Imogen Edwards-Jones finds out why celebrities and fitness fans love Bodyism so much...
You have to pity on the Bodyism crew when I walk through the shiny-glass door of the Bulgari Hotel, a stylist’s fantasy hostelry in Knightsbridge. All bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, clean and lean like the diet they espouse, they’re used to dealing with the likes of Elle Macpherson and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. So I could see them rapidly reaching for their liberal, OAP-embracing, helpful faces as I shuffled towards them. Poor sods. You see it is quite easy to tweak the inner-thigh of a supermodel, or firm the ab of an already rock-hard stomach, but honing cottage cheese saddlebags? Getting rid of crepe-gut? Effectively shining shit? That’s a whole new ballgame.
And to be honest not only am I 1001 years-old with not a sniff of a multi- million-pound modelling contract but I could barely move. Fresh from a debilitating typing routine where I’d spent the last six weeks bent over my computer trying to hit a deeply terrifying book deadline, I was more hunched than that poor chap who rang the bells at Notre Dame.
Mike, the handsome instructor, dressed entirely in black, could only stand and stare as I strained out a smile. It took him less than a few minutes to ascertain that a vigorous sweat-inducing workout would only reduce me to a crumbling weeping mess. Which was smart of him. For in lieu of booing, I could equally have released the inner velociraptor that I save for moments of extreme stress.
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So instead of 60 burpees, followed by 75 star jumps and 50 squat thrusts, the clever Mike worked out my shoulders and my upper back, stretching and manipulating my appallingly crunched up spine. At one point he made me lie on the ground with a tennis ball between my shoulders, it released such a massive rush of tense energy that I promptly burst into tears. One hour later I left the gym as if I were floating on cloud nine or even ten. Mike is good.
A few days later I was given the charming Jamie, who had clearly been briefed by Mike. I was worked out on the cross trainer (one of my pet hates) for a thankfully brief three minutes before going straight on to my upper and lower back. I did some stomach strengthening exercises, working the floor with some Pilates moves and a few lunges and bum-out squats. Jamie’s workout was harder than Mike’s but he did have marginally less of a hunch-shouldered she-devil to train.
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However it was only on my third visit to Bodyism that it all suddenly clicked into place. I was given the charming Mike again who started to talk to me about my posture. My shoulders hunch because my stomach is weak and my flappy old glutes have long since given up the ghost. My pelvis tips forward when I stand, because my hips are too supple and loose.
Wow! All my problems in one well-observed diagnosis. And then it occurred to me; there’s a reason why this gym was packed with slebs - some of whom I wanted to throw my panties at, others who’d I happily have ‘run over’ on a zebra crossing. They really know their stuff. Any old fool can make you run around the gym until you’re purple in the face and ready to puke. But it takes some smarts and some real knowledge to listen to your client, not push them until they cry and then get to the real bottom, or indeed glute, of the problem.
“The thing with you Imogen,” said Mike as he handed me a glass of chilled water. “It’s not about the weight loss, because you’re slight - it’s about toning what is there.”
Slight!?? Slight!!? I am afraid I staggered towards the exit in need of oxygen and three fags. I have NEVER been called SLIGHT in my entire chubby fatty life! No wonder this is one of the top gyms in town.