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Celebrity trainer secrets: Baby Driver star Lily James’ PT reveals the best exercise for weight-loss

Celebrity trainer James Farmer, PT to Lily James in new film Baby Driver reveals the best exercises for weight-loss – a Healthista exclusive 

Known for her roles in Downton Abbey and Cinderella, Lily James is hitting the headlines this month for starring in new big blockbuster hit Baby Driver that’s just hit our screens. Playing the love interest of lead character and getaway driver, Baby, the English rose looks gorgeous as ever in Edgar Wright’s latest film.

But how does the 28-year-old stay in shape?

With the help of celebrity personal trainer, James Farmer of course (Farmer also happens to have trained Lily James’ sci-fi-famous boyfriend Matt Smith). Graduating as a physiotherapist, the PT specialises in sports rehabilitation and works with athletes taking them from injury to peak physical condition. But for some clients, peak aesthetic condition is the goal (because, why not?) – and Farmer has an impressive list of celebrity clientele.

Having worked in the industry for over a decade, he has trained stars from Olympians and actors to Royals. ‘Out of the ones I can talk about… Jessie J, Florence Welch, Sophie Turner, Bella Heathcote,’ admits Farmer. He adds: ‘there are several others that I’m currently working with that have big projects launching in the latter half of this year and I’m excited for them to show off all the hard work they’ve been putting in.’

Farmer has worked with stars from Olympians and actors to Royals.  He says: ‘Out of the ones I can talk about… Jessie J, Florence Welch, Sophie Turner, Bella Heathcote,’

As the owner of PT company The Body Blueprint, Farmer provides a bespoke London-based service to his celeb clients. We quizzed him on his approach to fitness, diet and all things working out.

Q.  What is your most reliable go-to type of exercise for all round fitness?

Hands down, it has to be boxing. You’ll burn off a huge amount of calories, improve your cardiovascular fitness, all whilst learning a skill that will improve your movement and coordination. But most of all, it’s fun.

Q. What is your favourite fat- busting exercise and why?

Has to be the burpee! It’s hated for a reason. It’s hard, works the whole body, requires no equipment, and can be thrown into any circuit to induce that cardiovascular hit and metabolic kick.

Lily James premiere Baby Driver, Celebrity trainers secrets Baby driver Lily James PT James Farmer by healthista
Lily James stunned at the June premiere of Baby Driver

Q. What ratio of cardio-weights do you advise?

It largely depends on the person. Typically, women tend to shy away from lifting weights in fear of ‘bulking up’. The result is that they overdo their cardio, underdo their weight training, and fail to get the results they want. The first thing to do is to try and adjust this ratio. As a minimum and starting goal, aim for 50/50 split between weights and cardio and look to increase the percent of weight training over a period of time. Once you see the improvements in results, this won’t be a problem.

Q. What is your philosophy when it comes to keeping fit?

Consistency is key. You don’t have to smash every session, and you also don’t have to kill yourself every session, but missing a week of sessions and starting back at square one every week won’t get you anywhere. Set yourself a target for workouts per week, and stick to it.

James Famer PT 2 Celebrity trainer secrets Lily James by healthista
Graduating as a physiotherapist in 2005, Farmer specialises in sports rehabilitation

Q. What would be the one tip you use to keep clients, or yourself, motivated to continue a workout?

When it gets tough, remember your WHY. Think about your goals, how you want to look, how you want to feel. Take a breath, and get back to it. Mental toughness can be trained like everything else.

Q. What diet do you typically follow?

I follow a balanced diet throughout the year. I adjust my calorie intake and macronutrient percentages depending on the type of training I’m doing and how lean I want to be. I’ve played around with ketogenic diets recently, which I’ve had good results with. Ketogenic diets are high fat, moderate protein, very very low carb. A typical meal would look be: asparagus pan fried in coconut oil with scrambled eggs and feta cheese. Or rib eye steak with a side of kale and broccoli with butter.

I cut out fruits completely, and keep carbs very very low, making sure to keep fat intake high and a moderate amount of protein. When ketone levels rise, appetite drops and I have personally found it to be an effective way of dropping body fat and a diet I really enjoy. If anyone is going to try it, I would advise they do so with some medical guidance and regular blood tests. 

I also like a lot of the ideas put forward by the Paleo diet. I think with some minor adjustments, the Paleo diet is pretty good, and I’d say my diet leans towards this most of the year.


low carb diet, James Famer PT 2 Celebrity trainer secrets Lily James by healthista
Farmer tends to stick to a low-carb diet

Q. What is the best diet tip you can give people?

Forget about diets in the short term. Instead, find a nutritional approach you can lose weight with and is sustainable indefinitely. It’s the only way you will lose weight and keep it off.

In terms of direct dietary advice, include a protein source, a small amount of healthy fats with plenty of salad and/or green veg with every meal.

Q. Are there any foods you limit or eat more of?

I’m a big believer in having a reasonably high protein intake – so I include lots of poultry and fish in my diet, as well as a limited amount of red meat. I’ll always include a protein source with every meal.

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To help maintain and build muscle, protein is an essential part of Famer’s diet

Q. If you have a cheat meal, what is it and how often?

I do. It’s a special burger I have a local restaurant put together for me. Its double stacked and has every possible topping added to it. I’ll have it maybe once a month. They are still shocked I finish the entire thing every time I get it. The place is called Monkey Nuts in Crouch End. It’s a hand made beef pattie, medium rare, double stacked, with two poached eggs, bacon, cheese, pulled pork, mushrooms, onion with a side of sweet potato fries. It’s a massive indulgence but it’s completely worth it.

Q. What do most of us get wrong when we aren’t seeing results?

I think if results have stalled, firstly you need to have an honest look at your training and diet. Most often, the diet has slipped, and training sessions have been missed. Address that first and be honest with yourself.

Q. Is it possible to get a celebrity’s body?

Celebrities work hard on their bodies. It’s no easier for them than it is anyone else. If you commit to a training and nutrition plan, you will see results. How far you want to take those results will be dependent on you.

James Famer PT Celebrity trainer secrets Lily James by healthistaThe Body Blueprint’s owner and director James Farmer is rapidly gaining a reputation as one of the top personal trainers in London. With over 10 years of experience in the health and fitness industry, James has the expertise and knowledge to help realise a client’s potential.

Graduating from Nottingham University with an honorary degree in Physiotherapy, James specialised in sports rehabilitation and biomechanics. Over the proceeding years, James’s interest moved into strength and conditioning, rebuilding athletes and clients following injury into peak physical condition.

This unique skill set has made James one of the most sought after personal trainers in London. Regular clients include some of the most high profile people in the country, including the likes of Jessie J, Matt Smith, Florence Welch and Lily James.

Read more

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