Here at Fabulous HQ, we’re on a constant mission to help you get a buff bod,
whether it’s letting you in on diet secrets or bringing you fantastic
fitness tips. And after overindulging on mulled wine, mince pies and eating
7,689 Quality Streets, everyone’s thinking about a New Year shape-up. Well
that’s everyone apart from the Fabulous Fitties – aka Kim, Ellie, Katie,
Rachel, Claie and Carly – because, for the sake of you, they’ve forgone six
weeks of delicious treats to road-test a variety of fitness and weight-loss
It was tough. And involved much blood (after an unplanned/over-enthusiastic
dance class knee slide), sweat (so, so much sweat) and tears (when they
couldn’t polish off a giant bar of Galaxy), but check out the results! Now
it’s just up to you which plan you’ll pick…
Get dance fit
Carly Hobbs, Deputy Lifestyle Ed, 28
What I did I hate gyms but, like every girl, I want to shape up. So I
signed up to after-work dance classes, four nights a week for six weeks, at
Gymbox. I didn’t follow a strict diet, but kept an eye on what I ate. And as
a veggie, that meant lots of veg, protein-packed Quorn (perfect for chillis,
Bolognese, etc), brown rice/pasta and only had the odd choc brownie (my
The result: I lost 10lb and totally toned up!
Highs and lows The Booiaka (soulful street dance) and ballet classes
were so much fun, I rarely noticed 45 minutes of cardio had passed, and I
came away with bags of energy. Plus, it was nice to shrug off any body
hang-ups in class, as the atmosphere was really friendly.
While the classes were great, I felt it the day after. Sitting at my desk with
aching muscles was tough.
Steering clear of cupcakes and beer was tricksy, too. But a few cutbacks (half
a cake’s just as tasty) and vodka, lime and sodas (practically no calories),
teamed with extra effort at dance o’clock helped keep me on track. I
literally danced my ass off.
Sustainability factor Super sustainable, even if you only go a couple
of times a week, the classes are so easy to do post-work/pre-going out and
you’re always picking up new moves. Result!
- Gymbox membership starts from £53 a month, and currently there is no joining
fee. Classes are free to members, £8 to non-members. There are clubs
all over London, and a new one opens in Leeds in 2012. For more info,
visit Gymbox.co.uk or
call 0845 241 5220. For dance classes in your area contact your local
Lesson learnt Go old-school to find an exercise that you love. I went
to dance class when I was younger – I hadn’t realised how much I’d missed
- Height 5ft 4in
- Weight 11st 8lb to 10st 13lb
- Boobs 40in to 39in
- Waist 34.5in to 34in
- Right arm 12in to 11.5in
- Left arm 12.5in to 11.5in
- Hips 41in to 39.5in
- Right leg 24in to 22in
- Left leg 24.5in to 22in
- Dress size 14 to 12
Ellie O’Mahoney, Lifestyle Editor, 32
What I did I’ve never been overweight, so was horrified when my doctor
told me that after doing no exercise for a year and eating high-carb,
high-sugar foods, my lifestyle had made me unhealthy inside. She challenged
me to reduce my body fat percentage of 24 per cent and increase my lean
I attended sessions at the Bodyism gym in south-west London three times a
week, with the aim of not losing weight, but building muscle and toning up
“inside” flab. Each session involved an hour of resistance training and
working on a Versaclimber – a machine that simulates mountain climbing, and
which I did my very best to avoid as it was hard work!
After each session, I had a Bodyism BodyComplete protein shake (£60 for 640g,
which lasts a month). My diet was tough to maximise the fat to muscle change
– few carbs, hardly any sugar and a ton of protein and veg. But with clear
rules (and a weekly “cheat meal” ) it was easy to follow.
The result I reduced my body fat from 24 to 18 per cent and increased
my muscle mass by 4.7 per cent.
Highs and lows I love carbs and having to switch my pain au chocolat
and milky coffee to turkey salad for breakfast (yes, really) was a
challenge. My addiction was quickly sorted, though, by eating regularly,
which kept hunger pangs at bay, but I did have worse sugar cravings than
I’ve ever had before.
I stuck to Bodyism recipes all day – chicken salad for lunch, nuts for snacks,
and fish and veg for dinner, but felt guilty about snaffling a few chunks of
dark choc. But as I noticed changes in my body after a month, it became
easier. It started with roomier clothes (bras too, sadly) and finished with
arms like Michelle Obama.
Sustainability Factor I have had just one sandwich since I stopped the diet
two weeks ago – carbs no longer control me!
- Follow the plan at home with James Duigan resistance bands, from £12 (Victoriahealth.com)
and Bodyism supplements. Bodysim Platinum membership is £30,000 a year
(including supplements, personal training, etc). Call 020 7581 1243 or
visit Bodyism.com for
free How To videos.
Lesson learnt I’ve eaten badly for most of my life. I thought I was
healthy, but quiche, potatoes, sugary orange squash and a daily “treat” choc
bar does not a toned girl make.
- Height 5ft 3in
- Weight 8st 5.7lb to 8st 4lb
- Boobs 34in to 33in
- Waist 27.5in to 25.5in
- Right arm 11in to 10.2in
- Left arm 10.5in to 10in
- Hips 37in to 34in
- Right leg 22in to 19in
- Left leg 21in to 18.5in
- Dress size 10 to 8
Kim Webb, Picture Director, 33
Claie Wilson, Feature Writer, 38
What we did Two personal trainer workouts a week. Exercises were a
mixture of Power Plate (a machine that vibrates as you perform exercises)
and circuit training.
Plus homework of three DIY sessions doing exercises that our personal trainer
had shown us. Sessions lasted between 30 and 60 minutes, and toned every
single mummy bit. Healthy eating covered putting away as little fat as poss,
tucking into mini meals every four hours and swapping white wine for red as
it’s healthier for your heart and contains more antioxidants.
The results CLAIE: I dropped one-and-a-half dress sizes. KIM: I lost
Kim’s highs and lows I loved my sessions with our personal trainer
Hollie, especially when she showed me how to adapt exercises so I could do
them at home in front of Corrie. The Power Plate was great, giving all my
hard work an extra boost, but nothing takes the edge of not being able to
eat treats. When the rest of the office were tucking into sugary doughnuts,
I had to avoid looking at them.
Also, on a rare night out with the girls, I did have a few too many cosmos –
not on the eating plan! Yet I balanced it out running around after my
15-month-old daughter, Poppy. Overall, I’m happy as all my friends have said
that I look slimmer.
Claie’s highs and lows I got more tired and grumpy with every
week! Not only could I not have a glass of Chardonnay to wind down in the
evening, but the workouts were tough. Juggling work, my sweet but exhausting
boys, Sam, five, and Jake, two, and the rest of my life wears me out
already, so exercise added to that.
I thought that once this was over I’d never want to do another
weight-in-hand-sit-up ever again, but seeing the difference that just six
weeks’ work has done, I do want to keep it up – just not as intensely.
Sustainability factor As busy working mums, three sessions are just
about doable, which is enough to keep us in shape. The healthy eating is
staying, kind of, though treats at the weekends are coming back.
- The mums trained with personal trainer, Hollie Hill (Holliehillpt.co.uk)
at Fitness First. Fitness First membership starts from £44.95 and
personal training sessions cost from £50 per hour. There are over
140 Fitness Firsts all over the country. Visit Fitnessfirst.co.uk or
call 0844 412 2664 for your nearest one.
Lesson learnt Eat little and often. Tucking in, every three or four
hours, keeps sugar levels balanced. That way, you won’t crave the naughty
Kim’s vital stats
- Height 5ft 6in
- Weight 9st 8lb to 9st 2lb
- Boobs 32.3in to 29.9in
- Waist 29.5in to 27.5in
- Right arm 11.5in to 11in
- Left arm 11.2in to 11in
- Hips 40in to 36in
- Right leg 23in to 22in
- Left leg 22.5in to 22in
- Dress size 10/12 to 8/10
Claie’s vital stats
- Height 5ft 6in
- Weight 10st 6lb to 9st 8lb
- Boobs 34.5in to 29.5in
- Waist 31in to 28.2in
- Right arm 12.5in to 12in
- Left arm 12.5in to 12in
- Hips 41.5in to 37.4in
- Right leg 24in to 23.5in
- Left leg 23.9in to 23.5in
- Dress size 14/12 to 10
Get a six-pack
Rachel Richardson, Editor, 32
What I did Knowing that I’m usually rubbish at following diets and
could never give up my beloved Pinot Grigio, I opted to go big on exercise,
and aimed to strengthen my core to get a washboard tum. I did a Rocky-style
one-hour personal training session once a week, ran twice a week, plus a
one-hour Pilates session. Food-wise, I decided to set my own diet. I cut out
the Haribo and crisps, pretty much banned refined carbs (pasta, white bread
and chips), and made sure protein was the main part of each meal, but
allowed myself treat days (hello, Nando’s).
The result I lost 7lb and got a flatter tummy.
Highs and lows I loved the exercise, but found fitting it all into my life
I sacrificed much-needed sleep to meet up with my personal trainer Jean at
7am, but the super-smug feeling I had afterwards was more than worth missing
moments under the duvet. Following the diet was torture, but it made me
realise that you can live without that 4pm Hobnob binge. And there is no
greater feeling than when you start noticing changes to your body.
Now some of my clothes don’t fit me – for the right reason. And I didn’t even
have to give up my daily Coca-Cola treat!
Sustainability factor Exercise is now part of my life. I plan my week
around my runs and love how they make me feel. The best bit is, while I’m
more aware of what I’m eating, I don’t worry about odd blowouts. Because I
can just run it off. Simple exercise really makes a difference and, aside
from the occasional naughty day, I’m sticking to my high-protein, low-carb
- Rachel worked with Jean through celebrity trainer Mark Anthony, who runs his own
24-hour health club in London with a team of pro trainers. Membership is £95
a month, and personal training sessions are £80 an hour. To get in celeb-style
shape and for more info visit Markanthonysuk.com
or call 020 7221 8625.
Lesson learnt It’s really hard to get a six-pack – you have to have
virtually no body fat to get that kind of definition. But I still love my
- Height 5ft 4in
- Weight 9st 11lb to 9st 4lb
- Boobs 34in to 33in
- Waist 29in to 27in
- Right arm 10.5in to 10in
- Left arm 10in to 10in
- Hips 40in to 37.5in
- Right leg 23.5in to 21.5in
- Left leg 23in to 22.5in
- Dress size 10 to 8
Shrink your body
Katie Morris, Assistant Picture Editor, 32
What I did Hard-core circuit-training workouts, twice a week. My
half-hour Sexy In The City Bootcamp gym classes started at 8am, and were
filled with tough exercises. The trainers focused on problem areas such as
flabby tummies, bingo wings and back fat. For my diet, I cut out ready-made
food, and cooked up healthy meals with lots of veg, fish, lean meat and good
carbs such as oats and sweet potatoes.
The result I lost 11 inches overall.
Highs and lows While my weight loss overall wasn’t huge, my inch loss
was brilliant. Dropping a dress size was amazing, especially considering I
only had to give up one hour every week in return for smaller outfits. I
enjoyed the bootcamp sessions and found the girls-only classes really
supportive, simple and very effective. Cutting out bad foods was a bit of an
issue, yet the diet definitely worked, giving me the extra energy to work
out. So I resisted the urge for a Pret Posh Cheddar baguette. Just. I’ve now
signed up for more Sexy In The City sessions as I don’t want all my hard
work to go to waist.
Sustainability factor It was pretty easy to maintain – what’s 60
minutes out of every week? I reckon I could even fit in another session a
week to lose more pounds.
- Sexy In The City Bootcamps run all over London. They cost £99 a month, or £149
for three months from the beginning of January (you’ll need to
book and pay for sessions in advance). Look out for Sexy In The City
Bootcamps opening in your area in 2012, too. For more information and to
get super sexy, visit Sexyinthecitybootcamps.com.
Don’t expect drastic results immediately. I only lost weight in the last two
weeks, as at the start of my new regime, I was building muscle.
- Height 5ft 2in
- Weight 10st 1lb to 9st 12lb
- Boobs 40in to 39in
- Waist 35in to 33in
- Right arm 12in to 11in
- Left arm 12.5in to 11.5in
- Hips 37in to 34.5in
- Right leg 23in to 21.5in
- Left leg 23.5in to 21.5in
- Dress size 12 to 10