Every year, I watch a group of perfectly chiseled bodies on stage working it, all tanned, glow-y, chiseled abs and perky butt. But we’re not here to talk about male strippers right now. We’re here to talk about the genetic freakshows that are Victoria’s Secret models.
To give them credit where credit’s due, it’s not ALL genetics (although I do need science to come up with an injectable version of their DNA, stat). A quick look at any of the Angel’s IG page will show that they’re constantly training…and when they’re training, it’s usually at the p.volve studio in New York City. Me being the Sherlock Holmes that I am, I needed to get some answers. What is the magic behind this method that gives these models this?
How can us mere mortals achieve this? I interviewed Stephen Pasterino, the creator of p.volve, to find out.
Tell us the about the background of p.volve, and what makes it so different from other methods such as bootcamp/crossfit/etc.?
I moved to NY several years ago to become a trainer. and realized that one consistent question I was getting from women was why was their body bulking up instead of getting leaner during high-intensity workouts. After observing different workouts such as bootcamps and crossfit classes, I realized that many of these women were being trained like men–how I used to train for football. So, I set out to develop a workout that integrated my background in physical therapy and that was low-impact, functional, and highly effective for creating a natural, proportionate, toned physique. When I started testing out my method, p.volve, with clients and seeing amazing results, I knew I was on to something.
p.volve integrates hip-opening movements and small functional stepping patterns to activate, strengthen, and lengthen the muscles without bulking, pulsing, or fatiguing them. These small movements lean the body, creating a symmetrical, long, and lean shape. In my classes, I do a lot of standing work to open the hips and back, which releases tension and stretches the body, helping to elongate the muscles.
What is the most effective way to really activate the glutes?
Great question! Since the glutes are the body’s biggest muscle group, most of my workouts focus on that. Once you learn how to properly activate your glute muscles, you’re on your way to achieving a lifted, perkier butt, and everything else will follow-perfect form, better posture, stronger core, etc. The key is to target the upper inner thighs and inner butt. These muscles are typically dormant and really hard to target. I created the P.ball to help make activation easy. Once you put this ball in,your muscles will automatically start activating! It’s a lot firmer than other fitness balls – and the resistance elastic band that goes around your outer thighs makes it easy to do hundreds of standing and sitting exercises.
Can you lose fat while still keeping curves? If so, how?
Definitely! The models I work with are lean with low body fat, thanks to their healthy diet and workout regimens, but they keep their curves by working out consistently and correctly. Focusing on key “curve” areas such as the glutes, inner thighs, and obliques helps to maintain the desired shape while losing fat. See below for more details on how I train models before the Victoria’s Secret show–they certainly want to lose fat while keeping their curves! And believe it or not, they eat carbs–the right, complex carbs–too!
How do the Victoria’s Secret models prepare for the show? (I know many of them are your clients.)
Leading up to the VS show, our sessions will increase not only in number of days per week, but in time and intensity as well. The best thing about p.volve is that it is very scaleable, so we can make these workouts very hard or we can scale them back. I like to build up to the intensity. Without having the proper muscles engaged and working, your hips opened up, and perfect form, the more intense sessions will never work. I start out slow and build the foundation before scaling up. They need to understand their body and know how it works in certain movements and positions. This doesn’t mean we’re doing crazy cardio workouts daily leading up to the show. We may hit one or two days in a row that are more fast-paced, limited breaks, more reps, add some rowing and kickboxing in, but then we take it down a notch and slow it back down, and focus on a certain area by moving slowly and controlled. Doing it this way ensures the body will never get fatigued and never bulk up.
For me, the first six months are about laying down the ground work, correcting any imbalances, and fixing any weakness. The next six months are all about chiseling out, lifting, and defining the body as a whole.
The day of the show, we do a very slow resistance band workout with very strict and limited motions that are focused around holding tension. We always use the P.ball for 15-20 minutes to ensure the glutes are lifted and ready to be seen!
When preparing for a show like Victoria’s Secret, eliminating any foods that can bloat or cause inflammation is key. Most importantly, we eliminate salt, eggs and packaged foods. We also cut out vegetables that are hard to digest such as kale, broccoli, and cauliflower, and high-sugar fruits, like bananas and nut butters. Reducing the intake of inflammatory foods will give our digestive system a chance to function at its best and reduce any unnecessary water retention.A common stereotype is that people think models don’t eat, but actually it’s the opposite! Not eating leaves your muscles looking flat and models need the sustained energy and nutrients of the right foods (including carbs!) to have high stamina and keep their muscles looking prominent, conditioned and strong while walking down a runway. If they aren’t eating well, their muscles will lack energy and fall flat–especially the glutes.
Do you have any p.volve diet tips?
In addition to the above tips I give my model clients, my nutrition philosophy is similar to my workout: it’s focused on sustainable, long-term care of your body with no ‘quick fixes.’ Learning how to enjoy whole, clean foods and incorporating them into a meal plan is key; I’m so passionate about how nutrition goes hand-in-hand with exercise that I’m writing a cookbook with my wife launching next year. The book will focus on foods that aid in digestion, getting rid of inflammation and bloating along with simple, yet delicious whole recipes.
What are some p.volve moves our readers can do at home that don’t require equipment?
Here are three quick, but effective moves you can do anywhere! They will stretch the entire body by opening up the hips, toning the inner and outer thigh and lifting the butt. (This article has helpful videos if you get confused trying to follow along!)
Step Back And Reach
How to: Stand with your feet hip-distance apart. Your feet should be flat, and your legs should be straight. Step your right foot back behind your body, keeping your hips parallel, and stretch your right hand up overhead at the same time. Step back up to starting position. That’s one rep. Repeat eight times on each side. Do three to four sets before moving on to the next move, resting for 30 seconds in between each set.
Open Hip Stretch
How to: Start in a standing position with your feet hip-width apart. Bend your knees slightly and sit your hips back into a slight squat position. Keep your arms lifted at shoulder height, with your elbows bent and facing the side of the room. Bring one foot up, rotate your hips, and place that foot down on the ground, diagonally behind your body. Pause, then return to starting position. That’s one rep. Do eight reps on each side. Do three to four sets before moving on to the next move, resting for 30 seconds in between each set.
Rear Diagonal Lunge
How to: Start feet hip-width apart, with your arms straight out in front of you. Step one foot back on a diagonal, feet flat. Once your foot reaches the floor, lower into a shallow lunge. Keep your knee bent and butt back, twist your pelvis, and rotate your arms back behind your body until they frame the knee. Return to starting position. That’s one rep. Do eight reps on each side. Do three to four sets before moving on to the next move, resting for 30 seconds in between each set.
Where can we keep up with p.volve?
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Images: Shutterstock; @hoskelsa / Instagram; @pvolve / Instagram