Louisa Drake: Fitness and Health Specialist
It’s cold, dark, and there’s every chance the novelty of your New Year’s fitness regime has already worn off – which makes this the perfect time to introduce you to Louisa Drake, one of London’s top fitness and health specialists.
Having worked in the industry for over a decade – and with an enviable career history, from touring with Roxy Music to training some of Hollywood’s leading ladies, including Gwyneth Paltrow and Victoria Beckham – in 2015, Louisa fused her experience and skills to create the “The Louisa Drake Method”. In two short years, it has taken London by storm, with sell-out classes, celebrity fans, and even an appearance on Made In Chelsea.
Despite her success, Louisa remains one the most down-to-earth and genuine women you’ll have the pleasure of meeting. She is determined to make her classes accessible to anyone, regardless of their shape, size and experience, and her warmth and positivity keeps people coming back. We caught up with Louisa to find out more about what Balance magazine have named “one of the top 7 fitness trends of 2017”.
HER BACK STORY
Let’s start at the beginning: what initially drew you to a career in the fitness and health industry?
Throughout my childhood I suffered with health problems, and was regularly placed on antibiotics that didn’t agree with me and unbalanced my gut. On top of this, I was consuming food and drink filled with colouring and E numbers: a typical 80s children’s diet! It didn’t take long for my mother to realise that to increase my wellness she needed to change my diet and overall wellbeing. This was quite radical for the 1980s; I remember we’d go on long car journeys to track down soya milk! A natural interest in food, fitness and healthy eating was born and this childhood lifestyle change generated immediate improvement to my health. I began dancing and found it not only to be a strength building discipline, but also therapeutic. Food is now my fuel: it helps me stay energised and strong when training, and I can share my experience and knowledge with my clients.
How has your background in dancing influenced the Louisa Drake Method?
I’ve always been drawn to movement and I understand how the body works and responds, and how to challenge, strengthen and change it. While I was training as a dancer I relied on Pilates and ﬂoor barre methods to help supplement my training, while yoga encouraged me to rebalance and refocus my mind and body connection. Exploring these disciplines became part of my daily routine and led me to discover my passion for the health and fitness industry and, ultimately, to pursue my career as a fitness professional in London, leading to the creation of the Louisa Drake Method.
Did you ever consider a career in another industry?
I didn’t really have any other plan than to dance, perform, choreograph and create. That was always my ﬁrst career choice and I always imagined it would progress and transition from performing to creating, directing and teaching. Which is exactly what happened, although things took more of ﬁtness direction than a theatrical one. There are several nods to my dancing days in LDM material, though, and I fuse elements of dance throughout my method. It’s a more toned down approach, but everyone has the chance to unleash their inner ballerina or Beyoncé.
If you could give 18-year-old Louisa one piece of advice, what would it be?
I would say to her, “Don’t take things personally.” I wish I had not been so worried what people thought of me. I spent the majority of my childhood and career on stage performing, so you might expect me to be a pretty extroverted character, however I was actually very shy. I learnt to take criticism well and it pushed me train and work harder, but it was difficult having to constantly shrug off comments and criticism. I am made of tough stuff but I took a fair amount to heart. I was always trying to please everyone and at some point you have to accept that some things are out of your control.
HER BIG BREAK
You’ve had such an exciting career, from touring with Roxy Music to training A-Listers. At what point did you decide to launch LDM?
It was around two years ago that I decided to dive in and launch The Louisa Drake Method. However, the Method was created over years of learning and gaining industry experience. I just needed to build up the confidence and self-belief to actually launch it. I always wanted to mix different disciplines together and offer the best and most effective ways of exercising that was safe, fun and delivered long-lasting results. I reached the stage where I needed the freedom and control to teach my style, my way. A buzz was growing around my current classes and my one-to-one clients loved their bespoke sessions with me. They would tell their friends, then their friends would want to work with me, and the demand led me to officially launch the Method to a wider audience.
What makes the Louisa Drake Method different to other workouts?
The Method is a shape-changer that generates a longer, leaner and strengthened body. You will sleep better, have glowing skin, lowered stress levels and increased metabolism. Clients discover muscles they never knew existed. You’ll find stubborn areas shape up and confidence increases! It’s a unique fitness-fusion approach to working out that specialises in creating a longer, leaner, and strengthened physique.
What’s been the proudest moment of you career so far?
Without doubt the feedback I receive, be that a new client’s reaction to trying the Method, or a glowing review in a magazine. All these moments make me immensely proud and drive me to keep developing and growing the company to reach further afield.
Setting up your own business was a brave move. What challenges did you face and what advice would you give to other women wanting to do the same?
I’ve spent my entire working life self-employed, with a mix of contracts, so I wasn’t too daunted by this leap. You do learn as you go, though, and you learn from mistakes: I don’t have it all figured out (which is ok) and am constantly learning. It definitely helps to be organised and to be flexible, as your schedule will chop and change. Also, learn to say no. You can’t do everything and there’s a lot to factor in running your own business.
I have a ridiculously long list of admin as I manage all the bookings, scheduling, enquiries, PR, accounts, as well as creating and teaching of course. I have lots of hats and sometimes I have to delegate as there are only so many hours in the day. It can become all-consuming being your own boss and launching a business solo. Luckily, I have the best family and lots of super supportive people in my life to restore the balance.
HER SUCCESS SECRETS
The LDM obviously keeps you very active, but do you eat a special diet or are you an “everything in moderation” woman?
I’m definitely an “everything in moderation” woman! I stick to the 80/20 rule and fuel my body with the correct nutrition. I eat a well-rounded diet to nourish my body with seasonal, organic, nutrient-dense foods to stay balanced and energised. I supplement with Bare Biology’s Lionheart Omega 3 fish oil (magic stuff), take Vitamin D, and I’ve recently been using probiotics to keep my gut happy.
What do you do to get your day off to a great start?
I always start the day with a glass of water, my supplements, a shower, and either a hot cup of herbal tea or coffee. Then I grab some breakfast and head out to teach.
You manage a business that is both physically and mentally demanding. How do you switch off?
Anything from a long soak in the bath, to watching Netflix, to getting out of London for the day. I love catching up with friends and family and scheduling in weekend breaks. I am trying to enforce an iPhone curfew in the evenings when I’m not working. My life is on my phone and my business is 24/7, but it is important to set boundaries. I spend more time than I would like on my phone so I’m working on that.
What’s the best thing about being your own boss?
Having a choice and calling the shots.
HER FIVE YEAR PLAN
What’s next for the LDM method?
I have lots in the pipeline. I’m currently recruiting a small team of LDM trainers to help with demand. I want to produce more online videos as these have been super popular. I also have LDM equipment launching soon, and am working towards opening an LDM studio space in London. Beyond that, my plan is to launch the Method further afield and have LDM class formats accessible in gyms across the UK and abroad.
How do you see the role of the internet and social media impacting on the fitness industry? Will classes be replaced with online tutorials?
The internet and social media are important and powerful tools to utilise, especially in the fitness industry. People are time poor and they travel, so keeping up with their training regime can be tricky. Online videos, content, apps, Skype and social media can offer a convenient and affordable solution 24/7.
For a business like mine, it offers an invaluable way to reach a wider audience, especially when I’m a small and growing company. The LDM online training is ideal for my client base who travel a lot or just can’t access me – they offer a familiar and effective session anytime, anywhere. However, I don’t think physical classes or one-to-one training will be replaced by online training or tutorials per se as the experience is so different and the energy, hands on corrections, and attention just can’t be replicated.
Who would be your dream client?
All my clients! I love to work with anyone who wants to exercise and build a better life, no matter their shape, size, or fitness level when they start.
Is it a myth that there is an expiration date on a career in the fitness and health industry?
The older we all get, the more experienced we become, so I don’t see age as a negative at all. If you can lead and cue a class with clear, verbal instructions you can teach without relying on demonstrating material. It really depends on where you are in your career in this industry. Progression in any career leads to other roles and, in the fitness and health industry, I expect to take a step back from delivering all my classes and sessions as I get older. That said, some incredible fitness leaders have taught late into their eighties, so I might also be rocking out the lycra in my later years!
If you’re interested in finding out more about the Louisa Drake Method, or attending one of her classes, you can do so via her website: www.louisadrake.com.