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May 13
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We spoke to our body issue cover girl Candice Swanepoel and her trainer Justin Gelband on how to be fit, not skinny.

“Not model thin. Model fit” reads the slogan on the website of celebrity trainer and “model whisperer” Justin Gelband. The trainer and self-professed “life coach” has worked with the best in the business, including many of the Victoria’s Secret Angels, and champions a program that focuses on a healthy approach to getting a model body.

“I recognised that the girls in the industry were really behind,” says Gelband. “They weren’t concentrating on their bodies; it was more about not eating, not exercising and doing everything they can to lose the weight as quick as they can.” He thought what was needed was a method that ensured “all the women are eating, doing exercise and cardio and working on their bodies and minds and incorporating all these great things into their daily regimens so they can be the best they can be with the bodies they’ve been given.”

Gelband began working with Swanepoel shortly after her Victoria’s Secret runway debut. After seeing her on the runway he was determined to work with her and immediately approached her agent. The rest, as they say, is history.

So how do we do it Justin – how do we get a body like Candice?

“To be the best you can be with the body you’ve been given and work on the curves you have, you need to stop looking at what everyone else is doing and stop worrying about the whole quick fix,” says Gelband. “Anyone can be model fit, anyone can be their own model in their own body,” he says.

“The best thing to do is to work on your nutrition, eat proper foods, get the proper nutrients and minerals and vitamins in your body and then at the same time, exercise properly. If you do that you’re not only going to feel good mentally but physically as well,” he says.


Candice is a dream candidate for Justin’s program with a work ethic and determination that helps her to continue training when travelling. “I’ve always been very disciplined with everything I do. I grew up doing ballet from a young age and that’s where it started,” says Swanepoel. “I’m prepared all year round because we shoot all year round,” she says. Gelband stresses the importance of a maintainable program. “We do no more than an hour and she works out three to four days a week,” he says.


“Each day is different,” says Gelband. “We’ll do some pilates, we’ll do some yoga, we’ll do some balance and stability, some movement and motion and we’ll do some boxing so she can release some stress and get nice and tight. But we’re always changing her movements and her exercise,” he says.


Recently, Swanepoel has worked with her trainer to take boxing to another level. “I did kickboxing before, which was great for my core, so I’m now learning to fight like a professional fighter.” The model mixes boxing, skipping and ballet to target different muscle areas. “I’m still finding muscles I didn’t know I had!”


“When we want to work on her stomach and her core we do a lot of boxing. When we’re doing her butt we use ankle weights and focus on the inner thigh and her butt, the inside, outside and top. [It’s about] really rounding the butt off.” Gelband’s derrièr-perfecting move involves starting on all fours with a light weight strapped on the ankle. Start with a straight leg, making small lifts up and down. Complete 12 to 15 reps with each leg, starting at the side, then repeat with the leg straight behind, then slightly inward. Repeat the whole exercise with your leg bent, sole of the foot to the sky. This time, rest on your elbows to protect your back. Don’t be disheartened if you can’t complete all reps the first time; work towards this number in your routine.


“I don’t deny myself anything,” says Swanepoel. “Extremely oily and salty foods make me feel instantly ill, so everything I eat is good for me, organic and fresh. If there is one thing someone has to supervise me with, though, it’s peanut butter and chocolate ice-cream.” When it comes to taking a break from her hectic work schedule, Swanepoel reconnects to her South African upbringing by getting close to nature. “I like to take a trip somewhere beautiful near the ocean or any water. Nature is what restores my energy.”

source: vogue australia

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