Celebrity Health - Lucy Mecklenburgh

Image of Lucy Mecklenburgh: © Results With Lucy

Lucy Mecklenburgh talks to Liz Parry about her health and fitness regime

Lucy Mecklenburgh first appeared on our TV screens in the reality TV show The Only Way is Essex. She has also appeared on the BBC One show Tumble and Channel 4’s Celebrity Island with Bear Grylls. She authored the diet and fitness book Be Body Beautiful and founded her own online personal training and nutrition website, Results With Lucy.

I haven’t always loved exercise and healthy living. I used to enjoy sports and dance lessons at school but, when I left, I did the usual thing of going to college and I stopped doing exercise. My diet was rubbish and I had no energy. I put on weight, I felt lethargic and my skin was awful. I knew I needed to do something about it. Then I met Cecilia Harris, who has been my personal trainer for many years as well as my business partner. She trained me a couple of times a week, through one-on-one sessions, and we did HIIT-based training. She helped to change my diet and I just fell in love with the way that exercise made me feel. It changed my life and I haven’t really looked back since. That was about seven years ago now.

When it came to changing my diet, Cecilia’s advice was not to overwhelm myself and to change just one thing at a time. Previously I didn’t eat breakfast, and I’d have a couple of chocolate biscuits and a cup of tea at 11 o’clock because I needed some sugar and some energy. My diet was really beige – it was all pasta, sandwiches, toast – that kind of thing.

Cecilia encouraged me to start having breakfast, which was a massive change for me. She also got me to add more vegetables to my meals and to experiment more in the kitchen. She encouraged me to get more colour into my diet.

The way that Cecilia got me to enjoy exercise was through variety. I’d tried workout DVDs in the past and liked them for a while but then I’d get bored. They were great for kickstarting my fitness in January but when you’ve done the same 50-minute workout several times you start to need a bit more variety. We started off doing half an hour HIIT sessions and they were always different. I don’t think I’ve ever done the same workout with Cecilia in seven years.

I decided to set up Results With Lucy because of all the problems I faced when I decided that I wanted to get fit. I’d tried gym memberships but I didn’t really like the gym. I never had the motivation to go and I felt a bit intimidated. I’ve since found out that a lot of women feel the same. Also, a lot of people don’t have time to get to the gym, they struggle to get childcare or they don’t want to have to sign up to a long gym contract. So, when I started posting bits and bobs on social media, people would ask me to post more so that they could follow the workouts that I did. I realised that there was something in it.

I liked the idea of setting up an online fitness platform with lots of different content which we could change every week. So, we uploaded 30 of our favourite workouts and overnight we had hundreds of subscribers. We kept on putting up more content, and six years on it’s still going strong. Now we’ve got everything from Pilates to yoga to HIIT, boxercise and dance.

I tend to work out around five times a week and I’ll do anything from 20 minutes to an hour. It’s usually HIIT-based training, with a bit of weight training, Pilates and barre. I would love to enjoy yoga but me and yoga have a bit of a love–hate relationship. I’m not very good at relaxing – it’s one of my weaknesses. I find that a lot of people either love Pilates or yoga and I’m very much more a fan of Pilates.

When it comes to my own diet, I try to live by the 80:20 rule. So, from Monday to Friday I’m quite strict. I don’t have any fast food or processed food. I’ll have a veggie omelette for breakfast, for lunch I might have a chicken salad and maybe I’ll have a Thai green curry for dinner. I make everything from scratch and I make sure that I have plenty of vegetables. At the weekend I’m very chilled out. I love food and I think it’s there to be enjoyed. If I fancy a pizza or a bowl of pasta then I’ll have it. That’s what works for me – being strict during the week and a bit more relaxed at the weekend.

I do enjoy cooking but I have around a 30-minute limit and then I get bored. One of my favourite recipes to make is a dairy-free chicken and mushroom pie. I can’t really have too much milk and I always used to find that a lot of recipes always had cream in. So I invented a recipe with coconut milk and filo pastry and it’s absolutely amazing served with lots of green veg.

My top tip for anyone wanting to get a bit fitter and healthier would be not to overwhelm yourself. People often end up vowing to train every day and cutting out too many things in their diets and that can be overwhelming. I say take baby steps and change just one thing at a time. Maybe start with trying out a new workout class or start doing a daily walk. Getting a workout buddy can really help. Then, take a look at your diet. Cut down the amount of sugar you have in your tea and try to incorporate more fruit and vegetables. Little changes can make a huge difference.

Lucy Mecklenburgh is co-founder of Results with Lucy, a comprehensive online fitness, nutrition and health platform. For more information please visit resultswithlucy.com

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