James Duigan is the owner and founder of BODYISM.com and has worked with a whole host of celebrities to improve their health and fitness. Including actor Hugh Grant, model Elle MacPherson and actor and model – Rosie Huntington-Whiteley
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
What actually gets me out of bed in the morning is my daughter saying ‘I need a poo’. But what really motivates me everyday to do what I do – is my ‘why’. My ‘why’ is to change people’s lives. I do that by reminding people all over the world that they deserve a healthy, happy life, to question everything, and to trust themselves, because you are the best expert – when it comes to your body.
My ‘why’ has grown because of my children and I now want to change them to gr ow up in a world where they are valued for their kindness, their intelligence, their talent rather than their body fat percentage. I’m so proud and grateful that Bodyism is such a wonderful for ce for change and a constant reminder that happiness and optimal health is genuinely possible for everyone. Right now, I feel very blessed, I live a ten-minute walk fr om Bodyism London, which is the embodiment of all our dreams come true – we have a space filled with happy people doing wonderful work.
We have become famous for getting dramatic results on some of the most beautiful bodies in the world, we do that by focusing on the four pillars of health / sleep / mind-set / nutrition and exercise.
Fitness and nutrition is becoming more and more entwined. How do you incorporate the whole body approach?
That’s Bodyism. We’ve always been doing that. They’re not becoming more entwined; they’ve always been inextricably linked. For us it’s always been very simple: how you feel about yourself will determine how you treat yourself.
We’ve become famous for getting dramatic results on some of the most beautiful bodies in the world, we do that by focusing on the four pillars of health / sleep / mind-set / nutrition and exercise. The only way to truly transform is by recognising and working on all four pillars equally.
When you’ve given yourself a really powerful reason to stay healthy, it changes everything. From a personal perspective – I want to feel strong and healthy so that I can be a father to my children and eventually a strong healthy grandparent.
If you could offer our readers 5 simple daily exercises to incorporate into their day what would they be?
1 – Spend 2 minutes deep br eathing – This will elevate your mood and change your blood chemistry and have you feeling better about anything. A very effective way to connecting with your day and finding clarity.
2 – Hip extensions – Lie on your back with your knees bent. Exhale and roll your pelvis to lift your glutes and lower back of f the ground. Try and create a straight line from your shoulder to knee. Pause at the top whilst squeezing your glutes and then reverse the movement, rolling each segment of the spine back to the starting position. Remember to use your glutes in this movement rather than your lower back.
3 – Plank – Place the for earms on the ground with the elbows aligned below the shoulders, and arms parallel to the body at about shoulder-width distance. If flat palms bother your wrists, clasp your hands together. Straighten legs and raise your body so that you’re supported by the balls of your feet, with feet hip-distance apart. Face the floor, being careful not to arch your back or stick your bottom in the air. Hold this position for 45 seconds to begin with, extending the time, as you get stronger.
4 – Band walking – This exercise lifts your bottom like nothing else around. Creating long, lean, beautiful muscles in your upper legs, it also helps stabilize your knee and ankle joints. Take a Bodyism mini band of your chosen strength and place it just above your ankles. Keep your hands on your hips and your body up tall. Take one large step out sideways keeping the legs straight, and without using your body for momentum, and then bring your back foot in half a step, keeping tension on the band all the time. Do this for 20 steps each side.
5 – Disco lunges – Begin standing in an upright position, with feet together and perfect posture (stand up straight, keep your back straight with your ears over your shoulders and your shoulders over your hips. Look straight ahead and think tall, right through your spine and through the top of your head). Begin with both arms by your side with hands clenched thumbs up. Set the core by drawing in the belly button and step forward into a lunge. As you lunge forward with your left foot, extend both arms above your head to make a Y shape. Land heel then toe and let your front knee bend forward. Push back to the start position, returning with your front leg returning to a standing position and your arms to the side. Repeat for the stated number of repetitions and then switch leg.
How big a part does mind-set and mental health play, when you’re trying to help a client achieve health & fitness goals?
Hugely. It is where everything begins. Your attitude towards yourself and the belief you have about yourself will determine your choices and your behaviours. This is where finding your ‘why’ becomes so important. When you’ve given yourself a really powerful reason to stay healthy, it changes everything. From a personal perspective – I want to feel strong and healthy so that I can be a father to my children and eventually a strong healthy grandparent.
Getting quality sleep is very much back on the agenda just now, how do you incorporate this into your fitness coaching?
We’re only just starting to really understand how important sleep is to optimum health. It goes beyond how damaging it can be when you’re not getting proper sleep. It’s actually about giving your brain an opportunity to recharge and regenerate and quite literally, flush cellular waste products that would otherwise poison your mind. Our Bodyism supplement, Serenity is such an important natural sleep optimiser.
You’ve worked with some of the top celebrities; does their busy schedule often get in the way of the training? Do they have some of the best excuses?
Funnily enough, despite their busy schedules, they tend to be much more motivated. Our strategy is to empower people to make it their responsibility to look after their health. I don’t lecture them or guilt-trip them, instead I reinforce the truth which is it is their responsibility and that the power to transform their health is in their hands and they can do this – whatever this may be whether it is, losing weight, giving up sugar or changing their life completely.
Our strategy is to empower people to make it their responsibility to look after their health.