Vaara Interview: Shona Vertue
An interview with athlete, trainer and Vertue Method founder
Production Shona Vertue
Photography Benjamin Glean
Over the past few months we've had the pleasure of getting to know Shona Vertue, London-based personal trainer and creator of the Vertue Method. From ski trips to our most recent yoga event at the Serpentine Pavilion, Shona has been a source of endless fitness inspiration and health tips. We sat down with Shona to get to know how her a little more – how she got her start in the industry, the most important piece of any practice, and what beauty products she can't live without.
Tell us how/why you got your start in the fitness industry.
I was an elite gymnast and dancer growing up so it was only natural to progress into yoga and fitness. I became a yoga teacher and personal trainer in Sydney over ten years ago and have been working in the fitness industry ever since.
What is your favourite area of fitness to practice – yoga, gymnastics, dance?
Don't make me choose! The whole premise of the Vertue Method is that for a truly healthy body we need to practice a balance of strength, mobility and flexibility. That means I don't ever just practice one of them, but instead all of them on a consistent basis.
What's the most important thing someone can do to enhance their fitness practise?
Try to practice consistency - as Aristotle said, we are what we repeatedly do and the same goes for your health and fitness practices. We are a product of what we constantly do, so fitness has to be a consistent part of our lives in order to see results.
What’s your wellness or beauty routine? Any products you can’t live without?
I am vigilant with washing post workout because I’m aware of how dirty gyms can be. If I don’t wash, tone and moisturise properly I can bet my last pound that I will get congested skin.
I use an oil based cleaner, along with witch hazel as a toner, tea tree oil (on blemishes) and moisturise with jojoba and rosehip oil.
I can’t live without my tea tree oil, it’s powerful antibacterial properties help me combat the grimy gym!
Knowing you’re always on the go, what are 3-5 exercises people can do at home or while they are traveling if they can’t make it to a class or the gym.
Everyone should absolutely be working their core and glutes - we live in a culture where we end up sitting most of the time and when it comes to your booty you either use it or lose it. The problem is that when you "lose it" (your muscle tone), you can end up with chronic back, hip and knee problems.
My go-to no equipment necessary moves are;
1. Single Leg Glute Bridge.
Come to lie on your back with your knees bent and feet hip distance apart.
Raise the right leg off the floor pulling your knee in towards your chest.
Dig your left heel into the floor to raise your hips.
Lower the hips back down and repeat.
2. Side Lying Hip Raise
Come to lie on your side with both knees bent and your feet in line with your hips. Lift the top leg off the bottom leg and maintain that position.
Supporting your upper body with the bottom forearm, lift your hips off the floor.
Lower the hips and repeat.
3. Quadruped Hip Extension
Come into an all fours position and raise the right leg up towards the ceiling with the knee bent at a 90 degree angle.
Keeping your core tight, raise the right heel even higher, up towards the ceiling.
Lower the knee back down. Repeat this movement before changing sides.
4. Bird Dog
From and all fours position raise and extend the right arm forward and left leg backwards. Watch that your lower back doesn’t sag towards the floor and instead that you hold your core tight.
Lower the arms and legs and repeat on the left.
Lie on your back with your arms reaching towards the ceiling and your legs in A table top position. Pull the ribs towards the floor and keep your belly button drawn in.
Extend the right arm and left leg, then return to the starting position. Repeat on the other side.
Repeat each exercise for 3 sets of 15 repetitions.
Favourite Vaara pieces?
What's with the tough questions? I love all the pieces actually, but my favourite right now is probably the Kayla Lattice legging. I love the print.
What do you do on your days off?
What are they? Ha! Life is a little crazy at the moment which is great but because I can't take a full day off I try to make sure I get into some nature for a few hours every week.