Want a body like Elle Macpherson? Well, her personal trainer has written a book to tell you how to achieve The Body.
Ever wanted a body like ‘the body’ Elle Macpherson’s? Well, her personal trainer has written a book to tell you how.
James Duigan wants us to cut the CRAP, and he’s not being crass.
The personal trainer, who counts Elle Macpherson and Hugh Grant among his clients, uses the slang term as an acronym to highlight some of the main toxins that cause weight gain – caffeine, refined sugar, alcohol and processed food.
Avoiding these is just one of the steps on his path to achieving a lean body, as outlined in his recently released book, Clean and Lean Diet.
How to get “the body”
It’s hard to believe that Macpherson’s famous physique isn’t the result of making exercise a full-time job, but Duigan insists this is not the case.
His diet has been devised from his work with all his clients, including the supermodel, and he believes results like hers are achievable by everyone.
Duigan, who grew up in Adelaide, met Macpherson while working in a London gym and has trained the 47-year-old mother-of-two for more than a decade.
“Obviously she was blessed with good genes and that plays a big part in how amazing she looks,” he said.
“In saying that, there are a lot of tall girls out there that aren’t in as good shape so I think it really helps that she has such a great attitude to her health and lifestyle.”
Duigan’s approach doesn’t involve calorie counting or spending hours in the gym. Rather, he encourages a more natural approach to eating. He’s a massive fan of organic food and of knowing the origins of the food you consume.
“Keep it simple, lots of green vegies, lots of lean meats, lots of fruit, all the good stuff that keeps you healthy,” he said.
While his diet isn’t revolutionary – it follows a high in protein, low in carbohydrate and bad fats approach – his book is very practical.
It provides a 14-day meal and exercise plan, as well as recipes and handy tables that suggest healthier alternatives to commonly consumed nasties.
Smart eating and smart training
Swapping a breakfast of toast or cereal for one of smoked salmon (100 grams) with chopped cucumber might sound like a recipe for a rumbling tummy, but Duigan insists his isn’t the kind of diet that makes people go hungry. A good serve of protein is also a great way to start the day, he said.
“It’s not like a lettuce leaf with dust sprinkled on it,” he said. “It is a really full and varied diet. I never want anyone to feel hungry.”
As for exercise, Duigan’s motto is work smarter, not harder.
Understanding that many people have busy lives, he has devised an eight-minute workout of resistance exercises to be done twice a day. This can be extended with a walk or by attempting the more advanced workouts in the book.
“You should never really be working out for longer than an hour. Any longer than that and you haven’t been working smart enough in that hour and you’re really just putting your body under unnecessary stress,” he said.
“I’d say if you can do a good metabolic resistance circuit for about 10 minutes in the morning, which is an achievable about of time, and then 10 minutes in the afternoon or evening, then you’ll see good results with your physique.”
So does Macpherson exercise for only two 10-minute sessions a day? Sometimes, says Duigan. It just depends on how busy she is.
“Elle is a busy lady. She has two boys and a job, lots of businesses to run so she does what she can, when she can,” he said.
If she’s travelling, this might include an ocean swim or a run in the park. At home in London she trains with Duigan two to four times a week for hour-long sessions.
As for whether she occasionally falls off the good-eating wagon, Duigan refused to give anything away about his star client.
“She doesn’t have any weaknesses that I know, but I will say that I don’t know any girls who don’t like a bit of chocolate.”
Common problem areas:
1. Sugar addiction.
2. Skipping meals. “[People] think it’s a good thing. [But] it slows your metabolism down. You want to be burning lots of fat all through the day.”
3. Not being honest with yourself
Three changes that will have a big impact:
1. Start each morning with some protein – eg eggs, meat, almonds and natural yoghurt.
2. Drink a squeeze or slice of lime in water.
3. Stretch for five-10 minutes before bed. This will help you unwind and consequently help you sleep better
The Clean and Lean Diet by James Duigan is published by Kylie Cathie and is available now, $27.99.