*If you believe 51-year-old Janet Jackson ballooned into a mammoth while pregnant with her first child, then you’re probably wondering how she shed the pounds to achieve “touring shape” after giving birth.
Jackson’s trainer Paulette Sybliss says she helped the singer drop the baby fat through “intense” workouts.
“That was my goal. I needed to get her not just looking fit, but to be able to move, to talk and to sing,” Sybliss tells PEOPLE. “She sings and dances. She does them together — she doesn’t do one or the other.”
Jackson started working out eight weeks after delivering Eissa on Jan. 3 and trained with Sybliss at least four days a week for 45 minutes to an hour.
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Sybliss says their workouts were focused on weight training — not cardio.
“People are quite surprised, but we did no conventional cardio the entire time we worked out together,” she says. “It was weight training.”
“When you work your muscles in that way, your body is going to continue to burn calories. You may burn some calories when you step on a treadmill, but the minute you stop your body stops; you’re not burning any more. So my goal was, every time she’s not with me, I need her body to be working.”
Strength training helped prepare Jackson for the intensity of performing live.
“I remember her saying to me at one point, ‘This feels like my dance routine, because it’s intense, with quick rest, back to it, quick rest.’ And that’s how I structured my sessions, that’s what I wanted,” Sybliss says.
When asked if Jackson had a favorite exercise, Sybliss laughed and said, “I think back work might be her favorite, if I had to choose. But I think all the sessions are quite challenging … She didn’t look forward to any of the leg sessions. They were intense. They had to be intense — the bigger the muscle group, the more you’re going to have to physically work it to feel it. But that was where we would be doing the work and burning the calories.”
Sybliss is working with Janet Jackson throughout her current tour and says they’re focused on body maintenance.
“Now my goal as a trainer is to keep her fit, to keep her healthy,” Sybliss says. “She still has 40-plus shows. You can compare it to an athlete — they’re so strong but they’re often bordering on an injury. So my goal is to keep her going, keep her strong and healthy.”