Zoë Saldana’s Trainer Reveals How She Whipped Her Body Back into Shape After Twins

01/20/2016 at 08:54 AM ET

Zoë SaldanaJason LaVeris/FilmMagic

After adding “mother” to her job title, Zoë Saldana spent 2015 as a cheerleader for all moms trying to get back to their pre-baby bodies.

The Guardians of the Galaxy 2 star was vocal on social media about her journey back to fit after giving birth to her twin boys, Cy and Bowie, 14 months, telling her fans, “All it takes is determination! Mommies we can all do it, damn it!!!”

To find her resolve, Saldana reached out to celebrity trainer Ramona Braganza, who put the actress through the body-circuit gauntlet to get her ready for Star Trek just nine months after giving birth.

“Our workouts were to not only get her looking strong but feeling fit again,” Braganza, who also works with Jessica Alba and Halle Berry, tells PEOPLE.

To get Saldana back down from her pregnancy high of 185 lbs., Braganza tailored the exercises to Saldana’s preferences, which mostly meant avoiding the dreadmill.

“Zoë is not a big fan of the treadmill so for cardio, I focused on dance-based moves and boxing moves to get her heart rate up, kicks, leg lifts, plyometric combinations, and had her doing interval training if we did get on the cardio equipment.”

And to get those amazing abs that Saldana showed off in July, they did more than just crunches.

“Building back her stamina was key, as was strengthening her core,” Braganza says. “Our focus there was Pilates-based exercises including 100s [lying back with legs and shoulders off the ground, while pumping the arms up and down slightly for 100 reps], bicycles, leg lifts and exercises such as Spyder on the Bosu ball.”

And for strength training, Braganza had Saldana target her back and legs for the best results.

“For strength training, we worked with dumbbells, focusing on back and shoulders to improve posture and give length to the torso,” Braganza says. “Leg work is always a big part of my daily workouts for my clients and weights get legs in shape quicker when doing lunges, squats, and deadlifts.”

Of course, a body isn’t totally made in the gym, so Saldana would occasionally mix it up and go for a hike outdoors. And when it came to changing up her diet, Saldana got some extra support.

“Her husband Marco and her both decided to get in shape together and their eating plan included a lot of organic veggies, many dishes that had a Latin flare and but healthier versions,” Braganza explains.

And Saldana was clearly loyal to her workouts – in December, Saldana was able to slip back into her body-conscious Guardians of the Galaxy jumpsuit from her pre-pregnancy days.

“Holy S—! You guys, I had to share this, this is one of the old #guardiansofthegalaxy costumes that I wore back in 2013,” she wrote in an Instagram post. “After twins I can’t believe I was able to slip into this.”

“It pays off to work hard! I mean it mommies of the world, if I did it you can too.”

Julie Mazziotta

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Sandra on

Good work lady….Now come the whiners, whining about if I had money and a trainer and a personal chef…Blah….Blah….Blah….Blah. Well guess what, that’s life and if you can’t do it her way, then do it your way.

Summer on

Well she DOES have a professional team of nannies, trainers, maids, personal assistants, and chefs. Which is fine, because her job is to look amazing. Normal women may take longer to get in shape, and probably will never attain her physique, but they can achieve some level of fitness. My issue with Zoe is her saying, “If I can do it, you can too!” Um. The average mom leads a much busier, harder life. So that makes no sense.

Kels on

I’m so tired of rich people saying all it took was determination and the next breath say they hired someone to help. Then all is really took was a team of people helping you. If everyone had a team of people helping them they could do it to no matter what it is. Stop with the sanctimonious B S. Why can’t they be honest and say, it’s not fair to judge me as the standard because I could afford help and so many others can’t. That I would respect.

Kelly on

She actually looks better now. She was too skinny before.

Kristina on

She looks great! The truth is, many of us put forth the excuse like, oh she has a personal trainer/chef/money for nannies, etc. If we as mothers made time for ourselves, we could do it too. Sure it might take a bit longer, but enough excuses. Most gyms these days have daycare that can watch your child for an hour while you work out. You can take your child hiking with you. No more excuses!!!

KoolGurl on

Actually, determination is more important than money. I have time and equipment. I’m not thin because I hate working out. I also love peanut butter cups.

JustSayin on

It’s time people get real and honest with themselves. Yes she has help but it is attainable to be a fitter version of yourself. People shows regular folks every year that lost half or more of their body weight. Will you look like Zoe? Um, unless you have her body type probably not. I’m 5″2 and I’ll never look like her but I can be the best me. I’m down 40lbs and have more to go but it’s possible. Your only limit is yourself. If you think getting in shape is unattainable then for you it will be. I don’t LIKE waking up at 5:45am to workout but as a mom that works full-time and taking grad classes on the side I gotta do what I gotta do. I’ve realized people take time out for what they want. I see people walking during their lunches at my job, I see people doing squats and lunges at their desk. It’s all a matter of determination.

Jem on

People who say she could do it only because she has the time and money are disingenuous! I’m sorry girls but this woman is in 3 big franchises +other movies and jumps from one set to another where she stays for up to 16 hours a day ( regular moms unless live in third world work for 4 to 8 hours a day). In an interview she said she’d wake up at 5am in the morning just to spend more time with her babies because she was on set all day. Don’t minimize her being a working mom too just because her job is different from yours. Don’t pass the message that being an actress means it’s not real job or you get all the free time of the work and she doesn’t have a ‘busy’ life too. That’s bulls**t. She got back in her shape because she needed for her job and because WANTED to. She is not saying you have to do it HER way, just that she had the same realistic problems mommies have after prea gnancy (do you prefer the actresses who pretend everything magically got back to how it was and they made no effort?) and that if she made it maybe you can too. It’s just encouraging. Of course if you aren’t needed to be on some Hollywood set maybe you don’t even need to do everything she did to look back like you were or feel good.
I applaud Zoe for being real, she took her time 9-14 months after giving birth is the average time you should give to your body, some need more some need less no one is the same.

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