LIFESTYLE

Meet The Incredible Women Revolutionising Fitness In The UK

These girls most certainly can.

03/06/2016 15:28 | Updated 09 June 2016

Being inspired to keep fit is one of the driving forces helping us chuck on our gym kit and sweat until we're about to pass out on a weekly basis.

Among the fitness fanatics, some women are pushing their bodies to the limits and dedicating their careers to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

And by doing that, it inspires us to do the same. 

From gym founders to Instagram sensations, we've spoken to 11 women who continue to inspire others to live better through their work. 

Alice Liveing - Founder of Clean Eating Alice

Alice Liveing
Alice Liveing

Tell us about how fitness has been a part of your career. 

I am a fully-qualified level three personal trainer and am the founder of Clean Eating Alice on Instagram. I teach group classes at events and when I have time, and have an absolute passion for encouraging everyone and anyone to get up and get active! I've recently had my first book 'The Body Bible' published.

Describe your fitness routine in a few lines.

I train four to five days a week and my training is usually resistance and weight training, with a few HIIT or Tabata circuits thrown in too. I don’t spend hours in the gym and my sessions usually only last around 45 minutes, focusing on individual muscle groups.

How do you refuel after a workout? 

I always opt for a combination of protein and carbohydrates post-workout to repair my muscles - this is anything from scrambled eggs on rye bread, to chicken and sweet potato, to porridge with whey protein!

What is your favourite way to relax?

I’m a huge fan of candles and reading - both of them allow me to have a period of digital detox and focus my mind on something else. I’m currently reading Gut by Dr Guilia Enders and am finding it fascinating! I try and take at least ten minutes out of my day to read and relax and escape the busy world we live in. 

Do you have an inspiration quote or motto that keeps you motivated?

I recently shared a JK Rowling quote that I felt was really powerful: "Anything is possible if you’ve got enough nerve". It’s been a tough year for me, but I often have to remind myself that you really are capable of anything you set your mind to.

How have you inspired women to live better through your work?

One of my main prerogatives with my blog is to educate women against the diet myths that shroud the fitness industry, and that I once fell victim to. I keep things simple. Ultimately I want to encourage women to eat well and exercise in whatever way they enjoy because they love their bodies, not because they hate them. Finding what works for them is key, because healthy really does look different on everybody, so comparing your journey to others is a useless exercise and can leave you feeling disheartened. 

Pip Black and Joan Murphy - Founders of Frame 

Frame
Joan Murphy (L) and Pip Black

Describe your fitness routine in a few lines

Joan:  I am a total believer in mixing up your workouts and working to how your body feels. It is very initiative and can tell you what it needs if you listen to it. I am pregnant at the moment so I am trying to stay well rounded with my workouts with a strength class like Kettlebells once a week, barre or pilates class 1-2 times a week and then something a little more fun and cardio-based like dance cardio or boxfit.

Pip: I have a 20-month-old little boy and a fast-growing business to run, so time is short. This surprisingly makes you really appreciate the time you do find to exercise (be it a 15 minute stretch before bed) and has made me realise the power of working out even more! I try to 'properly' work out 3 times a week, by which I mean classes at Frame (I'm really into Total Body, Barre, Reformer Pilates and Dance Cardio at the moment - I like to mix it up, I definitely practice what I preach!) I do 7am classes on a Tuesday and Friday when my husband takes Phin to nursery and then I try to get in a class on the weekend.

I supplement these with runs (I have a running buggy and I run Phin to nursery), riding my bike to work (I may go to Shoreditch, Victoria and Kings X in one day) and a bit of yoga and stretching at home.

How do you refuel after a workout?

Joan: I'm a prefuel girl with half a banana with almond butter and then refuel with a green smoothie with protein. Again being pregnant it is important not to run on low fuel if you want to keep up the active lifestyle.

Pip: I tend to have a protein shake (a 'Framer' if I'm at Frame) or poached eggs on toast. I tend to work out in the mornings, so I have an espresso with coconut oil before... and then generally a couple more coffees throughout the morning (my son doesn't sleep so sometimes when the exercise endorphins run out, I need extra help from Mr Caffeine!)

What is your favourite way to relax?

Joan: A massage all the way. My lifestyle is quite quick the majority of the time so a massage is not only good for your body, it forces you to do nothing!

Pip: Working out or drinking wine, both are equally wonderful and tend to have the desired effect!

Do you have a motto or inspirational quote that keeps you motivated?

Joan: I'm a massive believer in positivity breeds positivity, therefore looking for the bright side of things not only helps you but the people around you.

Pip: "Being fit shouldn't be a chore" This is what Frame was founded on, and what's pushed Joan (Murphy - my co-founder) and myself through a lot of not so easy times over the past 9 years - the idea that everyone can benefit from just getting moving.

How have inspired women to live better through your work?

Joan: Frame's ethos is that "being fit shouldn't be a chore".  We encourage the fun site of healthy through our messaging without talking about diets and calories helping our Framers have a healthy mind and healthy body. This all links to the fact we believe that looking good is a bi-product of feeling good.  When you feel good about yourself you make good decisions whether its food, exercise to relationships and work. 

Pip: Well hopefully I think we've managed to create a place where women can come for an instant mood-lifter - somewhere that's their happy place, that they leave feeling energised and inspired, and then get on with the rest of their day doing something equally inspiring themselves. We have some pretty incredible women who come through our doors - I would say they inspire me as much as I would inspire them! 

Amanda Byram - Fitness Blogger and Founder of Ellement Protein for Women 

Amanda Byram
Amanda Byram

Tell us about how fitness has been a part of your career. 

I am a TV host by day, but a health and fitness fan by night. I have always been interested in fitness, although it wasn’t until I employed a trainer who put me through my paces with heavy weights, my body changed dramatically. I now make videos for women who don’t have time to get to the gym, and videos about health and nutrition, I'm creating a sportswear range for women and I have a protein brand called Ellement

Describe your fitness routine in a few lines

I try to mix things up as much as I can, but weights play a big role in my routine. I believe that lifting weights helps to burn fat and keep a long lean body. I always say that you can’t expect your body to change if you don’t change your workouts, so I tend to switch things up every week, like spinning, boxing, Pilates and barre work.

How do you refuel after a workout?

I eat within 20 minutes of training. A protein shake at first to get help rebuild my muscles (Ellement for women) and also I train in the morning/afternoon so I will follow up with breakfast or lunch, things like quinoa and fish or eggs and rye bread.

What is your favourite way to relax?

I love the feeling of not being contactable so relaxing for me means switching off my phone and hanging out with my husband on the weekend, watching movies mid-afternoon with the blinds closed and having a cheat day with popcorn and chocolate!

Do you have a motto or inspirational quote that keeps you motivated?

“Every accomplishment begins with the decision to try” or “Life has no limitations except for the ones you make”. 

How have inspired women to live better through your work?

My own passion for all things healthy came after years of pushing myself to the limit whilst I was modelling and being "skinny" was the only thing I cared about. Being honest about my struggles and teaching women how to avoid the pitfalls has helped my followers to gain a healthier lifestyle by learning from my past mistakes. 

Debbie Moore OBE - Founder of Pineapple Dance Studios 

Debbie Moore
Debbie Moore

Describe your fitness routine in a few lines:

I'm totally allergic to gyms – they can seem sterile, and I could never make the sort of commitment necessary to have a personal trainer.

What I love is the wonderful sense of freedom that you get from going to dance classes -you can go any time & choose any style to suit your mood. Dancing is the finest form of exercise, using every muscle in your body- plus, it’s uplifting!

Once or twice a week is perfect - I'm against the unachievable goals people set themselves. Staying fit should be fun, not a chore.

How do you refuel after a workout?

It is important to hydrate with water at room temperature. I prefer glass bottles and try to avoid tap water ,depending on the quality of the local source. Coconut water is best for hydration, and bananas are a good source of energy - the best fuel is nutritious food, organic if possible. I avoid energy drinks, processed foods and refined sugars.

What is your favourite way to relax?

I love going to the ballet – the opera house is just around the corner from Pineapple, which means I can drop in after a long day in the office. I love seeing the dancers on stage looking graceful, when earlier in the day they would have been sweating for hours in class at Pineapple.

I enjoy a few days away in my villa on the French Riviera especially if spent with my daughter Lara and her husband. A good long dinner with friends is another regular treat. TV can be a great way for me to switch off.  My latest box set is 'Nashville', written by Callie Khouri, who wrote 'Thelma & Louise'.

Do you have a motto or inspirational quote that keeps you motivated?

I'm always saying "Life is not a dress rehearsal". And as Isadora Duncan said, “To dance is to live”!

How have inspired women to live better through your work?

I revolutionised women's clothing in 1979 when I developed cotton Lycra with DuPont. As a result the body and leggings were the start of a new way of dressing – suddenly stretchy clothes and layering gave women the freedom to dress in their own individual style.

The Pineapple Brand is now global – our classic pieces are a staple in every woman's wardrobe and our lines for youngsters are loved by kids the world over.

As a girl from Manchester who became the first woman to go public on the London Stock Exchange, I hope I have inspired many women to take their first bold steps to become successful entrepreneurs.

Juliet Murrell - Yoga Teacher and Founder of VOGA

Juliet Murrell
Juliet Murrell

Tell us about how fitness has been a part of your career. 

I have been a Sivananda trained yoga teacher since 2011. I used to be a film industry art director, up until then. I decided I wanted to bring cardiac workout to yoga and launched 'Voga' in 2015.

Describe your fitness routine.

I incorporate fitness into my every day life - I swim, cycle everywhere in London, do yoga most days and always take my dog for a walk along the canal. VOGA is a big part of my routine, too, which is basically a fusion of yoga, voguing and fitness designed to empower women.

How do you refuel after a workout?

Always an energy ball, a medjool date or two and usually a glass of red. 

What is your favourite way to relax?

On a sun-drenched beach listening to audio books (it's old school I know). If I'm in London, I relax at a Dalston Hamman - you can't beat a Turkish steam room on Slabs of mosaic tiles.

Do you have a motto that keeps you motivated?

"Sthira sukham asanam" - the most memorable mantra from my yoga training in India, meaning an equal measure of effort and pleasure. I try to approach everything in life with this attitude and if I succeed, the pleasure usually overrides.

How have you inspired women to live better through your work?

As a teenager I had ME and had to learn how to deal with depleted energy levels. Yoga helped my recovery and I realised the importance of empowering through movement and breath... add music and an element of fashion and vogue and you have Voga. The "everybody be somebody" vibe we have is powerful. It's fantastic to see everyone synchronised, on beat and moving their body and exploring the inherent power of yoga. 

Niki Rein - Barrecore Founder

Niki Rein

Describe your fitness routine in a few lines

I like consistency with splashes of spontaneity in my weekly workout routine. I always do at least 3 to 4 Barrecore classes including a mix of our specialty classes such as HIITcore or Stretch and always get in a yoga class and then I throw in a one to two short runs for mind clearing and a quick mood boost.

How do you refuel after a workout?

Being fueled mostly by fat, I rarely need a post workout snack. If it is meal time, then I often choose wild salmon or mackerel and an avocado with lemon juice on top.

What is your favourite way to relax?

For me, being in nature is the best and most effective way of relaxing. I love to feel the grass under my bare feet and the breeze against my skin as I just sit and stare. I also enjoy a good binge watching session too!

Do you have a motto or inspirational quote that keeps you motivated?

I love this new-to-me quote "You cannot stop the waves, but you can learn to surf". I feel like this is what I try and live by. More often than not, the challenges we face become a new skill helping us navigate with more precision and finesse.

How have you inspired women to live better through your work?

I can only hope that I have inspired the women around me at work; staff, clients, and partners, to the level that they have inspired me. Their passion, warmth, energy and kindness are what make me want to be a better colleague, boss, friend and person.

My goal is to inspire others to take better care of their bodies inside and out, maintain a postive outlook and focus on happy and genuine relationships. Things aren't always going to be easy but being nice to people while working through an issue sure makes it a more pleasurable experience for everyone!

Tamara Hill-Norton - Founder of Sweaty Betty

Sweaty Betty

Describe your fitness routine in a few lines

I’ve always had an active lifestyle and enjoy all kinds of exercise. For a high-intensity workout I swim in an outdoor pool, attend our work run club and go spinning at Psycle. To balance this, I also do yoga in the studio at work every week and love Barrecore for butt-toning.

How do you refuel after a workout?

I make my own protein balls - from Madeleine Shaw or Calgary Avansino

What is your favourite way to relax?

Yoga – when you get into the zone and focus on your breathing, it totally takes your mind off everything else. I also love to head to my home in West Wittering at the weekend with family and friends.

Do you have a motto or inspirational quote that keeps you motivated?

My husband’s family motto is "try harder" which is tapestried into an old antique chair that our kids sit on to do their piano practice! We all laugh at it a bit, but actually, I think that is what drives us as entrepreneurs. 

How have you inspired women to live better through your work?

I love that the brand helps women find their confidence and that we support them in their journey to becoming fitter and stronger. So many people have told me that when they put on their Sweaty Betty clothes they feel amazing, and to hear that is so gratifying.

We also offer free fitness classes in-store and workout videos online to encourage women to try new activities.

Sadie Reid - Founder of Hip and Healthy

Sadie Reid

Tell us about how fitness has been a part of your career. 

My fitness career really began at university where I quickly fell head over heels in love with pounding the pavement. I didn’t discover yoga until I moved up to London, where I enrolled in a ten week Ashtanga course. In 2012, I was living in Hong Kong freelance writing and I realised that there were very few inspiring health and fitness titles out there. That’s when I thought that I could fill that gap in the market. Hip & Healthy first launched as an online wellbeing magazine, before becoming a digital activewear store, too. 

Describe your fitness routine in a few lines

I usually run every morning and after the run I come back via the gym to do a few weights and stretching, then head home to get my son ready for nursery! I’ll try squeeze in at-home yoga session after my son goes to bed as well. If it is terrible weather, I take it as a good opportunity to catch up on reading magazine articles and the news whilst running on the treadmill.

How do you refuel after a workout?

After a busy morning exercising I’ll always make sure I have a really good breakfast of porridge or Bircher muesli (Rude Health do the best) and will also try and add in a homemade smoothie or juice, time-permitting. I’ll then noticeably snack a lot more throughout the day.

What is your favourite way to relax?

I have two: one is to have a deliciously hot bath with a great book, cup of Pukka’s Night Time tea, om bar and no electronic gadgets in sight (I am such a cliché) and the second way is to watch crap TV with my husband (I probably shouldn't admit that one).

Do you have a motto or inspirational quote that keeps you motivated?

“Health is your greatest wealth”. 

How have you inspired women to live better through your work?

Hip & Healthy’s sole aim is to inspire its readers and customers to be the best versions of themselves. From the content we publish to the sportswear we sell our goal is to motivate all of our tribe to adopt a healthier, happier lifestyle that they will maintain forever.

Shona Vertue - Yoga Teacher and Personal Trainer

Shona Vertue

Describe your fitness routine in a few lines

I have to train in the morning or it just won't get done. I lift heavy weights on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays and do cardio and yoga every other day. Meditation is also a huge part of my fitness routine to help keep my mind and nervous system calm, which supports recovery. Essentially my fitness routine revolves around developing balance in my mind, body and soul.

How do you refuel after a workout?

I refuel with protein and carbohydrates post workout - usually with a delicious vegan protein shake that I've made the night before and refrigerated. Some minor preparation is the key to avoid having to eat those nasty synthetic and lab-processed foods.

What is your favourite way to relax?

A barefoot walk in nature without my phone. (Doesn't work so well on Oxford St though...)

Do you have a motto or inspirational quote that keeps you motivated?

My own personal motto or mantra is always changing but I'm currently feeling very inspired by: "Train towards a skill, not for an aesthetic."

This one comes from my own experience of training both as a gymnast for skill, and as a fitness model for aesthetics only. In my opinion the most sustainable and motivating way to train, is towards being able to do a proper press-up, a full chin-up, or even a back flip. We all want to 'look good' but the gratification from feeling strong and being able to pull your own body weight up on to something or run up the stairs without feeling like you’re going to die lasts so much longer.

How have inspired women to live better through your work?

Ironically it's probably been through my own mistakes and naive choices. I choose to share the lessons I've learned - and continue to learn - through my blog and social media platforms. I tend to think for all of us it's probably our failures that provide more wisdom than our successes (although they're good too!) and I try to be open and honest about mine.

At the end of the day I hope to inspire women to realise how powerful they really are - be it strength, flexibility or adaptability but also admit that nobody is "perfect" and it is a fool’s errand to strive to be.

Tanya Joseph - Sport England's director of business partnerships and head of the 'This Girl Can' campaign

Sport England

Describe your fitness routine in a few lines

I have a very busy schedule and struggle to commit to a regular class or game. I try to do a Hailey Bailey class when I can but most of the time I have to fit exercise into my daily life. So I walk a lot, and walk fast. I really love it. People don’t realise how good it is for you, or that doing it actually makes you quite an active person.

This year, a friend and I each got a Fitbit. Great idea at first, but now we’re locked into a daily battle to do the most steps - I’m winning by the way.

How do you refuel after a workout?
Like a lot of women in our This Girl Can campaign, I’m not really a gym nut – so ‘refuelling’ isn’t how I think about eating and drinking after exercising. I do eat healthily though, and drink a lot of water. There’s a lot to be said for treating your body well.

What is your favourite way to relax?
It’s got to be listening to Radio 4 – it’s on in every room in my house.

Do you have a motto or inspirational quote that keeps you motivated?
Women come in all shapes and sizes and all levels of ability. It doesn't matter if you're rubbish or an expert. The point is you're a woman and you're doing something. This Girl Can.

How have you inspired women to live better through your work?
I think we’ve given women a different perspective when it comes to getting active. We haven’t completely removed the fear of judgement, but we have helped them develop their own ways of managing those feelings. With 2.8 million women doing some or more activity as a result, it’s clearly working. We’re far from finished though – this is just the beginning.

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