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No Sweat

Dorm-food alternative, mobile gym for movie stars

You think you work long hours? Consider the late-night and early-morning schedules Valerie Waters' Hollywood clients face when on location for a movie or TV show. The personal-trainer-turned-entrepreneur knows the importance of regular workouts, "but how do you fire up at 11 o'clock at night--or at 4 o'clock in the morning?" she says.

In late 1998, Waters, who counts such flab-free celebs as Cindy Crawford among her clientele, came up with a concept guaranteed to get exhausted actors and models motivated day or night.

"Most actors already have a trainer. We just provide a facility [for them to exercise in]," explains Waters, 36. Muscle Truck Co. provides a decidedly upscale alternative to the "trailers with weights" actors typically use to work out on the set. Waters spent roughly $250,000 to build two fully equipped gyms-on-wheels, featuring the best in cardio and weight equipment, a state-of-the-art entertainment center with surround sound, recessed lighting and mirrored walls. Thanks to forced air conditioning, celebs can even work out in between takes without breaking a sweat or ruining makeup jobs.

To see the luxurious gym is to love it, says Waters, whose biggest challenge has been creating market awareness of her fitness godsend. "The person who uses the gym is not necessarily the person who pays for it. Generally, the production company pays for it, but the actors need to request it," explains the West Hollywood, California, entrepreneur. "So I'm networking like crazy, making contacts and letting actors' agents and publicists know this is available."

Next step: building more Muscle Truck gyms. Designing home and corporate gyms in the past helped Waters build the first two, but it still took three times longer than she'd expected. Now, with the routine down to a science, "I can [create a truck] in four weeks," says Waters. Plans are in the works for a minitrailer as well as a customized version. "Nothing's as easy as you think it's going to be," says Waters, "but it's still exciting. I'm enjoying the process."

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