The Victoria’s Secret army might look like a bevy of angels, but they train like a beast. What you see are the push-up bras, mile-long legs, and saccharine-sweet smiles, but what you don’t see is the absurd amount of discipline required to produce their world-famous physiques. Besides a strict amalgamation of exercise and diet all year round, these models see their limits get challenged even further as the year culminates to an end, and they gather to show off the results on the most watched catwalk in the world.
As we can imagine, living a life that revolves around exercising sounds equal parts exciting and exhausting. After all, they’re humans and the burn out is real, so they have to get creative. Cardio is an important aspect in staying lean, but so are intensive muscle conditioning and highly-targeted body sculpting activities. Here’s where it gets interesting — it may seem counter-intuitive to focus on muscle training, but it actually accelerates the fat-burning and toning process.
Strength training increases the amount of lean muscle mass on your body, and lean muscle mass requires more calories both during exercise and throughout the rest of your day. Muscle also requires energy in the form of calories to maintain itself –unlike fat which requires almost no calories to exist, so the result is a revved-up metabolism that would blast fats even when you’re at rest.
The best part is you don’t have to hit the gym’s weight rack anytime soon. Here’s how some of Victoria’s Secret’s best get the most desirable sculpted physiques in fashion, and how you too, can train like an Angel.
Alessandra Ambrosio: Brazil Butt Lift
The Brazilian bombshell has been an Angel for years, and she can thank her fitness trainer Leandro Carvalho for that. His now famous “Brazil Butt Lift” was created specifically for Ambrosio, who wanted her legs longer, her thighs thinner, and her butt toned and tightened. The routines targets three major muscles of your butt — gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus — via multiple angles to firm, lift and shape simultaneously. The dynamic blend of cardio, Brazilian dance and lower-body sculpting moves also doesn’t require weights — only body weight — to perfect the curves of your body.
Adriana Lima: Boxing
She’s known for spending every single day working out, but Lima’s favourite activity is obviously boxing. Her partner-in-crime is the charismatic and distinctively eye-patched Michael Olajide, Jr., a former middleweight boxing champion and personal trainer at Aerospace NYC who uses jump ropes, speed bags, and in-ring combat to keep her permanently in fighting shape. As a full body workout, boxing burns up to 720 calories in an hour, making it a much more efficient workout that keeps you on your toes.
Lily Aldridge: Ballet Beautiful
Like its name suggests, the aim is to get a ballerina-like body by isolating different body parts and lengthening and toning each one, which is how the Angel looks perfect from every angle. The workout is designed by Mary Helen Bowers, who uses small, continuous and concentrated movements that will have you feel the burn very deep into the muscles. Angels like Aldridge squeeze in a two-hour session every day, some even adding weights to their legs for the thigh exercises. The barre class also helps with maintaining perfect posture for that catwalk.
A blend of lightweight training with core strengthening exercises, FlyBarre is a full body workout that quickly tones and strengthens muscles via fresh routines. Like Barre classes, small isolated movements are set against a playlist of high-energy music, targeting specific muscles while keeping your heart rate up. Exercise equipment such as resistance bands, one- or two-pound weights, and the barre (of course) are also used to push participants further.
Devon Windsor: Pilates
American model Devon Windsor takes pilates a notch higher with the reformer, a hulking machine that consists of a sliding carriage rigged with bars, straps and springs. While mat pilates is effective enough to to work the entire body, the pulley and spring system on the reformer provides resistance to give you more than a body-weight workout. As a beginner, it can help burn up to 250 calories in 60 minutes, and is great for producing lean, long muscles.
Jasmine Tookes: P90X
If it’s good enough for a Fantasy Bra model, it’s good enough for us. The P90X is a 90-day workout plan that’s centred on “muscle confusion” via different types of workouts. Weight lifting, interval training, plyometrics, yoga and even martial arts are a part of the well-rounded mix, which keeps your muscles guessing and working hard. The workout changes up the routine so often that it also reduces risk of repetitive use injuries (and boredom), so you’re more likely to stick to the programme over the three months.