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December is one of the most important months of the year for me. Not only is it holiday season but it is also when the entire world takes a deep breath and watches the 45 minute commercial that is the Victoria’s Secret fashion show. It seems every year the shows get more elaborate and the models get more gorgeous and fitter. There have always been a million myths about what these girls do to get runway ready. However, the common denominator I found among the most prominent angels was that all of them had trained with Justin Gelband at some point in their careers. So when he opened a gym for common mortals like me I simply had to go and see what kind of magic he was teaching these girls.
Modelfit is a small, gorgeous fitness studio located in The Bowery. The space used to be Terry Richardson’s old studio so you could say the place was destined to always be a model hangout. It has plenty of natural light, hardwood floors and even some art by Baron Von Fancy. Also, I don’t know what kind of candles they are burning in there but the studio always smells delicious, which is kind of an oxymoron considering this is a gym. The place a very spacious locker room which SURPRISE! is only for girls. In it there are lockers, fully stocked showers and even a vanity area with all sorts of hair and face products.
Now I was definitely expecting a very luxurious gym but what really surprised me was the workout itself. You see I went prepared for a workout along the line of Barry’s Bootcamp but when I got there the workout consisted of doing really tiny movements with two pound weights and resistance bands that were not even that tight. After my first session I was super skeptical about what I had just done and thought that maybe Gelband was playing some sort of trick on us. I mean, I didn’t even come close to breaking a sweat during the class. I didn’t see how this workout was worth it but I had bought a five pack of classes and figured I might as well use it.
I took class every other day during a 10 day period and to my surprise I started seeing some real results. Out of all the things that have blown my mind during my stay in New York Modelfit would be something I would place high on the list. When I asked Steve Pasterino, who is another trainer who works there, what the secret magic to making these super easy moves produce such great results was, his answer was simple: When you do tiny and precise movements you can focus more on your form and therefore do them more accurately than when you are speeding through a workout.
During the time that I took class there Gelband did not repeat a single sequence. I took Modelfit Sculpt (they offer other classes like Modelfit Boxing, Modelfit dance cardio and Modelfit Yoga) every single time and each class was completely different. Not only that, but Gelband actually paid attention to everyone in the class and came up to the clients and corrected their postures when they were doing the exercises wrong. You would think that a guy who trains models all day wouldn’t care about a bunch of randos who take his class but he actually remembered me after only a few sessions and even commented on the fact that I am always trying to “speed through the workouts.” Yes the class may be less intense than a session at SoulCyle, but the results speak for themselves.
I have been following Gotham Gym on instagram for about two years now and have always been curious as to why so many models train there. In my mind I imagined this pristine, super high-end gym with vanity lighting, spa amenities and a very intimidating “you can’t sit with us” vibe. I mean this place is where Victoria’s Secret model’s get runway ready, there must be a huge luxury component to it, right?
To my surprise when I arrived there I encountered a small gym tucked away in the West Village with nothing too glitzy or glamorous about it. If you don’t know about it you can probably walk by it and not even notice it. Except you will thanks to the amount of models and celebrities who hang out there. The space consists of a Boxing ring which is probably the gym’s main attraction, weight area, small group fitness studio and a few cardio machines. No amenities like locker rooms or juice bars. What I really loved about the space is the fact that it has so much natural light, which is something very rare in New York especially at a gym.
I went there for a one on one personal training session and was very close to dying at certain points but the adrenalin rush kept me alive (so poetic I know.) I will definitely have to try and review a group class very soon. The gym is membership based and classes are included in your monthly membership, personal training is not. However you can pay for a drop in class and the studio is also included in Classpass.
After trying this gym I have to say I was really happy with my training session which consisted mostly of boxing. Boxing is a great workout for the body and for the mind. It’s a mix of cardio, weight training, flexibility and agility. There is no other workout that encompasses so many elements, which is probably why so many models have made it their workout of choice. Now I still don’t know why so many celebrities flock to this particular studio but my guess would be that the main reason is because Hugh Jackman and The Dog Pound work out there. The other reasons I can think of is that Gotham is located in a very quiet corner of a very quiet neighborhood and unlike most boxing studios this one doesn’t stink, it actually smells great!
The only downside I saw is that they don’t have a real locker room with a changing area, what they have is a room with old wooden lockers and you have to bring your own lock. This would make my gym to office transition very complicated since you sweat buckets when you box and they have no showers! Other than that this gym deserves an A plus and I will definitely be back to
see if I run into Gigi Hadid throw some more punches.
A little less than a moth ago we got to witness what was an hour-long infomercial of lingerie, perfect physiques and Taylor Swift (drool) in the 2014 Victoria’s Secret fashion show. And while you my feel like these angels are the only girls on this planet capable of achieving a flawless look, it turns out that their appearance goes way beyond just winning the genetic lottery. These angels train for the show the same way an athlete trains for the Olympics, and prepare for this occasion months in advance.
If the Victoria’s Secret fashion show left you feeling like you need to
skip the cupcakes step your fitness game up, then fear not. Here at Foreign Concept we have created a roundup of the Angel’s workouts of choice, and the fitness gurus behind these perfectly sculpted bodies. And with resolution season just around the corner, instead of making the clichéd “I need to lose weight” resolution (come on! We are all guilty of that one) which seems vague and difficult to attain because its so unspecific, we should all aspire to #trainlikeanangel in 2015.
So here is what it takes to obtain an Angel-status body:
Ballet Training: Ever since she trained Natalie Portman for Black Swan, Mary Helen Bowers has gained a cult like following among Victoria’s Secret Angels. Her ballet inspired moves help create the long and lean muscles and those enviable abs. Among her Angel following we can find: Miranda Kerr, Doutzen Kroes, Romee Strijd, Isabeli Fontana and Lily Aldridge.
Boxing: It may sound like an oxymoron that the world’s most delicate Angels can beat pretty much anyone in a street fight, but boxing is the sport of choice for Angels like Adriana Lima who has been boxing with trainer Michael Olajide Jr. for the past 10 years. Other model boxers include: Gigi Hadid, Sara Sampaio, Cara Delevingne, Elsa Hosk, Maryna Linchuk and Constance Jablonski. Their boxing gyms of choice include: Aerospace High Performance Center, Mendez Boxing and the Insta-famous Gotham Gym.
Soul-Cycle: There are many brands of indoor cycling studios, but none with the model following that Soul-Cycle has. On any given day you may bump into Angels like Alessandra Ambrosio, Karlie Kloss and Lily Aldrigde in their peaceful yet heart-pumping classes. Because we all feel a little more motivated to turn up the resistance in our bikes when we have an Angel pedaling next to us.
Body-Sculpting: Those incredibly toned limbs and Victoria’s Secret abs are due to resistance training and body sculpting exercises with weights. While there are many personal trainers out there who can whip your body into shape, the Angel’s secret weapon is trainer Justin Gelband. What’s even more awesome is that he recently opened a studio in the Bowery where commoners like us can go and benefit from the Angel whisperer’s techniques. His model following includes: Karlie Kloss who constantly instagrams pictures of herself in Gelband’s studio, Lily Aldridge, Candice Swanpoel, Behati Prinsloo and Lily Aldridge.
Running: It may sound like the most over simplified way of training but the Angels attribute their tiny frames to running since it is the highest calorie-burning workout and doesn’t create bulk. Among the angel runners we can find: Gigi Hadid, Izabel Goulart (well she practices pretty much every discipline under the sun) Mirand Kerr and Heidi Klum. The best part about running is that the only fancy equipment you’ll need is running shoes and a good attitude and the second one is generally free.
In case you need some extra motivation to start training like an Angel, here is a slideshow of your favorite girls breaking a sweat.