It would be no exaggeration to state that former Olympian, Louise Hazel, is health and fitness personified. With a beaming smile, incredibly toned figure and genuinely kind nature, she’s the sort of person any girl would happily take wellbeing advice from – and now you can at the touch of a button. After competing in the London 2012 games, heptathlon champion Louise wanted to help others to ‘achieve things they never believed were possible through sport, health and fitness.’ Her new program, ‘The Podium Effect’, is Louise’s ‘way of giving something back’ after her incredible experience as part of Team GB.
In a nutshell The Podium Effect provides an affordable online workout and nutrition plan for people who are looking to transform the way they look and feel. The idea is that healthy living is made, ‘simple, accessible and flexible. All you need to do is turn up, work out and eat according to the guidelines,’ explains Louise. The exercise plan consists of six video-based 30-minute workouts a week. Each video is designed to give an all-over workout, and having been designed by an athlete, Louise insists that you can ‘rest assured you are learning from someone who has trained and competed at the highest level in an event that requires the utmost in all-over body conditioning.’
As you would imagine, the exercises are pretty thorough, and after an hour-long session with Louise herself I was left red-faced and out of breath. This high-intensity workout incorporates sets of burpees, press-ups and squats – and that’s just for starters. The reps are tough, and the phrase no pain no gain repeatedly springs to mind. Louise looks utterly effortless as she energetically bounces around while the rest of us struggle to keep up. With her grin firmly intact and her lean muscles gleaming, she truly is a poster girl for fitness.
Louise explains that ‘the exercises will increase in difficulty as time goes on’. This means you’re constantly pushing and challenging your body, building strength and stamina, as well as constantly discovering muscles you didn’t even know you had. Louise has filmed a plethora of workouts for you to do from the comfort of your own home, so you can literally train with an athlete in your living room. Your online account provides a calendar-style tool which allows you to tick off each workout as you go along, evoking a huge sense of achievement.
The nutritional aspect of The Podium Effect is sensible and balanced with a focus on low-glycaemic eating – no faddy diets necessary. With an emphasis on introducing natural, whole foods, and eliminating anything that is processed, it’s all about fuelling and nourishing your mind and body, not punishing yourself. Louise explains, ‘There is no tedious calorie counting or points system and it will educate you to eat clean to support a healthy body.’ Upon joining the program, users are not only given nutritional guidelines but plenty of recipe ideas for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks so you’ll constantly feel inspired and motivated.
The idea is to commit to The Podium Effect for an initial stint of 60 days to break old habits and create new, healthier ones. Louise has been amazed by the effects: ‘In this space of time, some users have seen a 9.4kg weight loss, which is so encouraging.’
And it’s not just women who are loving The Podium Effect – it has also garnered a male following. Participants have even been known to exercise in groups and hold ‘Podium Effect Parties’ at one another’s houses. And although the program has been favoured by brides-to-be or anyone looking to get in shape fast, Louise insists that it ‘sets itself apart from other weight-loss programs as it offers continuity and sustainable results. It doesn’t just stop after 60 days, you have the choice to continue to get fitter, stronger and healthier.’
If you’re still not convinced, Louise tells me that ‘The response has been overwhelming. I have had messages from people who have claimed that it has changed their lives and given them focus and educated them as to how to eat well without skipping meals.’ It would seem that the idea here isn’t about getting a short-term fix but a lifestyle change that produces lasting results.
You only have to take one look at Louise’s twitter feed to see how dedicated she is to helping people achieve optimum health. A constant stream of thoughtful quotes, healthy meal ideas and links to 3-minute workout videos provide non-stop inspiration for her followers. But what about days when you just feel like vegging out on the sofa with a bag of crisps? Well then it’s time to think like an athlete: ‘If I want to achieve my goal more than I want a bar of chocolate or a comfy bed, then it puts those small things into perspective. Therefore, if something or someone is counter-productive to your goals then they can wait for another day, or at least until my war has been won,’ says Louise. Words to live by we think.
Visit www.thepodiumeffect.com. A 60-day subscription costs £39.99
By Harriet Allmark