Personal best

Personal best

At The Lanesborough Club & Spa, a dedicated team can create a holistic health-and-fitness programme just for you. Two willing participants were put through their paces...

Hydro pool area of
Hydro pool area
Hydro pool area of

Personal best

Years ago, there was very little personal about personal training. Walk into any gym and you’d come out with one of a number of set programmes. And if you didn’t get the results you wanted? Well, you just weren’t putting in the hours...


The Lanesborough Club & Spa’s sauna

More recently, the world’s most forward-thinking establishments have been taking a more individualised approach to health and fitness, looking at everything from your job, diet and stress levels to what time you go to bed, in order to help clients train in a way that suits their body type and works with their lifestyle.

Leading the charge is Bodyism at The Lanesborough Club & Spa, which offers clients an exclusive Body Oracle Assessment in order to design a bespoke programme that meets their needs.

Walking its labyrinthine corridors lined with discreet treatment rooms, and opulent dressing rooms hidden behind burnished walls, the ambience is one of elegance and unrivalled luxury, pitched somewhere between private members’ club and high-net-worth home.

And that excellence is evident even before you step on to the gym floor, as new members are given a complimentary Body Oracle Assessment that looks not just at exercise and nutrition, but at lifestyle factors too, to generate a regime that impacts all elements of their life.

This broad and thorough approach is thanks to the Club & Spa being part of the Bodyism group, established in 2006 by trainer James Duigan with the aim of creating long, lean, healthy bodies by balancing the four pillars of movement, mindset, nutrition and sleep. Over the years, Duigan has become known as much for his clients – who include Elle Macpherson, David Gandy and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley – as his methods, which focus on being kind to one’s body. At The Lanesborough Club & Spa, each trainer has a different background and specialism, and are all available to every client – a key part of the Bodyism ethos is to have clients work with different trainers to keep motivation levels high.

We put two experienced exercisers through the Body Oracle tests to see what they could learn from the results.

“The The Club & Spa’s changing rooms
“Gym” Gym


Name - Toby Shaw

Age - 42

Fitness level - Very good

Current routine - Five times a week. Workouts include Reformer Pilates and TRX/calisthenics.

Problem areas - After 20 years of lower-backpain, Toby developed sciatica in his leg three years ago, which surgery has failed to remedy. He also has pain in his knee after a bungee jump in his teens.

Aims - Reduce the pain,then strengthen the glutes and core to support his back.


Alex Beard, performance specialist


Toby is physically active, despite the debilitating condition that affects his back and leg. He’s very interested in knowing if his nutrition or training regime could help lessen his pain in any way.

His diet is generally good, but he should up his protein levels. A Bodyism Protein Excellence shake would be an easy way to t this into his working day. The pinch test to measure body fat and create a hormonal profile indicates that he has high levels of inflammation in his system in response to his pain. In terms of lifestyle, we determined that more sleep and less stress are key.

Something that can provide immediate relief is myofascial release – that is, manipulating trigger points to relieve pain by relaxing and lengthening the muscles. Toby uses a foam roller for this, but I gave him a hockey ball to use on the piriformis muscle in the glutes. Ten minutes of that before he goes to bed will relax tight muscles and also release endorphins such as serotonin and dopamine, which reduce anxiety and aid sleep.

Having observed the way Toby moves, we worked on effective ways to target the muscles in the back, glutes and hamstrings, which all help support the spine. I had him raise his heels by standing on a weights plate or a book, a folded towel between his knees, and slowed down the squat – eight seconds down, eight seconds up. This ensures the right muscles are ring at the right time and increases the difficulty without using weights, which might aggravate his back.

Finally, I gave Toby a movement preparation plan. More than a warm-up, the exercises help with flexibility, balance, strength and mobility.

" In terms of Toby's lifestyle, we determined that more sleep and less stress are key "


Couple lounging


Name - Nicole Bennett

Age - 42

Fitness level - Excellent

Current regime - Six times a week.Workouts include swimming, running, tennis, and interval training at a British Military Fitness bootcamp. Has completed 14 marathons.

Problem areas - Tight neck muscles and tense shoulders from long hours in front of a screen.

Aims - Improve reaction times when playing tennis, and increase fitness in a fun and different way.


Simone Parsanejad, fitness manager.


The Body Oracle Assessment tackles the mind and body as one entity. Nicole’s fitness and diet are excellent, but she would bene t from engaging in sports that promote mindfulness – allowing the body to relax is as beneficial as rigorous exercise. She runs a lot, which is a good way to focus and de-stress, but I’d suggest beginning and ending each training session with a breathing programme to calm the mind. She might also bene t from doing some Reformer Pilates classes here at The Lanesborough, and incorporating yoga into her routine. It’s not a high-impact activity, so it’s less stressful on the joints than running, and a great way to give the body a chance to recalibrate.

Nicole has higher levels of body fat on her calves, which is usually the result of poor sleep patterns. I’d recommend she goes to bed at the same time each night and gets to sleep as close as possible to 10pm – the sleep you have at around that time is of much better quality than if you go to bed later, even if you then sleep in the next day.

We’ll now build a bespoke programme for Nicole that helps to incorporate some of these new approaches into her current programme, and she’ll also have one-on-one sessions with one of the appropriate Bodyism coaches, depending on target area, to help develop skills in different areas.

Progress takes time, but for an immediate boost, I gave Nicole a Body Brilliance chocolate shake. Invented by Bodyism’s founder, James Duigan, it contains brous super-greens, including barley grass, broccoli and wheatgrass, which are all really high in vitamins and minerals.

" Sports that promote mindfulness allow the body to relax - they're as beneficial as rigorous exercise "

To find out more about the Body Oracle Assessment, call + 44 (0)20 7333 7064 or email