Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke has shared her passion for the ‘Clean and Lean’ lifestyle amongst other celebrities. The creator, James Duigan, shares how you can do it too
Game of Thrones (GOT) returned this week, featuring the ultimate powerful female character on the screen right now, Daenerys Targaryen. The badass GOT queen has been played by woman of the moment Emilia Clarke since 2011. A British pocket size actress with a ton of awards behind her, she also stars in the new drama film Voice from the Stone.
The seven GOT series has seen Daenerys overthrow cities, crush rebellions and walk through fire (in which she lost her clothes – one way GOT built a reputation of featuring a lot of bum and boobs). But 30 year old Emilia recently revealed to the Daily Star that the majestic dragon she flies is actually a bucking bull in front of a green screen – the type you see at fairgrounds. Long hours filming left Emilia with ‘saddle sores’ and even too dizzy to walk.
It’s not the first time a role has taken her to extremes, considering the lead up to her part in Terminator Ganisys in 2014 meant a strict diet and workout regime. According to E! Online, she told InStyle: ‘I’ve been spending all day, every day, in weapons training… On top of that, I have not been allowed to eat anything that might taste good at all’. That sounds pretty miserable.
‘Clean and Lean’ approaches health by putting the body in ‘the perfect state’
However, the beauty, who won Esquire’s Sexiest Woman Alive 2015, generally likes to live a life of moderation. She has revealed the Clean and Lean method, created by James Duigan, is her preferred diet to follow, a long with other celebrities such as Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Hugh Grant, Elle Macpherson and Victoria Secret models.
James Duigan and his wife Christiane Duigan, often referred to as the perfect wellness couple, built the Clean and Lean philosophy since 2009 with six best-selling books, the latest being Clean and Lean for Life: The Cookbook. Their gym and fitness wear brand Bodyism, which James founded in 2006, spans across continents with studios, cafes, and a huge fan base (James has 700,000 followers on Instagram where he posts poignant messages and motivations about living on the healthy side of life).
According to the website, the ‘Clean and Lean’ approach puts the body in ‘the perfect state – clean of fattening toxins and lean as a result of a nourishing diet and regular exercise’. In their words, lean is ‘a good mix of curvy, slim and healthy, not scarily honed or skinny’.
Singing Duigan’s praises on an Instagram post, Emilia captioned ‘Allow me to introduce the key to my very happy kitchen… This book. And this dude what wrote it…’. We caught up with the dude that is Aussie James Duigan, who has trained Emilia throughout the years, to find out exactly what we need to do to become ‘Clean and Lean’.
Celebrity trainer secrets: James Duigan
Q. Emilia Clarke has said she is a fan of the ‘Clean and Lean’ approach. What does it entail?
Keep it simple and be kind to yourself. Really and truly in everything you do, what you eat and the way you move. Its really that simple. There is no specific ‘eat this or cut out this’ – everyone is as different on the inside as they are on the outside. So it’s about tuning into yourself and finding what works for you as an individual.
Q. What are celebrities doing to achieve the figures they are?
What we have always done is focused on health first which we have understood is the fastest way to get into shape. Any transformation that happens in the body happens in the mind first. It works unbelievably well and we have a great reputation in the industry for getting people looking and feeling amazing, better and faster than anyone else in the world.
Rosie Huntington-Whiteley follows the Clean and Lean diet and has trained with James
Q. What do you think the rest of us are doing wrong?
I don’t think there is a ‘rest of us’. That sort of delineation is mainly in people’s mind. Celebrities aren’t a different species, they are very much human. We are the same, in fact frighteningly similar. That’s something people need to understand, so they don’t say ‘well it’s alright for them’. That’s a real false constructive.
People do bikini body guides found on Instagram and all the end up doing is injuring themselves
I think one mistake we all make, celebrities and us, is that we feel we have to punish our body in order to have anything happen and that’s just not true. People do bikini body guides found on Instagram and all they end up doing is injuring themselves, becoming obsessive and falling into eating disorders. That’s the real trap.
There are a lot of people who are supposed to be promoting health who are obviously addicted to exercise.
Now there is a new breed of wolves in sheep’s clothing. The yogis. They say ‘I do yoga and lift weights and I am all about empowerment and feminism’. But actually every single picture of them is in a bikini showing their butt, or wearing yoga pants in a sexual position. It really messes with people’s heads and people need to wise up to that.
Q. What do you think the impact of social media is then?
Its been a great and a terrible thing. When people have genuine authenticity and truth on social media it’s really helpful. But when they are ruthlessly commercial and wrapping up really wonderful messages with images of themselves, it can create obsessive behaviours through exercise. There are a lot of people who are supposed to be promoting health who are obviously addicted to exercise.
Q. How do you create your ‘clean and lean’ workouts?
We design it very intelligently with the hope that life is long. We take care of posture, balance and movement and how to create a body that is really beautiful and not just focusing on one muscle group or the big muscle groups. We are making sure people don’t get bulky or injured. I think that’s a really unique approach because there ARE a lot of guides that perhaps have a lot of plyometric exerciseS, jumping and explosive movements. It’s like, ‘dude, even athletes get injured with this and they have a physio on call 24 hours a day. What hope does a housewife or someone who works in an office have’?
Q. What do you think is better, bodyweight exercise or exercise with weights?
I’d definitely say the days of lifting as heavy as you possibly can are over
Weights are great. Its good to use them but not everyone has them. You can do incredible things for your body with your own body weight. So you do what you can with what you have. I’d definitely say the days of lifting as heavy as you possibly can are over. People have wised up to that and realised it doesn’t do anything good. Its about being intelligent, kind to yourself and listening to yourself. If it feels like ‘this is kind of dangerous’ – why risk it?
The pay off of exercise is to energise you and make you feel good, you don’t want to be dragging yourself out of a class with a sore knee, for what? It doesn’t even work, it slows the response of your body down. Let’s just say for arguments sake someone wants to lose weight, the best way of doing that is focusing on your health and looking after your body, not punishing and working against it because your body will slow down and hold on.
Q. What would you say the main things are to think about when it comes to diet?
Keep it simple, sustainable and read the labels. Question everything. Just because something says its gluten free doesn’t mean its good for you. It could be full of sugar, salt or chemicals or all three. You need to be very aware and careful of that. It’s the same with low fat products. People have cottoned on, but not everyone is questioning what is in it to make it edible – loads of sugar and chemicals!
Q. What is your ultimate diet tip?
Here it is: diets don’t work. In order for anything to work it needs to be sustainable and enjoyable. I meet a lot of people who go on a diet and end up putting on more weight because it messes with your mind and metabolism. I’ll give you an example – If I said to you ‘don’t think of the Eiffel tower’, what pops into your mind? The Eiffel tower. If someone says don’t eat something, its all you can obsess about. That’s why diets don’t work.
Q. Are there any foods you try and limit?
Yes. Sugar, refined white flour and processed foods.
Q. If you were to have an indulgent meal, what would it be?
I love a dairy free yoghurt with berries and almond butter. I feel good after it. I love chocolate peanut butter cake, which we have a recipe for in the book (see below), but it’s become not worth it because I feel so bad in my body after. I feel so gross and just don’t enjoy it anymore!
Q. What diets do you see celebrities follow?
It’s such a broad group of people. Especially now when everyone is a celebrity with reality stars. There is no one favourite trend. When I first wrote the book [Clean and Lean], ours was a huge trend with celebs. Before that it was the Atkins diet. Now, you can’t point to one because there are so many. The alkaline diet, the blood type diet, the Bodysim Blueprint. Its very difficult to identify.
Q. What do you do to keep clients focused on their goals?
Being able to move is a privelage
You do things that work, are enjoyable, nourish the body, feel good, intellectually make sense, and motivation provides itself.
James Duigan’s latest book Blueprint for Health: The Bodyism 4 Pillars of Health: Nutrition, Movement, Mindset, Sleep is out in September 2017. Pre-order on Amazon for for £14.99