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In Profile: Hollie Grant

In Profile: Hollie Grant

Hollie Grant is the body positive, chocolate-loving Pilates instructor encouraging her clients to work hard and love their bodies one plank-to-pike at a time. An award-winning personal trainer (and ex-chocolatier), she’s combined years of experience and numerous qualifications with her passion for strong women to create “The Model Method”. An innovative workout that combines HIIT, body-sculpting Reformer Pilates and metabolism boosting weight training, sessions are intense and have transformational results. Hollie doesn’t believe in punishing yourself for having an off-day and encourages her clients to focus on feeling happy and strong as opposed to simply losing weight. If you encourage yourself and are confident, with hard work the rest will follow. Her philosophy is that exercise doesn’t define you (we have to say we agree), and you should be able to make it an effortless part of your daily routine. We talked to Hollie about body fat reduction, post-natal care and cake – with a few exercise techniques thrown in to boot.

On what her technique “The Model Method” entails . . . The Model Method combines the weight loss effect of HIIT training, the lengthening and toning effect of Pilates, and the metabolism boosting consequence of working with weights to create one of the most challenging and results driven training regimes available. It’s great fun, each session can burn between 500 and 800 calories and is ideal for those wanting to see a marked difference in body shape. Each session is strenuous and demanding, but what you put in you get out! The results speak for themselves: reduced body fat, strength gains, an increase in flexibility, inches lost and a boost in energy and mood.

On the results . . . I am really passionate about creating women who are strong, healthy, flexible and happy and I really do feel that The Model Method addresses all these. The HIIT aspects reduce body fat, reduce risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes and strengthen the heart. The Pilates component strengthens the body, improves posture and increases flexibility. Clients also find they feel more comfortable in their clothes, have more energy and sleep better - all helping them feel that bit happier!

On the inspiration behind her method . . . I was teaching hundreds of clients, thousands of classes, and training myself and I started to notice a trend. Those who came to Pilates tended to do so because they were not fans of cardio-based exercise such as running and spinning. They were super strong and flexible but often asked me how they could ‘lose weight’ which really meant ‘reduce body fat’. As someone who wholeheartedly disagrees with diets my advice was always that they needed to get some cardio into their regime. I noticed there was a gap in the market and began my journey into creating The Model Method.

On body transformations . . . Although my method can transform your body, a huge part of changing anyone's fitness levels and stats is state of mind. I often find that those who come to me unhappy with their bodies are struggling with confidence and low mood, and this in turn makes it really difficult and unappealing to exercise and eat well. I have heard of every diet, every workout, every pill that has been bought in the hope of a quick fix and there really isn’t one. Changing your body takes hard work and determination but also a positive mind and a serious shift from “losing weight” to “becoming the healthiest and fittest you can be”. Once you remove the pressure of wanting to look different and instead focus on more positive goals such as wanting to feel different, healthier and happier your body will reward you.

On her favourite exercises . . . Teaching as much as I do means I can get bored of exercises very quickly so I love creating new exercises to challenge my clients. I love it when I see clients’ strength improve and strong women make me very happy! I tend to take traditional exercises, for example the plank, and adapt them to target as many other muscle groups as possible, so here are my favourite plank variations:

  • Plank to Pike - Start in a plank with hands slightly wider than shoulder width, fingers spread wide and feet hip distance apart. Inhale to prepare and on the exhale draw the abdominals in and lift the hips up into the air, pressing into your arms and creating a triangle shape with your body. Inhale to lower back to plank.
  • Spiderman - Start in plank. Inhale to prepare and as you exhale bring your body weight forward, your left knee to your left elbow and lean to the left. Inhale back to plank and repeat on other side.
  • Side plank push up - Start in plank. Keeping your plank strong complete 1 push up. Flip onto the right side of your feet and right hand, lift the left arm up and end in a side plank. Come back to your plank and repeat on the left side.
  • Shoulder taps - Start in plank, feet hip distance apart and, keeping your hips still, tap your left shoulder with your left hand, then right with your right hand/

On her fitness philosophy . . . I do struggle a little with the aesthetic-driven, narcissistic direction the fitness industry is headed in and so for me a really important message I try to get across is that yes, fitness and health are important, but it doesn’t define you – it’s just exercise. It’s easy to look to social media for inspiration and feel disheartened if you don’t look, eat or exercise like those around you but as long as you are happy, a good person and don’t abuse your body then you’re doing fine.

On what motivates her . . . Music. Oh if you were to see me on my own when my favourite song comes on. Music is fantastic at lifting mood, raising energy levels and getting you inspired to exercise. Find a song that makes you feel active and listen to it when you aren’t feeling quite up to putting the trainers on (mine is Higher Ground by TNGHT). If it doesn’t work, try to work out what emotion you are feeling. Can you address that emotion or are you simply just not in the mood to exercise? If that’s the case don’t beat yourself up over it, just exercise tomorrow instead.

Her advice for new mums . . . First: don’t panic. We have so many amazing post natal mummies at our studio and, not having children myself, one thing we hear all the time is that women feel like their bodies are taken over and they feel a real loss of control over what is happening. You are not alone and there are so many others out there feeling the same as you. I think there are a lot of mums out there who feel the pressure to spring back into shape post baby but the celebrities you see doing so spend a lot of money, time and effort to do it, and have some of the best experts helping them. When you have a new baby, and your body is not your career, there are far more important jobs for you to be doing. However, light exercise will help improve your mood, reduce stress and boost confidence.

On secret vices . . . Before I started my fitness career I was an award winning Chocolatier and Pastry Chef. I absolutely love chocolate and this has not, and will not change, just because I work in fitness. Being so active at work means chocolate is a tempting fix for low energy but I try to eat well during the day and only treat myself to chocolate when I am eating it because I want to, not because I need to.