Meet Russell Bateman, innovative trainer responsible for figures of Millie Mackintosh and Laura Whitmore
Russell Bateman is the founder of The Skinny Bitch Collective and personal trainer to the stars, tells Alison O'Riordan his plans for world domination
It's a tough workout endured by leggy models and svelte celebrities like Millie Mackintosh, Suki Waterhouse, Laura Whitmore and Amber Atherton.
And The Skinny Bitch Collective (SBC), the brainchild of top UK trainer Russell Bateman, came to Dublin last weekend to share its new wave of strength and metabolic conditioning, which mostly uses signature primal movements such as jumping, pulling, climbing, crawling and pushing.
The workout involves intense 50-minute circuit-style classes, and demand for places is so high that Bateman is having difficulty taking on new clients in London.
Described by Vogue magazine as "One of the toughest regimes around", people can expect to do movements they probably have never done before and get as far away from their comfort zone as possible.
"Primal movements are a more balanced, all-round way to train oneself. An amazing SBC-style circuit would be a sumo dead lift, then straight into a primal core movement and then 10 explosive burpees. This encompasses an element of lifting, elements of primal movement with crawling and then cardio with the burpees, and that's how we piece together our sequences. It's nonstop start, so it becomes a sequence of the right kind of exercise" says Bateman.
"It's an evolving project class so you never get comfortable with it or get comfortable with the uncomfortable, it will never be an easy ride. There are always different movements and sequences put back to back.
"You're not going to go on the cross trainer or hang around the leg extension for an hour, you're going to give yourself such a hormonal boost."
A personal trainer for as long as he can remember, Bateman started working in Mayfair in Kensington eight years ago. Here he met high-powered individuals, such as bankers and hedge fund managers, the type of men who gravitated towards women, especially models. One of them even came up with the controversial name.
"I would start training these girls but no one knew about it. One day my colleague said to me 'sure you only train skinny bitches' and I quite liked that tag. 'Skinny bitch' is definitely a bit of a term of endearment in London and that's basically the tongue and cheek aspect we give to the name. It's not a social commentary on women.
"It's not about those that don't get it, it's about those that do and anyone in SBC can see what it's about and how it works. It really makes girls happy to be a part of something and train together," says Bateman, who has coached athletes and trained alongside some top health professionals before designing this training regime.
Aimed specifically at promoting lean, strong, empowered women by re-educating them on the misconceptions around fitness and wellness, he says: "The reputation SBC has got is that it is a tough workout, there is no messing around despite it having a funky and funny name."
Having built up his profile and clients through posting intimidating and daunting training sessions on Instagram, fitness enthusiasts have become hardcore fans of the brand.
"You can have a video of two guys dragging lots of weight but then if you see the two British Vogue editors dragging each other, this creates a synergy with other girls that they too can do that. You are making it more accessible, they are still doing these primal movements and getting amazing results but the pictures are a lot prettier."
Russell firmly believes that the key to fitness for women in being "consistent" and his top three ways to blitz body fat are sleep, uphill sprints and re-educating women's misconceptions.
Russell says sleep is key as it's where one's body undergoes repair for growth and recovery. "It's the primary time that the body recovers from exercise and it's also when you'll be rebuilding torn muscle tissues."
High intensity intervals are also important.
"Uphill sprints are brilliant so find a hill and sprint up as fast as you can for 20 seconds, then walk back down and repeat five to six times and gradually repeat until you get up to 10 sprints and then maybe use a weighted vest.
"Throw some kind of back squat into the mix, the big back squat dead lift routines blitzes body fat and keeps your tummy strong. The best abdominal exercise is a dead lift or squat."
A firm believer on re-educating women on misconceptions out there regarding how to eat, move and live, Bateman says the main error women make along the way is thinking long haul cardio will make you leaner.
"Generally girls go into a gym and do exercises they are comfortable with and you need to get as far away from that comfort zone as possible.
"You need to go in and feel 'I'm literally going to hate this today but know it's going to have a good reaction on my body'. Every four weeks you should look at your programme and see if you are doing something different, you have got to change it up.
"Always keep the body and mind guessing. Even putting your legs in different positions when you squat or using a different grip when dead lift, it's all about stimulus," he says.
Another misconception he says is believing not eating breakfast before you train, is good for you. It's not, he says.
"Eating bananas before a work out is another massive delusion, for anyone looking to burn body fat, they need to avoid sugar or fructose before they train. It's ok afterwards but before, one should have an espresso with a few almonds or some coconut milk.
"There is an amazing product in London and in LA which will come to Ireland at some stage, called Smart Coffee. Evidence suggests it helps you burn fat and suppress your appetite, it's almost like a coffee shake. It makes you alert and that's perfect before a training session."
Then there's diet, which he says is completely interlinked with exercise and must be in total sync.
"Food and diet is like a ballroom dance, if one partner is out of sync it doesn't look quite right. You need to treat your partner as a food. If you are choreographing it perfectly, your body will look perfect but if one of you are out of sync, it looks a bit off."
The fitness expert believes one can't go wrong if they are eating high protein, high fibre foods with a little bit of good fat like avocados and nuts. He touches upon his daily diet as an example.
"There are times in the morning when I have eggs, salmon and spinach and then maybe mid-morning a cold press green juice to alkalise the body but pure greens; no sweet fruit in there just spinach, celery and broccoli, lemon, lime and ginger. At lunch a raw sandwich which is basically flax seed with some nut butter.
"There are elements of my diet which are quite vegan and raw but I also do like a good steak so it's important to mix and match but not go down one route. I like to vary. I'm not a big fan of juice diets; I feel they are quite restrictive. Juices are amazing but they need to be in conjunction with some kind of food."
When exiting the gym after a gruelling workout, he maintains one should avoid fat and instead get some fibrous carbohydrates in like some sweet potato or quinoa with vegetables, to replenish glycogen levels and help lean muscle gains.
"Fat before is good, fat after not so good."
Russell is not so enthused to discuss the well-known fitness fanatics who frequent his gym and have adopted the SBC method. However he does admire their common goal of fitness and health which has brought them together to motivate others.
"The girls I train always want amazing videos of them doing stuff on Instagram and they know as well it's great for their followers to see them doing those movements. If Millie and Laura post a video of them doing something amazing like upside down and one-legged burpees or carrying each other on their backs, or resistance-band exercises around their legs, if they stimulate just one person, then their job is done.
"It's all about inspiring, empowerment through those videos, which are a great tool to wake someone up. People even make up they have gone to an SBC class and I've never seen them!
"These girls [clients] have had a shift towards a healthy perspective, they aren't really party people, they very rarely party, and when they do, it's not huge big sessions, there are far more people out there who party far harder."
From January, everyone will have access to video tutorials of SBC's signature moves designed by Russell Bateman, with the launch of the 'SBC Experience', set to take the fitness scene worldwide by storm.
'It's a year worth of training videos on your phone, you can have your whole year curated by SBC and get your days and exercise set out and how to eat. You will pay around £30 a month for that. There will be around five exercises to do either at home or in the gym."
Perhaps we'll see the rise of the Skinny Bitch on Irish shores in no time...
Russell Bateman's top tips to live the SBC lifestyle
Sweat and move daily; dance, long walks, sauna, yoga, pilates, sbc workouts
Eat raw as much as possible
Buy a cold press juicer
Stay in the present moment (the now) as much as you can
Make sure your breathing is full and deep… best detox possible
Love yourself unconditionally or you can never love anyone else unconditionally
Mix up your workouts as much as possible - for your body and your brain
On nights where you're staying in, go to bed at 10pm
Throw away your television and read more
Use Coconut butter
Re-educate women's misconceptions
Russell Bateman's SBC classes were held in Ireland's luxury design Hotel, The Marker.
See thesbcollective.com for more information.
Health & Living