Looking for a new relationship with your body? Bodydoctor knows best, says Claire Hughes
‘Oh God, oh God, oh God…’ You might find yourself praying/swearing a lot during a personal training session with David Marshall, aka the Bodydoctor, and the man responsible for the lithe, toned bodies of leading ladies such as Rachel Weisz, Lily Allen, and a host of Game of Thrones stars, plus the phenomenal metamorphosis of Sophie Dahl – remember when she dropped from a size 16 to a size 12 all those years ago? She had David to thank for that.
His intense one-to-one classes take place in a white-walled, wooden- floored private gym (aka ‘the temple of fitness’) built in the crypt of St Peter’s Church on Eaton Square, so it really does feel like God might take notice of you as you do your 50th crunch: ‘go on, reach for those toes,’ he (David, not God) chuckles as you smile, sweating through gritted teeth.
David has been transforming the bodies (and minds – he prescribes just as much yoga, pilates, holistic therapy and good nutrition as weights and cardio) of men and women since 1994. His method? Simplicity. ‘It’s about teaching people to exercise correctly and efficiently,’ he says. ‘To elongate the muscles and teach them to stay that way so you feel strong yet supple.’ And sensible, doable nutrition. ‘Eating the right foods at the right time in relation to when you exercise – because exercise is energy and food is fuel,’ he adds. ‘It’s not about diets and green juices but about eating natural, unprocessed foods.’
His coterie of trainers are all taught his unique, sequence-based method that promises no fads or funny stuff – but revolves around technique and the correct intensity so that you burn fat. Each exercise flows into the next, as it would in a yoga class (rather than just a mismatched group of exercises that end up leaving your body bulky and uncomfortable), combining disciplines from resistance training, pilates and cardio, and utilising a full range of movement as you would during any yoga session. In fact, he can’t bear to see the amount of exercise promises pedalled on the market by people with more of an eye on profit than really helping people feel their very best.
David is doing something right with his no nonsense approach – and it can happen quickly too. Yes, if you sign up for David’s six-week programme and dedicate yourself to it, you really could lose three dress sizes (just ask Sophie D). His new partnership with John Bell & Croyden, pharmacists to the Queen on Wigmore Street, will help, as its in-house nutritionist will devise bespoke eating plans and supplements for those who want to get the best out of their time with David and his team. And if you want an intense blast, plus a dose of Vitamin D, David will be running seven to ten day programmes at some spectacular hotels worldwide.
‘It’s all about being the best you that you can possibly be, fulfilling your potential to live a healthy happy life, that’s why my mantra has always been… Stronger, slimmer, firmer, fitter.’ Isn’t that what we all want as we face the year ahead? It’s time to call the doctor.
One to one personal training sessions, £100. 020 7235 2211; bodydoctor.com