The Skinny Bitch Collective: Worth the Hype?!
Hello, I write to you gingerly with aching arms and even more aching buttocks: this morning I was indoctrinated into the cult exercise class ‘The Skinny Bitch Collective’, founded by Russell Bateman.
Written about in Vogue and Elle and beloved of models & celebs such as Billy JD Porter, The Skinny Bitch Collective is famous for tough workouts that get results. My friend and Modeltypeface interviewee Sophie Holmes trains with them and, when not growing a human in her womb, looks like this….
Well…Yes. It was simultaneously the best and worst exercise experience of my life. Let’s take a quick recap of exercises I’ve previously partaken: yoga, Bollywood dance, street dance (I looked very white, and very unmusical), pole dancing, ‘Dance Like a Pussycat Doll’ (this was my dance phase). I’ve done aerobics, personal training, jogging, circuits…You name it, I’ve probably tried it but never stuck at it. (NB: I would still be doing Bollywood as it was amazing and I got to wear a jangly belt but it got cancelled 🙁 )
Overall, my favourite type of exercise is the type that let’s you snooze on a mat for the last 10 minutes of the class. I do Barre Pilates and Barre yoga, which is HARDCORE difficult, but I know that I’m missing that BOOM! Body blast which will burn loads of fat and calories and make me out of breath and want to die but also feel amazing afterwards.
I’ve recently had a great streak of work, but I was feeling below par on shoots body-wise. Just a bit…Ya know…Milk maidenly in the arm region and self-conscious about my thighs, which will never possess a thigh gap but have lately been reflecting my recent peanut butter + dessert spoon proclivities.
I’ve been diligently avoiding researching The Skinny Bitch Collective because a) I thought their name was a bit smug and b) the classes sounded really hard. However, feeling below par on shoots is not acceptable – you have to radiate confidence and I wasn’t. So I emailed them, asking for a timetable, price list and locations. My reply read simply:
“Can you make 7am tomorrow.”
I was in Manchester on a shoot so I couldn’t, plus…7AM!!! I still sleep like a teenager. Having done my research, I realised that the classes are actually pretty hard to get into and if you have to ask about the price, you probably can’t afford it (a group session is £40). I had probably blown my chances. I was relieved.
However I was then offered 8am for another day, a minute after my booker had rung to tell me to come in the next day for bikini Polaroids.
BIKINI POLAROIDS! IN FEBRUARY! Feeling desperately pallid and out of shape, I emailed back. Why not! I was scared.
OK that’s enough prelude! What was the class like?
So I was pretty nervous. And rightly so. The room really was full of slim women in fancy sports gear, and I stood feeling a bit afraid in my £3 shorts from the bargain bin in JD Sports about 3 years ago. I felt like I’d accidentally wandered into an Eric Prydz video, and I felt rather intimidated.
Then Russell came in, and turned the lights way down, which pleased me as no one needs to see my red, huffing face under bright lights. I had just met him outside, a smiley handsome chap, but as he walked in he set his face in a stern expression and shouted at us to lie on the floor and do roll-ups. Don’t we do 5 minutes of breathing in and out, waving our hands around first?
After the roll-ups I laboured through squat jumps, burpees and other painful movements. It must surely be quarter past?
No, it was 8 minutes past. The longest 8 minutes of my life were slowly passing through a mire of pain and loud techno.
I’m making this sound awful, and in a way it was, but it was also brilliant. There’s a great atmosphere in the room and Russell pushes everyone because everyone can do it. My favourite part is when you have to go outside the studio and run up and down the hallway in front of all the people watching in amusement at these 8 or so pained, gasping giraffes. We also have to crawl around and do weird ‘primal’ things like that, which at least keeps it interesting.
These sort of exercises get results, which is why Russell has trained a few Victoria Secret models. I am hooked, though at £40 it’ll have to be once a week or maybe a fortnight for me, til my newly buff bod gets me way more work.
It’s not just about how you look, though, it’s about how you feel. I felt mega fit, mega energised and mega better about my body. Even though 50 minutes of exercise isn’t going to make that dramatic a difference, I walked into my agency feeling like a Goddess and I felt super confident having bikini Polaroids done. Usually bikini Polaroids are the most painful experience in my calendar (seriously, I cried once) so for me to say that is a true endorsement of these training sessions.
It’s all about being fit, not thin. So don’t be put off the name – there wasn’t a bitch in sight, just a group of smiling, leaping, red-faced giraffes.