On Monday, Nov. 20, the insanely beautiful Bella Hadid completed her second stint at the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show in Shanghai. Seeing as how this is the basically the single most iconic runway show of all time, you might find yourself wondering a) how these gorgeous young women get selected to be an angel, and b) how hard could it possibly be to be a Victoria's Secret angel? I learned the answer to that second question firsthand over the weekend when I tried to complete Bella Hadid's workout routine. Put simply, it's very f*cking hard, and I'm never boo-hooing any of the Victoria's Secret ladies again.
Before I dive into the details of my very, very sad attempt at becoming a Victoria's Secret Angel, let's establish one important fact nugget: Bella and her supermodel sis Gigi (who missed out on the VS Fashion Show this year for scheduling reasons) have excellent genes. You can't really force that whole leggy, six-foot-tall thing; you either have that or you don't. But there's also a ton of work that goes into being fit from head to toe, which is why people are so interested in what types of workouts these models do on a regular basis.
Bella Hadid, for example, has admitted to working out for three hours a day in the months leading up to the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, which, as far as I'm concerned, makes her a full-fledged professional athlete. (I will fight anyone who suggests otherwise.)
As for what the 21-year-old model actually does during those three-hour workouts, I did a little research to find her signature moves, and I tried them all out over the course of a weekend. It probably won't come as much of a surprise to you that none of these workouts were easy, but even I was shocked by how freaking sore I felt at the end — and how sore I still feel.
The majority of Hadid's fitness routine is comprised of boxing, barre, and a bunch of pull-ups and ab exercises.
So I decided to do a boxing class, a barre class, and a selection of scattered, pathetic sit ups. Full disclosure: I first bought boxing gloves because I read an article on Gigi Hadid's love of boxing. (I promise I love you just as much, Bella!)
Anyway, this was naturally a very exciting moment for both me and my teal boxing gloves — except I forgot how difficult it is to use boxing wraps, and I got so confused and frazzled trying to prove to my boyfriend that I know how to wrap them, that we missed the actual class.
Honestly, the Hadids probably have someone on payroll strictly to wrap their hands before a boxing class. Or maybe they just have better motor skills than I do. Either way, it's Bella: one, and Caroline: zero.
As awful as the whole wrapping situation went, I have boxed before, and I can testify to what a completely annihilating full-body workout it is. You would initially think that it only works your arms, but in truth, it's a massive core workout, which is part of the reason why it's a common, go-to exercise for so many VS Angels before the big runway show.
Since I missed the actual class, I ended up doing a makeshift boxing routine at home with a pillow, and honestly, it still kicked my ass. There are a ton of great YouTube tutorials on boxing, and there are even some videos of Bella Hadid herself showing us how she likes to sweat it out with her gloves on:
The biggest challenge I find in boxing is the speed of movement. I probably move about half as quickly as Hadid does, and that's at the beginning of the class. By the end of a boxing workout, I can barely even lift my arms, let alone move quickly, especially as a beginner. For me, it was obviously much easier to punch a pillow than a real punching bag, but my arms and legs were still totally gone within just 10 minutes' time.
Next up was Hadid's barre workout. For anyone who hasn't done a ballet or barre class, the workout is entirely comprised of isometric moves and positions that trigger different muscles to contract and release in tiny micro-movements, which will basically tone your body in ways you couldn't possibly imagine. I'm a big believer in barre, but I also haven't done it regularly in months, so to say the least, this part of Hadid's routine freaking killed me.
Shockingly enough, they didn't allow my paparazzi into the class, so I couldn't take any pictures. But it's probably for the best, because I was heavy-breathing so hard that I probably would have turned out blurry in every single picture.
The hardest part of barre is learning how to essentially live on your tip toes and act like it's not lighting your entire body on fire.
Pro tip: Screaming, as it turns out, is not an acceptable practice in a barre class, even if it makes you feel better on the inside.
Overall, barre workouts have a totally different feeling than most other types of exercise. It feels like a slow burn, and you're actually supposed to get your muscles to shake as much as possible in order to get the full effect of the workout.
I've always loved barre, and this class was no different. I left it feeling totally wiped, yet energized and centered.
Finally, the last workout I tried was a basic abs routine.
And by that, I mean I attempted five sit-ups — emphasis on attempted.
It was sad. Really sad. That's pretty much all I have to say on the matter.
Sit-ups are the ultimate litmus test of fitness, because you can't really hide behind any fancy movements or multi-step exercises. It's just your core contracting to pull your body up, and my core simply did not hold up to the task; I got to about three sit-ups before totally collapsing. I'm letting myself off the hook, though, since I attempted this after both boxing and barre, although if I'm being real with you guys, I think I just have a non-existent core.
All in all, it was pretty fun trying to be Bella Hadid for the weekend, if a little bit humbling. It didn't really surprise me how hard her workouts are, given that she works full-time on her body and has achieved so much success.
But when the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show airs on Nov. 28, you can be sure I'll be watching it with a newfound perspective and appreciation — and some really, really sore muscles.