Forget working out to be skinny, these days people in the know are exercising because it makes them feel happy. Gone are the days of seeing looking after your body and your health as punishment.
Nicole Stuart is a trainer who certainly values the happy feelings that come from a decent workout. She has a loyal client list that includes; Kate Hudson, Goldie Hawn, Ashley Benson, Portia de Rossi, Anna Faris and Julia Ormond, so she certainly has a cult following.
The Las Vegas native is based in West Hollywood, California, and was trained by Pilates guru Mari Winsor, but these days Nicole practices a creative style of Pilates that blends dance moves, yoga, stretching and cross-training.
We asked Nicole for advice for those of us who are feeling down how to get a daily dose of happy endorphins even when we are feeling too exhausted to exercise: “Often my clients might feel too tired to work out when they turn up but by the end of the session they’re buzzing with energy and they sleep better too, plus regular exercise combats the blues and makes you feel happy and that’s what I get people to focus on and bear in mind,” Nicole says.
“It’s not just about how you look, it’s about happy feelings: working out is about body, mind and soul.”
The problem is that if you’re not feeling happy then dragging yourself to the gym is usually the last thing you feel like doing. But Nicola says to put all thoughts of exercise being hard work to the back of your mind:
She explains: “Instead of focusing on what hard work exercise is, I know that once I’m done I’ll feel great so I focus on that and just get on with it. The happy endorphins you get from breaking a sweat every day never fail to make everyone feel better and starting your morning with a workout can change the way your entire day pans out for the better.
“And it doesn’t have to be a long, pubishing and painful workout that leaves you in agony like people imagine.”
So what is the ideal amount of time to set aside for working out each week?
“My clients tend to work out with me for between an hour and an hour and a half normally three or four times a week depending on their schedule. I always change the workouts up so their muscles never get used to what we’re doing and they don’t get bored,” Nicole explains.
“We’ll usually spend the time doing Pilates. We work on each area for about ten minutes so we’ll do ten minutes on abs, ten minutes on upper body and arms, ten minutes on hips and ten minutes on the buttocks and then a stretching session to warm down. Each move varies but it’s usually 15-30 reps for each one and then we change to a new move so you don’t have time to get bored.
“I don’t think crunches work but if you do Pilates and then you don’t do it for a week you notice it when you look down and see that the muscles suddenly aren’t as defined and that’s a big motivator to keep at it.
“I recommend doing cardio blasts three or four times a week as well as Pilates for best results.”
Nicole has developed a brilliant Pilates app called QE2 which you can download here. They’re a series of videos where she guides you through ten minute workouts which focus on different areas of your body. So you can do your arms one day, and abs the next all under Nicole’s expert direction.
An A-list workout in ten minutes that you can do from the comfort of home or the office and will make you fit and happy? – Yes please!