Meet Ramona Braganza, Hollywood personal trainer and creator of the 321 training method. Ramona’s client list reads like a nominees’ list at the Golden Globes. Jessica Alba, Halle Berry, Kate Beckinsale, Scarlett Johansson, Jessica Biel, Bradley Cooper and Ryan Reynolds are just some of the bodies she has helped to sculpt.
Ramona developed the 321 training method while working with clients on movie sets, where time and equipment were limited. Incorporating three cardio sections, two circuits, and one final attack of the core muscles, the 321 method is interval training that works the whole body in one session and is fun, fast and effective.
Along with a dozen other members of the Fitness Writers’ Association, I was privileged to try out a 321 fitness class with Ramona herself leading the way.
Ramona kicked things off with a warm up to challenge all warm ups. We started by jogging in circles – forwards, sidewards and backwards – and then did some mobility exercises to limber up. I was just thinking to myself that this might be a fairly easy ride when next thing I know we are pushing mats along the floor like sleds. Oh wow, that really got my heart pumping and legs burning!
Pushing mats across the studio in our warm up.
Soon enough the first cardio section was upon us and we were challenged with squats-a-plenty, lunges and toe taps, box jumps and more. And Ramona had some sneaky tricks up her sleeve to make sure we were all working hard – for the squat section we had to pick up stones one by one from a small pile by our right foot as we squatted down, stand all the way up, and then put them down by our left foot as we squatted down again. This meant there was NO cheating! My legs were burning by the end of the first cardio section so I was relieved that we were moving on to our first circuit.
Squatting for our lives!
The second cardio section included some of Ramona’s fun choreography where we all transformed into cheerleaders… who am I kidding – I was an uncoordinated mess! Ramona used to cheerlead in the NFL and that was actually how she first came to London, when she was part of the Monarchs’ cheerleading squad. After a bit more fun and dancing we moved on to the second circuit.
The final cardio section was a shadow boxing drill, with some extra shoulder and tricep work thrown in for good measure.
Each of the two circuits incorporated moves for the whole body, as well as isolating upper body exercises. We did lie-down-stand-ups, pushups and tricep extensions for one circuit, repeated three times through, and we did a posture exercise, shoulder raises and kickboxing exercise for the second circuit – again repeated three times. Each time we started the next round of the circuit, Ramona asked us to increase the intensity; adding a medicine ball in to the lie-down-stand-ups, going from 3/4 to full pushups, doing a back kick instead of a forward kick etc. And all with a second cardio session in-between the two circuits!
Some pretty mean back kicks!
Once we’d finished our final cardio section Ramona let us cool down slightly before hitting the floor for the core blast. This was probably the most fun section in my opinion; a combination of a great track, with some interesting and fun core moves, plus the look on everyone’s faces as we failed to hold a plank for the last 45 seconds of the class, was priceless.
All in all, the 321 Method class was lots of fun, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t work hard – quite the contrary! I came out feeling really pumped and I’m sure I’d earned my glass of wine afterwards. I’ve even started to incorporate Ramona’s way of training into my own workouts, and have a copy of her DVD to give me a kick up the bum when I need it!
Find Out More
Ramona Braganza has over 50 instructors teaching the 321 Method in the UK, workout DVDs available to buy , and fitness retreats coming soon, look here for more information.