It’s no secret the Princess of Wales has a natural affinity for health and fitness, having given royal fans a glimpse at her athletic talent and competitive streak at many sporting events in the past.
Former rugby player Mike Tindall, who is married to Prince William’s cousin Zara, even described Princess Kate as an “engine”, claiming his dream rugby team would involve the 40-year-old royal on one wing “because she loves running, she can run all day!”
Keen to amp up my exercise habits, I decided to take on Princess Kate’s workout and wellness routine for a 14-days to see if I could emulate the royal’s enviably lean physique and radiant skin glow.
Watch below to discover the highs and lows as I take on the sporty royal’s exhausting cardio, strength and stretch routine…
What is the Princess of Wales’ workout routine?
The royal has been known to incorporate a generous hybrid of cardio and weight training into her lifestyle. From running to weight lifting, cycling to rowing, yoga to HIIT, the sporty Princess’ workout routine certainly isn’t for the faint-hearted.
I decided to follow a 14-day workout plan incorporating as many of the Princess’ favourite exercises as possible.
Day 1, 3, 5
- 3km run
- 45 min weight training
Day 2, 6, 7
- 45 min spin class
- 1hr Yoga
Day 8, 10, 12
- 10,000 step walk
- 45 min weight training
Day 9, 11, 13
How did I find each exercise?
Keen to seek some expert advice before delving into weight training, I spoke to Juliana Leonardi, Senior Personal Trainer at David Lloyd Kensington who weighed in (get it?) on the need-to-knows of lifting as a woman.
“The key to achieving a lean, toned body like the Princess of Wales without bulking is to do several reps of low weights,” explained Juliana.
LOOK: 26 times the royals made us laugh while playing sports – see hilarious photos
“I definitely believe the Princess of Wales weight trains,” says Juliana. “There are so many benefits to weight training, from making you leaner and stronger to improving your bone destiny, burning fat and helping with posture.”
As a total weightlifting rookie, I found Juliana’s exercises enjoyable and surprisingly simple – but the burn the following day proved you don’t have to lift heavy weights to feel a difference.
Both Kate and her sister, Pippa Middleton, are keen runners. According to the Daily Mail, the Princess finds the time to run as often as possible when in Norfolk, having enjoyed long runs with the family dog Lupo by her side before he passed away.
Getting in a daily run proved to be surprisingly difficult, as I think it requires the most motivation. I find running to be one of those ‘love it or hate it exercises’, and I’m definitely in the latter category. I always tried to kickstart my workouts with a slow 2 km jog, or finished a sweat sesh on David Lloyd’s curved treadmills – which Juliana said are great for building endurance and working the core.
Though I’m sure Princess Kate doesn’t cycle to pumping Taylor Swift at 7 am like I did in my spin classes, we do know she’s a keen cycler. Before she became a Princess, Kate would regularly cycle near her parents’ home in Bucklebury, and has been spotted using the London Cycle Scheme bikes in Hyde Park.
I’m not sure if it’s just the London cycle scene, but spinning terrifies me. I find the instructors intimidating, the strange cult-like atmosphere where everyone in the room seems to automatically know the choreographed bike-ography (yes, that’s a thing!) overwhelming, and the Ibizia club playlist often a little too much for a Monday morning. The sweat is real though, so it must do something.
I anticipated using yoga as my rest day activity to give my body a break from weights and cardio, but I often left the classes feeling exhausted.
Princess Kate loves the holistic exercise. Kate invited a yoga instructor from the island of Mustique to her 2011 wedding and also prepared for the birth of Prince George in 2013 with prenatal yoga sessions.
What did I learn from working out like Kate Middleton for a week?
Regular, routine exercise works wonders for your mental health
Once I had nailed the routine of wake up, exercise, work, sleep, repeat, I started to notice a major shift in my focus, motivation and mental health. I started to crave the post-workout endorphins and knowing I had smashed my fitness goals for the day before I’d even started work was a far more rewarding feeling than my usual slog to wake up and drag myself to my desk to begin work (ahem).
I was also starting to feel exhausted by around 9pm, so I was heading to bed far earlier and clocking in at least eight hours sleep each night – which is far more than I’m used to.
It’s not worth injuring yourself
I really had to listen to my body as I neared the final days of the challenge in order to avoid injury. At one point I felt I had overdone it on the cardio, so swapped a weight training session for some slow yoga at home – and I know my body thanked me for it.
It’s always difficult to find the right balance between exercise and rest, particularly if you suddenly amp up the amount you’re working out.
You have to up your food intake
We hear so much about ‘calorie deficit’ being the key to weight loss, but very little about the importance of eating enough calories to sustain your energy for exercise. If I had continued to eat the same as usual while tripling my daily exercise for this challenge, I’m certain I would have fainted by day three.
I noticed around day four of the challenge I was starting to wake up extremely hungry, and I was going to bed on what felt like an empty stomach. This is when I knew I wasn’t giving my body enough fuel to power through my workouts. On some days, my Apple watch was telling me I’d burned over 3,000 calories in a day, so it’s no wonder I started to feel weak and lightheaded when I hadn’t eaten enough.
Still keeping my diet healthy, I added more protein and lots of fresh veg to give my body a boost. And I never denied myself a treat (or two) when I fancied one.
Don’t underestimate the power of yoga
Weight training may have left me feeling exhausted and sweating, but it was always after yoga that my body felt it had worked its hardest. Not only was my core on fire by the end of every class, but my upper back and chest muscles were seriously struggling after a sweaty session of Chaturanga Dandasanas (low plank holds).
Yoga has proven benefits to the body’s core, posture, and stability, so it’s no surprise the Princess incorporates yoga into her lifestyle as a way to wind down and promote muscle strength.
All bodies are different
As much as I would love to have woken up with the Princess of Wale’s slender, toned physique on the final day of the challenge (a girl can dream), I had to be realistic with my goals.
Fitness is a lifestyle, and it requires a lot of commitment and dedication. So although the physical changes in my body were minimal despite my disciplined approach to the challenge, that doesn’t mean it was a total failure. I explored new styles of working out, braved the dreaded weights section of the gym, and nailed my first 5k run in months.
Aesthetically, the changes might be small. Mentally, I’m more than ready to take on my next workout à la Kate Middleton and continue exploring the potential of my fitness goals.