A Leading PT Gives Us Her Fitness Rules
A Leading PT Gives Us Her Fitness Rules

A Leading PT Gives Us Her Fitness Rules

Louisa Drake’s approach to fitness is one we can get behind. A unique blend of low-impact cardio, yoga and Pilates, her eponymous method has become a go-to for those who want a more sculpted physique – even Victoria Beckham and Gwyneth Paltrow are fans. From the importance of sleep and post-workout fuel to why a set of dumbbells is essential, here are the fitness rules she lives by.
By Tor West

Think About Your Stress Levels 

“High-impact movements – think HIIT, jumping and running – create a force equal to 2.5 times your bodyweight, which can increase your risk of injury and put your body under stress, which studies show can trigger the body to cling onto fat, especially if you’re already stressed. Lower-impact exercises keep cortisol levels in check and are just as effective. Referring to any movement that’s performed in a fluid motion, low-impact workouts are hard on the muscles but kind on joints. When compared to high-impact exercise, the benefits are incomparable – low-impact workouts lead to improved strength, better flexibility, stability and balance, as well as lower blood pressure and reduced stress.”

Cut Back On Traditional Forms Of Cardio

“Over the years, my approach to exercise has done a full 360. When I started out in the industry, cardio was king and women trained to stay small. Today, I opt for resistance-based training over cardio. There’s a time and a place when it comes to cardio – it’s important for heart and lung health – but it’s not superior as a training method like we were taught to believe, especially for women.”

Find Something You Enjoy

“You’ve heard it before, but it’s so important to find a form of exercise you enjoy – you’re far more likely to stick to it. If you don’t naturally gravitate to the gym, try a boutique studio with smaller classes, or an online programme. Try walking, swimming, dance or yoga – stick with the movement that feels good to you and it’ll become something you’ll naturally want to do more of. The beauty of low-impact workouts – such as Pilates, yoga and low-impact conditioning – is that you don’t need to psych yourself up for them, like you might an intense interval run. In fact, Pilates and barre allow you to build strength and endurance at your own pace without over-stressing the body.”

Don’t be scared to LIFT HEAVIER WEIGHTS. Your workouts should be challenging.

Mix It Up

“Incorporating various training methods in your routine is key for results. This is the concept behind the Louisa Drake Method – it’s a hybrid training approach that covers all your fitness needs. My signature Sculpt class includes floor work with a resistance band and ball, standing moves with light hand weights, and elements of Pilates and yoga when it comes to mobility and stretching. Aim to combine both resistance training with some continuous movement and cardio in your week for a stronger, more sculpted body. Plus, changing up your workouts isn’t only great for your body, but also for your mind. Recent neuroscience studies show we think and feel through movement, and vice versa.”

Don’t Discount A Short Workout

“Show up for your workout, no matter what. Even if it’s just ten minutes of stretching, it’s all part of creating the habit. Make it a rule that everything counts, even if it’s just five minutes. The latest research shows the time required to achieve improvements in cardiovascular fitness doesn’t need to be performed in one workout. Three workouts of ten minutes have been shown to yield the same results as one 30-minute session.”


Balance Your Hormones

“As women, we are ruled by our hormones. Every month, changes in energy, mood, headaches and digestion all affect how we feel and perform. The problem is, research into women’s fitness is still surprisingly limited – most studies are based on men, which means many women are training in a way that’s not beneficial to their hormones. Get to know your hormones and have the tools you need to be healthy, strong and lean throughout the month, and don’t be afraid to lean on various exercise formats, foods and lifestyle considerations. Once we hit 40, we go through hormonal shifts that make us more prone to bone issues. Lifting weights and strengthening the body with resistance is a powerful way to future-proof your body.”

Challenge Yourself

“Don’t be scared to lift heavier weights. Your workouts should be challenging. Low reps and a heavier weight will build muscular strength, while high reps with a lighter weight will tone and build endurance. Both are valuable techniques. If you’re finding an exercise too easy, increase the weight.”

Prioritise Rest & Recovery

“Taking time off for total rest on the days after a vigorous workout is essential. It’s during that recovery phase that our muscles rebuild and become stronger. Rest periods also give the body and brain a much-needed break from exercise, which can be helpful at certain times in your cycle. Pay attention to how you feel after a workout – if you notice any dips in your strength and form, take a rest day or two. Don’t underestimate the role of sleep in recovery. Aim for at least seven hours every night, which will help your body produce the hormones responsible for repairing damaged muscles and tissues – and get into the habit of foam rolling before and after every workout. Adequate sleep will also keep your hunger and stress hormones in check for a leaner body.”

There’s A TIME AND A PLACE FOR CARDIO, but it’s NOT SUPERIOR as a training method like we were taught to believe.

Fuel Your Body

“Nutrition is key to achieving your fitness goals. When it comes to diet, we’re all unique, so get to know your body and what works for you. Knowing when to eat, before or after a workout, can make a huge difference to your performance and recovery. However, as a rule, wholefoods, healthy fats and seasonal produce will keep your hormones balanced. Eat organic where possible and think about probiotic foods to keep your gut happy. All post-workout fuel should be rich in good-quality carbs to replenish muscle stores, some lean protein to repair muscles, and a source of electrolytes for hydration.”

Invest In Quality Supplements

“My supplement routine is streamlined, but effective. I take Bare Biology’s omega-3 and vitamin D religiously, and use magnesium sprays and bath salts to support a busy physical schedule. If I’m short on time after teaching or exercising, I’ll make a smoothie with Indi’s Tone powder – it contains coconut water for hydration, Montmorency cherry for muscle soreness and green tea for fat-burning benefits. If you follow a plant-based diet or don’t eat dairy, a quality pea protein powder is essential.”

For more from Louisa or to sign up to a class, visit LouisaDrake.com

DISCLAIMER: Features published by SheerLuxe are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. Always seek the advice of your GP or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programme.

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