EXCLUSIVE | Princess Diana's former trainer, Jenni Rivett, reveals her 'revenge body' fitness plan

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The "revenge dress": Princess Diana (1961 - 1997) arriving at the Serpentine Gallery, London, in a gown by Christina Stambolian, June 1994. (Photo by Jayne Fincher/Getty Images)
The "revenge dress": Princess Diana (1961 - 1997) arriving at the Serpentine Gallery, London, in a gown by Christina Stambolian, June 1994. (Photo by Jayne Fincher/Getty Images)
  • South African-born Jenni Rivett is a long-time women’s wellness advocate and she was the former trainer to none other than the late Princess Diana.
  • With the new Sudor fitness app - which gives users the chance to be trained by their favourite fitness influencers - you can get access to Jenni Rivett to be your trainer too.
  • So we obviously couldn't refuse the opportunity to ask Jenni about the late Princess Diana's fitness routine and exactly how she achieved that "revenge" look in 1994.
  • It turns out you can do it in the comfort of your lounge with an 8kg dumbbell. 

The Covid-19 pandemic ushered in a digital era that changed the way we work, shop, connect, and even train. With high alert lockdown levels, we couldn't even go for a run or cycle in our neighbourhoods.  

For the most part, this affected many people's mental health states, eating plans, and body images.

However, a number of fitness and wellness enthusiasts took to exercising their thumbs by downloading apps, further expanding their virtual activities. 

READ MORE: NamaStay at home and download these 9 yoga apps to level up your at-home practice

It's no wonder that a new fitness app would be birthed during such a time then. Meet Sudor - a personal trainer in the palm of your hands.

With Sudor, all the fitness inspiration users seek is seamlessly aggregated and available in a single app, while also allowing them to choose from a wide variety of workouts in terms of length, training style and more, depending on what they’re in the mood for on any given day.

The app also empowers trainers to become global entrepreneurs, build their brand, expand their reach, and earn a living - internationally. Trainers are able to submit new workouts to be uploaded on the app to share with their fans, the app users, keeping them motivated and helping them reach their fitness goals.

One of the impressive trainers on this app is Jenni Rivett - South African born trainer who was hand picked to train Princess Diana for seven years, and now specialises in training women over 40.

Jenni’s professional fitness journey began before the concept of personal training had officially gained traction around the globe. Inspired by her mother, who was the first woman in South Africa to release a “fitness LP”, 17-year-old Jenni began to explore the world of woman-centred fitness.

At just 19 years old, Jenni opened the doors to two studios in Durban where she taught aerobics classes. Then, five years later, her passion took her to the US, where she completed her studies and awakened her immense talent for being a trainer.   

jenni rivett personal trainer
Jenni Rivett for Sudor. Image supplied by Conversation Capital 

Jenni fondly reflects on the proudest moment of her career, where she had the honour of receiving a call from the royal butler, saying, “her royal highness, the Princess of Wales, would like to make an appointment to see you.”

This call set off a seven-year partnership with the late Princess Diana, who Jenni is endlessly proud to have guided along her fitness journey.  

Princess Diana, Princess of Wales, arrives at The
Princess Diana, Princess of Wales, wearing Virgin Atlantic sweatshirt, leaves Chelsea Harbour Club, London in November, 1995. (Photo by Anwar Hussein/WireImage) 

Princess Diana, Princess of Wales, arrives at The
Diana, Princess of Wales goes unnoticed by passers-by as she sprints to her car after leaving a gym in Earls Court, west London. (Photo by Tony Harris - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images) 

Princess Diana, Princess of Wales, arrives at The
Princess Diana, Princess of Wales, arrives at The Chelsea Harbour Gym Club in West London. Picture taken 16th October 1994. (Photo by Arnold Slater/Mirrorpix/Getty Images) 

When handed the opportunity - on a silver platter - to pick the brain of a personal trainer who trained THE Princess of Wales, what other burning question is there to ask besides; what did her "revenge body" fitness routine entail? You know, the one responsible for this iconic moment (below) in history.

1994 not only gave us democracy, but it also gifted us the royal etiquette-breaking plunging black Christina Stambolian gown Princess Diana wore the same night Prince Charles confessed to his affair with Camilla Parker-Bowles - a generous year 2020 could learn a thing or two from.

princess diana revenge dress
Princess Diana arriving at the Serpentine Gallery, London, in a gown by Christina Stambolian, June 1994. (Photo by Jayne Fincher/Getty Images) 

But for those who may not be familiar with the concept of a revenge body, I'll share a quick explainer before we get to what Jenni revealed.  

If you live in a world where Kardashians are not on your radar, you might have missed an entire reality TV show on achieving a revenge body by having a world-class plastic surgeon on speed dial and then "training" and eating clean later.

Don't worry, Insider has a definition for you:

"A 'revenge body' refers to when a person loses weight after a breakup as a way to make their ex jealous — whether intentionally or not. The term is generally seen as a positive act of self-improvement or a way to "get over" your former significant other."

So how did Lady Di do it with the help of Sudor's Jenni Rivett?  

"I train women differently and that included Princess Diana. I don't do 'leg days' specifically, but rather work the entire body switching between the upper and lower," Jenni reveals.

"Results have been phenomenal and that's all that counts. We did squats and lunges holding an 8kg dumbbell to get her quads and glutes in top shape. My reverse lunges teamed up with the taps were her favourite - no weight just using bodyweight. Then we did isolated good old fashioned exercises on the floor for her inner thighs and hamstrings," she adds.

Well, now you have it.

Beyond the Palace walls, Jenni’s success as a personal trainer has seen her working with many esteemed performers and other well-known personalities. She is also an ambassador for Rebound UK, the famed Lorna Jane brand, and of most recently, the Sudor app. 

Today, with many years of specialised training under her belt, Jenni continues to nurture her talents to empower women around the world.

READ MORE: 7 workout tips to make your fitness routine so much more rewarding this year

Jenni's exceptional eye for technique truly sets her apart. “I look at the body as art,” she says, “I can look at someone and move a wrist half an inch, or a knee back a few inches, to ensure that they’re getting the most out of the movement – and that they’re taking a safe and effective approach to the exercise.”

And, as a qualified clinical nutritionist, Jenni offers her clients the full package as they embark on their quest to being “fit and firm.” 

With that said, I also asked her how first-time trainers over 40 (or people who lead sedentary lifestyles) should approach exercise during a pandemic.

Jenni advises that you start out slowly.

"Warm up and stretch thoroughly afterwards to prevent injury. Do some joint mobility work as this will enable you to move through your strength training exercise easier.

"Do something you enjoy and can keep up with as you're more likely to stick with it then. Small baby steps lead to big change!"

I bet you want Jenni Rivett to be your trainer too after reading all about her enviable, intriguing career journey. Well, it turns out you can. 

READ MORE: Workout tips for people who still prefer exercising the option to not visit the gym on Level 1

Keep reading to find out more about Sudor app, which boasts a wide selection of renowned fitness personalities from around the world, including Jenni of course. 

Powered by the belief that exercise can change the world, Sudor’s main aim is to inspire more people around the globe to move – and to keep moving, wherever they like. 

On that note; I'm one of those people who had to suddenly neglect her fitness routine because lockdown clearly had other plans for my abs and thighs.

And despite gym doors being open again literally a floor below my apartment, gym is not where I want to be just yet... and evidently neither is the person who lives directly above me because I've become accustomed to the repetitive thump of burpees (I presume) every evening. 

So the first question I had for the Sudor app co-founder and director, Emma Heap, when I got the opportunity to get the full scoop about this app, was; "Are there any specific workout plans for people who are only training indoors - whether tiny living or upstairs living?"  

Emma responded by saying the following;

"Sudor is the PT [personal trainer] for your pocket. We pride ourselves on inclusivity, so that no matter where you are in the world or on your fitness journey - we've got you covered.

"From the gym, to the outdoor or your living room, Sudor caters for all abilities and spaces. With the ever-changing global climate, Sudor allows you to train from the comfort of your home with some of your favourite fitness personalities, and boasts a collection of the world’s top personal trainers." 

Here are two more burning questions I had for Emma Heap:

Are there any incentives or goal-driven workouts on the app? 

As a Sudor subscriber you will have access to our weekly newsletters, that provide practical and easy fitness advice as well as yummy (and affordable!) recipes. At Sudor we believe that we are more than just a fitness app - we are a community that believes that fitness is a lifestyle. And will be with you every step of the way on your Sudor Journey.

Women generally have different reasons for training - some are petite working towards building mass, while others are concerned with their weight loss goals. How varied are the offerings for each on the platform? 

Whether you're looking to smash your PBs, shed a few kilograms or gain muscle mass, Sudor's got you covered. Sudor caters to all abilities and aims to make you the best version of you, that you can be. With our unique trainers and diverse range of workouts, there’s always something for you. 

READ MORE: After years of yoyo dieting, this woman lost 76kg and spent R200 000 to feel 'fab in her 40s' 

Other trainers and fitness influencers you can find on the app are Adidas brand ambassador and Virgin Active HEAT model Mapule Ndhlovu (@queenfitnass) as well as Simhle Plaatjies (@simhle), amongst others from SA and the UK.

personal trainer app
Mapule Ndhlovu 
females in fitness

Simhle Plaatjies 

Sudor is available for download for iOS and Android users.

Additional information provided on behalf of Sudor by Conversation Capital.

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