“I WORKED OUT WITH RI­HANNA’S TRAINER!”

Writer Estelle got a chance to hang out with Jamie Granger, Riri’s PT at a fit­ness re­treat in Thai­land, and sur­vived her bold and badass work­outs.

Shape (Singapore) - - Contents -

She’s largely re­spon­si­ble for pop star Ri­hanna’s en­vi­able body so that it’s toned and curvy in the right places. Meet Jamie Granger, her PT of six years and count­ing.

I re­cently had the chance to train with her dur­ing a fit­ness re­treat at the pris­tine Par­adise Koh Yao Re­sort in Thai­land. Or­gan­ised by Puma in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Guava­pass, the 3D/2N boot camp saw close to 20 train­ers, in­clud­ing Jamie, as well as Puma am­bas­sadors from Sin­ga­pore, Malaysia and In­done­sia band to­gether for a week­end of sweat ses­sions.

The pro­gramme was packed with in­struc­tor-led fit­ness classes, in­clud­ing barre, zumba, U-Jam fit­ness (dance fit­ness) and pi­lates, as well as out­door ac­tiv­i­ties, like hik­ing and kayak­ing around the serene is­land. Jamie helmed two work­outs: a high-in­ten­sity in­ter­val train­ing that com­bined cal­is­then­ics and ply­o­met­rics, and a part­ner cir­cuit.

To sum up, Jamie’s work­outs were pretty much like Ri­hanna: bold and badass.

All the classes were done on the beach’s soft sand, which de­manded more bal­ance, sta­bil­ity and mus­cle ac­ti­va­tion com­pared to ex­er­cis­ing on a solid sur­face. To kick it up a notch, it rained on and off through­out.

A good mix of strength, power, bal­ance and sta­bil­ity, those moves – such as tap squats and moun­tain climbers – drove up my heart rate and woke up my lethar­gic limbs in record time. At the end of her work­outs, which took 30 to 45 min­utes each, I felt so alive, and smiled smugly in my sandy, sweatand rain-soaked clothes. It was like I’d just sur­vived an ob­sta­cle course race.

This abil­ity to ex­cite nor­mally slug­gish peo­ple like me counted for some­thing.

Jamie has em­braced the great out­doors since she was six – the age when I was happy to stay home and play with Bar­bie dolls all day. She started out with soc­cer, bas­ket­ball,

ten­nis and soft­ball. And later on, kayak­ing, rock climb­ing, moun­taineer­ing, cy­cling, swim­ming, hik­ing… es­sen­tially any out­door sports she could get her hands on.

“Thanks to my par­ents, I grew up with sports, so I’ve al­ways been quite fit,” she said. “I love be­ing ac­tive and do­ing as much as I pos­si­bly can. When I’m not out­doors, I’ll lift heavy weights in the gym to en­hance my per­for­mance.”

Jamie’s in­cli­na­tion for sports led her to study hu­man per­for­mance, leisure and sport at New Mex­ico High­lands Uni­ver­sity in Las Ve­gas.

She went on to launch a per­sonal train­ing busi­ness in Los An­ge­les, which has been run­ning for 11 years. Since then, Jamie has trained pro­fes­sional ath­letes and sev­eral other celebri­ties be­sides Ri­hanna. She de­clined to name them, but she did let on: “I’m se­ri­ous about what I do, and there are very few peo­ple I will stick with be­cause I [have to] truly like them as a per­son.” Ob­vi­ously, @ badgal­riri (Ri­hanna’s Instagram han­dle) is on Jamie’s good side.

“I value those who are con­sis­tent and re­spect­ful. When you show up to train with me, ex­pect to work. If you’re re­sis­tant and com­plain­ing all the time, don’t come,” she said.

Her rap­port with Ri­hanna is ev­i­dent: The pair ap­pear in each other’s Instagram feed every now and then, look­ing as chummy as BFFs.

When asked how of­ten she meets Ri­hanna, Jamie said it all de­pends on Ri­hanna’s sched­ule. “When I’m trav­el­ling with her, I see her all the time – some­times for months. Right now, she’s on a hia­tus.”

The most press­ing ques­tion: How does Ri­hanna main­tain her svelte fig­ure, whether she’s on a hia­tus or not?

“Diet. It’s all about food, food, food. I don’t be­lieve in fat-burn­ing sup­ple­ments and trippy tac­tics like that,” replied Jamie, who’s also a cer­ti­fied nu­tri­tion coach. Of course, if you want abs or bi­ceps to show, working out is com­pul­sory.

Be­fore we parted, she shared her top tips for keep­ing a trim and fit body.

1 FOLLOW A SEN­SI­BLE DIET THAT WORKS FOR YOU

“My diet is Mediter­ranean-ish, fea­tur­ing healthy carbs, healthy fats and lean meats. I’ve tried a few other di­ets but a Mediter­ranean diet is what my body feels best on. I wouldn’t rec­om­mend this to ev­ery­one be­cause every diet has its own ben­e­fits and may be suit­able for dif­fer­ent me­tab­o­lisms and body types.”

2 UP YOUR PRO­TEIN IN­TAKE IF YOU EX­ER­CISE OF­TEN

Pro­tein is es­sen­tial for build­ing and re­pair­ing mus­cles. And you need mus­cles to burn fat. So if you train every day like Jamie, con­sider adding more pro­tein to your pre- and post­work­out meals. “In the morn­ing, I usu­ally make a shake with mixed berries, spinach, raw oats, pro­tein pow­der and co­conut oil. Af­ter a work­out, I’ll have a whey pro­tein shake.”

3 TRY IN­TER­MIT­TENT FAST­ING

“I strongly be­lieve in in­ter­mit­tent fast­ing. That seems to be one thing that truly works for peo­ple. Every week or fort­nightly, go for 24 hours with­out food. You can start with 16 hours or so at first. Fast­ing helps your body re­set its sys­tem, and also forces it to start los­ing fat first.”

4 DO HIIT

High-in­ten­sity in­ter­val train­ing (HIIT) shoots your heart rate up quickly, doesn’t take long, and keeps your calo­rie-burn­ing en­gine go­ing for hours af­ter­wards. “Ri­hanna’s fit­ness rou­tine has a lot of HIIT. In be­tween, I’ll throw in some ab work­outs and cor­rec­tive ex­er­cises to fix her form. Each ses­sion lasts from 30 min­utes to just over an hour.”

5 PRAC­TISE AC­TIVE RE­COV­ERY

In­stead of slump­ing on the couch on rest days, try do­ing stretch­ing and mo­bil­ity ex­er­cises. “Rest for me is ac­tive re­cov­ery. Your body should never re­ally stop mov­ing. I do a lot of foam rolling and trig­ger point ther­apy al­most every day to make sure my tis­sues and mus­cles are in good shape. When I fly, I’ll bring along my mas­sage balls to re­lease ten­sion es­pe­cially in my lower back. When you work hard, you have to stay on top of it.”

Writer Estelle (left) with Jamie.

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