Dammn, baby! In case you haven’t noticed, Janet Jackson looks better than ever these days — and that’s after giving birth to her first child at 51 years old. In an exclusive interview with Life & Style, Janet’s longtime personal trainer, Tony Martinez, reveals how his superstar client returned to fighting form following the birth of her now-12-month-old son, Eissa.
According to the fitness guru, the “All for You” songstress took preemptive action to make sure she bounced back quickly. “I trained her during her pregnancy, up until just before she had Eissa,” Tony tells Life & Style. “And because Janet worked out during her pregnancy, it was a faster recovery time for her as well. That definitely makes a huge difference.”
Tony and Janet in 2011. (Photo Credit: Splash)
Though Janet’s pregnancy forced her to slow down on abdominal exercises, the Grammy winner — whose remarkably taut tummy remains the definition of #bodygoals for modern gym-goers — did her best to maintain her core strength. “We didn’t work out too hard because she was getting tired a lot. So it was more body movements, more flexibility. We didn’t have to do a lot of core work. But we did do a little core. No crunches, but definitely planks,” Tony says. “And so after she had the baby, she just came back so strong. She was so fit. When she’s mentally focused, there is no stopping her. She’s a perfectionist. Her endurance is so good.”
After welcoming Eissa with her now-estranged husband, Wissam al Mana, in January 2017, Janet was quick to resume her training schedule with Tony. This time, however, she was ready to turn up the heat — not because she was worried about shedding the baby weight, but because the new mom wanted to be in the best shape ever to take care of her little boy.
“There wasn’t a specific number she was trying to hit on the scale. She just wanted to drop weight and be healthy. She wants to be there for her baby. And for that, you’ve got to have a lot of energy. She was healthy through her pregnancy and because of that, she’s healthier now. So that was the main goal,” Tony explains. “I don’t emphasize a number. I emphasize how you feel when you’re working out. I want Janet — and all my clients — to have fun.”
And fun they always have. Tony tells Life & Style that he and Miss Jackson (if you're nasty) refer to their gym sessions as “recess,” which he says “automatically makes it more enjoyable!” The health expert — who first started working with Janet in late 1997 — caters his workouts to appease the pop icon, since she easily gets bored performing the same routine over and over again.
“We never do the same workout twice — ever. We’ve never done the same workout over the past 20 years, so I’ve had to be that creative. I’m constantly thinking of new stuff for her,” he says, adding that Janet likes to keep her workouts fast and efficient. “She wanted to do more lifting [after having Eissa]. We also did circuit training with resistance bands. She likes the resistance bands a lot. She worked out between 20 or 30 minutes tops and anywhere between three to five times a week.”
Janet performing on her State of the Word Tour in October 2017. (Photo Credit: Splash)
So how exactly did Janet make such a dramatic transformation without clocking in more than a half hour at the gym? “I did compound movements with her. I’ll give you a good example: We’ll do some squats and then right away, we’ll go into a plank for 30 seconds and then we’ll go straight into a pushup with one leg up in the air — which she can do with no problem, by the way! And then after that, we’ll go into bicycle crunches,” Tony says. “We keep it moving the entire time for 25 to 30 minutes. So her rest period is minimal — between 10 and 30 seconds.”
The exercise buff — who’s sculpted a myriad of famous physiques, including Britney Spears' and Pink's, among others — adds, “We keep moving, so Janet’s huffing and puffing. Sometimes she’s like, ‘Why am I sweating? I’m on the floor right now. I’m only on the floor and I’m dripping!’ I’m like, ‘I know, right?’ It’s crazy, but that’s what we do.”
Of course, as Tony emphasizes, nutrition and working out are equally important when trying to slim down. Luckily for Janet, her eating habits were already golden. “We didn’t have to do a lot in terms of a meal plan because Janet is a pretty balanced eater. She loves fish. She’s a fish and vegetable girl. She drinks tons of water,” he says of the chart-topping diva’s clean diet. “She limits her carbs and does her best to eat only good carbs like wild rice, quinoa, and brown rice. She doesn’t do too many carbs. She’s much more of a protein eater. She likes plant-based protein as well. She likes to try it all, but she loves fish.”
Still, Tony often encourages Janet to give into her cravings when they arise. “I tell her to cheat at least once week!” he enthuses. “If your body’s craving it, there’s nothing wrong with it. But only for one meal, that’s it. Not for the whole day. One cheat meal is fine. It’s not going to hurt you. Sometimes your body craves that fat, craves that salt. So you have that one thing you’re craving, whatever it is. And then that’s it.”
For those looking to get a svelte frame like Janet’s, Tony advises to “set realistic goals” because “every body’s different.” The secret to kickstarting your own fitness journey is to simply “get your body moving,” Tony tells Life & Style. “It’s like a car. You have to change your oil for it to move.”
Rather than focusing on replicating Janet’s hot bod, Tony says that people should be inspired by her hard work and dedication in the gym. “She takes her health very seriously. And it’s been known for her, she’s been up and down in weight here and there. But at the same time, she always fights through it. Whatever she goes through, whatever it is, she gets through it. Janet puts her mind in that right place and then she gets focused,” the LA-based coach gushes. “I’ve trained a lot of athletes and she’s right up there with them.” For more on Janet, check out her sweetest quotes about motherhood in the video below!