1) Please tell us a little bit about you and your background in fitness. How old are you?How did you start? Why do you do what you do? For how long have you been doing this?
I am 28 years old and have been exercising consistently for around 14 years now. My journey into fitness was a little unusual – up until the age of 14 I hated any sort of exercise, therefore began restricting food as a way of controlling my shape. What started off as a diet quickly spiralled into anorexia, and it was only when my Dad introduced me to exercise and using food to fuel my body, was I able to fully recover and go on to lead the healthy lifestyle I do now.
2) What is your daily routine?
My routine varies from day to day – the last couple of years it has become more cardio-based however now I’m prioritise strength training once again (4 sessions per week), with cardio classes when they’re fun and for social reasons. I think in London’s class culture it can get very easy to get sucked into the numerous HIIT style sessions, it’s important to step back and assess your goals and what is the best method to get you there.
3) How does your meal plan look like?
I follow a macro-based approach to eating, which I enjoy as it allows me flexibility in what I eat. No day is ever the same, however generally my diet consists mainly of low fat protein sources, complex carbs and a lot of vegetables! That said, I also eat out a lot and go to events etc where there’s often spreads of delicious food that I fully enjoy making the most of! I love a high protein salad, equally, if you put a slice of cheesecake in front of me there’s no way I will say no! It’s so cliche to say, but it really is about balance.
4) What do you think that people should do to achieve a healthy lifestyle?
I think it’s all about making small sustainable changes ad building healthy habits. Too often people to radicalise everything at once then ‘fall off the bandwagon’ and give it all up. When you combine small changes into your daily routine your brain becomes accustomed to it and doesn’t question it – it can be simply switching your yoghurt for a 0% fat option, or the milk in your coffee to skimmed. This is partly why i like to work out first thing in the morning – I just get up and go, before my brain has the chance to kick in and make me question my sanity at 6am!
5) What are your 5 tips for people to manage their daily meals and exercise?
- Keep a food diary – and be honest! All those snacks, small bites, drinks – add up.
- Look at food labels. You’ll be surprised at the number of hidden calories you might be consuming. A yoghurt granola pot might SEEM like a healthy option, but it can easily rack up 400 calories plus.
- Find an exercise you enjoy – but be realistic! Don’t expect to suddenly fall in love with something you’ve never done before. It can take time before you start to enjoy it, but stick at it, I promise it does come!
- Recruit a friend. Most of the appeal for me about classes is the social side – it’s always a great chance to catch up with some of my favourite people in between a sweat! If none of your existing friends is interested, use it as an opportunity to meet some new ones – the fitness community is an amazingly supportive one. (They’re all very happy because of the exercise endorphins 😛 )
- Listen to your body!!! If you are hungry, you need to eat. If you are exhausted, you need to take a rest day. Doing so doesn’t mean you’ve failed or fallen off the bandwagon, it simply means you’ve recognised where you’re at and chosen to take a long term sustainable approach.
6) What is the first thing a person should do if he/she wants to lose weight?
If weight loss is the goal, I think the first thing you should do is look at your daily intake. Weight loss is a simple measure of calories in vs calories out – there are no magic teas, fat burning tablets, body slimming suits that change that. Whilst you can increase your calorie expenditure through exercise, often people can overestimate the amount they’re burning and eat extra as a result. My first bit of advice would be to look at the ‘easy wins’ where you can cut calories without noticing too much – switching to low-fat dairy, replacing fizzy drinks with diet versions, buying leaner cuts of meat, using a sugar substitute. You could easily cut 300+ calories by doing so.
7) Are you for or against counting calories?
I definitely don’t think you should be a slave to calories and there are absolutely times when food is SO much more than it’s calorie content (Christmas, birthdays, holidays – food is part of the social experience). However, I am certainly for monitoring calorie intake when you are working towards a specific goal (weight loss, muscle gain, etc) as you need to ensure you’re having the correct macro-nutrients to help you achieve that goal. Like most things, it’s not so much the action that is “good” or “bad” – it’s about having a healthy mindset towards it – and that’s something very individual.
8) Can you tell us 3 exercises that you recommend for a daily routine?
There are no 3 exercises I’d recommend for a daily routine as I think it’s really important to have a well-rounded program. Targeting different bodyparts on different days, getting some cardio in, and also having a rest day or two. The only one thing I try to stick to ‘daily’ is getting in minimum 10,000 steps – which is very easy in London (where I’ll rack up 20-30k daily), not so easy when I go back home to Scotland!
9) What is your plan in the fitness industry?
My plan is to stay on the outside of the fitness industry 🙂 I am not a PT – mainly because I love fitness too much to turn it into a job! I will always work out as it’s such a big part of who I am, but I never want to take the enjoyment away from what I do. I have a LOT of respect for PT’s who can train other people all day, then still find the motivation to train themselves!
10) Do you have any motivational quotes?
Compare yourself to no one else but the person you were yesterday.
If you look at what you have in life, you’ll always have more.
Happy people don’t necessarily have the best of everything, they make the best of everything.
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