Working with the professionals responsible for getting Hollywood’s A-listers in tip-top shape is pretty much the health and fitness dream—but it can be intimidating. As a “real girl,” I’m not in the business of comparing myself to celebs, for whom looking great is part of the job description. Nevertheless, the curiosity is there, which is why on team Byrdie, we regularly volunteer ourselves to test-drive the workouts and diets of our favorite celebrities (why yes, we’d love to eat like Bella Hadid for a week). Interesting? Yes. Effective in the long run? Probably not. Each body is different, so what works for Jennifer Lawrence may not be the winning formula your body needs. So when professional trainer Mike Alexander and holistic nutritionist and health coach Kelly LeVeque teamed up for FFB Fit Club in partnership with Soho House West Hollywood, I jumped at the chance to have the duo revamp my current health and fitness plan.
Scroll through to find out how I fared!
You know those complimentary sessions with a nutritionist and a trainer you get when you join a new gym? This was not that. LeVeque gets right into it—evaluating everything from what cravings you have to how consistent you are. She actually told me I wasn’t eating enough. My small meals throughout the day capped off with a sizable dinner feast wasn’t doing me any favors. Instead, LeVeque instructed me to focus less on calories and more on getting protein, fiber, and fat into my meals (protein and fat being most important). My apple for breakfast wasn’t cutting it. LeVeque recommended her signature #BeWellSmoothie to start the day. The combination of one serving of protein, one serving of fiber, 1/4 cup fructose, 2 tablespoons fat, and unlimited greens is designed to keep my blood sugar stable and my stomach full (and my hands out of the office snack drawer). Knowing that I’m not a huge breakfast or smoothie person, she also suggested investing in a BlenderBottle ($8) so I can mix coconut oil (healthy fat) into my morning coffee.
My main takeaway was that I needed to cut back on the sugar—a lot. My love for fruit (and wine) was causing my blood sugar to rise and fall, thus making my cravings for more sugar and carbs (which are sugar) go wild. LeVeque also taught me to think about my meals differently, namely in terms of the #BWBKFab4. Even if a meal isn’t an entirely virtuous plate fit for a Hollywood starlet, as long as I can look at it and know it includes the #Fab4—protein, fat, fiber, and greens—I know I’m in good shape.
Mike Alexander’s private studio in West Hollywood, MadFit, is frequented by the toned bodies of celebs like Emma Roberts and Emilia Clarke. It has everything you’d expect from a top gym, complete with a rowing machine, a climbing machine, and more unrecognizable fitness props than I can count. Perhaps I was expecting Biggest Loser–style intensity from Alexander, but the workout was far less extreme than what I had prepared myself for. In fact, it was a far cry from the bootcamp-style workouts I’m used to. It was rather refreshing to not feel exasperated throughout the entire workout. It was still a mix of cardio and strength training like you might expect, but Alexander focused on form, rather than speed and intensity. He adjusted my foot placement and technique throughout the lower-body exercises, ensuring I didn’t lose form with tempo or weight changes. The one adjustment he kept reminding me to make throughout was actually on head—my eyes, to be specific. With my gaze too high and my chin lifted, I was forcing my neck and shoulder muscles to work when they didn’t need to. Over time, Alexander informed me all that strain can bulk up those muscles. So now, no matter what exercise I’m doing or even if I’m just walking down the hall, I’m conscious of my eyeline—always keeping it level.
Also, a focused, non-athletic drill-based workout can leave you just as sore (if not more) than those sweat-dripping circuit workouts we all love so much. At the end of the day, making sure you’re doing the move properly is the best way to get results.
What’s your preferred workout of choice? Tell us in the comments!