Women’s Health: Can you give an example of one of Diana’s specific workouts or larger fitness plans?
Cameron Falloon: Diana travelled a lot, so our best bang for buck was to focus on resistance and strength training and tick those boxes, rather than cardio, which she could more easily do while on the move by getting in a run. Our program was focused on keeping her strong and building lean muscle, which would have better lasting effects.
We predominantly trained legs and core and a lot of postural exercises. We would deadlift, RDL, squat or lunge as a main focus lift, all weighted and 8-12 reps, which is ideal for hypertrophy and building muscle. The photo shoot she did with Vanity Fair in 1997 was at the end of a really intense strength-training block. We had been able to build a huge amount of lean muscle through her back, and we were both really pleased with the results!
What was it like to train alongside Princess Diana?
Initially I was training in an empty gym with my client, alongside Diana and her PT at the time. That was surreal - just to be alongside her and to be able to slowly build a relationship of trust. But just like the name suggests, being a “personal” trainer, you develop that close relationship with your client regardless of who they are or where they are from.
In the end, people are people. Once you peel away the fame status exterior, there is a really good person underneath who was interested in what I was doing, my life and my family. She was fun to be around, and had a really great sense of humour. A lot of the conversation we had in the gym was around her kids. She was absolutely besotted by them and would share jokes that Harry and William had told. She had that real primal nurturing mother nature.
I was only reminded of her status through glimpses as she was leaving or entering the gym. Inside the gym it was her sanctuary - one hour to escape the chaotic outside world that constantly wanted a piece of her. It was really important for me to protect and respect her privacy - I didn’t tell my mum and dad for ages because I knew they would push me to introduce them and I didn’t want to take advantage of the relationship that we had formed.
How is it different working with professional athletes and somebody such as Princess Diana?
I believe that you should treat everyone the same as a client. There will always be individual differences with personality, fitness levels and training needs, but the same programming principles apply no matter if you’re a celebrity, elite athlete or not. The science behind it is the same.
The only difference was the level of trust with Diana - she had chosen me to be her personal trainer. Often with an elite athlete, you are part of the staffing team where there is already a level of trust established. Given Diana’s notoriety globally and everyone wanting a slice of her life, you need to earn that trust training with one of the most famous people in the world. It was about always having her best interests at hand, with no other agenda.