Get fit with Angie Dowds
Monday 18 January 2010
She is the hardcore trainer known for whipping chubby cotestants on The Biggest Loser, ITV 1's successful weight loss reality show, into shape - but Angie Dowds is nothing as scary in real life...
Well, almost... While we chatted to the coach about all things fitness, motivation and the new Biggest Loser exercise DVD, we could detect that under the friendly and chatty demeanour lies an iron core.
That said, Angie happily admitted that she did 'absolutely nothing' over the holidays and that January is the worst month of the year to kick-start a new fitness regime - a girl after our own hearts!
But knowing how super-trim and fit Angie usually appears on our TV screens, we doubt she has as much work ahead of her as the rest of us! Still, who better to quiz on fit-tips than the woman who has made it her mission to get Britain trim and healthy?
Be honest, Angie - did you over-indulge over the holidays like the rest of us?
I did absolutely nothing over Christmas, which I regret now because I feel fat, out of shape and lazy - but I do it every year. I always find January very tough, I think everybody does. It's hard getting back into an exercise regime because the weather's cold and everyone has put on a bit of weight.
Is that what your new DVD focuses on?
Yes, it is. It's called ‘New Year, New You’ and is aiming to help people kick-start their fitness training. Very few people I know don’t put on a bit of weight over Christmas and the holiday season kind of throws everyone out of their routine. With the miserable weather and the darkness, everyone can benefit with a bit of help!
The DVD mainly focuses on fat burning, but also building muscle tissue - so it's a double whammy of burning fat and calories most efficiently and getting that metabolic rate up by building muscle tissue. It' challenging but I want people dripping with sweat!
What would you say to people who need a motivation boost?
January is the worst month of the year. The weather is horrific. Everybody has put on weight. and they're out of their usual routine.
The most important thing to get your motivation back is to get to the gym and ignore how bad you feel, because to be honest it's going to be tough for the first week. You’re not going to enjoy it, you’re probably going to be struggling to find the discipline... but once you get past that first week you’re going to be motivated because you’ve got the routine back in your life.
You need to train hard enough to get the endorphins going and that’s where I think a lot of people go wrong. They don’t push themselves enough to get a good sweat going, but that’s where you get the feel-good factor from. That's what makes you feel great after a good work-out and that’s what keeps you turning up the next day.
You’re not going to dramatically change your physique during the first week and if you’re relying on that for your motivation you may end up giving up. But the feeling you get when you’ve done a good work-out is incredible and that’s what I tend to try and get people to focus on.
Consistency is another important factor: even if you only do 20 minutes or half an hour, it's important to do it regularly. The more you do it, the easier it becomes. If I miss a training session, then I want to blow the next one off, too.
Would you recommend to get a gym buddy?
Training on your own is a lot harder and a training partner can motivate and push you to keep going and achieve better results. It doesn’t have to be a personal trainer, but exercise classes are really good - once you’re in you’ve got that group mentality!
If you find classes intimidating I would reccommend you find somebody to train with who is in better shape or fitter than you, because they can push you. If you have a gym buddy at the same level as you, you tend to stay there. Personally, I always train with guys because they push me harder. Find someone who’s going to kick your ass a little bit!
Or, of course, put on an exercise DVD - it's the next best thing to having a trainer with you. On the 'New Year, New You' workout I’m doing the exercises with the team behind me, so you’re not on your own, you’re doing it with us!
What about people who don't have time to hit the gyms, like busy mums for example?
Mums at home have one of the biggest challenges because they can’t often leave the babies. Again, that's where the DVD is pretty fantastic because you can do a workout at home in only 15 minutes.
But another brilliant thing I always recommend to new mums is to get the pram, get wrapped up and go out for a good hour-long walk. It's brilliant exercise and a fantastic fat burner. The fresh air and the sunlight are so important at this time of year!
I love walking, I think it’s really underestimated.I walk everyday with my dog and I find that it keeps weight off me really well. It’s a fantastic fat burner. People think that they’ve got to go hardcore all the time but actually a consistent walk everyday will burn more fat then just doing a couple of sessions in the gym.
Do you have any nutritional tips?
January is generally quite difficult, because people are tempted to grab comfort foods as it's so miserable outside.I’m eating comfort foods because I’m cold and it's winter - it’s a natural thing for people to put a little bit of weight on in the winter. It’s actually the way we are designed, so you’re fighting against your own natural instinct and it is difficult.
But you can find comfort foods that are healthy, there are plenty of options. Brown rice is really good for you, great carbohydrate, great fibre. I also eat a lot of soups, you can get some comforting soups and things like pulses, beans, lentils and stews.
Even things like baked potatoes with beans are absolutely fine for people to eat. What people need to stay away from are the chocolate, biscuits and big pasta meals in the evening. That’s where people tend to go wrong, they tend to eat huge meals in the evening. I would go for things like soup in the evening, and pulses and stews, rice and porridge - they're warm, comforting and healthy.
And your top fitness tip for the new year?
People put too much pressure on themselves in January to get results too quickly, instead they need to concentrate on just getting started, getting into a healthy routine and don’t worry too much about the results.
You don’t have to be in perfect shape by the end of February - try to give yourself realistic goals. Don't put too much expectation on results. If you give yourself too much of a hard time, you get depressed because you feel like you’re failing. As long as you can get a routine going and are training regularly and start to eat a little better, then that is a success in itself. Give yourself a little more time!
I tend to set myself the target of April. As long as I’m physically back on track by then I’m happy with that. Don’t be too hard on yourself otherwise the whole experience becomes tortuous and I just don’t think it should be like that!
The Biggest Loser: New Year, New You is out now on DVD
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