My workout partner for the day, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, is sitting on the floor, stretching her mile-long legs and looking resplendent in a black sports bra, leggings and Nike trainers. She smiles and asks: ‘Are you ready to sweat?’ Simone De La Rue, our trainer, must read the fear on my face, and oers this reassurance: ‘I think it’s good to do something humbling every day.’ I nod – I’ve no doubt that this will humble me for the month. Probably even the year. I’m here to find out what a supermodel does in the gym; if a certain kind of body is the product of a certain mindset. Simone cranks the music, and tells us that we’ll start with the mini-trampoline. ‘This is the part that makes me feel like I’m going to be sick,’ Rosie says. I grimace. ‘Simone’s workouts are probably the toughest I’ve done,’ she adds. ‘But I feel so much better and I’ve seen results really quickly.’ Simone is an ex-dancer and her New York and LA studios, Body By Simone, are havens for those who have to look good for a living. (On the way out, Rosie spots fellow model Abbey Lee and shouts hello. Simone also trains Anne Hathaway and Naomi Watts.) Her clients want a dancer’s body, signified by long, lean muscles. As Simone says: ‘How do you get a dancer’s body? It’s not rocket science: You dance.’ So we do. For an hour, I follow Rosie and Simone through dance-based cardio intervals interspersed with strengthening exercises. ‘We’re moving away from traditional gym machines, and instead just using your own body weight,’ Simone explains. ‘And we’re making it fun.’ Rosie’s workout targets the areas all women want to tone: hips, thighs, bum, abs and upper arms. On the mini-trampoline, we alternate between simple bouncing, high-knee sprints and moves where we touch our elbows to our knees. Then, on the ground, we skip rope at top speed, and do sets of jumping jacks and synchronised hops. Floor exercises have an emphasis – always – on strengthening the core. During a series that combines tough glutetoning leg-lifts with push-ups, I momentarily give up and just lie on the floor. Rosie also collapses and lets out a long: ‘Ooooof.’ Simone’s philosophy is that women never need to lift more than 2kg, and should instead focus on doing more repetitions with lower weights and leveraging the resistance of the body. I’m happy to strap on 0.5kg wrist weights (so light! So easy!), but after an interval that includes wrist and shoulder rotations, my arms are on fire. There’s the plank, everyone’s (least) favourite, to which Simone adds obliquestrengthening dips: keeping your core tight while rotating your entire body so that each hip almost touches the ground. These are not fun. Meghan Trainor’s All About That Bass comes on, and we move to glute exercises on the ballet barre. We drape our arms over the barre and lean forward for a series of leg lifts that Simone makes sure are precise and perfect (‘Flex your foot! Higher! Higher!). We do dips, bending to cross one leg behind us before kicking out to the side with a gracefully pointed toe. It takes one of these to make me realise I must move down the barre, way down, because with her height of 1.75m, Rosie’s legs are so long that I get smacked in the head with a trainer. Next, we move into a series of jumps, crossing our feet and tapping our heels in time to the music. Then, before I know it, it’s time to stretch and we’re done. ‘This regime works for Rosie because dancers and models want a similar physique: beautiful, elongated, sexy muscles,’ Simone explains. Those of us who aren’t dancers or models wouldn’t say no to that, either. By the end of the workout, we’re both dripping with sweat. ‘Sometimes, I’m more inclined to do yoga or Pilates, but this is addictive,’ Rosie says. ‘The music’s blasting and everyone’s in a good mood.’ The myth goes that models live off Diet Coke and Marlboro Lights, and so only require a workout that consists of jumping the velvet rope at club openings. This definitely does not hold true for Rosie. ‘Rosie is supermotivated and, obviously, she has to be. When you’re getting paid to look a certain way, it’s a responsibility,’ says Simone. Rosie takes her workouts as seriously as she takes her career – and this attitude is precisely why she has her career At 27, Rosie is an entrepreneur, an actress and one of the most successful models in the world. It’s all due (of course) to the genetic good fortune of those legs and perfectly pouted lips, but also to an incredible work ethic. The drive I just witnessed in the gym is applied in equal measure to her business ventures. First came the fashion collaboration – her bestselling Rosie for Autograph range of lingerie and sleepwear for Marks & Spencer – and now she is branching into beauty and homeware, with the Rosie for Autograph perfume, home fragrance and candle. It all adds up to a hectic schedule – Rosie calculates that, in the past year alone, she spent more than 350 hours on a plane. ‘I’m not very good at turning down work,’ she says. ‘You have to make hay while the sun shines. Work is a huge priority in my life, because I know that, someday, it won’t be.’ Exercise is part and parcel of that. As anyone who has ever embarked upon a fitness regime will testify, motivation is what you need. For Rosie, exercise was how she made sense of the demands her modelling career made of her body: ‘I tried to diet, and it never really worked out for me. I was always getting bad advice from all over and, in the end, I picked up exercise, and I started to enjoy that.’ So, while all areas of her business remain inextricably linked to her body, working out remains a key part of her plan. ‘I definitely have a better idea of where I want to be in five and 10 years, and I think that’s important,’ she says. ‘I don’t believe anybody who is successful doesn’t have a strategic plan. Sometimes I read interviews with girls and they’re like, “Oh, I just take it as it comes,” and I’m like, “That’s bullsh*t!” It takes so much that there has to be a big picture.’ She tells the story of meeting a younger model at a casting who was shocked to learn that Rosie had been modelling for years and hadn’t found a rich husband yet. ‘That’s never been it for me,’ says Rosie. ‘I’m ambitious. I love to work; it makes me feel good. I like to make something of my own. It’s a huge opportunity, so it’s like: “What can I build from this for when I don’t want the limelight any more?”’ What she is building is Rosie the brand. She says that her Rosie for Autograph line is: ‘The most most fulfilling thing I’ve done in my career. I love making executive decisions at the same time as being really creative.’ The love affair is mutual, with Marks & Spencer’s Director of Lingerie and Beauty, Jo Jenkins, enthusing: ‘Rosie is one of the most inspiring young women in business I have ever worked with.’ The new fragrance line is based on the idea of the country rose garden, and involved Rosie travelling to New York to work with a renowned nose, and to a rose harvest in Grasse on the French Riviera. ‘I get a kick out of making a product that’s beautifully appealing, aordable and relatable. I get much more enthusiastic about appealing to real women than to “the circle”, shall we say?’ Rosie alludes to this a lot – a knowingness about the surreal world she lives in, and a desire not to be a stereotypical model. She cooks simply at home so she can splurge at restaurants, because, ‘I never want to be that girl pushing around a salad and looking miserable.’ A typical day’s food is: ‘Eggs in the morning with a green juice, toast and coee, followed by salads with protein like salmon or chicken. I lay o carbs the night before a shoot – I make sure I’m always ready to go.’ For Rosie, it’s clearly about the work, not the perks – and that’s where the motivation for her muscle-scorching workouts come from. Her eyes are on the prize.
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