When I think of a trainer, I imagine some intimidating beefcake howling insults at me as my sorry arms attempt to push a giant tire or manoeuvre some other form of CrossFit paraphernalia. I do not think of a blonde firecracker with a cute giggle and a propensity for booty shaking. Enter Simone De la Rue, Australian fitness queen, CEO of Body by Simone and trainer (Jennifer Garner, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Selena Gomez and Chrissy Teigen all rave about her fun, giant-tire-free workouts).
De la Rue’s method is all about high-intensity circuits masquerading as dance routines. By pumping upbeat tunes and inserting a hip thrust here and a chest shimmy there, she gets clients to burn up to 600 calories in only 45 minutes, all while having an authentically good time. “Whenever I go into a gym somewhere and there’s no music I’m like, ‘Oh my God, kill me,’” she says of her mission to make cardio enjoyable.
I recently met up with De la Rue where she was promoting SodaStream’s new Fizzi One Touch. Turns out the pro likes her water the way she likes her workouts: highly effervescent. She greeted me with a warm hug and a wealth of wellness tips, from how to stick to your routine without turning down after-work patio hangs to what songs to blast during your living room dance parties.
A lot of us find it hard to work out in the summer because we don’t want to miss out on fun activities, like going to the cottage for the weekend. What are some moves we can do anytime, anywhere?
“We get so caught up in the idea that we have to be in the gym or at the studio, but you can get an incredible workout just by using your own body weight. I was just in the Bahamas last week and I posted some videos of myself working out with a coconut [laughs]. As long as you’re creative and know which muscle group you want to target, you can really get in a wonderful workout. Something even as simple as push ups or planks — it’s like exercise 101. If you use the correct form and the correct technique, you’ll see the benefits. Also, try to get your cardio in. If you’re away, maybe that’s swimming, jump-roping, riding a bike or simply going for a brisk walk. As long as it’s fun and enjoyable, there’s plenty you can do.”
Do you ever give your celebrity clients some moves they can do in their hotel rooms?
“All the time! I even created an app for that purpose because they can’t always have me travel with them. The app gives you workouts that you can do anytime, anywhere, with or without equipment. The equipment includes basic pieces. Even if you don’t have a Pilates ball, you can always use a pillow in a hotel room. I’ve worked in bizarre places like makeup trailers and movie sets. My message is always that it is possible to work out anywhere, anytime. You just have to have the motivation to do it, which is the difficult part. The more fun and creative you can be with it, the better.”
Your dance cardio class is world famous. For those of us not fortunate enough to have a Body by Simone studio in our city, how can we recreate the experience at home?
“The BBS app is great for that because you can learn all the dances. We’ve even started live-streaming classes. Each of my dance cardio classes are 55 minutes long, and that’s usually 40 to 45 minutes of cardio with arms and abs and stretching at the end of it. We often say, ‘I don’t have enough time’ or ‘I don’t have an hour, so I’ll miss my workout today,’ but the one message I’m trying to get across to people is that you can do a great workout in 30 minutes, 20 minutes or even 10 minutes. Don’t make excuses — just do it. Try to do 45 minutes if you can. If not, 10 minutes at sprinting level is still more beneficial than sitting on the couch and saying, ‘I should have done it!’”
What music do you like working out to?
“For me, music is the driving force of exercise. Playlists are a huge part of my workouts because they’re dance-based routines, so it’s all about keeping in tune with the rhythm. Whenever I go to a client’s house, I have to make sure I have the right style of music for the right person. Right now, I’m playing the Ghastly remix of “Loving Every Minute” by Latroit x Bishøp on repeat. I also really like “One Kiss” by Calvin Harris.
How many times a week do you recommend working out to see and maintain results?
“For a beginner, I would say three to five times a week, and if you’re intermediate or advanced, five to six times a week. After four weeks, you’re definitely going to see a change, but eight weeks is a reasonable amount of time to get real results. What frustrates me now is that everyone’s got this quick fix like, ‘Lose 10 Pounds in five days,’ but it’s not sustainable. It’s a bad message we’re sending. You need a decent amount of time to take the weight off slowly, develop strength and then to continue on that path. It’s not just an end goal and then we’re done — you want it to become a lifestyle. I always say to people, we want this to be your forever. If you work out three times a week for life, that’s brilliant.”