I return to the Westbourne Grove studio in the afternoon for Bodyism Boxing with George Veness, who has been jabbing and hooking his way around a ring since the age of six, and who, by his mid-20s, had won four national titles and represented England 10 times. Some of his clients have even gone on to win gold and silver titles…
“Now let’s loosen up those hip flexors and strengthen your lower core.” I work through 15 minutes of Bodyism’s signature routine using a foam roller to stretch out the muscles, containing a squeal as I roll back and forth over a tight IT band.
Next up, some marching to open out the hips – great for sedentary workers with an underactive posterior chain, says Veness. Guilty.
Finally its time for gloves on. I feel like boxing-workout fan and Victoria’s Secret model Adriana Lima – though my reflection tells a different story, one malcoordinated punch at a time.
“Don’t think too much… it’s got to be a fluid movement, find your rhythm. ONE – TWO…”
I switch from left jab to right, ducking and diving, until I fall into a pattern…
“Beaaautiful!” – Veness exclaims. I punch, hook, jump and jab until every part of my body feels like it’s been put through its paces – and collapse in a heap.
I’m rewarded with a creamy, buttery concoction called a Protein Excellence.
I meet James Duigan for a one-to-one. After we’ve caught up, I stretch on the foam roller to warm up.
He hands me a long, stretchy resistance band. “Place the band around your legs above your knees, squat and step to the side 20 times,” he orders as our talk turns to sugar…
“The worst is when people use sugar as a reward... It’s not; it’s a horrible toxin that will make you fat and sick. It breaks down collagen, leaving you with premature lines and wrinkles. It will make you constantly hungry and feel tired. How is that a treat? Sugar is not your friend. Sugar is a bitch who is trying to ruin your life and steal your boyfriend.”
We move to some core abdominal training, first “dead bugs” (lying flat on my back and raising opposite arm and leg to meet one another, then progressing into a “V-sit” (sitting up with my bum on the floor, legs in the air, in a V shape). I hold the latter for 15 seconds – and really feel the burn.
Next some cardio to get the heart rate up. I mount the Versaclimber – a low-impact, vertical climbing machine that’s great for postural alignment and doesn’t put unnecessary stress on the knees and joints.
Duigan knows about my penchant for loud, army-style boot-camp training and isn’t impressed. He leaves me with strict instructions to climb for two minutes before nipping into the café. When he returns, I’m on my third.
“What did I tell you!?” I nearly choke on my chlorophyll water. “I know you are used to those intense workouts, but your training sessions need to be more restorative. We need to work on those cortisol levels and sleep patterns.
“Your relationship with your phone also needs addressing – I would love it if you started charging your phone in another room, out of your bedroom. And in the mornings, stretch, prepare breakfast and sit and eat it in a relaxed state – no emails.”
That tells me.
But there’s one thing missing from this perfect morning picture – caffeine. Next up, Spa Junkie battles through withdrawal symptoms and tries to remain composed during ballet and B-strong classes. Check back on Saturday August 20 for Part 3.
Spa Junkie, aka Inge Theron, is the founder of FaceGym. She pays for all her own travel and accommodation. Follow her on Instagram @spajunkiechronicles.