Reese Witherspoon, Sandra Bullock, Naomi Watts, Julianne Hough and Emmy Rossum all have enviable bods. And they all work out with Simone De La Rue, the founder of Body by Simone studios in L.A. and NYC.
The studios offer five 55-minute classes: Dance Cardio; Full Body; Hips, Thighs, Buns; Upper Body; and Tramp Cardio on mini trampolines. “We feature interval-training techniques that combine dance cardio and conditioning to target the upper body, lower body and core,” trainer De La Rue tells Us. “The dance choreography is easy to follow, but will leave you dripping in sweat and smiling ear to ear.”
With those results (and Hough’s abs) in mind, Us enlisted senior editor Allison Baker to tackle the company’s 8-Week Total Body Makeover Plan from November through early January. (Prices range from $800 to $900, depending on the city, and include unlimited classes, a private fitness evaluation, access to online workouts and a sample meal plan.) They take before and after measurements and photos, so there’s no excuse to slack off. The ultimate goal: Ward off holiday pounds and shrink going into the New Year!
Here’s what happened.
To kick off the program, I meet with NYC director of training Alice Ramshaw for my personal fitness evaluation. After series of arm, leg and abs exercises, she says my core is strong (go me!), but I need to work on my flexibility (I knew avoiding yoga like the plague was a bad move). She recommends I start with four to six classes a week and work up to five or more with double classes on the weekend. Cue my panic about fitting in all those classes.
Next up: my first BBS dance-cardio class. I’ve done dance workouts before, but I’m so glad I stand in the back row for this one. The instructor takes us through four choreographed routines — that everyone in the class seems to know except me — and we end with a series of abs and arms with 3-pound weights. I’m dripping with sweat and determined to master these dances.
I also start Simone’s suggested cleanse, which is a clean-eating program eliminating dairy, gluten, sugar and caffeine for two weeks. The first two days are tough because I miss convenient, grab-and-go options like granola bars. But a few days in, I’ve mastered meal prep and I’m packing lunches and veggie snacks like a pro.
I’m not quite Beyoncé, but I finally feel comfortable shaking it in class. The trick: They repeat the routines, so the more you go, the faster you learn. And I’m going a lot. Following Ramshaw’s suggestion, I’m attending about eight classes a week, including two on Saturdays and Sundays. My calves are pretty sore, and I see the BBS instructors more than my own roommate, but I don’t mind — especially when they start complimenting me on how strong I look in class.
I’m out of town for Thanksgiving, but I keep up the progress by doing online workouts every day and not going crazy with carbs. I indulge a little but trade mashed potatoes for a baked sweet potato and stuffing for steamed string beans.
I feel more toned, and my form has improved. My biceps and triceps feel stronger during the arms portion of class when we curl and extend for multiple torturous sets, and I no longer have to take breaks during the glute songs, where we pulse our legs from a hands-and-knees position.
Full disclosure: Holiday eating — and cocktails — is a bit of a setback. Still, I’m confident going into my final measurements. And the results: I have shrunk 8.5 inches, including my waist, biceps and thighs. I especially won’t miss those 2 inches I lost from my waist!
The progress inspires me to sign up for more Body by Simone classes in January. New Year’s resolution: to move up to the front row. I’m coming for you, Reese!
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