Meet the SBC: The Workout Regime Taking London's Fashion Scene by Storm

Forget SoulCycle, burn your yoga mats, and cancel your Equinox membership.
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Tyler McCall
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Forget SoulCycle, burn your yoga mats, and cancel your Equinox membership.

A series of SBC workouts in action (Suki Waterhouse at far right). Photos: Russell Bateman/SBC

A series of SBC workouts in action (Suki Waterhouse at far right). Photos: Russell Bateman/SBC

Forget SoulCycle, burn your yoga mats and cancel your Equinox membership -- for the London fashion scene, the only workout that will do is the SBC method.

SBC, for those curious parties, stands for the Skinny Bitch Collective. "My buddy once said I only trained skinny bitches, hence the name Skinny Bitch Collective was born," trainer Russell Bateman says of the name's origins -- and while we can't speak to the "Bitch" part of the equation (his clients all seem sweet to us), Bateman's women certainly are skinny.

His training roster lists models and "It" girls alike: Suki Waterhouse, Daisy Lowe, Millie Mackintosh, Amber Atherton and the Elle UK offices have all been spotted busting ass in Bateman's intimidating Instagram videos. (Seriously, I don't know how any of these women are still moving.)

On top of his own model clientele, Bateman also trained the models who appeared in the spring/summer Stella McCartney for Adidas show, where the models biked, ran and practiced yoga in McCartney's designs. The producers had seen his Instagram videos, and reached out to have him train the girls. "We had four SBC girls doing the presentation in the latest Stella [for Adidas] collection. It was so cool!" he says, adding that more collaborations of that kind are "in the pipeline."

So what -- other than the desire for a killer bod, of course -- has brought the London fashion flock calling? "They were all training, but nothing really prepared them for what we do with their bodies," Bateman says of his clientele. "I think that boredom was their enemy and now that's never going to be a problem. Suki [Waterhouse] for example said, 'My inner animal is coming out, I love it.'"

Bateman brings the inner animal out of his clients -- so to speak -- by making the SBC more of a "community" than a workout program. "It encapsulates health, well-being, nutrition, fashion and, first and foremost, is about making a woman as empowered and strong as possible," he explains.

As it turns out, we've been doing fitness all wrong. "Too many girls go into the gym and spend hours on the cross trainer," Bateman says. "That's like going to MOMA and spending two hours watching the cloakroom."

And seriously, forget SoulCycle. "Doing something over and over and expecting different results is Einstein's definition of insanity," he tells us. "I've seen a lot of girls come out of classes and their bodies look like yoghurt wrapped in cling film." [Ed note: Quite the visual.]

All of this inspired Bateman to start the SBC. "I knew I had morals and the right methodology and I needed to show girls what I felt they should be doing," he explains. Bateman's method is all about variety, about doing movements we were "born" to do, like jumping, crawling, pushing and pulling. He combines old school movements with new ideas to get totally crazy-looking workout moves -- like upside down burpees.

More than that, it's about a full lifestyle change. Would-be clients are assessed "down to [their] sleep patterns" before they start with the SBC. "I'll ask you to commit to eliminating anything that isn't improving the quality of your life," Bateman says. He also often tweets or Instagrams advocating for changes like going to bed at 10 p.m. on nights in, or (and this we can get behind) having more sex.

"It's all about embracing the human in us," he says. "Boredom is the enemy so don't put up with it. Train hard, love deeply and embrace your body, it was designed to do amazing things. Sex is so important and so is sleep and adequate rest. Make sure you work hard and rest harder."

But before you book your flight to London, know this: Bateman is in very high demand, and selective about who he will train -- he is, after all, only one person and the only staff member of the SBC. "You have to be a nice person with a good heart and work your socks off -- no time for negativity," he says of choosing his clients. "Yes, there is a waiting list but I will endeavor to train whom I can."

To that end, the SBC began offering online training classes this past year. You send in your details and get an SBC food template, formulated with website Model Mange Tout, which is run by model and nutritionist Danielle Copperman (the two are dating). You'll also get access to video tutorials of SBC's signature moves.

Customers as far flung as Tokyo and Nigeria have reported back to Bateman that the videos have helped them, which makes him quite proud. But are they as effective as in-person training? Shot in the mountains of Verbier -- as you do -- Bateman wasn't worried about translating his difficult training moves to a different format. "It wasn't that difficult, we just had to get the right movements and the flow correct," Bateman says. (You can check out a sample from his Instagram above.)

Oh, and about those Instagram videos, which Bateman calls a "good tool to inspire": How does he convince some of the world's most beautiful women to appear online sweating profusely mid-workout? "They know it can have a great impact on fans and fitness enthusiasts by seeing them train the right way," he explains. "I'm discreet and they know with a camera on them to be intense and strict with form."

For those in New York City, SBC has already hosted pop-ups here and plans to do so again in the future. But even if the SBC doesn't come to a city near you, you'll definitely be seeing it around.

"Without sounding too up myself, SBC is training the next generation of female icons," Bateman says. "You're going to see a lot of our girls fronting campaigns this year and on the screen."

Or, at the very least, training hard on Bateman's Instagram.