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Celebrity trainer James Duigan talks A-list gym goers and busts diet and exercise myths

With his holistic approaches to fitness and wellbeing, James Duigan proudly includes Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Elle Macpherson and Charlotte Casiraghi on his list of A-list clients.The creator of the Bodyism concept talks exclusively to HELLO! Online about hard-working celebrity gym goers, his simple diet tips and tells us why the age-old 'no pain no gain' mantra is a crazy misconception. 

james duigan celebrities
James has worked with Charlotte, Elle and Rosie

Tell us a bit about BodyismThe Bodyism system is a blueprint for a long, lean, healthy body. We look at all elements of people's lives including their movements, breathing, nutrition, thought patterns and sleep patterns and work on improving those. I've been doing it for 15 years now and I'm very proud of the concept – it's a very holistic, realistic approach to life.Bodyism also incorporates the Clean&Lean ideology. It's based on being kind to yourself and to the planet in what you eat. The focus is on eating seasonal food that's in its natural state. It helps to accelerate fat loss, help lower stress levels, improve diet and sleep and detoxify the system. It really does change people's lives which is wonderful to see.We're based at the amazing Buglari Hotel in Knightsbridge, London and we've also opened up at the One&Only Reethi Rah in the Maldives.Which celebrities have you worked with?We've worked with Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Elle Macpherson, Charlotte Casiraghi, Zoe Kravitz, Holly Valance, David Gandi and Hugh Grant in the past.We see a lot of Rosie because she's always back and forth between LA and London and Holly is a regular too.We've also had lots of European and Middle Eastern royals through our doors. They are all great ambassadors for the brand and fantastic to work with. We have a long standing relationship with them because Bodyism is a long-term thing.Do your celebrity clients come to you before big events or concerts in order to shape up?We often train actors up for movie roles, for example we worked with the cast of X Men. The philosophy means that once we've been working with people for a while, they have a good base and are always in shape and feeling good.One of the focal points of Bodyism is to change people's lives in the long run rather than have them on a diet for a couple of weeks that doesn't get results. 

james duigan
James Duigan

Do you find that your celebrity clients are motivated to train?I think that when it's fun it becomes a lot easier and so our job is to make it fun and rewarding and to really be able to see and most importantly feel the results.By working with the body rather than against it and keeping it fresh and interesting and tailoring it to the individual, the body responds really quickly.It's all about getting into good habits and anyone that spends a day with someone who works in the entertainment industry will understand how hard they work and how they really need to be at the top of their game.When you're working with your body rather than sort of hammering against it, you get results that much quicker which keeps motivation levels up.Do celebs normally work out at home or do they come into the gym?Both. They often come to Bodyism at the Bulgari but sometimes we'll be training people in the Maldives and sometimes in LA, it all depends on their schedules. Sessions are always one on one. 

Lap Pool 2
A pool at the One&Only Reethi-Rah

Elle Macpherson is known as 'The Body'. Has she got good genes or is that the result of her training?I think it's healthy combination of both.What do you think the most common misconceptions about workouts are?That they have to be hard, I think that's one really kind of crazy misconception that they have to be really hard, that whole no pain no gain thing is crazy.Your body is designed to move, it loves to move so move it every day. We get people doing yoga and boxing and body weight resistance circuits and stuff.What about dieting?Diets don't work. If you make a change for two weeks or a short period of time, you can't really expect permanent results. If you want permanent change then make permanent change.The low-fat diet is another fad that makes very little sense. Where fat is taken out of products, it's generally replaced with sugar, salt and toxins to make it taste halfway decent.It pains me to see people slaving away eating low fat and then destroying their bodies and getting nowhere. 

Reethi Rah Water Villa
Water villa at the One&Only Reethi Rah

How often do you recommend working out?I think you've got to tune into your body. You'll know when you're doing too much. If you're being smart and kind to yourself you'll look good and feel good too.Beautiful is about how you feel not just about how you look – that's a cliché but a very true one.Tell us about your new Bodyism project.We've started up at the One&Only Reethi Rah in the Maldives. It's the most insanely beautiful place. It's a very chic and exclusive resort, set along four miles of beach. It's a great place to start making changes to your life via Bodyism because the surroundings are so energising.We've introduced our Clean&Lean dishes to the menu too and the food is so delicious – you really don't feel like you're denying yourself any pleasure at all. Organic vegetables are grown on site and there's an amazing array of healthy dishes, lots of fresh fish and steamed and barbecued dishes.See and for more information.

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