By Lucie Emerson
I’m writing this at 9pm on Wednesday night, recently returned from my first circuits class with Bianca Sainty. Trust me, this is a big achievement. My brain usually ceases to function after 7pm. Two hours ago, the last thing I felt like doing was dashing through dark, drizzly Shepherds Bush to work up a sweat. I’d spent four hours taking my daughter to another 11+ exam, gone to work and just about succeeded in pulling together her birthday present and party for tomorrow.
Now I’m home, happily tapping away, re-energised after 45 minutes with a great bunch of people, having enjoyed the chats probably more than I do over coffee. Oh—and of course, working hard to some pretty good music (the benefit of Bianca’s indoor class, at Holy Innocents Church across from Ravenscourt Park, the site of her outdoor classes) as we slammed heavy sandbags down to the floor and scrambled through tortuous mountain-climbers.
When I mentioned this to Bianca in passing, she beamed and nodded enthusiastically. She told me: “Getting out in the evening, particularly for office workers, is really important. You’re sitting down all day so some physical exercise is vitally important for your body. You’re probably tired and mentally exhausted after a long day but the best thing for you is to get out and move.”
Doing an interview with Bianca is really tough. She’s so passionate about your health, we keep talking about me instead of her. The lightbulb moment for Bianca happened during the 2012 Olympics, a year after she’d run the London Marathon, mother of two young children. She began organising runs with other mums and, three years later, is a qualified trainer with a booming business and Ravenscourt Park as her office, and is hiring more staff. But the community continues to be an important part of her business. She’s holding events and has organised for us, her clients, to join a 10k run along with free training runs by the river in the run-up (pardon the pun).
On top of the obvious benefits of just getting out and simply moving, we also benefit from Bianca’s focus on ‘multi-joint’ exercises, which mimic day-to-day movements where you use as many muscles as you can in a single exercise. “It’s simply using our body how it’s designed to be used. And working multiple muscles at the same time is highly effective at burning calories, both during and after your session.” No more boring bicep curls or leg extensions in the gym, thank you very much.
Bianca says: “Our clients are amazing people—aged 30 right up to 78—who are committed to making a difference to their lives through exercise.” I love witnessing what Bianca has done for my friend. Super-slim, she was more ‘model’ than ‘runner’. She didn’t need to lose weight but she did want to be stronger. A year on, her frame is athletic rather than thin, and she’s gained the confidence, stamina and strength to run along the river every week.
Results-wise, Bianca continues to plan each of her sessions despite her long list of clients. This is one woman who’s serious about fitness. It also keeps things interesting and, dare I say, tough. Just when you think you’ve mastered those triceps dips, pushing yourself up and down off the bench, Bianca throws you a weird orange ball (which doesn’t bounce straight?!) and makes you push (and trust) each other across the basketball courts. At 41, I’m stronger than ever, and all thanks to Bianca.
Top three reasons why I ditched the gym for training with Bianca:
Social: I train twice a week, once with a close friend and once with my sister. Typical London-style, we weren’t managing to see each other as much as we wanted. Warning: it can be tricky discussing schools on your second set of squats.
You actually do it: No hiding behind a gym membership where nobody notices if you don’t turn up. And if you want, you can start the term with full measurements. Can I gloat? Three inches off my waist, including over Christmas but not including any diet, of any sort.
Outdoors: Once a week, I’m in the park with bemused toddlers wondering what these mummies are doing with boxing gloves. Nothing beats the feeling of looking up at the sky as we stretch, or feeling invincible when it rains.
You can find out more and book everything through www.sainty.net.
The February offer gets you eight small-group sessions (max four people), a food diary analysis, customised nutrition guidelines and unlimited email coaching for £240 (usually £295)