Kinvara Balfour eyes up London’s latest fitness regimen – the Skinny Bitch Collective, which is fast getting a name for honing some of the capital’s hottest bodies.
When I first heard about The Skinny Bitch Collective , I balked. The name, which refers to a new exercise regime for women founded in London (and quite possibly soon to take on the world) contains two words I deplore. I don’t agree with the idea of being skinny, and I work really hard every day not to be a bitch.
However, I know a hot idea when I see one. And I pronounce this one hot. Created by Russell Bateman, a London-born personal trainer and men’s health expert, the regimen – whose tagline is ‘Come play with us’ - offers a new approach to training and fitness. It twins primal athletic performance with metabolic intensity and nutritional guidance, with an astute focus on technique, tempo and form.
Statements on The SBC site are as follows: ‘There will be no diets. Fresh, clean paleolithic produce will be at the fore. You WILL work hard to push yourself. You WILL squat and deadlift. You WILL realise your genetic potential.’ This mindset is in tune with a current mood in the zeitgeist that I think stems from the Olympics - one that says it’s ok to push oneself hard, to eat well, to sleep unashamedly when tired, to be disciplined when active, and to openly parade the results – be they physical or mental - with pride.
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Bateman embodies this staunch confidence. He is affable, funny and sharp and he won’t let you sit on your arse for one second. Having trained professional boxers and athletes (he also worked with James Duigan of Bodyism), he pushes his clients to the absolute max – the majority of which are fashion models, including Brit girls-of-the-moment, Edie Campbell, Poppy Delevingne and Sarah Macklin.
Bateman met Campbell and she asked him to train her and help her with a nutrition plan. “Edie really embraces our SBC nutritional ideas. She’s drinking green shakes and sourcing chicken and nuts at airports to eat on her flights. She’s so busy right now but has still managed to achieve the right balance and knows how important nutrients are whilst she is travelling, and studying so much.”
Bateman currently holds sessions in London (there’s a waiting list), plans to expand to New York and Los Angeles and can also be found in Ibiza during August. My friend and world-famous Ibiza fixer, Serena Cook of Deliciously Sorted , vouches for his work: "Russ pushes you to the absolute limit. Within six short weeks, I’ve seen my body change and have been able to wear clothes that I haven't worn for years. I come out of our sessions sweating; after a series of burpies, lunges, spider crawls and 200m sprints, I emerge exhausted but hugely satisfied and very smug."
Before a class, clients are given a secret potion to drink - a specially-formulated shot containing coconut water, L-Carnitine and amino acids. “It's beautifying, hydrating and aids fat loss,” says Bateman. They’re consequently treated to a series of jumps, split-squat-jerks, weights and ‘primal movements’ to a soundtrack created by Ibiza DJ, Seth Troxler.
KX (the coolest gym in London and the one to which I happily belong) is the first to take on The SBC with some exclusive Saturday morning workshops. Gideon Remfry, Fitness Manager, says “The SBC class is a mixture of some of the finest exercise protocols we have experienced. It combines some of the best forms of resistance training into a whole body workout and is spreading the word that strong is the new skinny and weight training creates results.”
There’s also a bespoke Skinny Bitch shake on the menu containing post-workout protein, chia seeds, avocado, coconut water, greens, blueberries and banana. After a gruelling SBC workout, I drink this with a mixture of relief and pride.
And there we have it: strong is the new skinny; eating is good; sleep is even better; discipline is medicine; and it’s A-ok to exhibit one’s hard work - be that on the catwalk, on the cover of a magazine, on the beach or simply while strolling down the street. Like Bateman and his exceptionally glossy posse - which grows by the day - I’m totally down with that.