Workout With SL x Carl Van Heerden

Workout With SL x Carl Van Heerden

There are PTs and there’s Carl van Heerden. One of the head trainers at Core Collective and the mastermind behind their much-loved ROW workout,s as well as being a lululemon ambassador and ClassPass Instructor Of The Year, it’s fair to say Carl knows a thing or two about getting into shape. Here’s what you need to know before you start…

One of the capital’s leading trainers, Carl van Heerden began his career playing football, rugby and water polo at a professional level. While no longer competing, Carl now brings his expertise to some of London’s top studios, where he coaches clients looking for real results. Advocating a full-body approach to fitness and always encouraging his clients to train like athletes, here are his main workout rules…  

Factor In Strength Training

“If you want to tone up and build muscle, it’s vital to modify how you train. Strength training at least three times per week in the form of a full-body workout that incorporates eight to 12 rep sets is a great place to start. In fact, one of the biggest mistakes women make is relying too heavily solely on cardio and avoiding weights. There’s still a misconception among some women that lifting weights will make you bulky, but it’s the opposite – strength training is a fantastic way to tone and will contribute to a lean physique. Aesthetics aside, lifting weights is also empowering and you don’t need to go heavy to feel, and see, the benefits.”

Be Savvy With Your Movements

“While any exercise is great, workouts that raise your heart rate while increasing strength at the same time will get you the best results. Be sure to include plenty of press-ups, lunges, burpees, and kettlebell swings, all of which will strengthen the body and build endurance. A kettlebell swing is one of my favourite moves – it helps build strength in your glutes and hamstrings and can help improve your timings for more complex movements.”

Try Rowing

“If you are heading back to the gym, don’t overlook the rowing machine. Rowing is a fantastic way to exercise as it works the entire body – it will strengthen the upper and lower body as well as the core and boost cardiovascular health. It’s an all-round win-win. For the best technique, set yourself up properly before you start. Keep your shins vertical with your lats engaged, your shoulders relaxed, and your core activated. Take a ‘1 o’clock’ position with your shoulders in front of your hips, which will put you in a powerful position to push off and begin a stroke.”

Train Like An Athlete

“If you want to see results, it pays to get into the right mindset. Remember mind over matter is important – athletes have mastered the art of breaking down mental barriers, which we know can impact training. Try to keep any self-doubt in check so it doesn’t stop you from reaching your full potential. Athletes also bookend their workouts – remember a warm-up is key and focus on form, too. Investing time in getting your movements right will ensure you’re working the right muscle groups and will mitigate the risk of injury.”

“Workouts that raise your heart rate whilst increasing strength will get you the best results – think lunges, burpees and kettlebell swings.”

Start Small

“If your fitness levels aren’t quite what they were prior to the pandemic, start small and build from there. Remember something is better than nothing. Be patient, set realistic goals and a realistic timeframe in which to meet them – don’t be overly ambitious as you could risk both injury and disappointment. If you struggle with workout motivation, do something you enjoy. If running isn’t your thing, don’t spend hours on the treadmill, and consider working out with a friend, which may give you the boost you need to get your fitness back on track.”

Aim For Consistency

“If you can commit to five sessions of strength training per week then that’s great, but it needs to fit into your lifestyle for it to be sustainable. Consistency is vital – if you can only do three sessions per week, then you will still see results if you stick to it. At each workout, you should focus on moving as well as you can and if you can fit in a sweaty finisher, even better. You could, for example, try finishing a session with a four-minute AMRAP (as many rounds as possible), incorporating 12 dumbbell snatches, ten goblet squats and eight burpees.”

Prioritise Sleep & Nutrition

“Remember to build in rest days to your training plan, too, as this will give your muscles time to rebuild and repair. Don’t underestimate the value of sleep, either – aim for seven to eight hours sleep every night, which will give your body a helping hand when it comes to recovery. Don’t discount nutrition, either, and never cut calories. Proper nutrition is important if you’re looking to tone up. Ensure you’re eating enough protein, carbs, and healthy fats to fuel your workouts and aid recovery. If you cut calories excessively, your body will feel fatigued, and you won’t be able to maximise your workouts. Try to plan your meals for at least four days of the week – being in control of what you eat plays a significant role in reaching your goals.”

Invest In A Foam Roller

“One of the most effective ways to ease sore muscles and aid the recovery process is foam rolling. Foam rolling works wonders to release tension – lululemon’s Double Roller is my go-to. When it comes to recovery, don’t underestimate the importance of rehydration, either. We often make the mistake of reaching for a snack immediately after a workout, when in fact your body may well be craving some water.”

Get Ready To Workout

“Over the next three weeks, you can expect a 360° approach. Our first session will be a bodyweight workout with a focus on the lower body and core, while the second session will incorporate some full-body kettlebell movements. The third workout will focus on building strength with dumbbells. The sessions will cater for everyone and are accessible at any level, whether you’re just starting out with weight training or are a seasoned trainee.”


Ready to get going? Join Carl for the first instalment in his workout series – a full-body bodyweight workout designed to raise your heart rate and build strength…


For more information visit and follow @Carl_VanHeerden on Instagram.

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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