What you may not know is that she has long suffered from body dysmorphia, an anxiety disorder that is estimated to affect one in 100 people in the UK.
For years she trained for aesthetic goals, mainly to become slimmer, but recently she’s worked hard to overcome these urges and develop a healthier relationship with fitness.
The personal trainer and fitness blogger, who has a growing YouTube following of nearly 400,000 followers, is a strong advocate of a balanced lifestyle. She doesn’t believe in turning down a meal just to stay in shape.
Most recently, Rowena has joined the ′Reebok Girl Squad’ - six stars brought together to celebrate women of different backgrounds, abilities, and disciplines in the world of fitness.
We had a chat about her struggle with body dysmorphia, why weights make her feel “sexy and empowered” and how she stays at the top of her game for the latest in our Fit Fix series.
My Journey 🌎
What do you credit to your success in your fitness journey?
“I feel like my success in came from realising that there wasn’t one option that worked for everybody. We’re all individuals and have completely different lives, you have to work out what actually works for the life you are currently living and then make changes and improvements based on that.”
What’s one of the most memorable moments in your career and why?
“The first time someone came up to me and cried. I was walking in London and this lady crossing the street just stopped dead and clasped her hands to her mouth, she came running over with the biggest hug and said thank you. Without knowing I had been helping this lady make small changes that lead to a huge breakthrough for her, it was the most amazing feeling in the world and we still speak often since that day.”
Have you ever experienced low points and how did you get past it?
“I’ve never wanted to throw in the towel but sometimes it can be frustrating and overwhelming, the biggest thing for me is I’m always fighting back against imposter syndrome. My brain just can’t believe I’ve landed such a happy career, it feels like I’m going to wake up and find out it was all a dream.”
My Training 💪
Talk us through your week in fitness.
“Typically I train between three to five times a week depending on work and travel commitments, these are always in the morning and are usually 30 to 50 minute workouts based around circuit training or CrossFit. I walk my dog for 40 minutes twice a day and always favour walking over driving anywhere.”
What’s your favourite type of workout and why?
“I adore weights, it makes me feel sexy, strong and empowered. My favourite workout would be something that incorporated deadlifts, kettlebell swings and rope climbs.”
What’s your favourite way to spend your rest day?
“I’d say I’m forced to have more rest days than I’d like to have. A rest day for me would include a ROMWOD, which is stretching [videosp] online and also walking my dog. I try to never go two days without working out but sometimes it gets pushed to three and I feel like I’m climbing the walls.”
My Food 🍳
What do you eat throughout the week to complement your training schedule?
“I am such a foodie, I have to train as I can never say no to anything delicious. Luckily I have always enjoyed fresh, nutritious meals, it’s just I struggle to say no to dessert.
“I am pescatarian and avoid dairy so my meals are always a mixture of homemade smoothies, overnight oats and fish dishes with rice, sweet potato or courgette. I’m one of those people that throws everything in the fridge into a wok and hopes for the best.”
What are your pre- and post-workout snacks?
“I usually work out in the morning so it would be a protein frappe made with banana, maca powder, protein powder, ice and almond milk. Post-workout would usually be a Pip and Nut sachet or some fresh mango with nuts.”
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about food?
“I personally had to learn that food is not meant to be a punishment, we either over-eat it, under-eat it or stress about it. Food is meant to fuel and nourish us, leave us feeling like we can take on anything we like.”
My Motivation 🙌
Do you have a motivational mantra that keeps you going?
“For me my motivation comes from wanting to inspire others. The better I feel about myself, the better the content I produce and in turn the more I motivate those who follow me.”
Do you always have fitness goals you are aiming for?
“Up until around a year ago I was training for aesthetics. I was always working to try and be smaller, unfortunately. I have body dysmorphia so was always fighting my head.
“Now’ I’m in a place where I train to be a badass. I train because I have enough fitness goals I want to complete for another five years. I want to nail those goals and I will.”
What’s your ultimate workout track and why?
“My parents brought me up on some epic tunes so I have to say my playlist is always a mixture of Reef, ACDC, Yelawolf and Eagles. For me, I need awesome tunes that aren’t too fast, I have to try and calm my breathing as much as possible.”
Reebok Ambassador Carly Rowena is a member of The Reebok Girl Squad and pictured wearing the new AW17 City Series Collection available now at www.reebok.co.uk.
‘Fit Fix’ is a weekly dose of fitspiration from leading athletes and fitness fanatics. Each week we chat to stars about their weekly workouts, the food they eat and what keeps them going.