Kim Hartwell and Eyal modelling Moschino swimwear ()Kim Hartwell and Eyal modelling Moschino swimwear () © Copyright

Beach bodies

When I arrive at the location for our swimwear photoshoot (yeah, life sucks sometimes) in north London, things are under way, and the photographer is directing the two models. “Put your hand on his chest; don’t touch the window with your arse; don’t look like you’re trying to kiss her” – it’s all in a day’s work for models.

The one with hands on his chest is Eyal, our male model for the day, while the one expertly modelling the bikinis is Kim Hartwell, who is also a personal trainer, Instagrammer and fitness blogger with the mantra (and blog title) ‘Tone what you own’.

Kim Hartwell and Eyal modelling Moschino swimwear ()

Kim: Bikini £110 Moschino at FlannelsBag £105 Kenzo at FlannelsEarrings £8.50 Freedom at Topshop // Eyal: Swim Shorts £95 Moschino at FlannelsSunglasses £120 Ted Baker

Hartwell’s philosophy is simple – work with what you’ve got and don’t try to be something unrealistic. When she started out as a personal trainer, she had a lot of people wanting to look like a particular celebrity or be five sizes smaller. “But my training isn’t about that,” she explains. “I want to make people happy in their own skin rather than beating themselves up because they don’t look a certain way, or restricting what they eat because of it. That’s not a way to live.”

She specialises in high-intensity interval training (HIIT), something a lot of clients enjoy because it’s so efficient. “You can do in 15 minutes with HIIT what might take an hour otherwise,” says Hartwell. “People like it because it will keep your body burning more energy after you train. When you’re doing steady state cardio (like cycling), you’re burning calories while you’re doing it, but not necessarily afterwards.”

Eyal modelling Moschino swimwear ()

Eyal: Swim trunks £12 AsosHoodie £145 Moschino at FlannelsSunglasses £215 Tom Ford at FlannelsNecklace £145 Versus Versace at Flannels

The internet is not lacking experts telling us how to get fitter, leaner, faster or stronger, so how does someone who’s relatively new to the game stand out from the crowd? “It’s a tricky one,” Hartwell admits. “I like to think that my training shows what I do. If you’re in a session with me, I give you everything I’ve got. Word of mouth and reputation go a long way.”

As helpful as social media presence may be for getting her name out there, Hartwell says workout selfies and vines take a back seat to the fitness. Instagram should support the message, not become it. “I’m slowly working my way round all the social media, but I find it a bit self-involved. I was never really the girl to say ‘look at my abs’, I like to use it more as a motivational tool rather than make it all about me.

Kim Hartwell and Eyal modelling Moschino swimwear ()

Kim: Bikini top £65 Moschino at FlannelsBikini top £35 Moschino at FlannelsBag £510 Moschino at FlannelsSunglasses £145 Marimekko // Eyal: Swim Shorts £85 Moschino at FlannelsWatch £240 Nixon

“I have a training partner; we call ourselves ‘Two Tone’ because we’re cool like that. We make sure that we get an absolutely cracking workout, and if we happen to get photos or videos afterwards, then fine – but we’re never going to cut into the time spent working out because we’re too busy taking pictures.”

Being a personal trainer isn’t just about getting six packs or beach bodies, though. Hartwell has clients with a range of needs. She describes one older client who came to her unable to perform simple squats, so they worked together on a routine that would improve mobility. She gets a lot of enjoyment out of training people, regardless of ability or motivation. “Personal training depends on what people want,” she says. “Some want to be healthy and fit, and don’t necessarily want to be doing burpees until they’re blue in the face.” 

Kim Hartwell modelling Rock and Rags bikini and Jimmy Choo shoes ()

Kim: Bikini top £12 Rock & Rags at USCBikini bottom £8 Rock & Rags at USC; Shoes £425 Jimmy Choo at FlannelsSunglasses £120 Ted Baker

Motivation has never been a problem for Hartwell, as modelling requires a body in excellent shape; being a personal trainer and model are two jobs that sync up well. Although people assume the modelling side is the most exciting, that isn’t always the case. “Modelling isn’t always as glamorous as some people think,” she says. “I’ve been on some shoots where it looks a lot hotter from the photos than it actually was. I did one in Marseille in March, and I thought it would be lovely as it’s the south of France. But I was in a bikini on a beach and it was about five degrees. So I wore a massive coat that I’d take off quickly for the shoot, then jump straight back into as soon as the photographer was done. It was freezing.”

A benefit of the kind of fitness modelling that Hartwell does is that it favours the strong, fit body over the wafer-thin and 6ft with angular cheekbones look of fashion modelling. She says the industry as a whole is slowly moving away from that, and brands like Victoria’s Secret have helped by using models with more realistic body shapes.

Kim Hartwell modelling Rock and Rags bikini ()

Kim: Body chain £7.99 New LookBikini £20 Rock & Rags at USC

It means Hartwell can indulge her passion for almond butter – which she says she’ll eat “any time, anywhere” – and boxing. “It’s a great way to keep fit,” she explains (about the boxing, not the butter). “I like to use it with the high-intensity stuff. Skipping, jump rope, pad work. I don’t even feel like I’m working out because it’s really good fun. If you’re doing pad work, you’re concentrating so much on how you’re punching that you don’t realise you’re getting a hot and sweaty workout. It’s an efficient way to train, it gets the endorphins flowing and gets some aggression out.”

Not that she appears to have much pent up aggression. In fact, Hartwell seems to have life pretty well figured out. After our interview was done, she was even nice enough to give me a lift to the pub without me needing to pretend I was going to the gym to tone what I own, which is far from toned.

Kim Hartwell and Eyal modelling Calvin Klein swimwear ()

Kim: Bikini top £37 Calvin Klein at USCBikini bottom £37 Calvin Klein at USCSunglasses £205 Tom Ford at Flannels // Eyal: Shorts £49 Calvin Klein at USCWatch £240 Nixon             

Photographer: Jamie Baker                      

Models: Kim Hartwell @ Milk and Eyal @ Nevs

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