She's a London-based yoga teacher, personal trainer and author (originally from our sunny shores). She's recently published her 28 day Vertue Method that promises long lasting, all encompassing results like a leaner, stronger and more flexible bod, plus a calmer, happier and more productive mind.
Enticing, right? Right. So we got the deets about what, exactly, this involves.
What’s the philosophy behind the Vertue Method?
Well, being a yoga teacher and a personal trainer and an ex-gymnast it was really about combining strength and flexibility together. It’s nothing new that we haven’t already heard but it’s like balance, just balancing those things: strength, flexibility, a calm mind, all those things that we need to have a healthy body, not just a fit body, if that makes sense?
So do you see a lot of women going hell for leather on one type of workout rather than combining these different exercise elements?
Yeah, and I think we sometimes gravitate towards those things that we’re good at, not necessarily the things that our body needs. And so I wanted with the Vertue Method to kind of create this one stop shop that made it all a bit more digestible and a bit more approachable, something that you could integrate into your life easily. So I never want anyone to give up doing something that they love, I just think that the Vertue Method can support it as well.
What are the key moves to nail first up?
Ooh that’s an interesting one. I always think that a squat and a lunge is really key, because they’re sort of functional human movements. So being able to lunge helps people run, helps people get up stairs, and also helps shape the booty and shape the hamstrings and all that sort of stuff as well, so there’s two benefits to it from a functional perspective. I think anything that works your glutes is going to support your body. I was just saying earlier that if you spend nine hours a day sat on your butt you can’t expect it to just kind of switch on when you start exercising, so glute activation exercises are really key as well and that’s why they’re heavily in the book as well. Because a lot of people kind of go straight from their desk to the gym, if they don’t activate their glutes and mobilise their hips and do some sort of like flexibility work as well then they’re never going to actually activate their glutes and they just keep building quads and that’s when you can start to run into knee problems from weight training and things like that so.
Do you think that women are still scared to pick up weights?
So I think more and more the culture is shifting. Physically with the rise of feminism, which is great because even there’s a little part in my book where I talk about this whole concept, I get a bit angry when I see those sort of like little tiny pink dumbbells that weigh like two pounds, and they’re sort of directed at women.
But there’s a lot of women, particularly in the UK as well, that still really believe in that and are still really scared of lifting a lot of weight but I just think it’s ridiculous because, you know, women lift more than men on a daily basis anyway, you know, men aren’t like picking up the kids, the groceries, I mean I’m being very general here, but it’s sort of like women do lift heavy things on a daily basis that weigh much more than two pounds. So it’s, from a practical and pragmatic perspective, it’s ridiculous to say don’t lift weights because you’ll get bulky. Well you need to from a functional perspective. The other side is that there’s so many huge benefits to doing it. Not only is it empowering, but it also can yield fat loss, it creates the shape that women often want in their bodies from an aesthetic perspective and it also reduces the risk of osteoporosis. So there’s just so many reasons to do it.
Have you noticed a trend of more women want to grow their, um, bums?
(Laughs) Let’s not beat around the bush let’s go straight to the booty. I’m all about the booty, there’s no problem with training for aesthetic reasons, I just think it shouldn’t be the only reason that you train. Because then sometimes if you feel like you’re not seeing a result, particularly with women, you know we have to respect the fact that we go through a menstrual cycle every month with that fluctuation in weight and water retention and that sort of stuff, so if we’re only training because we want to look a certain way then we’re going to be constantly kind of at the mercy of how our body looks.
Whereas if we’re training because we’re like okay I want a stronger butt because it helps with my back pain, or it helps with my knee pain or it helps me do more things or I can lift heavier or do push-ups whatever, then you always feel motivated to exercise. There’s no dip in motivation because there’s always a reason to keep pushing through, so I think that’s the real key. But yeah I think there’s nothing wrong with focusing on aesthetics, but it just shouldn’t be the only reason.
What’s your attitude towards food?
I mean I don’t want to be too cliché and go “balance”, but you know we all come back to the same thing. Health is about balance and so believe that we need to just eat a huge range of just different things, but if I was to really simplify it I would say the key thing that I really want women and men to take away is, make sure you’re getting enough protein in your diet, and remembering that it doesn’t always have to come from meat. It can come from different sources and it should really. And just fill your plate with a sh*t load of vegetables, for lack of a better word. You can tell I’m Aussie. Basically I just think that not only are vegetables important for the fibre content, which relates to not just things like lower levels of obesity but also reduced risk of different diseases.
And this is a key thing that we tend to neglect looking at when people go down the route of a fat loss diet, they just think well my number one goal is fat loss, but if you think about it from a broader perspective, your food is your fuel, and it’s not just fuelling how much fat is in your body composition, it’s also fuelling your hair and your skin, your nails, how bright your eyes are and how strong your teeth might be. All of these different things that I think women spend a lot of money on preserving, and all of that stuff happens with the fuel that you intake. So we need to think of it from a broader perspective, not just fat loss.
What is it like training celebrities? Is it different to us "normal" people?
No it’s really not. You know it’s kind of like how I guess a doctor would approach a body, it’s just a body, and so I sort of see it in the same way. It’s like okay, what does this particular body need and where does it need strengthening or mobilising and that sort of thing so I kind of approach it all in different ways.