It has been five years since I last visited James Duigan, the personal trainer who delivered my long-elusive desire of achieving a flat tummy – now something of a wellness god and whose Clean and Lean cookbook series is the mainstay of middle-class kitchens and contributor to the UK’s rising kale and quinoa sales.
Duigan’s Bodyism gym empire is ever growing, from retreats in Capri and Turkey to the Maldives. I hear New York, LA and Miami are in the pipeline, but the latest addition is a new London flagship in Westbourne Grove, alongside Granger & Co and Camilla Al Fayed’s Farmacy restaurant, where a new generation of instructors includes a multititle-winning boxer and Royal Ballet-trained dancer.
I’d like to kickstart losing the excess pounds of summer and get fit and strong for autumn, and this new opening is just the incentive I need.
Last time I reduced my fat from 24.2 to 14.4 per cent, lost 5cm off my tummy and reduced my weight by 3.3kg. Let’s hope five years on and one baby later I can expect the same miracle in 10 days…
I take a seat in the Clean and Lean café in the new Bodyism flagship. “Be kind to yourself” is carved into stone, and the living walls are abundant with herbs and creeping evergreen. It feels like a mecca of wellness.
The space is bustling with Notting Hillbillies giddy from the purified air that’s pumped through the club’s air vents, and necking shots of Berry Burn – Bodyism's non-alcoholic equivalent of tequila slammers – a pre-training supplement packed with energy-boosting ingredients like Brazilian acai, blueberry and pea protein to invigorate the metabolism and enhance workout performance. “Fancy a shot?" I down it tequila-style. It’s not long before I start buzzing with a caffeine-style rush.
Five years ago, caffeine was the dirty C-word in CRAP: (Bodyism’s acronym for caffeine, refined sugar, alcohol and processed foods). Have things changed? “Excess caffeine isn't great,” the café assistant explains, “but giving up regular coffee is more about avoiding hormones in the milk. Our Clean and Lean Coffee is made with a shot of espresso, organic butter and coconut oil – the caffeine combines with the fats and slowly releases the effects into the body over a longer period so you drink less.”
I order one as I wait for my Body Oracle fat-distribution evaluation session with New Zealander Mike Tanner – Duigan’s twinkly-eyed head honcho.
He starts by clamping my left cheek between two probes – this part I’m fairly smug about thanks to regular FaceGym sessions. But lower down, my love handles let me down. “You’re eating too many carbohydrates,” says Tanner. “Increase your protein and use a high-quality fish oil – up the fibre with flax seeds and opt for Clean and Lean carbohydrates such as sweet potato, butternut squash, quinoa and brown rice.”
Next for the bingo wings and the bulge beneath the bra strap... “Your body is low in certain hormones that help to create long, lean muscles. This can be due to a number of reasons such as drinking alcohol and not performing enough resistance training,” he continues. “Increase your intake of foods that are rich in magnesium and zinc, such as almonds, Brazil nuts, cashew nuts, grass-fed beef, organic turkey and leafy green vegetables. Also include berries, apples, onions and green tea as these are rich in flavonoids, which help support your body in detoxifying toxins.”
Muffin tops? “That’s sugar. Constantly raised insulin levels cause unwanted body fat around the hips. They also raise inflammation in the body, which affects hormones that will lead to you storing extra body fat around your chest and the back of your arms.” Yikes.
The results are in. I weigh over 3kg more than I expected with a body-fat analysis of 19.9 per cent.
Tanner sends me packing with a 10-day plan to help my body transition from storing fat (thanks to the sugary treats and alcohol) to burning fat. I work different areas with daily hour-long training classes – including boxing, ballet and yoga, along with some one-to-ones.
A Clean and Lean eating regime includes meals such as breakfasts of a Body Brilliance packet of energising herbs, blueberries and cinnamon, with a quarter of an avocado and an egg; lunches of roast chicken with sweet potato and a handful of greens; and suppers of everything from tuna salad with a handful of cashews to steak and broccoli and sweet potato or baked salmon fillet with roasted cauliflower and spinach.
A 10-day exercise plan, and a strict diet regime – and an extra half stone… Spa Junkie is ready for her Bodyism challenge to begin. Check back on Tuesday August 16 for Part Two.
Spa Junkie, aka Inge Theron, is the founder of FaceGym. She pays for all her own travel, accommodation. Follow her on Instagram @spajunkiechronicles.