In case you didn’t know, the Victoria’s Secret show is on tomorrow. And in case you haven’t seen, the models – or “Angels” – have been training religiously in preparation for the show. Crunching in crops, posting sweaty (but glamorous) selfies on social, squatting and dropping like their life depends on it; it’s all happening in Angel land. And if Instagram is anything to go by; earning your wings is no easy feat.
Whilst becoming a Victoria’s Secret angel does come down to a case of good genetics (fact: you can’t grow a foot by squatting and lunging), training to athlete-like levels is imperative to any Victoria’s Secret-walking angel. So what does it really take to #trainlikeanangel?
For me, it actually all began in New York City – the scene of this year’s Victoria’s Secret show and VS model training headquarters. However, unlike the Angels, my time in the Big Apple was marked by martinis and margherita pizza, as oppose to mountain climbers and muscle-crunching. After a week of hedonism, I returned to Sydney bloated, rotund and heavy around the edges. It was not pretty, but as fate would have it, the Victoria’s Secret show was only weeks away and what better time to overhaul my fitness routine and diet. I was going to #trainlikeanangel and see once and for all what the fuss was about, and whether it did in fact work.
To do this, I engaged one of Sydney’s leading personal trainers to help me earn my “wings”. Matt Best, who has a cult following of loyal clients who swear by his “Sculptation” method (with some seriously amazing transformations testament to this) was given the task of Angel transformation. Could I transform my body to Angel-like proportions in just two weeks?
You’ve seen it all over Instagram, but what does “training like an angel” really mean? Well, it all comes down to sculpting, a practise Best swears by. In fact, he believes in it so much he devised his own kind of workout style which takes its cues from this very premise. “Sculptation” is a unique brand of strength training and sequencing patterns, which create long and lean lines in the body. It’s about “creating beautiful length” and sculpting “the details”. You know the ones; that sneaky bit under the buttock, those sly pockets on the outer thigh, and the infamous thigh gap. It’s a philosophy rooted deeply in alignment and angles, using weight in the right places, at the right time. It’s also about debunking the myth that weights make you bulky. They don’t – when used used correctly. I practised my Victoria’s Secret “sculptation” five times a week for two weeks under the godly guidance of Best, at Beach Fit, a saintly fitness sanctuary in Bondi.
To properly immerse myself in Angel land, I needed a model-mindset, so my diet too needed a little shake-up. I eat really healthy – most of the time – but when it comes to the Victoria’s Secret narrative, “healthy most of the time” simply won’t cut it. Whilst there is still much debate over the diets of the Victoria’s Secret girls (many have come under criticism for being too skinny and starving themselves), to truly see any kind of transformation I needed to fully commit to an eating plan devoid of certain things (i.e. the usual suspects: dairy, gluten, red meat). To help me do this, I enlisted the help of EatFitFood, a delivery meal service dedicated to clean eating. I opted for the “Cleanse” program, a 3-meal-a-day program devised to support digestion and detoxification by eliminating the aforementioned dietary demons. I am still undecided on whether these food groups deserve the demonisation they so often receive, but when “eating like an Angel”, they had to be banished. Delivered three times a week, the meals were fresh and surprisingly tasty; full of vegetables, protein and good carbs. There were even things like lasagne and spaghetti, just gluten-free variations (which were still delicious). The only thing I struggled with was the portion-size. Blame my Greek-ness, but the portions were small compared to my typical Greek-style portions (read: BIG), and I did struggle with size above all else (but perhaps it was a timely lesson in portion control).
Even angels fall from heaven
On Melbourne Cup Day, I took a turn: falling from heaven – a light-filled land of clean eating and no alcohol – to the dark, heady pits of hell (hi, wine and pizza). The #trainlikeanangel juggernaut swiftly derailed, and a day of boozing and eating (lots of gluten and cheese) took place (I blame team GRAZIA). I woke up the next day nursing a serious headache and felt all kinds of sluggish, but I still managed to train with Matt. And I felt SO much better for it. Despite a slight detour on the angel bandwagon, I remained resolute to keep training and jump straight back on the green wagon. Remember, even angels can have a bad day, too.
earning my wings
After two weeks of training, five-days-a-week and eating clean (Melbourne Cup aside), I honestly feel and look so much better. I have noticeable muscle tone in my legs, specifically in areas I often struggle with like my thighs and butt. I feel stronger and am stronger – in the last session of my two-week training I was lifting much heavier weights, to my own surprise. I feel lighter, open and elongated, even a little taller (not VS tall, but close enough). Even in such a short space of time, there was definitely a transformation of sorts. I may not have Adriana’s legs or Elsa’s abs, but I feel and look my own version of Angelic. I shockingly did not get the call-up for tomorrow’s show (incredible, I know), but my version of sculpting in Sydney has left me feeling heavenly. And for me, that’s the most important thing (although the million dollar bra would be nice).
the Seven deadly sins (for burning fat)
Here, the man behind the workout, Matt Best, explains his “Sculptation” philosophy in seven steps.
1. We lift heavy in the RIGHT exercises. We hit specific angles to hit the areas you actually want to work. For example to hit what we call “the confusion” or the top part of the hamstring/ lower part of the glute, (massive request areas from so many clients)… this is where the Body by Best sequencing patterns are crucial along with the CUSTOM #BBB glute bands. The right exercises in the right sequence…its all in the details.
2. a Custom approach; While sequences are designed with the intention of being for everyone and so I believe totally scaleable to the masses, I still tailor every private session to the individual.
3. Instinctual; I try and be instinctual to how each individual is feeling on that given day, that very moment. How is their energy? How are they feeling? The human body is a maze of wonders that has the potential to be developed, sculpted and improved in so many different ways… we listen to our bodies and have the confidence to deviate and change course in a workout. The beauty of sculptation is that we like to create length, open up the body and create beautiful toning lines. So often modern daily stresses, illness, injury, fatigue cause the body to close up. We must therefore use the time in our workout to correct this.
4. We CAN leave a strength workout feeling strong and the body open… strength training does not mean the body becomes stiff, rigid and tight… at least not in Sculptation. You can become super strong, super lean, agile and flexible within a Sculptation program. Time is precious more then ever with our hectic lives… we must therefore get all we can from the time we have in a workout.
5. Never aesthetic over correct form and function… while every exercise, movement and angle is designed to create beautiful results its also always serves to strengthen the body where we need it most such as weak glutes, weak core, and of course pore alignment and posture. This is an absolute must and prerequisite of a sculptation workout.
6. A feeling of strength and connectivity to our bodies... it’s a beautiful thing. Most don’t feel this in a workout… for example in a squat exercise nearly everyone I have worked with feel a disconnect, as they have only felt their quads…this is predominately not an area that most females want to emphasise. Also we use our quads more then enough in daily life due to a tendency of weak glutes that are not used enough if at all. By actually switching on the glutes with the custom #sculptation bands at the start of a #BBB workout and achieving a depth in the squat motion that encourages the use of glutes muscles and not the quads, while working the inside legs. We have now changed an exercise that previously may have instilled fear of that dreaded bulky quads to one the works the desired areas, while scorching body fat.
7. #Body By Best #Sculptationlife… it’s not just about results, but that very feeling of empowerment and confidence gained from a connection we feel to our body through strength training. We were evolved to do this and it feels amazing. This is the essence of Body by Best Sculptation and it can then filter and enhance other areas of our lives. The way my clients choose to live their lives every day is the real embodiment and magic of the brand.
And Matt’s final food for thought? “Life is the experiences, the moments…with our fitness so vitally important we can have the best time making the workout experience the highlight of the day. Time is so very precious more than ever in our busy lives. Therefore, it is my responsibility to deliver a workout of the very highest standard, transporting you away from the stresses of daily life. A workout should be “total vibes. Why settle for anything less?”