The modelFIT founder reveals her health and wellness tips for starting the new year off right.
In 2014, nutritionist and fitness savant Vanessa Packer opened the doors of modelFIT—an exercise studio that uses a mix of Pilates, yoga, and functional training to create a figure that’s as enviable as the name implies. (Regular attendees at her flagship New York studio include the likes of Taylor Hill, Martha Hunt, and Hannah Bronfman.)
And given that there’s nothing Angelenos love more than a great new workout, it was a foregone conclusion that Packer would open the doors of her light-drenched second modelFIT studio in West Hollywood late last year. “This type of workout, plus a really beautiful environment, was something I wanted to bring to more people,” says Packer.
There is no time like the beginning of a new year to reboot your wellness routine, so Packer invited The Violet Files to her studio to share some moves and her favorite wellness tips. Here, a compilation of her suggestions for staying healthy and fit in—and beyond—2017.
STRENGTHEN AND LENGTHEN
Each fitness move at modelFIT is designed to target small muscle groups throughout the body to create a long and lean physique. To tone the outer leg, side body, back of the arm, and core, for example, Packer prescribes the following:
While standing, grab a 3-lb weight in each hand, then put the majority of your weight onto the right leg. Slightly bend the left leg and toe tap it close to the body, keeping it on the ground. Extend your arms out to a T shape and lift your left leg to meet your left arm, lowering them in tandem 10 to 15 times. Switch to the other side. “You want to be super light on your toes,” Packer says. “Go slowly, like you’re moving through water, and activate your core so you’re very stable on your standing leg.”
REV UP YOUR METABOLISM
The modelFIT founder advises kicking off your mornings with hot water and lemon to get your metabolism fired up. If you’re rushing out the door, grab a Dirty Lemon, a cold-pressed lemon juice beverage with filtered water, horsetail, red clover, cayenne, and hydrolyzed marine collagen peptides. “In the middle of the day I like to pick up a Dirty Lemon beverage,” says Packer. The one I usually drink is for skin and hair, and it has an added boost of collagen. It has this really tart lemony flavor, but it’s super detoxifying. I really notice a difference in my skin when I drink it regularly.”
TONE THOSE THIGHS
To work the inner and outer thigh, lie down on your right side with your right forearm facing forward. Place your left hand on the ground for stability, then bend your legs at a 90-degree angle. Lift your left leg, kick it out, come back in, and bring it down. “Push your heel out, and when you come back in really control it on the way down,” explains Packer. “Focus on stabilizing through your core.”
One of Packer’s golden rules? Drink water—lots of it—and make sure it’s alkaline to keep your body energized and working to its utmost potential. Alkaline water, she explains, has a higher pH than the slightly more acidic water that comes out of your faucet. “You want a more alkaline system because acid brews sickness,” notes Packer. “I also recommend drinking flat water, not sparkling water. A lot of people drink sparkling and think it’s good for them, but those little bubbles are bringing pockets of air into your digestive system, which is very dehydrating. Drinking sparkling water with food is especially bad because it impedes proper digestion.”
ROLL AWAY CELLULITE
Think of a foam roller as a daily massage with the added benefits of loosening your muscles, smoothing cellulite, and breaking up fat deposits. “A foam roller really helps to break up the fascia—the connective tissue that’s around your muscles—which can get really tight and tangled,” explains Packer. “It also helps with lactic acid buildup if you’re working out a lot.”
To loosen tight hips, Packer suggests starting facedown on your forearms with the roller perpendicular to your right hip. Bend your right knee and keep your left leg straight behind you as you roll up and down the front of your right hip. Do this 8 times, then switch to the other side. “It’s painful, but the more you do it, the more you know where you need it most,” she says. “Also, you never want to use the foam roller over your joints. Use it where the muscle comes up to meet the joints. If you’re dry brushing, foam rolling for 10 minutes daily, and doing modelFIT you will not have any cellulite—that’s for sure.”
START DRY BRUSHING
Packer suggests using a Yerba Prima Skin Brush before hopping into the shower for “a burst of energy.” She explains: “It flushes your lymphatic system to reduce swelling, increases circulation, and tones your skin really nicely. I do it all along my body for a solid five minutes.”
TAKE A BATH
When the day is done, Packer vouches for the power of a good soak. She recommends using either the Pursoma Digital Detox or Hot Tub Bath. “Ideally, I like to take three baths a week,” she says. “With these Pursoma soaks you sweat in the tub, which is really detoxifying. I also think music really sets the mood. If you’re alone, reading can be really soothing; if you have company, maybe enjoy a glass of wine or a cup of hot tea. Good conversation in the bath is always nice.”