 2008 · 31 comments

THIS is my kind of inspiration. Plus, the woman’s expression? Priceless.

Celebrity diet-and-exercise pieces are the bread and butter of the gossip rags. There are whole websites devoted to how celebs take care of (or abuse) their bodies. The Skinny Website, not well loved by this blogger, as well as the more innocuous Healthy Hollywood among others specialize in critiquing the ever popular chicken-and-veggies diet combined with “dog walking” and/or spin classes until chunks are blown. Despite them not ever saying anything new and recycling the same old pictures of Ashley Tisdale in workout shorts and Uggs (If you just said “who?” then you are officially old. That was a trick test.) they are some of the most popular women’s sites on the Internet.

The print world is similarly affected. People, US Weekly, In Touch and the rest would be half their size – and missing half their covers – without the Diets of the Stars stories they rehash every week. They keep printing and people keep buying.

Don’t even get me started on Daytime TV’s inability to interview anyone without asking about their diet and exercise routine.

But Why?
We’re all interested. That’s a fact. But why? Does seeing celebrities working out motivate you to get your butt to the gym? Do you have the subconscious thought that if you hijack a treadmill like Britney then you can work a white bikini like her?

It doesn’t work for me. I’m not going to pretend that I’m not interested in knowing what celebs pretend to do to get their figures but seeing pics of them in sweats (but never sweaty!) doesn’t get my butt out of my chair.

What Motivates Me
I’m much more inspired by real people. Like this year’s crop of stellar Olympians (helloooo Michael Phelps!) But even better is anyone running on the treadmill next to me. I have a competitive streak a mile wide and simply cannot let them, stranger they may be, beat me to that non-existent finish line. Yes, everyone at my gym thinks I’m crazy. I work so much harder when the girl next to me is kicking butt then when I look up on the TV screen and see Reese Witherspoon jogging through her posh Beverly Hills neighborhood.

One of my gym buddies, who asked to remain nameless, swears by the Food Network to get her mojo on on the elliptical. Nothing gets my husband off the couch and onto the court like watching a little pro NBA on ESPN. (He waits until after the game is finished, natch, to find that pick-up game.) And I know people of both genders who work out twice as hard if anyone attractive is in the near vicinity.

What’s Your Inspiration?
I’m not immune to celebrities’ charms – I’ve bought way too much makeup based on the airbrushed beauties of Cover Girl – but for some reason they don’t do anything for my workouts. How about you? Matthew McConaughey running on a beach get your heart pumping? In an athletic way?? Or are you more motivated by the hottie curling 40-lb dumbbells across the room?

{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Andrew is getting fit August 6, 2008 at 4:14 am

Do celebrities work out? I really don’t care. :) But then again…I’m a guy.


tokaiangel August 6, 2008 at 7:07 am

I used to have a SERIOUS addiction to the Skinny Website, which has luckily been kicked because my work PCs won’t load it up anymore.

But for me looking at that kinda thing is more of a massochistic tactic “you will NEVER look that GOOD! YOU SUCK COMPARED TO THESE WOMEN WITH THEIR CAREERS AND HOT BODIES!”.

If I’m at the gym I’m a terror for racing the girl or guy next to me. But the next best thing (aside from listening to AC/DC on the I-Pod and imagining I’m playing lead guitar)….?

…Watching the wrestling!! Those guys are BIG and they are MEAN and they make me want to work harder and not care about being skinny anymore.

I love gymspiration.

TA x


Erin August 6, 2008 at 7:21 am

No, celebrities don’t motivate me, but it is nice to know that most of them have to put in some kind of effort to stay fit!


MizFit August 6, 2008 at 9:32 am

Im even lower on the rung than you…Im inspired by the woman I see at barnes & noble looking fit and HAPPY whilst juggling her brood of kids.I think for me it's all about people to whom I can relate and celebs or even olympians (the former IMO lie and the latter SO GENETICALLY TALENTED as well as driven!) arent it.

(oh and yes I DIGG you)



Crabby McSlacker August 6, 2008 at 10:53 am

I’ve just discovered I’m officially old. No idea who Ashley Tisdale is.

Also, apparently I’m a guy–I don’t give a hoot what celebrities do for their workouts.

Saves me lots of time and $$ on gossip mags!


fatfighter August 6, 2008 at 10:56 am

Ummm… who’s Ashley Tisdale? I guess I am officially old.

Celebrity workouts don’t really inspire me because who in the real world can have the kind of time and money with the trainers and chefs they have?


Gena August 6, 2008 at 10:57 am

Yeah, I don’t know who Ashley Tisdale is either. I must be older than I think.

Celebs don’t inspire me, for a couple of reasons. 1. They lie. I don’t believe anyone stays that toned by walking their dog and eating whatever they want. 2. They’re rich. They can hire personal trainers for every day of the week. 3.They have the leisure of no regular day job, which means many hours free for working out.

I’m more inspired by the people who’s paths I cross during my runs, and the woman with great shoulders I see in the grocery store. Like Miz said, I can relate to these people.


geekgirl August 6, 2008 at 11:02 am

I’m with Crabby, I never pay attention to celebrity workouts. Except I do know that Chuck Norris uses the Total Gym. Because if I was ignorant of that he’d come to my house and roundhouse kick something.

The only thing we have to fear, is Chuck himself.

I did have to bite my tongue one day when a fellow runner was so excited that she had a better marathon finishing time than Katie Holmes. In my head: *That’s a goal?*, out of my mouth: “Oh, that’s great, did you have fun?”


Colleen August 6, 2008 at 11:03 am

My dog Maggie! And my 400 co-workers (cubicle farm) who are for the most part overweight. Sitting in front of a computer for 9 hours a day does nothing for my fitness. When I get home it’s all about getting outside and working off my stress and feeling good about myself.


Alice August 6, 2008 at 11:28 am

Euh… I haven’t turned 30 yet and I am old, Charlote??

Well I wish I could say I am not interested in what workouts celebrities engage in, but I always walk out feeling:
A- they are telling lies, “walking around the beach” does not give you a body like this
B- who else can afford a state of the art gym at home and a live-in personal trainer.

I am inspired by people who are in the same situation as I and do seemingly impossible things, like competing in Ironman races. And yes, in group X classes or on the treadmill, I am definitely trying to work harder than the person next to me.


Dr. J August 6, 2008 at 12:50 pm

“I love gymspiration.”

On the one hand, I agree!

On the other, is that what I have to wipe off the machines after someone else is done?

Either way, real people have always inspired me. With their effort, and with their commitment!

PS Crabby, you are not old!!


JavaChick August 6, 2008 at 12:55 pm

Fear. I think I’m motivated by fear. I don’t want to gain more weight. I don’t want to be out of shape, huffing and puffing if I have to walk up a flight of stairs. I want to live a long and healthy life. I know exercise is not a guarantee, but evidence seems to indicate that it helps.

If I thought the “celebrity workouts” would actually make me skinny? Yeah, maybe I would be more interested. Mostly, I’m not convinced.


JavaChick August 6, 2008 at 12:58 pm

P.S….Inspiration? I was thinking last night on my walk about my Mom who is in her 60′s but is still a little dynamo. She’s not a gym-goer, but she’s a hard worker and she’s pretty fit. I hope that I am as fit when I get to that age.


groundedfitness August 6, 2008 at 1:01 pm

maybe its just me but ive never actually seen celebrities work out (besides mather macconhoweverthehellyouspellit) i see them walking in a and out of the gym, but that seems like more a fashion show. i also read about celebrites that claim the dont work out. but then i know their personal trainers name, so they are obviously lying.


Godiva Girl August 6, 2008 at 1:06 pm

I’m officially old, but I can rock a white bikini better than Britney these days!

Strong women inspire me… women who are strong physically and emotionally. It shows. That’s the essence of self confidence. Women who have overcome adversity and they know it.

Watch the “Joy Fit” club on MSNBC. Watch the video clips. Those women inspire me.

And, yeah, I’m obsessed with pull ups now that I saw a women at the gym doing 20 with out missing a beat…I must admit I’m always watching others at the gym for new ways to challenge myself.


WeightingGame August 6, 2008 at 1:11 pm

I will say, I saw Kelly Ripa’s guns on Letterman last nite and they were muy impressivo. I didn’t go and grab my dumbbells or anything (it was 11 pm after all, and I left that kind of crazy in college) but it did inspire me to work harder today. That said, I know all of the pics we see are crazy airbrushed so I don’t think I necessarily see Gisele’s naked butt on the cover of GQ and think “Must Hit Stairmaster ASAP.” But in a way, I kind of do :-(


Lethological Gourmet August 6, 2008 at 2:34 pm

I can’t say as I’m too inspired by celebrities. They don’t work 9-5 and then have to go to the gym after that and cook dinner and all that stuff (or at least, they could cook dinner, but they can afford not to). They have more flexible schedules and can afford personal trainers (PTs are damn expensive!) to sculpt those 6 packs for them. And part of their job is looking good, and that’s part of why they get paid big bucks.

I’m more inspired by the busy working woman who’s juggling a myriad different things but can still keep in shape and be healthy.


Sara August 6, 2008 at 2:37 pm

Jennie Berglund is my inspiration! Who can’t turn down a kickin’ class of hers?! A good tune with a good beat can really get me going too!


azusmom August 6, 2008 at 4:26 pm

Yay! I know who Ashley Tisdale is! I must be young and hip! Or have kids who watch Disney Channel.
Anyway, I used to be inspired by the pages of “Shape” magazine. Until I moved to L.A. and saw what people there actually do to keep their bodies looking the way they do. Now, I’m not jealous or inspired. I’m kinda scared for the future of humanity. (Honestly, if some of those folks put in half the time they spend working out towards volunteering, or, in some cases, LEARNING HOW TO ACT, the world would be a better place, and Hollywood would be filled with brilliant actors. Ah well. Not gonna happen.)
I’m also inspired by “real” people. Moms with no nannies who stay fit (like a certain author of this blog), or just people living their lives who fit exercise in. We’re lucky to live in a very fitness-friendly area now, and we see people out all the time just enjoying movement. They inspire me, much more than celebs who have trainers, nannies, assistants, etc.


SeaBreeze August 6, 2008 at 5:27 pm

I don’t read any of the celebrity rags or watch E network. Celebrity stardom NEVER done it for me. Never had a celebrity crush, etc. etc.

I agree with the nameless gym buddy. I totally watch the food network when on the recumbant bike or elliptical. I can’t watch it when trying to run on the treadmill though, too slow. =)


Sagan Morrow August 6, 2008 at 5:46 pm

I love learning about what celebrities do (even when it all IS just regurgitation). But my inspiration also comes from real people. And often just seeing people looking happy on the street. Or children playing.

Old movies also give me inspiration… seeing the women from years ago with their non-super-skinny bodies is something of a relief!


T August 6, 2008 at 6:00 pm

hrm. i guess i’m like mizfit and gena in that the progress of regular, everyday people. when i used to work out at the gym, i’d see the daily progress of people who slowly but surely transformed themselves.

well, partly. i also see my mom (overweight but thanks to genetics or something, good blood pressure and all that) and think, “mom, i love you, but i never want to look like you.”


Mark Salinas August 6, 2008 at 6:19 pm

No! I find them irritating! I only know who they are because I have a teenage daughter.


Judy August 6, 2008 at 6:23 pm

Matthew McConaughey gets my heart pumping. And other parts. AH, drooling now.

I don’t know that celeb workouts get me motivated. I don’t have a TV or cable, so I think celeb gossip is my one media/culture vice. I read Perez Hilton, bought this week’s people (secretly in love with Angelina). But do they inspire me to get in shape? No, I’m more like the bad ones who like to see celebs looking like real people, with a little cellulite and some dark circles or wrinkles.

What inspires me is trying to stay healthier, more fit and flexible and active than my mother, who turns 60 today and couldn’t run around the block if her life depended on it and who I won’t trust alone with my sons because it wouldn’t be safe.

And I just turned 30 recently, but would probably be old if I didn’t have a 12-yo daughter to keep me updated on whatever pop culture phenomenons are going on right now. I’m reliving my own 12-yo New Kids on the Block obsession with her current love for all things Jonas Brothers. (Nick is pretty cute.)


Quix August 6, 2008 at 7:25 pm

Not really, no. I don’t want to look like celebrity barbie, I spent too many years of my youth pining away for that, when I had bodybuilder barbie’s body (and then bodybuilder-who-let-herself-go barbie’s body, I guess, maybe it’s a bad analogy but I’m sticking to it).

I’m more motivated by someone who’s got a real life, job, kids, responsibilities, whatever, and still takes the time to work out and stay in shape. I’m motivated most by looking in the mirror though – I’m totally self centered in this aspect. Seeing what I do and how it affects me (both beneficially and adversely) really makes me want to do the good stuff.


Conny August 6, 2008 at 8:32 pm

Celebrities as a role model? No way; they are my anti-role model. I must be old-ish (45) but young at heart. The only reason I know who Ashley Tisdale is because she’s on the cover of SHAPE for Aug. 08. I need to let my subscription lapse.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that ALL of you are my inspiration: women with day jobs, families and other obligations, who are able to still find time to devote to fitness and better health…and to blog too.

Because of your efforts and input, I find myself motivated to get out of bed earlier (5AM) and go to the gym.

Thanks again.


dislyxec August 7, 2008 at 12:31 am

I just googled ashley tisdale and she’s only three years younger than me… I’m not old! :(

One of my favorite motivational commercials:


adria August 7, 2008 at 12:40 am

I have an official “gymboy”. he’s what makes my world go round… jk. actually, seeing him is one of the main reasons i go to the gym.


Anonymous August 7, 2008 at 2:12 am

Another fab post. Def not inspired by celebs – they get paid to look good! I get inspired by other chicks on the CrossFit workout logs – love seeing what they’re all up to and is very supportive. Also ALWAYS have to make sure that I am running faster than the person next to me on the treadmill (not that hard sadly – why are you people going so slowly??? What is wrong with you???) which is crazy but um, that’s me. Also I like when people comment on my nice arms, so that keeps me exercising too. Vanity is a powerful motivator!


workout mommy August 7, 2008 at 3:21 am

I need to remember not to take a big sip of water right before loading your site. That picture is HILARIOUS!

I am celebrity obsessed, so I do like to see pics of them working out/exercising. I always wonder how their trainers get that job. (any celebs out there want to train with me? I am available. Thanks!)

but just like others have said, I know that most of the time the pictures are just photo opps for them.


Anonymous August 11, 2008 at 8:30 am

I can’t say I was ever motivated by a celebrity to do a work out but I can say certain movies have. Like the theme to “Rocky” that was inspirational. Any one or anybody can achieve, they just have to keep at it one day at a time. Keep their focus on their goal. When the moment comes they can’t be afraid, they have nothing to lose since they have nothing to begin with (besides their sense of self worth) “Eye Of The Tiger” (that says it all). But my main motivation has been past regrets. Or one regret. I won’t get into any great detail, other than to say that I know everyone has at one point in their life regretted not finishing or putting their best into something they did in their past. I just decided (a year and a half ago) I couldn’t live with that angst anymore and did something about it. And I say happily that I am and still doing it.

Gym Buddy Mike


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