The Instagram logo

Celebrity Health - Dame Kelly Holmes

Dame Kelly Holmes chats to Liz Parry about her new book and the ‘magic triangle’ of mindfulness, exercise and diet

Dame Kelly Holmes is perhaps best known for winning gold medals in both the 800 metres and 1,500 metres distances in the 2004 Olympics in Athens. In 2005 she was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire and retired from athletics the same year. In recent years, Dame Kelly, 48, has presented shows on television and radio and has founded a charity, the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust, which supports young athletes and helps disadvantaged young people across the UK. Here she talks about her latest book: Running Life: Mindset, Movement & Nutrition for Everyday Wellbeing.

I really enjoyed putting the book together. In it I talk about the ‘magic triangle’ of nutrition, mindful health and essential movement and this is an approach that I’ve always taken myself. Obviously I’ve always been into sport and I’ve always been very driven. My core traits are that I’m very determined, very confident and I push myself to my max to get the best out of myself.

Motivation and determination can help you to achieve things that you never thought were possible. It’s all about having the mindset to change, whether that’s to become fitter or healthier or to lose weight. We can all just sit there and wish that we were fitter, or slimmer or have a flatter stomach, or we can actually do something about it.

I’ve spoken a lot in the past about my experiences with depression and self-harm and I cover these things in the book. My mum passed away while I was writing it and that was a really difficult time for me, but it was cathartic to write about it.

When you’re in the public eye people tend to put you on a pedestal, but I want people to realise that I’m just normal. I was really fortunate to have a talent and I’m proud of what I’ve achieved, but at the end of the day I’m only human. I’ve had some great times and amazing moments but I’ve also had some really terrible times. I believe that life is about balance and we all go through hard times and rollercoaster moments, no matter who we are.

I’ve done courses in nutrition and when I’m training for a specific event I really think about what I’m consuming. But I’m not going to lie: I love my food! I don’t live on lettuce leaves. The way I eat depends on what phase of training I’m in. I generally start the day with hot water and lemon as I find it’s detoxifying. Then I might have porridge, fruit and yogurt or a smoothie. I also like eggs for added protein. I’m more of a grazer than someone who eats three main meals. I have small meals throughout the day.

I might take supplements depending on where I’m at in my training. If I’m really pushing myself then I might add protein powders to my smoothies. Or I might have more vitamin B for added energy.

I like to mix up the types of training I’m doing. At the moment I might go for a run, do a spin class, a HIIT training session or maybe some yoga, which is something that I have to work on a bit more. The only way I believe that fitness comes together is to do a bit of everything. So I like to make sure that I get in some cardio, core strength and HIIT training. I’m planning to train for a couple of half marathons, and that’s when my training will become more structured. I know I’ll need to increase my endurance, so I’ll add in a lot more cardiovascular training by going on the bike, the stepper or the cross trainer in the gym. Then I’ll change the way I run by doing more speed work and interval training rather than just long, steady runs.

My advice for anyone who wants to take up running is to look into the Park Run movement as that’s a brilliant place to start. It’s a timed 5k run that takes place every Saturday morning at 9am in local parks around the country. It doesn’t matter what age, size, weight or ability you are – anyone can take part. The first step is making a commitment to doing it. Then, make sure you have decent running shoes and comfortable clothes to run in.

Try and get a friend to join you or maybe look at joining a running club. Groups are a great way of motivating yourself and staying committed. People often say to me that they feel self conscious going out running, and worry about what people think of them. But I think good on them for getting out and doing it.

If you’re not used to running, start out by trying to run for a minute and then walking for a minute, and alternating it. Gradually start to build it up. If you then want to take it further you can look at the idea of goalsetting. This doesn’t have to be something scary – it’s being realistic. It’s setting an outcome, deciding what you want to achieve and how you’re going to do it. Most of all, find something that keeps you motivated and that you enjoy.

Running Life: Mindset, Movement & Nutrition for Everyday Wellbeing by Dame Kelly Holmes is out now, published by Kyle Books.

Read other celebrity health articles here...

Read articles from our latest issue here...