A Top Yogi Shares Her Fitness Rules
A Top Yogi Shares Her Fitness Rules

A Top Yogi Shares Her Fitness Rules

For acrobatic gymnast turned yogi Lucy Sesto, the benefits of exercise extend far beyond the physical. Now a teacher at BXR, Lucy also heads up the yoga content on Joe Wicks’s app and recently founded Sesto Retreats, which offers yoga retreats designed to cleanse the body and soothe the mind. From morning meditation to strength training, here’s what her week in workouts looks like…
By Tor West


Fitness and movement are in my DNA. I used to represent Great Britain in acrobatic gymnastics, competing across Europe. I first tried yoga at university and quickly became hooked on how it challenged my body in a different way. To me, yoga is so much more than being able to contort your body into different positions. It’s as much about the mental as the physical. By linking your movement to your breath – like you do in yoga – you become more in tune with your body. I practise yoga most days – either by going to a class or just at home.

I’ve never been into cardio. Cardio can improve stamina and endurance, but it’s not the only way to get strong. I’ve never been a fan of traditional cardio, although I wish I loved running. I do, however, love long dog walks, which are the perfect form of LISS (low-intensity steady-state cardio), a great way to help with cardiovascular health while burning fat and allowing the body to recover from more challenging workouts. LISS forces your heart to pump a strong, steady pace that helps with overall blood flow, and can be done with zero impact to tendons and joints.


Strength training is a big focus in my routine. I’m hypermobile – which means I can move some of my joints more than most people can – so keeping my body strong to prevent injury is a priority. Strength training keeps my muscles strong, keeps me free from pain and promotes better posture and co-ordination. I weight train in the gym two to three times a week and split my workouts into different muscle groups for consistent focus. 


Pilates is an effective way to boost strength, mobility and flexibility. I do Pilates twice a week – I love the way it challenges the body, and I always feel so strong afterwards. Like yoga, Pilates focuses on a mind-body connection, with a goal of bringing awareness to the body and its current state. Pilates is also a great way to strengthen the core, which in itself can improve your posture and balance. I’ve also recently got back into adult gymnastics, which is an amazing way to build strength, as well as being a fun workout. I love trying new things and working towards new skills, even if I do ache for three days after a session.

Striking a balance between variety and consistency is key. When gymnastics was my sole form of exercise, I found I built incredible strength in specific movements, but if I tried anything else my body wasn’t used to, I found it difficult. To build functional fitness – i.e. exercise that supports everyday life – you need to build full-body strength, and that comes from keeping the body constantly challenged. While the specifics of my fitness routine stay the same – yoga, Pilates and strength training – I mix it up within those categories each week. If you have a goal in mind, keeping the body constantly challenged is key. 

Finding the fun in exercise is also important. You have to enjoy what you’re doing. Since restarting gymnastics, I’ve realised how fun it is, and how seriously we take exercise as an adult. As we age, we lose a sense of play, so if you struggle to find the motivation to exercise, take the time to think about how you genuinely enjoy moving your body – not how you think you should be moving. 



I plan my workouts based on my cycle. I started doing this in the last year and it’s made such a difference. As women, our energy levels change throughout the month – there are times when a restorative yoga class will be far more effective than a HIIT class. I listen to my body as much as possible and understand what kind of session my body needs. For the first three weeks of your cycle, you will naturally have more energy, but in the week before your period, hormones decline, meaning it’s not the best time to beat any records or do huge amounts of strength training. In a world where we’re surrounded by high-intensity workouts, exercising with your cycle is a much kinder way to look after your body.

It's okay not to have a fitness goal in mind. To me, there are never any goals in yoga. Instead, it’s my time to connect with my body and breath. It’s my time on the mat to let go of the outside world and move inwards. 

Rest and recovery are important. In our ‘always on’ culture, it can be tricky to accept that you’ll come back stronger if you take a rest day, but rest is one of the most important things you can do for your body. It’s all about active recovery – I love a deep tissue massage, spending time in the sauna and the odd ice bath to kickstart muscle recovery. If you want to maximise efficiency and are working towards a goal, you should take recovery seriously. 


An injury can be your biggest teacher. Injuries happen, but use them as an opportunity to come back stronger. I’ve had times in the past where I couldn’t exercise for months, and in that time I got deep into meditation. The consistency of meditation helped me stay mentally strong – I saw it as an alternative way to exercise. Be patient with your body and get professional rehab support. Plus, nothing beats the feeling of getting back into movement again. After being unable to exercise, I found a new appreciation for my body and that motivated me to build up my strength again. 

Meditation is non-negotiable. It’s a time-tested way to reduce stress, improve concentration, aid sleep and sharpen creativity and brain function. The best thing is you don’t need to commit to an hours-long practice – just ten minutes is enough to see the benefits. When I’m having a busy week and don’t have time for a full workout, I don’t beat myself up as much as I used to, but my morning meditation is non-negotiable, even if it’s just for five minutes. Mental health is just as important as physical health.


I fuel my body with a vegan diet. I eat lots of vegetables, grains and protein. Food is fuel and your main energy source; if you’re working out regularly, you need to give your body the fuel it needs to perform efficiently. While I eat healthily most of the time, life is too short for restriction. If I fancy a brownie or cookie dough ice cream, it’s all about balance. It’s about being aware of the foods you’re putting in your body and being more mindful about them. 

Ultimately, exercise doesn’t have to happen in the gym. Being active doesn’t have to be prescriptive – go for a walk, take the stairs or get off the Tube a stop early and walk the rest of the way if you have time. Every little counts.

For more workout inspiration from Lucy, visit SestoYoga.com & follow her on Instagram @SestoYoga


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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