What sparked your passion for fitness?
My ex boyfriend was a Personal Trainer and I was working as a Junior Researcher in TV when I met him. Working in TV you often get a few weeks off between jobs, and he asked if he could train me in that time as he was trying to get more female clients. I begrudgingly said yes, but as soon as he put an Olympic Bar on my back I was IN. I fell madly in love with it from day one.
You obviously have a huge social media following – how important do you feel it is for you to portray a positive body image to the ones for example that follow you on Instagram?
I feel the most important thing for ANYONE with a big following is just to be honest. I hate these girls who are genetically blessed or ill informed telling thousands of girls how to take care of their bodies or get results. I try really hard to take on new clients constantly so I always have direct relationships with my audience and trial and error experiences as a PT. I also make a point to be honest with every step – I am not ALWAYS in aesthetic shape, and if I were, my life would full of sacrifice and void of any spontaneity.
When it comes to diet and food is it true you count calories?
I personally do yes. It baffles me that being aware of calorie intake (food) and calorie output (exercise) gets a bad rap when it’s plain and simple science. If you eat too much and / or move too little you will gain weight and be unfit and unhealthy. That being said, not EVERYBODY needs to count calories, a meal plan will work just as well, which is what all my books instruct via a food bible and recipes guide.
What are your thoughts on carbs – are they the enemy or do you believe a little of everything is fine?
Of course not. Each macronutrient (protein, fats and carbs) has a place in your diet and a benefit to your body. I personally recommend carbs pre and post exercise for energy and recovery, the rest of the time fats should be your energy nutrient. Protein should be constant. However, if I have a client who has any dietary diseases or health problems, I usually recommend a ketogenic (majority fats) diet.
Would you say fitness rules your life?
No, I would say I rule my life. Health and fitness is my passion, my job and my hobby. However, even though I train 6 days a week, I definitely don’t diet year round and I don’t try to LOOK in shape year round, either. I have a very good relationship with my body.
I have read you suffer from anxiety – how do you believe exercise plays a part in combating that?
For me, anxiety happens when my cortisol (stress hormone) levels increase. It can happen gradually over the course of a few days, or quite suddenly. Exercising helps equal out the balance of adrenaline and cortisol within the body and keep both in check, which has helped with dramatically with my anxiety.
That being said, OVER exercising can push you the other way, so you do need to have an exercise / rest balance that works well for you and your life.
James is obviously super fit. How different has it been for you dating an athlete over anyone else?
Dating an athlete is fascinating. I have learned so much from him and I think he has learned a lot from me, too. We actually have a really good balance in that I sort of specialise in dietary requirements and he far better understands the different training zones. We are definitely a good match in this respect!
Please tell us……do you ever pig out or get completely drunk or is it not worth it?
Yes of course! I train 6 days a week most weeks, because I love training and it is very good for me mentally. However, I am not always on a diet by any means. I eat healthy most of the time to help my body best recover from training, but if I don’t have a photoshoot, I am not restrictive in any way and I will often sink a bottle of wine with James or eat an entire tub of ice cream on my own.
Why do you think your books have such a fantastic success rate when so many others fail?
I think it helps that I’m qualified and I have been PTing for 6 years now. I think people are realising that just because somebody can change their own body does not mean they can change somebody else’s. I think above all else, my book actually gets people results in an easy to follow fashion, so that counts for everything.
I’m a 45-year-old mother of three and my biggest problem is my untoned stomach area – can you advise please on the best exercises for shifting tummy fat?
Unfortunately, there is no such thing as target fat loss. When we lose fat, we lose it evenly from all over our bodies, the more stubborn areas are always the last to go.
You need to focus on fat burning, which means a calorie deficit via food intake (eat a little less than usual and see how your body responds after 2 weeks, you can repeat this if you don’t see results) and ideally some fat burning exercise (try to build some muscle as it increases your metabolic rate and overall body composition, as well as implementing some steady cardio).
What are your future plans work wise?
I have just signed on to write another 3 books, so I will be glued to my computer for the next 2 years!