The latest fitness hashtag - #trainlikeanangel - conjures up images of Gisele Bündchen gliding a designer surfboard through the waves. Or Gigi Hadid’s perfect ponytail bobbing around a boxing ring as the supermodel works up a sweat honing her super-body even further.
The strapline is being used to promote the latest Victoria’s Secret sportswear range, with fitness fans encouraged to share their favourite gym class clothing combinations on social media.
What does #traininglikeanangel look like on a size 12 frame #sweatinglikeapig at the local Fitness First?
Gigi, 20, and her be-winged model pals Candice Swanepoel, 27, Jasmin Tookes, 24 and Elsa Hosk, 27 certainly look hot in the kit.
But what about real women? Sexy sweat on a lingerie model through a ‘Valencia’ filter is one thing. But what does #traininglikeanangel look like on a size 12 frame #sweatinglikeapig at the local Fitness First?
Is the eye-popping kit flattering on anyone not worthy of the VS catwalk? And, more importantly, does it actually deliver in a sweaty situation? I put the new range through its paces at an Angel-themed fitness class.
Priced from £30-£60, the collection features bras, crop tops, leggings, shorts, vests, joggers, jackets jumpers and even pants in size XS/S/M/L.
The sports bras are the VIPS of the range featuring names like 'Angel’. ‘Knockout’ and ‘The Standout’. Available in three support types (Lightweight through to Incredible), a rainbow of colours and sizes XS-XL and A – DDD (prices £38.21 - £44.04)
The technical part
Breathable bras, performance fabrics, memory foam, four-way stretch and sweat-wicking staples mean that the range stands up against more serious (and expensive) sportswear labels like Adidas and Nike and the silhouettes are designed for women who care what they look like in the gym (and going to the juice bar afterwards).
Instagram worthy? You bet. But surprisingly the range also delivered on functional as well as fashionable points.
The design team has nailed the two most important areas for fitness fans: supportive sports bras and high-rise, form-fitting leggings that stayed put through an intense workout with celebrity trainer Svava Sigbertsdottir.
Sigbertsdottir‘s ‘Viking Method’ includes high kicks, jumping squats, extreme downward dogs and crawling like a crab, all moves that would have left most high street ‘sports’ products sagging and soggy (this woman likes her subjects to sweat, a LOT)
But the VS kit kept us dry and perky, and there was no sign of the ‘legging hoik’ that fans of bargain gym gear will be all too familiar with.
Style-wise, the collection is subtler than expected. Of course it is bright and tight, and there are a lot of very girlie colour pops (shouts of: “it’s just so PINK!” were heard in the changing room as we dressed for the class) but that’s the case with most training kit and it’s much more motivating (and safe if outside) to channel ‘disco’ when you’re working that hard.
The lack of major logos is another plus for serious sporty types, with a simple “VSX” dotted throughout the range rather than the brand name emblazoned across your behind. And flattering panels and fabrics mean that you don’t need to be a size 6 teenager to look good in the kit.
Unfortunately the largest size ‘L’ would only fit a size 14 so they lose points on not catering to curves (but I don’t think the VS bosses are going to lose any sleep over that).
The best bits
1. The sports bras
A good bra is the most important part of any woman’s gym kit and it’s crucial for a lingerie brand venturing into the gym to get this right.
Sigbertsdottir, who claims to ‘sweat like a huge dude’ when she works out says: ‘I have big boobs and spend my life in gym kit so the right bra is really important for me For hardcore functional training, the bras are the best on the high street.’
I tried the ‘Lightweight’ medium support (£25.04), which actually made my boobs look great, thanks to breathable padding, adjustable straps and a flexible underwire, and – crucially – they also stayed put during star jumps.
2. The leggings
The capri-style ‘Knockouts’ (£45.36) feature a high-waist that didn't move during the high kick, flattering panels and super thick fabric that slimmed my thighs (very important for those gym selfies) and also kept me warm during a run in the cold the next day.
3. The kit bag
A surprising pick, perhaps, but actually brilliant (£64.96): a great size, water resistant, loads of pockets inside and out (including a shoe compartment on the bottom), a phone wallet and even a wet kit bag. Plus you don’t need to be 'Angel size' to look good wearing it.
Don’t bother with...
The cotton/polyester combination vests (£19.23). Pretty colours but lost shape very quickly and don’t offer any extra extra exercise value.
By Svava Sigbertsdottir (*Gisele-like body not guaranteed). Do each for 30 seconds. Do five sets. Have 30-60 second rest in between sets.
For an Angel bum: Beats
Come to a wide squat. As you squat watch that knees are in line with toes and are not caving in. Squat down deeply, then as you jump up engage your glutes and lengthen the legs fully, placing one of the legs in front of the other. Land in the deep squat and do it all again.
For Angel arms: Tricep press ups
Start on your knees until you have fully mastered this move. Placing your hands closer and further down the body than a normal press up, engage your core, lower yourself to the floor with elbows bending back and touching the side of the body. Keep the core from coming all the way down and relaxing on the floor. Bring your body back in one piece, the same as when you went down, with the insides of your arms are up against the side of your body.
For Angel legs: Kneeling High Kick (30 seconds each)
Start by kneeling and bring your left leg forward with your foot down and a 90 degree bend at the knee. Press into the left heel and push yourself up to standing, lengthening the left leg and at the same time kicking the right leg high up. Control it as you come back down. Do not use the right leg at all to lift yourself up, only the left. Engage your core and use your power to kick that leg!
For an Angel stomach: Leg Drags (four forwards and four backwards)
On a shiny floor, get into plank position and place your feet on glides/towels/magazines. Using the upper body engage the core (make sure you keep the plank line through out the exercise) and then drag your body forward and backwards by walking your hands. Watch that you do not drop in the middle and arch your back.
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