Former ballerina Simone De La Rue is the personal trainer with a cult following behind some of the hottest bodies in Hollywood. She founded her West Hollywood fitness studio, Body By Simone, in 2011, since when a steady stream of celebrities have passed through her door. After a class at her studio, she tells Katharina Kowalewski how to set about building an A-list body in 2017.
How did you develop the “Body By Simone” method? When did you decide that this would be your professional path?
After eighteen years of dancing on Broadway and the West End, I decided it was time to hang up my chorus heels and share my love of dance and fitness with as many women as I could. I wanted to empower them through the gift of dance and movement.
You are known for training celebrities such as Sandra Bullock, Anne Hathaway and Naomi Watts. Is their workout more intense or different from your other clients’ routines?
When I work with any of my actors or singers we usually have a movie, a performance, or an award show as the goal. Sometimes the workouts leading up to these events can be more intense, because we need to see results quickly.
Skipping workout or eating cookies—which is a bigger disaster?
Probably the cookies. If I miss a day or two of my workouts, I make sure that I watch what I eat on those days.
What diet and workout regime would you recommend to lose weight for a specific goal, such as a wedding?
It’s 80% diet, 20% exercise. What you put into your body is crucial for weight loss. Eat smaller portions. Eat more frequently. Eat more protein and fewer carbs. Do more cardio. Get more sleep. Stay away from alcohol and sugar.
You’re not a fan of traditional gyms, calorie counting, or extreme diets such as juicing. Can you recommend good habits for a sustainable New Year lifestyle change that go beyond New Year resolutions?
Make it a lifestyle choice, rather than a chore. Eat well, sleep well, and exercise. Stop obsessing over your weight and learn to love your body. This is a positive, healthy approach to fitness and wellbeing.
A lot of women don't want to look too strong or athletic, but more like you. What exercise should women avoid who tend to build muscle quickly?
Focus on cardio rather than weight lifting. Do higher reps using lower weight and resistance to avoid building too much muscle.
Is there a secret to beautiful legs?
Make sure you use the correct technical form when exercising the lower body. Maintaining perfect form means you see results faster. Focus on one section of your legs, such as your hamstrings, and totally fatigue that group of muscles during your workout, then move on to the next muscle group.
I tried out the trampoline in your West Hollywood studio. How is this cardio better than, for example, running?
Trampoline cardio is a great low-impact option. It protects the knees, hips and back and it drains your lymphatic glands, so it has many pros.
How do you motivate clients to maintain discipline and motivation?
Keep a food and exercise journal. Take pictures and measurements of yourself. Have a workout buddy, and always be accountable to yourself.
Coming from a dance background, which music do you love most?
I love classical music, but it’s not appropriate for dance cardio so we use a lot of EDM and house music in our studios. For dance cardio, the music needs to be 132 BPMs or higher to motivate and help get the heart rate up.
We’ve just seen the Victoria’s Secret show, for which you also train some of the Angels. How do they get in shape for the show?
They work extremely hard leading up to the big show—four or five times each week, with at least one session focused purely on cardio.
How often should we work out when we live in a city where driving dominates our days?
It’s important to do some form of exercise every day. Even if its just a ten-minute walk, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or grabbing your jump rope and skipping on your front lawn. Don’t make excuses. Don’t live a sedentary life. Be active whenever you can.