Fashion Industry Fitness Myths: Part 1

There are several things you should know about me by now. Here are two of them:

1. I operate in both the fitness and fashion worlds.
2. I love nothing more than sinking my teeth into a good diet myth.

So, what better place to hunt down poor advice than in the very place that’s most rife with it: the Fashion Industry.

Interestingly, the past year or two has seen a notable shift. The cornerstones of the industry – the media, the designers, the retailers and the agencies have coined a new buzzword: “Lifestyle”.

In the first section of this series, I want to explore how the infiltration of ‘lifestyle’ is having a positive effect on the modelling industry. There’s more good advice and healthy education out there than ever before. Those agencies who point their models in this direction – and the models who choose it – know there’s more than one way to stay a sample size. And it doesn’t have to be to the detriment of their health.

Someone who knows all about this particular topic is fitness expert and Men’s Health writer Russell Bateman. As the man behind the satirically named ‘Skinny Bitch Collective’, Russ works almost exclusively with models. Here’s what he has to say about model industry fitness myths and the positive impacts of re-education…

“I”m in a privileged position to be trusted by women to change their outlook on exercise and nutrition. My hope is that SBC can continue to perpetuate and re-educate girls on how they should be training and eating. First and foremost – regardless of the immediate changes you facilitate in them – you are setting them up on a fantastic programme of nutritional goodness and amazing training techniques that they can embrace for the rest of their lives. I feel so proud having an impact like that, especially when someone has come to me having been told to eat Special K, or worse eat nothing for breakfast and spend two hours running.”

Russ describes the pokies online average diet and training habits of his model clients before they come to him. You’ll recognise these habits as not being limited to the modelling industry – they are common mistakes, resulting from poor media information and misleading advertising.

Diet-wise, a typical breakfast might involve low fat yoghurt, a supposed ‘healthy’ cereal, exotic fruit, the ubiquitous fruit smoothie or skipping breakfast altogether. Training consists exclusively of steady state cardio, perhaps 30 minutes (but sometimes hours) on the treadmill, cross-trainer or bike.

“Breakfast laden with sugar and fructose.”

Check.

“Traditional ‘cardio’ with no variation, leading to an increase in stress hormone and more mundane than the six month dentist check-up.”

Check.

So how does this stack up against the nutrition and training habits after being put on one of Russell’s programmes? Well let’s see…

The new breakfast eschews sugar and focuses on protein, fibre, healthy fats and antioxidants. This could include salmon, nuts, meat, berries, coconut milk yogurt or a green shake. All highly beneficial for body composition and brain function for the day ahead.

The workouts now revolve around new wave “Strength Cardio”:  high intensity training with emphasis on primal movements, designed to get the client lean, sculpted and tremendously fit. A typical training superset might include sumo deadlifts x 10 reps combined with spider crawls x 15 metres. (On a side note, those crawls are killer – try them for yourself!)

When Russ takes on a new client, he not only has to discredit everything they thought they were doing right, but to convince them to try something that goes completely against the media-perpetuated grain. Eating fat? Lifting weights? All that meat?! I’ve experienced both the challenges and the rewards with many of my own clients, so was keen to hear to about Russell’s experiences…

“The typical reaction to telling someone to eat meat for breakfast is akin to that of if I told them to eat a puppy. Always shocked.  The same when we advise coconut oil in coffee (amazing benefits – try it) not to mention the reaction to our SBC ‘potions’ before workshops…”Voodoo?!”

When the client realises the immense benefits – physiological and mental – of a high protein ‘cave girl’ diet, they are always willing to try it…and they all reap the benefits.

Some are disappointed at not being given the correct advice by previous trainers and coaches. One of the first things any coach should look at is a client’s dietary habits. A detailed food diary with sleep patterns included is fundamental before anyone is looking to train with us.

The reaction from our clients to our training has been fantastic and the overwhelming mentality is a will to keep consistent and adhere to our way of training, eating and resting. The SBC has become a community with girls mingling and embracing the SBC methodology.

Our training – whether with highly worked actresses, models or mums – has helped to keep them on track. When life around them is stressful, a good breakfast or SBC style workout can alleviate some of it. Squatting with a slow tempo and then spraying magnesium oil to help relax and sleep:  a perfect combination.

If you are training the right way and not eating the right way (or vice versa) you cannot expect to get the internal or external wellness you want. Exercise must vary: play with every variable and technique, keep your body guessing! Food must be a veritable nutrient festival full of protein and fibrous carbs. Take your fish oil and vitamin D and all will fall into place.

Be patient. Rome wasn”t built in a day.”

See what I mean? The guy knows his stuff.

In the next instalment, we’re super lucky to be hearing from one of Russell’s successful fashion model clients! Stay tuned to for insider insight into the pressures of body image, the implications of staying ‘model-skinny’ and first-hand experience of turning unhealthy habits into smart ones.

To learn more about the SBC, check out the website or follow Russell on Twitter.

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