With less than two weeks to go before her wedding, Pippa Middleton has transformed her body. Maria Lally talks to A-list trainers about the best way to get in shape.
When she walked down the aisle of Westminster Abbey six years ago behind her big sister, the soon-to-be Duchess of Cambridge, Pippa Middleton, said her dress was intended to be “insignificant” and to “blend in with Kate’s train”.
The result was that Pippa almost stole the show as the world became fixated by her super-toned physique in her Alexander McQueen bridesmaid’s dress.
And on Thursday evening, with just weeks to go until her own wedding, the 33-year-old looked more toned than ever in a sleeveless brocade midi dress as she made her way to the ParaSnow Ball at Hurlingham Gardens in London with her fiancé, James Matthews, 41.
The couple are due to marry on May 20 in Englefield, Berkshire, with the Duke and Duchess in attendance, and Prince George acting as pageboy and Princess Charlotte as bridesmaid.
“She looked great in that bridesmaid dress, it’s what propelled her to fame, and she’ll no doubt look fantastic in her wedding dress later this month,” said personal trainer Matt Roberts, who has worked with David and Samantha Cameron and hundreds of brides-to-be.
“Getting ready for a wedding is very much like prepping for a triathlon or marathon,” Matt said. “The end date isn’t moving anywhere, which is great for motivation.”
It’s a fitting analogy for Pippa, who is famously athletic (she won a sport scholarship to Marlborough College) and regularly takes part in sporty events, including a 3000-mile (4828km) bike ride in California with her brother, James, in 2015 and a 33-mile (R53km) cross-country ski race in Norway last March.
“She’s used to prepping for events, and has always been in great shape, so she’s probably only stepping things up a little more,” said Matt, who has worked with Pippa in the past. “I know she runs and swims, and does pilates and gym work.”
Sources say she and Kate work out in the gym at Kensington Palace, doing cardio, lunges, crunches, squats, planks and push-ups.
“However, some brides have to start from scratch in terms of losing weight, toning up or whatever goal they may have,” said Matt.
“And their key mistake is leaving it to the last minute. A pre-wedding shape-up must be viewed as a long-term plan and approached with at least a three-month window.”
Obviously, it’s not just brides who can have goals. For many with a big event on the horizon, such as an awards dinner, a garden party or being mother of the bride, the season for prepping to look perfect on the big day is now well and truly open.
However, Matt said it is a common mistake to starve yourself to squeeze into a special occasion dress.
“Yes, you feel a bit lighter but starving yourself just isn’t going to work. You’ll feel terrible and you’ll look hollowed out. So don’t cut down on calories too dramatically, and instead eat a healthy balanced diet in those three months.
As a rough guide, meals should be made up of approximately 30-40% protein, 30-40% carbs (including fruit and veg) and 20% of good fats.”
The best advice – in the three months before a big occasion and especially in the last few weeks – he has is to avoid refined sugar and alcohol. The latter, in particular, contains empty calories and affects kidney function and how your skin and hair looks.
Again, this won’t be too much of a stretch for Pippa who has said, “I try to eat wholegrain, energy-fuelled carbohydrates and three meals a day,” her favourites being brown rice, lentils, quinoa, sweet potato, porridge and rye toast.
A week or so before an event, she cuts out alcohol, refined sugar and processed foods.
Matt said that intermittent fasting is also useful for getting dress-ready.
“Have a fast day where you only eat 600 calories once a week, or if that’s too much, do it once every couple of weeks. There are some very good studies that show intermittent fasting helps control blood-sugar levels and calms the gut.”
Celebrity trainer James Duigan, at whose Notting Hill gym Pippa has been photographed, said tackling stress is also important when it comes to training and weight loss. He recommends calming supplements.
Mix it up
James also suggests calming workouts, alongside high-energy ones.
“Rather than going all-out with high-stress, high-cardio workouts, I advise mixing it with yoga, pilates and swimming. Boxing and pilates is a powerful combination for toning arms and probably the kind of thing Pippa has been doing.”
Matt agreed and said variation is key.
“It creates a strong, lean body that keeps burning fat even at rest. You also need varied paces, so one of your workouts should be long and constant – like a bike ride – and the other short, high-intensity interval training.
“I imagine Pippa is alternating between muscle groups to get those arms. So rather than fixating on one area, like your biceps, do something called super-setting mix, which involves working both biceps and triceps, or your thighs and hamstrings. This has been shown to best activate muscle tissue and raise metabolism.”
Matt said brides should treat the week before their wedding like the week before a marathon.
“Taper your exercise right down. Swimming is great as it gets blood to the heart, which helps to disperse fluid (cardio can cause a build-up of fluid retention in thighs and arms).”
Lastly, said Matt: “Wedding diets shouldn’t be seen as crash diets. If brides do nothing following the five or six weeks after the wedding, everything goes back to how it was. All their fitness gains are lost and all the weight goes back on. So don’t see your wedding day as the end point of getting in shape.”
Somehow, we don’t think Pippa will. – The Daily Telegraph