By Chere Di Boscio
Model Bianca Balti once boasted that “Karl Lagerfeld told me I have the butt of a goddess, and I shouldn’t ruin it with exercise.” Fortunately for their health, most models don’t feel this way about working out – but they are aware that certain exercises can make bodies bulk up – a look that designers aren’t usually keen on.
Enter Dan Roberts, a physical trainer who knows what models (and other women, of course!) really want to look like, and more importantly, how they want to feel. He’s designed the Methodology X workout, which focuses on building strength, not bulk; giving women’s bodies power, whilst making them feel empowered.
Normally, I’m not much into classes, preferring to go out for a run then do some crunches and light yoga or stretching afterwards. But I couldn’t refuse an invitation to join a class designed by one of the UK’s most revered celebrity trainers, held at Blok, one of London’s coolest workout spots. And besides, who wouldn’t want to know how to get a body like Amy Vaughn, Sophie Thomas or Suki Waterhouse, all of whom have been Roberts’ clients?
Whilst most experts recommend doing some kind of sweat-inducing workout for around 160 minutes a week, Roberts insists that people should attend his classes “whenever they can; whenever they want to.” But he believes that the workout is so fun and motivating, this will likely be often.
Fun is built into the workout through variety: martial arts, modern dance, yoga, Pilates and boxing all inspired the moves in the workout. There’s a definite formula to this: after a warm up, 6 stations need to be completed twice in the first round. Taking one minute each, the exercises focus on some form of strength: legs, core, or arms. The stations are completed in teams of two, which actually was quite motivating – when I thought I was ready to drop, my partner (who just happened to be Charlotte, a model reminiscent of a younger Lily Cole) would egg me on. Some moves were new to me, but Dan Roberts workout veteran Charlotte showed me how to do them perfectly.
After these gruelling 15 minutes, a 2 minute break was permitted – which most of us spent gulping down water and catching our breath, foolishly thinking we would start a nice cool down next.
How wrong we were! Our instructor, Giselle, gave us a ‘spotlight’ tutorial on one of the moves (shadow boxing), which we practiced for a few minutes before moving on to the next 8 step circuit, which was even more of a killer than the first. I’m pretty fit, but I couldn’t even complete some of the exercises (namely ‘Superwoman’ and the aptly named ‘The Killer’). Ditto for Charlotte. But luckily, our instructor, Giselle, was right beside us to encourage us to do the most we could (Note to self: must work on upper body strength!).
Finally, it was time to cool down. Given the intensity of the workout, I do believe this could be a bit longer – and my very sore muscles the next day just confirmed that a bit more stretching here could do a body good. But overall, I was very impressed by the class – the time flew by, I met some great women, and worked on muscles I forgot I had.
Try It Yourself
Here are a few of the killer moves I learned with Giselle through the Dan Roberts Methodology X workout.
The Bikini Shaper
Lie on your side, with your arm extended under your ear, head resting on your arm. Lift your hips so that only the very top of your upper thigh is on the floor. Find your balance. Separate your legs, and lift the top leg up, foot flexed, as high as you can. Lower and repeat for 30 seconds. Switch sides. Do this for two sets. You should feel it in the outer hips and thighs.
The Inclined Tucked Push-up
This one killed me! Find a block (or if you don’t have one, a chair). Position yourself on the chair with your legs back, on your toes. Ensure your back is very straight and your core is engaged. Lower yourself as far as you can with your elbows close to the body – do not let them point out! Push yourself up again. Keep going for 1 full minute. Take a break, then repeat. Try not to cry!
The Bond Girl
I think this was my favourite one! Standing straight, jump into a lunge, keeping your knee above the floor. Make a ‘gun’ with both hands, and slowly turn from the waist over the bent leg. Jump up and switch sides. Keep going for a full minute, then take a break for 30 seconds. Start again and go for one more minute, channelling your favourite Bond girl, of course!
If you live in London, we’re giving away three free classes at Blok! Be the first to email [email protected] with Dan Roberts Methodology X in the subject line.