You’re a woman of many talents! How did you find the transition from modelling into cookery into fitness?
I really was not happy modelling. I did like some of the perks and of course the money but at the end of the day it was not fulfilling enough for me and so I decided to find something which would really make me tick. After participating in many different courses and reading lots of books, I found that cooking was something that I really enjoyed doing. Fitness has always been a passion of mine since I left school. After the birth of my daughter I knew that I had to try to get my body back to the way it was pre birth especially as I was modelling at the time. I just started to go to the gym and realised how much I loved it.
How do you balance your love of fitness and health with your passion for developing delicious cakes and bakes? You must have to taste all your creations?!
It is hard to balance fitness and cakes, but I have recently started to make lots of vegan recipes and stop using refined sugar; this way I can make cakes which are better for you. They still have quite a lot of calories in so it is all about balance and watching what I eat. The way I stay in shape the most is to go to the gym regularly and to make a note of everything I eat during the day so I do not kid myself!
Tell us your favourite exercise for sculpting a killer physique?
My favourite exercise for sculpting a killer physique are lunges, either walking or static. I recently bought some Pineapple ankle weights and do lunges around the gym with them on. I love to do weights and so many women are afraid to do this as they do not want to get too muscly and look too manly. I totally understand this, but I think we need to remember that in order to build up muscles to that extent you would need to take on a large number of calories and spend hours and hours a day in the gym. They will not come from training 3-4 times a week, and lifting weights for 20 minutes each time.
Incorporating weights in to your fitness regime is the fastest and most efficient way to achieve a leaner and toned body: your butt will change shape and become lifted, your legs will be come firmer around the wobbly bits, your tummy will become firmer, your posture will be better, and most importantly you will feel better and your bones will slowly become stronger. Also you will burn more calories whilst not working out as the toned muscle which you acquire will mean your body will continue burning calories, unlike cardio.
Smashing out just cardio in the gym to try and get a toned physique is not a sustainable way to stay fit. The other thing is that if someone does get really into toning their body with weights and they find that perhaps something is changing in a way that they don’t want… like getting a six pack or something, then that person can just stop working out that part of the body or shift to a ligther weight… then that body part will just soften up easily again. Women should SO give it a try, along with a balanced diet of course.
You’re a role model in the campaign to get women embracing strength – when do you feel at your strongest and most confident?
I feel my most confident when I am not comparing myself to others’ bodies or achievements. I feel my most confident when I know that I am doing the best I can, and when my internal voice is being kind, comforting and supportive. I find that I feel really confident when I am working out in the gym and listening to my favourite music.
As a chef and fitness addict, how important do you consider nutrition to be in reaching your fitness goals?
Nutrition is of the upmost importance when you are embarking on a liftestyle feeling healthier and fitter. There are so many conflicting reports out there of what to eat and what not to eat. Instead of focusing on not eating certain things, I think a great way of thinking is to add more healthy foods in to your eating regime. You will soon notice how much better you feel with the addition of healthier fruit, veg, lean proteins, more water, and healthy fats. Writing things down is such a good way to keep track of what you are actually eating. To get that killer body you want you have to remember it is around 70% diet and 30% exercise. You cannot use exercise to compensate for a bad diet .
Give us a glimpse of what a day of eating looks like for you.
At the moment I am working stateside and whilst it is really hard to stay on track with healthy eating goals it is possible! The morning starts with a functional shake, full of green veg like watercress, spinach, parsley, kale, along with berries. This is a great thing for people to start the day with…. Then I am also using things like organic bursts of spirullina, maca powder along with matcha green tea in there as well. These things can be pricey and not always obtainable from your local store, but now and again I like to add them to my shakes as they have a plethora of healthy properties. I follow this with two poached eggs on rye, a vegan protein shake like sun warrior, and then four meals throughout the day consisting of a lean grilled or quick fried protein such as haddock, salmon, chicken, steak or tofu, some brown rice or quinoa along with a green veg like broccoli, peas or kale.
What are the top three healthy foods you couldn’t live without?
I couldn’t live without kale, watercress and haddock.
What would be your one kitchen gadget you’d consider essential to your cooking success?
A blender, vitamix or nutritbullet is essential for cooking success. I use it for shakes and also to make soups and sauces.
Do you have any tips for working women who struggle to make time to cook wholesome food?
If you are time pressed and want to make food which is better for you then I like to try and cook food ahead of time in batches and either freeze it or store it in the fridge in containers. This means I can just grab the stuff and go when I am in a hurry. You can get away with cooking just 2-3 times a week with the correct meal planning, meal prep and storage.
How do you unwind after a busy day?
To unwind after a busy day I practice transcendental meditation which I do morning and evening for 20 minutes each time.
When are you at your very happiest?
I am at my happiest when I am surrounded by the people I love.
How do you stay grounded in the midst of such a successful and energetic career?
The meditation keeps me grounded, learn to be honest with myself, and only do the things which I feel will make me happy. That can come across as conceited but I have reached the stage in life where I feel that if it is not going to make me happy then what is the point…obviously we all have obligations and things which we have to do (like the washing up!) but I am trying to embrace the fact that being happier is available to us all.
What would be your one piece of advice for women wanting to take the plunge start their own business?
My advice for women wanting to start their own business is if you do not totally love the business that you are going to launch in to then it may not be easy sticking to it. It can take up so much of your time starting up a new business, so you need to love it. Make sure you have a network of people around you that can help and support you. Stay positive, even when things are going pearshaped, find time to breath and research, research research and never be afraid to ask people who have already started a business questions… and then go for it!
Where do you find your daily inspiration and do you have a mantra you live by?
Sometimes I do not feel inspired or motivated and those days are like walking through treacle! But exercise keeps me going and reading positive quotes and books. My mantra that I live by is….’happiness is not something ready made, it comes from your own actions’ Dalai lama