Being active a way of life: Celeb trainer

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While it seems most Hollywood A-listers loathe the paparazzi, the stop-at-nothing shutterbugs offer celebrities at least one benefit: a continuous supply of workout motivation.

Just ask Michelle Lovitt, a Los Angeles-based trainer to the stars who counts Courteney Cox, Julianne Moore, Jason Statham, Sean (Puffy) Combs and Lauren Graham among her famous clientele.

"The seasoned vets that I work with know that when they go out, whether they want it or not, there’s a good chance they’re going to be photographed," Lovitt tells Sun Media in a phone interview from L.A.

And the last thing her clients want is to be featured in Star Magazine’s Worst Beach Bodies edition, she adds with a laugh.

"So it’s very important for them to look a certain way. You don’t want those unflattering photographs. They’re very conscious of that."

Looking good, of course, isn’t Lovitt’s sole focus when it comes to fitness. Before she began whipping Hollywood stars into tip-top condition, the 42-year-old exercise guru enjoyed a 13-year career as a strength and conditioning coach.

Lovitt, who earned a bachelor’s degree in sports nutrition and her masters in exercise physiology at Fresno State University, worked with athletes at her alma mater, the University of Notre Dame and the University of Southern California.

"It was performance-based and you had a certain amount of time to get the athletes ready to perform at their highest level," she explains. "It’s the same thing with people in the (entertainment) industry in Los Angeles. Even though they’re not going out for a gold medal, it’s their job and they have to perform well and look good doing it."

No matter who she’s training, Lovitt’s fitness philosophy doesn’t waver.

"My philosophy for myself and clients is to have fun while working out and to achieve results while having fun," she says.

"It’s all about enjoying what you do, not overdoing it — everything in moderation so that you prevent injury — but working out in a manner so that you achieve the goals that you want without having to spend four or five hours a day in the gym."

Along with that comes variety. Plenty of it.

"I don’t personally like to get bored," Lovitt notes. "That’s the thing that I bring to my clients — lots of variety, so they’re not doing the same thing over and over, where it gets repetitious and where they get frustrated and don’t want to continue on. It’s all about variety."

Cox, the 47-year-old star of the ABC/TBS sitcom Cougar Town, epitomizes Lovitt’s philosophy.

"Her body is that of a 25-year-old’s," Lovitt praises. "She’s amazing and she doesn’t abstain from anything. Like her character on Cougar Town, she’ll have a glass of red wine, but she does it in moderation. She definitely takes care of herself."

And Lovitt, who recently signed on as brand ambassador for high-end activewear line Zobha, certainly follows her own advice. The certified yoga instructor says she’s a "runner by nature," but she makes time for strength training and a variety of other physical pursuits.

"When I can make it to the gym and I have time on my own — when I’m not in the mountains running, in the yoga studio doing yoga or working — then I try to squeeze in a little bit of strength training here and there," she says. "A big part of an active lifestyle is just keeping moving — whether it’s running, riding my bike or whatnot.

"I can’t live without it (being active) and I don’t know if any of my close friends and family can live without me doing something active because I would bounce off the walls. So it’s a really good match — my energy and my job."

Michelle’s fitness advice:

"Reward yourself every six weeks with a new outfit."

"If you feel good about how you look, you’re going to work out harder because people are either watching you or you feel good so you want to push yourself a little bit harder."

"Buy a ‘great pair of shoes’ and a heart-rate monitor that plugs into your computer to gauge your progress."

"Keep motivated and hydrated, and "just have fun with it."