Train four times a week and watch out for the healthy fats – PT to Leigh-Anne Pinnock & Lily James, Aimee Victoria Long shares her advice on how to get in shape and stay that way
Weight-loss, fat loss, muscle gain – where do we even begin? There’s so much advice out there, we’re not sure who to believe and who to ignore.
One PT that seems to know a thing or two though is Aimee Victoria Long.
In fact, beauty editors and TV stars literally have Aimee on speed dial to nourish their bodies and minds – so she must be good right?
Celebrities Aimee has worked with include Leigh-Anne Pinnock from Little Mix, Lily James, Made in Chelsea and Towie stars including Lauren Goodger, Frankie Sims, to name a few.
Aimee is one of London’s leading personal trainers with a whopping 82k followers on Instagram.
You can find her in top studios across London delivering her Body Beautiful Method along with her team, whilst also working with A-list celebrities and even members of the Royal Family (shh!).
Fusioning her love of Pilates, barre and HIIT, Aimee is renowned for her expertise in the fitness industry, and her unique Body Beautiful Method combines a mix of disciplines from Pilates to strength and conditioning.
Aimee is renowned for her expertise in the fitness industry
Her method also gives clients a training and nutritional programme that works with their lifestyle, reshapes her clients’ bodies and nourishes their minds.
Healthista had to find out everything there is to know about how Aimee keeps her clients in shape. In an interview with Healthista, she reveals 9 ways you can get in shape and stay that way.
Here’s what she had to say…
#1 Pilates and barre will change your body
After everything I have learnt about fitness and fat burning, I believe that the best way to burn fat is through barre exercise – high intensity barre exercise that is.
It elevates your heart rate, is a fun and dynamic workout and can always be made more challenging.
Pilates and barre work is what you need to do more of, if you are looking to change your body’s shape and composition. It’s not going to create big bulky muscles.
when I started Pilates and barre training I noticed that my body and muscles had lengthened out
For me personally, when I was doing a lot of strength and conditioning, as well as HIIT workouts I found that my legs became bigger and bulkier.
But when I started Pilates and barre training I noticed that my body and muscles had lengthened out. I also found that my abdominal muscles were more noticeable as I was focusing on my muscles in a different way.
I think that when you start to understand your body more you can really feel where you are targeting in these small focused exercises.
#2 Barre increases your flexibility too
Barre work is something my clients find particularly challenging, it isn’t what most people expect it to be.
People think barre work is easy and just for girls, but the flexibility that’s needed and the way that you move is very different to what a lot of people have been doing or how they choose to train.
Many celebrity women who come to me want to increase their level of flexibility. It’s great for coordination and mental health too.
Leigh-Anne Pinnock started training with me because she wanted to be flexible and fit
Leigh-Anne Pinnock started training with me because she wanted to be flexible and fit. In fact, for a Little Mix music video, Leigh-Anne wanted to be able to do the splits.
She has found that doing my barre and Pilates style workouts has helped with her flexibility and toned her muscles in a way that shes always wanted, especially thanks to the pulses and small intense movements.
Usually when you are doing strength and conditioning and weight based exercises, yes it’s great for building muscle but you can also become quite tight and lose your flexibility, whereas my method of exercise has been far more beneficial for what her goals have been.
#3 Aim for four training sessions a week
A typical exercise week for one of my clients would consist of three PT sessions with me and during that session we would mix everything together.
So that would be a fusion of strength, barre, Pilates and then another session would be them choosing to do a high intensity walk or a light jog. I find a few of my clients quite like to hop on a treadmill and do an incline walk for about 30 minutes.
even a fast paced walk can be considered a sufficient cardio workout
Then we will also have one rehab stretch session. So in total that’s about four training sessions and one stretch, rehabilitation and mobility focused session.
For any other cardio sessions, even a fast paced walk can be considered a sufficient cardio workout. Basically anything that elevates your heart rate.
#4 Treat your training sessions like meetings
Treat exercise like it’s an important meeting. If you had a work meeting you wouldn’t just not go and ignore what is written in your diary.
Do the same with your workouts, schedule them in and stick to them. Whether it’s a gym session or a workout with a friend, stick to what your diary says.
#5 Surround yourself with active and motivated people
Most of my friends and the people who I am surrounded by are obsessed with fitness or are trainers themselves.
My time spent hanging out with my friends involves going to a Barry’s class together or a reformer Pilates class together and then having a healthy brunch.
I advise people often to try and start your fitness journey with a friend
Because of this, I find I am constantly motivated to exercise, and eat healthy.
I advise people often to try and start your fitness journey with a friend. Go to classes together, jump on a Zoom session together, go for a walk in the park or a jog around the block.
If you want to stay on track, you need to have people around you who will help to encourage and support you. You then start noticing the benefits together which further encourages you to stick with it.
#6 Watch out for fats – even the healthy ones
So often I find it isn’t necessarily the food choices, it’s the portions – even of the healthy foods.
Recently I have had to limit and watch how much I eat of healthy foods such as avocado and Brazil nuts. Although they are foods that are incredibly healthy for you, they are very high in calories.
We are often told about trendy foods and that we should be sure to eat them, but we are never told how much we should or shouldn’t be eating so that it doesn’t lead to weight gain. That is what I find a lot of my clients – and me – struggle with.
It’s more beneficial mentally and physically, to focus on eating a balanced diet and aim to consume more fish, vegetables and a small portion of healthy carbohydrates such as sweet potato.
#7 It all comes down to calories
Counting calories is a good starting point and people to gain a general idea of how much they are eating on a daily basis.
With time, you’ll start to work out how many calories you are eating for yourself, rather than always having to track the exact amount.
You can also start to figure out a rough assumption of how many calories you need or don’t need depending on your day or lifestyle.
My only concern is that if you are someone who can become quite obsessive with those calories, then perhaps it’s better to avoid this.
Usually when people aren’t seeing results it all comes down to what you’re eating. You think that you’re being healthy, but a lot of the time you’re not.
People come to me and say, ‘but Aimee I have a smoothie for breakfast, and then I’ll have the salmon and veg you suggested for lunch and my evening meals are healthy in the same way. Why am I not losing weight?’
You think that you’re being healthy, but a lot of the time you’re not
But what is in that smoothie exactly? You think you’re drinking around 200 calories, but in fact your smoothie is fully loaded and around 1000 calories no thanks to the banana, peanut butter, oats and more.
If you don’t track your calories, many people never realise how many calories are in the food they are preparing.
That’s why initially it’s a good idea to use MyFitnessPal to see exactly how many hidden calories may be going into your smoothie or healthy meal. It all adds up.
#8 Find a balance in life, fitness and diet
Fitness and living a healthy lifestyle is all about finding a balance. It’s also about being the best version of yourself that you can be.
What it isn’t about, is becoming the biggest body builder or being super ‘tiny’.
A lot of the time, people go on these crazy diets, or do a three month body transformation. That’s great for maybe two months, but it simply isn’t sustainable.
Finding something that you can stick to long term is far more beneficial than something you do for just a couple of months.
Whatever it is you decide to do, you need to find what works for you. Your diet and exercise regime should be a lifestyle change and not a quick fix.
#9 Accept your own body shape
Every body shape is different. Yeah you want to look a certain way, but a lot of the time it isn’t possible.
Someone like me for example, I am mixed race and have very prominent black genetics, such as thick thighs and a bigger bum.
People will say ‘oh Aimee I want a booty like yours’ and I tell them ‘yeah but your genetics may not allow that or it will take you a long time to get there through training or even surgery to get to something that I was born just with’.
strive to make your body as strong, healthy and the best that it can be
That’s why I encourage people to accept their own body. Instead of trying to look like someone else, strive to make your own body as strong, healthy and the best it can be.
There will always be a focus on aesthetics, especially with the pressures of society.
I can’t lie and say that I don’t do some of my training for aesthetic purposes, but there has been a definite shift in tone, especially since Covid, whereby a lot of clients and new clients say that they want to get fitter and healthier rather than look skinnier or more muscular.
Especially women and men around the age of 50 who want to live long enough to be around for when their children have grandchildren and be able to run after them.
Aimee Victoria Long is the founder of the Body Beautiful Method, which blends Pilates, barre and bodyweight strength and conditioning to hone strong and supple limbs. She offers 1:1 virtual PT classes, as well as a calendar of live group classes on Zoom.
Cost: from £75/PT session, BBM classes from £5.99