You know you’ve got your finger on the pulse of the fitness world when Madonna comes to you for the latest moves.
“She always calls me for advice,” says Carlos Leon, the actor and trainer who dated Madge in the mid-’90s and fathered their now-20-year-old daughter, Lourdes. He says he still considers the singer one of his best friends and sends her customized workout videos she can use while traveling abroad.
“She’s always asking, ‘What’s cutting edge? What’s good out there?’ ”
For now, he says, that would be the Primal Method, the workout he and aerobics guru Jeff Bell are launching Oct. 1 at their gym, Belleon, which has a new location in the Flatiron District.
He sends Madonna customized workout videos she can use while traveling abroad.
It’s an eclectic 30-minute class that combines circuit training with yogalike transitions and movements that an animal, such as a bear, might make.
“One of my favorites is the lizard crawl,” says Bell, 61. “You’re literally imitating a lizard — it’s a deep core, shoulder and hip exercise.”
Yes, NYC’s hot new workout involves crawling around the floor like an animal.
The Primal Method sprung out of Bell’s interest in yoga, which he began practicing after years in the cult fitness industry and several bicycling accidents left him injured.
It includes a circuit of exercises meant to burn fat and improve flexibility. Participants might be asked to scuttle across the floor on all fours — which is surprisingly challenging on the obliques. Then they’ll experiment with a dance spin borrowed from Brazilian capoeira dance, or a crouching crawl inspired by Bell’s 1-year-old daughter. The moves are combined in a yogalike sequence with elongating transitions.
“It’s about [taking] ground-based movement into standing movement and being able to create a flow between the two that becomes much more natural,” Bell says.
He met Leon, now 51, at a gym about 20 years ago, and they teamed up to create the circuit class known as Belleon in 2010. The pair has a winning chemistry, what with Bell’s longtime fitness know-how and Leon’s, well, way with ladies.
“He’s had to become really innovative, especially with women,” Bell says of his business partner, noting that Leon has also worked with female stars such as Salma Hayek to prepare them for movie roles. “So he’s really mastered getting women into peak condition.” Leon also teaches postnatal mommy-and-me classes.