What’s better than being asked to model in a talented British designer’s first London Fashion Week catwalk show? It’s when that show is for Charli Cohen’s stunning new sportswear collection, and the people you’ll be walking alongside are all gorgeous fitness bloggers, trainers and nutritionists! We are proud to reveal that four of the show’s models were SportStylist’s very own Fitness Experts: Carly Rowena, Cat Meffan, Zanna Van Djik and Lucy Denver. Here Lucy gives us an insight into the behind-the-scenes preparation she undertook before exposing her stomach to a crowd of 300 fashion experts in the CC Fight Club show…
Step #1 – Make a Plan
By this, I mean a plan you’ll stick to. Set out your goals (lose body fat; increase lean muscle mass) and deadlines (four weeks’ time – eek!) so you know what you’re aiming for. Then you can design your training and nutrition plan to fit around it, taking into account commitments like work and family.
Step #2 – Don’t Panic!
Stress and sleep have a HUGE impact on our bodies’ ability to let go of body fat. Stress elevates cortisol levels which can contribute towards that attractive muffin-top effect. Even when you have a million things going on, it’s important to unwind. I booked a spa weekend with a girlfriend and had at least my fair share of early nights!
Step #3 – Food, Glorious Food
I cannot express just how important food is: if you want results, you have to be strict with yourself. Everyone has a weakness be it booze or that morning plate of crumpets (mine is chocolate), but you need to clear all of it out of the house if you want to get through this unscathed!
Replace the contents of your snack drawer and cereal cupboard with fresh vegetables, nuts and seeds, lean meat and eggs ready to scramble for a sumptuous breakfast teamed with smoked salmon. Oh yes, you can still eat if you want to lose body fat! It’s just a case of being mindful about what you put in your mouth, and making good choices (there’s a life lesson in there somewhere).
Step #4 – Like a Bullet, Train
Nutrition may make a big difference to your body, but there’s no doubting you’re going to have to do some exercise, too. Do whatever it takes to stay motivated and stick to your plan: accountability may suck, but you’ll think twice before cancelling a training session if it’s arranged with a friend or personal trainer. Equally, a good tactic is to tell your friends about your plan so they’ll stop you from stuffing your face on a Friday night/catch the bus when you could walk etc. My target was 5-6 sessions per week and come hell or high water I was going to get them done!
Step #5 – Dressed To Kale
Needless to say, training in a beautiful piece of kit like the Laser Leggings from Charli Cohen’s Odyssey collection certainly boosts my motivation by about 50%. Try it and see what I mean.
My Preparation Before The Show
I am SO ENTHUSIASTIC! Each day I get up and cannot wait to train (my twitter posts say as much), I start the day at about 6am with a lemon and ginger tea, and drink water from my clever Black & Blum charcoal-filter water bottle all morning at work. I am trialling ‘intermittent fasting’, a technique that encourages an eating window of 8-10 hours. I begin mine at 11am with a smoothie or bullet train coffee if I’m about to get stuck into a sweaty workout (recipes below). I am determinedly sticking to my ‘no sugar’ rule, which as anyone who knows me is tough because I’ve always had a sweet tooth. I am energetic though, bouncing out of bed even on a Sunday morning to go and lift some weights. My training is my own special blend of CrossFit and traditional studio work I like to call Fit Missions. They are fun, fast and usually leave me in a sweaty heap on the floor.
I’m already seeing a change in my body – my jeans are fitting more loosely around my hips and abs, and my arms feel more toned. It’s getting easier to avoid sugar, too (hurrah!). At the weekend I decide to get outside, but what was meant to be an interval run along the Edges in the beautiful Peak District turns into a stomp through the snow, where of course I fall face-first into a snowdrift. Better now than on the catwalk, I suppose.
Tips from our other experts
“I was so excited about walking for Charli Cohen… In the week leading up to the show I made sure my meals were even cleaner than ever, but still eating carbs (sweet potato & quinoa) to keep my energy levels up. In my mind I was thinking that Charli picked me for being the healthy, strong person I am, so I didn’t want to change anything about my lifestyle too much.” – Cat Meffan
“I didn’t go on a diet or restrict myself for the show as Charli wanted to feature realistic, attainable and relatable physiques, so I just ate healthy whole foods to fuel my workouts.” – Zanna Van Dijk
“I increased my water to 3 litres a day to flush out toxins in the lead up to Charli’s show, and had plenty of fish, leafy greens and non-starchy carbs like quinoa.” – Carly Rowena
This is the week when I’m like a grouchy caricature of myself. I’m grumpy and lacking motivation to train. I decide to power through to the weekend, then have a cheat meal followed by a one-day juice fast, just to see what it’s like. I counteract the grumpiness by adding some carbs – protein-laden quinoa – to my diet and a homemade Performance Flapjack as an extra snack. I also rope in a training buddy to share the pain of those workouts neither of us really wants to do, but do them we must! We get in six sessions each and feel mighty proud of ourselves and the progress we’re making. I owe her!
One week to go! It’s all quite enjoyable really (that’s the carbs talking) and I love having such a great excuse to prioritise training and clean eating. I manage not to trip up on my box jumps (I still have the scar from last year) or to come down with food poisoning: it’s all going rather well. The only hitch was the cheat meal followed by a juice fast the next day. I thought it was a great idea but it didn’t really work for me as it took my body about three days to get back to normal afterwards. One to try when you have more than four weeks before your deadline.
By Saturday though, the day before the show, I definitely feel better than I have for months. I have better definition all over, my skin is clear and I feel ready for anything, which given the circumstances is just as well. It’s been hard work but it’s made me want to train harder and eat cleaner all the time, and to keep improving my body as much as possible.
My Pre-Show Training
Fit Mission #1 – ‘Zero to Hero’
- 50 box jumps, 50 skips (or double unders, if you can do them)
- 40 box jumps, 40 skips, 40 deadlifts
- 30 box jumps, 30 skips, 30 deadlifts, 30 cal row
- 20 box jumps, 20 skips, 20 deadlifts, 20 cal row, 20 kettlebell swings
- 10 box jumps, 20 skips, 10 deadlifts, 10 cal row, 10 kettlebell swings, 10 press ups
- 500m run to finish.
Fit Mission #2 – ‘The 100-Skip Drop’
- 100 skips
- 9 prowler laps/sled pulls
- 80 sit ups
- 70 kettlebell swings
- 60 burpees
- 50 pistol squats
- 40 slam balls
- 30 press ups
- 20 medicine ball cleans
- 100 second plank