I was introduced to Russell Bateman, founder of the SBC, just after a Christmas full of roast dinner, leftover roast dinner, puddings, leftover puddings and chocolate, in a desperate quest to lose 5 pounds before fashion week. I was told he was the best in the industry, with a diverse client base of actresses, pro fighters, mothers and models. Having been somewhat inactive since skiving PE at school, I thought it was about time to see what I could do, and was convinced that with a clientele like his, it would be worth it. What I wasn’t so convinced about was that I would see results after just 2 sessions; how wrong I was.
Russell has been training men and women for over ten years and The SBC was the result of him spontaneously Instgramming one of his beautiful clients working out. How he got her to agree to that I wasn’t so sure, until I attended one of his workshops. This 50 minute session was a family-like community of girls working out - slim, but not at all bitchy despite the name- and wanting the world to see what they were capable of. Photographs of girls on all fours, sweating over kettle bells, pressing weights in high heels; girls training like girls have never trained before. That certainly got people interested, and The Skinny Bitch Collective was born. Russell developed a unique approach to helping women achieve the body they’ve always wanted, lifting heavier weights than your boyfriend could.
Training with the SBC isn’t just about working out, but your nutrition and lifestyle too. After reviewing my main goals we discussed my sleep patterns, my stress levels and my diet. Before our first meeting I provided him with a two-week food diary, which consisted primarily of fruit, muesli, salad and lots of snacking. The feedback I got was a little surprising, apparently a common outcome among most of his female clients. I’d thought, like so many other women, that my breakfast (if I didn’t skip it) of muesli and fruit was as healthy as it could get. However, after branding me the ‘fruit queen’ Russ explained that fruit was high in fructose sugar, and although a natural sugar, it is sugar all the same; and sugar was to be treated as an encouraging ally to body fat.
He sent me SBC Nutritional Guidelines and explained to me what my diet would be from now on. He lost me at “Chicken for breakfast” but re-discovered me at “Sweet potato and Quinoa”. The SBC daily guidelines consist of an entirely organic diet, high in protein, high in good fats and low in sugar with no refined carbs. One of the first things Russ will warn you of are the misconceptions of a low-fat diet which is one of the most negative weight loss strategies, fooling the majority of women – and men - into buying overpriced, pseudo products which will only do the opposite of what they promise to. He points out that “the less fat in the food, the less fat you lose” because any fat taken out must be replaced with something else; most commonly sugary carbohydrates. So a low fat diet ultimately means one high in sugar, and sugar is the enemy. Don’t believe the hype.
A standard breakfast “SBC style” is high in protein and preferably consists of a fillet of salmon or a chicken breast with almonds or macadamia nuts. This shocks every one of Russell’s clients. It may at first seem an unbelievable alternative to your yogurt and fruit, but once you’ve tried it, you’ll never go back. “Breakfast is integral to metabolic potential throughout the day, increasing neural drive and focus”. Knowing that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, I instantly wanted to make it the most nutritious and beneficial, too. As weird as it may seem to cook a lunch-like meal at 7am, you’re body will thank you, and you will get so much more out of your day.
Alongside working out - especially as intensively as his clients do - protein is essential, for energy as well as muscle repair, and contributes toward a leaner body. Meat is to be organically sourced and Quinoa (an SBC staple) is key for high protein levels and nutrient content. He recommends grass fed beef consumed with macadamia nuts, which are full of healthy fats. On top of protein, he emphasises the importance of fibrous green vegetables in your diet, and as he clearly knows women so well, he has even included a snack section, recommending green tea (to assist digestion) and berries or nuts for a midday lift.
Included in the food plan, Russell explains the importance of supplements in helping to lose bodyfat, aid digestion and general health. Check out his recent interview on Get The Gloss to find out his favourites. http://www.getthegloss.com/article/body-centric-supplements
My first session with Russ should probably have been a bigger deal for me than it was, because I had no idea how different he was from other trainers or how hard he was going to work me. I had no idea how lucky I was to be training one on one with such an in demand trainer. I had no idea how influential he was on the fitness scene, I wasn’t on twitter and all I knew was that he trained a few other models from my agency. I had zero knowledge and to be honest zero interest in fitness and I portrayed this in our first session through my attire alone. It was clear I hadn’t seen his Instagram because if I had I would have gone to a lot more effort than turning up in some awful black-soled trainers I’d borrowed from my sister. That alone reflected how fitness-backward I was.
Thankfully, we avoided running in them too much, and focussed on things I’d never heard of before. Spider crawls, disco lunges and mountain climbers came to the fore of the session and I knew straight away that, however out of the loop I may have been, this wasn’t any old standard way of training. He had me lifting weights I didn’t know I could lift, dragging bags down the corridor heavier than myself and then squatting whilst my legs trembled in shock beneath me. I had never seen anyone train like this. He explained why his unique and unconventional primal moves could work so well, compared to a long distance run or a cross trainer stint. Russ believes long haul cardio can negate your shape and have a negative impact on your composition. Research suggests long workouts can increase your stress hormone, Cortisol, and that some people can’t lose weight because of it. The right balance of exercise, sleep and nutrition is key, as they can all affect its increase and decrease.
During the session I thought, on several occasions, that I wasn’t going to make it to see my family again, let alone see the last set of burpees through to the end. However, as soon as we finished, I wanted to do it all again straight away. I felt amazing, even more energised than before we’d started, and aching with a pain similar to when you burn your tongue on your favourite meal but It’s so worth it that you just keep going. So, despite the hard work, shocking amounts of sweat and being very close to tears, when he invited me to one of his workshops the following Saturday, I couldn’t think of anywhere I’d rather be. Admittedly, I did consider truanting at the thought of a room full of SBC experienced “bitches”, cringing at my trainers, watching me drop my weights and wining after press up number 1, but again, I couldn’t have been more wrong. Yes, they were lean and experienced, but in an inspiring way rather than humiliating, and they were further from being bitches than your own Dad.
An SBC workshop includes a group of enthusiastic girls, an epic playlist, a harsh yet humorous trainer working you to your upmost potential and, of course, some pain. Before we began, each girl consumed an exclusive shot of SBC’s Pre-workout Potion. This contained a combination of fresh coconut water and an amino acid which helps to turn fat into energy. This set us up to really get the most out of our workout, aiding fat loss and hydration, and was further proof that SBC’s style of training was unique. You wouldn’t get that from a conventional gym class or from working out alone.
We started the hour in the same way as our one-to-one session with a mix of dynamic warm up movements. The music got louder and before I knew it I was clapping like a deranged sea lion behind my legs and working my abs harder than ever. There was considerably less resting than in our first session, with constant and dramatic changes in movements like overhead squats followed by press-ups and then some quick weight lifts before lunging down the corridor. The benefit of a group class meant that you simply couldn’t be the girl lying on her face whilst the others persevered and proved that it could be done. There was no time to think about how sick you felt or how difficult such normally effortless movements like getting up off the floor had become.
The entire workshop is high intensity and tackles every part of your body, even when it thinks it can’t work any harder. By working your whole body in the SBC class you are developing your structural balance and strength as well as losing body fat and getting leaner. With encouraging profanity from Russ to spur you on in order not to fail, you end up pushing yourself way beyond your limit without even noticing it go by. The class left me feeling even more inspired than our first session. Seeing so many girls training and eating in such a refreshing way made me want to run (or hobble) home and fill the cupboard with organic essentials that were going to change my life, alongside the training.
SBC has been unstoppable since the day it began. It is going big places and I am honoured to be working alongside Russell as he continues to change the way women all over the world train, eat and live.
We recently met up in New York, where Russ was visiting agencies and gyms to discuss SBC’s potential in the US. In between appointments and castings we discovered several incredible health food joints and amazing restaurants. The Wholefood’s alone were overwhelming, and, with 24hour opening times, provided hours of fun. We discovered several mind blowing Juicery’s, a gourmet coffee shop, (M&M World) and the best pre-workout breakfast I think either of us had ever had. All this and we even managed to fit in a bespoke training session in Central Park. (NY post coming soon).
Since then, I have also accompanied Russ to Aynhoe Park in the Cotswolds, for a private weekend workshop with the owners of the house, with the incentive of setting up SBC retreats there in the future. I also joined him for an SBC retreat-style weekend in Ibiza, where he spends every summer training overseas clients and doing workshops in breathtakingly serene locations with beautiful backdrops. We relaxed in the sun, swam in the sea, ate amazing SBC food and worked out everyday on a cliff overlooking the ocean. (More on these trips to follow).
As for the future, exciting plans include LA workshops, taking SBC to Tokyo and innovative collaborations with top health food companies and detox delivery services. There have even been requests for a private SBC Supper Club. This is next level training and nutrition – don’t miss out.