Right about now, being a Victoria’s Secret Angel seems like it’s a constant stream of luxuries. We're talking first-class trans-Atlantic flights, custom silk bomber jackets, and pink-chocolate Eiffel towers.
Not pictured as constantly on Instagram: the zillion workouts it takes to make it to the Victoria's Secret 2016 Fashion Show. Even 6-foot-tall glamazons have to work out, and to hear their fitness trainers tell it, these models put in a ton of work 365 days a year.
“The ones that have the staying power, the ones you see walking the runway season upon season, they outwork everyone. They definitely do not rest on their genetic gifts to stay ahead,” says trainer Noah Neiman, explaining that the Victoria’s Secret girls generally spend one to two hours in the gym a day. “It’s more about staying ready and less about crash exercising for a show or a casting.”
For Neiman, boxing is a truly efficient full-body workout—plus, it has the built-in stress relief that goes along with punching something repeatedly.
“The biggest mistake beginners make is to rely on cardio to lose weight or stay in shape,” he says. “Full body strength training with weights supplemented with short intense bouts of cardio is the best combination to develop that strong and lean body. That’s why I love boxing. It forces you to work extremely hard for short periods of time and then rest. This type of cardio has a tendency to bring about drastic changes in the body and its endurance.”
Does that make you want to make like a VS Angel and slip on boxing gloves? Just know that this is a hardcore workout. In Miami, boxing coach Dino Spencer at famed 5th St. Gym trains models like Adriana Lima right alongside professional fighters and Olympic boxers—and regular athletes too.
“We don't baby anybody here. It's either sink or swim. That's how I was treated, that's how I treat Lima, that's how I treat Nina Agdal, that's how I treat them all. The ones that come back love it. The ones that can't take it, it's just too much for them. And that's ok too,” he says. “When they come in here, we treat them like they're fighting for the world championship, not like they're going to walk on a runway.”
When Lima is in Miami, she trains with Spencer every day. “When we get closer to the show, she does doubles—and they're super, super hard workouts,” he says. “Last year in London, we worked out in the hotel gym in front of the other girls and they just stopped working out to watch her.”
Spencer thinks that a passion for boxing has gotten Lima in the best shape of her life, just in time for her jaw-dropping 16th VS Fashion Show. “I have a before-and-after shot from Adriana Lima's first Victoria's Secret show when she was 17 or 18 and when she was 34 after two kids. Her body is way better now,” Spencer says. “What we see as beauty today is different than what we saw as beauty then. It was more like a waif and skinny-fat was trendy then. Now, it's ok to have a six pack, it's ok to have shoulders, it's ok to have triceps.”
“Now they look like strong women,” he says. “We had a woman running for president, it's a different world. It allows for women to be as good as they can be and not have to take a back seat to anybody else.”
Models and pro boxers at the same gritty gym might seem like a mismatch, but they might have a few things in common. “Fighters, they have to make weight or they don't get paid. Fights get canceled. If I schedule a fight for a guy who is five-foot-ten, and we say he's going to be 140 pounds, he's got to be 140 pounds,” Spencer says.
“It doesn't matter if his girlfriend broke up with him, it doesn't matter if he stubbed his toe when he was running. It doesn't matter. He either makes the weight or the fight's canceled. If the fight's canceled, he doesn't make a living. Again, we're back to the models. We treat them exactly the same. They have to be skinny or they're not getting paid. In the end, everybody's skinny.”
Spencer teaches the proper form involved in throwing a punch utilizing your whole body, and he also stresses diet (tip: eat your vegetables) and hydration (he recommends drinking up to 2 gallons of water a day). “It's cardio, it's diet, it's strength—it's all cylinders. You can't leave one stone unturned,” he says.
Besides the whole fitness aspect, it’s got to be empowering to feel that strong. We wanted to know: with boxing workouts like what Lima does, could she climb into the ring with a pro and hold her own? “I can't jeopardize her career by getting her punched in the face, but she definitely has the skills, trust me,” Spencer says.
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