Photography by Sasha Israel
“I WAS BROUGHT UP BY REALLY HEALTHY PARENTS BUT THEY NEVER DROVE THEMSELVES CRAZY WITH IT,” says Julia Restoin Roitfeld after an intense interval session with her personal trainer Will Torres of WILLSPACE. It’s days before Paris Fashion Week and Restoin arrives dressed in all black, except instead of Givenchy or Alaia, her ensemble consists of Nike leggings, a Dri-Fit tank top and her hair in a loose ponytail. It’s that effortless je ne sais quoi, which seems to be Restoin’s calling card, one she no doubt learned from mother Carine Roitfeld. What were family meals like growing up Roitfeld? “It was really so boring,” demurs Restoin. “You open their fridge, which is huge, and there’s nothing in it. My dad hates food smells so everything is steamed. Whenever I go home, it’s steamed broccoli, steamed endives, steamed green beans, tuna and boiled eggs.” Sound healthy enough? “At the same time I’d go to McDonald’s once a week with my grandma,” she grins.
It’s this charming candor that pervades Restoin’s cult site Romy & The Bunnies, which she launched after giving birth to her daughter Romy and features industry insiders (Jenne Lombardo, Rachel Zoe); models (Lily Aldridge, Elyse Taylor); and actresses (Jessica Alba, Monet Mazur) in candid moments with their children and is a testament to Restoin’s careful eye and low-key persona. Once the site launched, Restoin enlisted Will Torres of Willspace in the West Village to get her body back into fighting form. “Julia wanted to get more toned so we really focused on strength exercises and then we started boxing,” explains Torres. “She is very elegant and the face of fashion but here she is punching, kicking and throwing someone down.” Indeed, Restoin even posted videos on her site showing off her moves–useful for, say, a dark alley, or, er, a Celine sample sale. “I’m very proud I learned how to flip someone but I don’t dare try it on anyone,” laughs Restoin. ” I just wanted a picture to put on my Instagram.”
Why did you start working out at Willspace?
After having the baby, I did a little bit of yoga and a bit of Pilates but nothing really worked. I needed to have someone behind my back to get me back in shape because I didn’t know what I was doing. I needed to get everything back into place.
When did you start training with Will?
This past spring, in the beginning of June. He was training a friend of mine and she was like you have to meet him. I had my baby in May the year before. So it was a year where I didn’t really work out.
Since coming here, have you noticed your body change?
Yes, he really changed my body it’s crazy. Will got me addicted to boxing, which I think is one of the best ways to do cardio and lose weight. We’ve also done a bit of weight-lifting, which definitely changed your body.
Do you think it’s helpful to have a personal trainer?
I used to go to the gym and did what I thought was a workout. After coming here, I realize I wasn’t doing anything. When you weight lift, you don’t do it the right way and you don’t do it as many times as you should or it’s not as heavy. You’re too easy on yourself. With Will, he’s so precise about having the posture right and it makes such a big difference. I have to be pushed. That’s why I’m here.
Are there perks to going to a smaller gym?
I used to go to gyms that were overpacked. You always bump into someone you know and you don’t focus. Here no one sees you or judges you. You can really disconnect, which is good.
How often do you workout?
2-3 times a week, an hour every time.
Did you have a specific goal that you wanted to work on?
The first year after giving birth, I lost all the baby weight by itself because of work and I didn’t have time to eat but then it didn’t look good. I wanted to look fit, strong and healthy. We had to tone everything. I was skinny but the butt was flat and the abs were nonexistent. I needed somebody to make it all tighter.
What is your ideal body type?
Super lean. I like to see definition with abs and to have my butt high up but I want to remain as lean as possible.
What is the biggest change you’ve noticed since coming here?
I’m in better shape than before I had the baby and I didn’t know that was possible. Now my stomach is flatter than it was before the baby. I see muscles, which I didn’t see before.
Has exercising made you more calm and balanced as a new mom?
Sometimes I get a bit moody or don’t want to work out and I always feel better afterwards. When I walk out of here, I’m ready to get the day started.
Do you have advice for young moms trying to get in their workouts?
Treat it as your rhythm. Don’t be too hard on yourself. I know so many moms who train right after. I took my time. I didn’t start doing anything until after a year because I was really in mommy land. It just was not my priority. It doesn’t happen overnight anyway. But now I feel much better than even before.
How would you describe your diet philosophy?
I eat healthy but I don’t limit myself. I know the basics so I’ll try to have a juice just because I feel I need those vitamins and I try to make a smoothie every morning. It’s not about losing weight. It’s about being stronger. I want to make the most of my workout by eating the right things.
What does a day in the life look like for you?
I do a juice or smoothie in the morning. Today I went to One Lucky Duck and had one there after a shoot. Sometimes I just make smoothies at home. I don’t do juices because I hate cleaning up the machine. But the blender is ok. I never have time for a lunch break so I skip lunch and then I have a big dinner if I’m going out. I love to eat. Yesterday, I tried Narcissa, it was really good. I had raw tuna to start and then roasted chicken.
What do you put in your smoothies?
I always keep kale in the freezer, raspberries, blueberries, half of a banana, whatever I can find in the fridge whether it’s pineapple or spinach. I’m not that precise. I always put water, coconut oil for the good fats and a tiny bit of protein powder because I hate the taste.
What is your regimen like when you travel?
Recently I ran six miles when I was in the Hamptons. I hate running but a friend was training for a marathon so she motivated me. That’s why you need a trainer, because when I’m by myself, I’m like, “Oh I’m tired.” If you have someone behind you, encouraging and motivating you, it makes such a big difference.
Do you cook at home?
I keep it really simple. I love to do quinoa salad with raw vegetables and just throw in whatever herbs and vegetables I have at home into a big bowl and that lasts a few days. If I cook for my daughter, it’s mostly steamed salmon, squash, pasta or steamed carrots that I mash for her.
What do you wear to workout?
I like all black. I hate sneakers. I’m so happy that here I can be barefoot. Sneakers are my only flat shoes. I like to be able to wear workout stuff that if I have to run to a meeting, it still looks nice.
What is one non-negotiable healthy practice you do for yourself every day?
I need a hot bath with Epsom salts to relax and just soak in.
What are your favorite healthy foods?
I love Japanese food. I’m intolerant to rice so I only have sashimi, salad and seaweed salad so it’s pretty healthy without sounding like I’m dieting.
What do you indulge in?
Is it gluten-free?
I’m French. We don’t really care about those things.
FOR JULIA’S GREEN APPLE, CLICK HERE