“I Worked Out With Rihanna’s Trainer!”

ESTELLE LOW got to hang out with Jamie Granger, and experience what it really takes to look like Rihanna and, well, shine bright like a diamond.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel
ESTELLE LOW got to hang out with Jamie Granger, and experience what it really takes to look like Rihanna and, well, shine bright like a diamond.
My Reading Room

She’s largely responsible for pop star Rihanna’s enviable body so that it’s toned and curvy in the right places.

Meet Jamie Granger, her PT of six years and counting.

I recently had the chance to train with her during a fitness retreat at the pristine Paradise Koh Yao Resort in Thailand.

Organised by Puma in collaboration with Guavapass, the 3D/2N boot camp saw close to 20 trainers, including Jamie, as well as Puma ambassadors from Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia band together for a weekend of sweat sessions.

The programme was packed with instructor-led fitness classes, including barre, zumba, U-Jam fitness (dance fitness) and pilates, as well as outdoor activities, like hiking and kayaking around the serene island.

Jamie helmed two workouts: a high-intensity interval training that combined calisthenics and plyometrics, and a partner circuit.

To sum up, Jamie’s workouts were pretty much like Rihanna: bold and badass.

All the classes were done on the beach’s soft sand, which demanded more balance, stability and muscle activation compared to exercising on a solid surface. To kick it up a notch, it rained on and off throughout.

A good mix of strength, power, balance and stability, those moves – such as tap squats and mountain climbers – drove up my heart rate and woke up my lethargic limbs in record time. At the end of her workouts, which took 30 to 45 minutes each, I felt so alive, and smiled smugly in my sandy, sweatand rain-soaked clothes. It was like I’d just survived an obstacle course race.

This ability to excite normally sluggish people like me counted for something.

Jamie has embraced the great outdoors since she was six – the age when I was happy to stay home and play with Barbie dolls all day. She started out with soccer, basketball, tennis and softball. And later on, kayaking, rock climbing, mountaineering, cycling, swimming, hiking… essentially any outdoor sports she could get her hands on.

“Thanks to my parents, I grew up with sports, so I’ve always been quite fit,” she said. “I love being active and doing as much as I possibly can. When I’m not outdoors, I’ll lift heavy weights in the gym to enhance my performance.”

Jamie’s inclination for sports led her to study human performance, leisure and sport at New Mexico Highlands University in Las Vegas.

She went on to launch a personal training business in Los Angeles, which has been running for 11 years. Since then, Jamie has trained professional athletes and several other celebrities besides Rihanna. She declined to name them, but she did let on: “I’m serious about what I do, and there are very few people I will stick with because I [have to] truly like them as a person.” Obviously, @ badgalriri (Rihanna’s Instagram handle) is on Jamie’s good side.

“I value those who are consistent and respectful. When you show up to train with me, expect to work. If you’re resistant and complaining all the time, don’t come,” she said.

Her rapport with Rihanna is evident: The pair appear in each other’s Instagram feed every now and then, looking as chummy as BFFs.

When asked how often she meets Rihanna, Jamie said it all depends on Rihanna’s schedule. “When I’m travelling with her, I see her all the time – sometimes for months. Right now, she’s on a hiatus.”

The most pressing question: How does Rihanna maintain her svelte figure, whether she’s on a hiatus or not?

“Diet. It’s all about food, food, food. I don’t believe in fat-burning supplements and trippy tactics like that,” replied Jamie, who’s also a certified nutrition coach. Of course, if you want abs or biceps to show, working out is compulsory.

Before we parted, she shared her top tips for keeping a trim and fit body.
My Reading Room
More: jamie rihanna