Health & Grooming | Chronicles of a Spa Junkie

Spa Junkie at… Duo

‘I have a breadbasket hung around my waist’

Spa Junkie at… Duo

Image: Jay Yeo

February 07 2012
Spa Junkie

Part: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

Spa Junkie has just had her Bio Signature measured at Duo, a health and beauty studio in west London.

After the process, Neville punches the numbers, including my height and weight, into a laptop and my body fat is reduced to a percentage that, while not exactly so low as to have Models 1 clamouring to sign me, is not exactly hide-under-the-duvet-with-a-Mars-bar-for-comfort high, either.

Neville delves a little deeper into the numbers. “The back of your leg area is your biggest problem. This is likely to do with increased, or previously increased, oestrogen levels, which may be the result of a number of environmental causes – including the toxicity of London water, drinking water from plastic bottles and storing food in plastic containers.”

Although I am aware of the theory about oestrogen in tap water, and I am certainly against drinking plastic-bottled water, I find myself doubting that either London tap water or bottled water makes your legs fat. But perhaps this is not for a Sunday morning debate.

Neville continues: “The fat on the back of your arms is typically to do with lowered androgen levels, including testosterone, which can be a result of stress hormones. So addressing stress and increasing resistance training will help here. The area just below the waist, at the sides, is affected by how many carbohydrates you eat.”

So, if I understand correctly, I have plastic water bottles around my bottom, stress-causing clients blazoned across my back and a breadbasket hung around my waist. It makes for an interesting mental picture.

But Neville is upbeat. “Your body fat is in a fit range, so I’m happy to report that by improving your lean muscle mass with a strength conditioning programme, you could drop your body-fat percentage by four per cent. It’s a very achievable goal, and you will look and feel completely different.”

With numbers swirling in my mind, we head to the gym, a high-tech, airy space that’s large enough that I barely notice the two other guests receiving the same one-on-one attention. An hour is spent doing floor work and stretches, specifically targeting the areas that “the pinch” has identified, and I revel in the knowledge that each specific movement has a purpose.

While Neville takes me through my paces, we chat about why he decided to leave a blossoming career in what he terms “the conveyor-belt approach to fitness in typical gyms”. We swap the usual complaints – the queue to use equipment, excessive use of treadmills that don’t necessarily engage hamstrings and personal trainers who don’t have the facility (or expertise) to refer clients to the correct specialists.

“Do you know that research has revealed that a staggeringly low 27 per cent of gym members regularly use their gyms, and when they do, the effectiveness of their self-devised workout is debatable?” The term “executive workout” – aka a quick steam and a shower at the gym – springs to my mind.

“I want to create exactly the opposite,” he continues. “At Duo, health is everything. And being able to come to a destination where we can provide a top-to-tail service will, I feel, encourage people to spend more time away from their desks and to focus on their overall wellbeing. Each of the trainers at Duo specialises in a different field, so members can have their own personal expert who will provide ongoing, individual support and attention – from physical training to nutrition and from beauty to physiotherapy. All of this will work holistically to create a happier, healthier, more beautiful you.”

Ah, beauty: my favourite word. I feel like I’ve earned a little buffing after the workout, so I bounce to one of the beauty rooms for a facial – something that falls into the second most important level of my hierarchy of health and beauty needs.

Spa Junkie pays for all her own travel, treatments and accommodation.