NJ: you’re an avid gym goer these days – has that always been the case?
OW: I was always pretty active at school and then I did a ski season as an instructor in my gap year. I was pretty good in terms of going to the gym while I was at uni, too, and now it’s my go-to thing for coping with stress or to help me switch off. My grandfather lived until he was 95 and he worked out every day in some capacity, so the benefits of a fit and healthy lifestyle were drummed in.
NJ: Does working in television also help motivate you?
OW: It’s difficult to say because I’ve only ever worked in television, so I don’t know any different. Would I be as active if I did something else for a living? I don’t know. However, keeping fit isn’t about size; I just want to feel good. It’s as much a mental thing as a physical one. Sometimes you can’t always see the physical benefits of your exercise, but you can feel it mentally, and that’s just as important.
NJ: You work irregular hours, so how do you juggle your gym habits with your schedule?
OW: Again it’s a mental thing; I have to make time whatever shifts I’m working. It’s just a part of the day that has to be done. If I work in the morning, I’ll be up at 3am and usually done by 10am, and I have the rest of the day to go to the gym. However, those hours can be tiring, so I try and make myself go straight from work. I’ll go to work in my gym clothes so that when I get changed when I’m off air, half the battle has been won. I can then go on my way home or on the way to where ever I’m going. If I go home first, it’s game over! I see a personal trainer once or twice a week, which helps me get a couple of intense sessions in around the sessions I do on my own. Shorter HIIT workouts are a lot more manageable for when I’m overtired.
NJ: When do you sleep?
OW: I don’t get enough sleep and it is actually a big problem for me. I get overtired a lot and I also run down quite quickly. To be up at 3am, I should really be going to bed at 7pm or 8pm, but that can be difficult. My husband works during the day and obviously we like to spend a bit of time together. And once you’ve had dinner and chilled out, the evening can go. So I end up burning the candle at both ends unintentionally, which can be hard.
NJ: You need to swap shifts?
OW: It’s funny you should say that. Yes, it’s early, but I quite like working in the morning. I’m a morning person, and it can be a peak time for viewing. A lot of people are watching Sky Sports News in the morning before they go to work. And if I’m doing an evening shift, there’s usually a lot of live sport going on at the time, which can be exciting. There are pros and cons to all the shifts. But yes, for a work/life balance, you’re probably right!
NJ: Diet must play a big part in your lifestyle?
OW: It does. I don’t eat too much sugar and I try not to drink too much alcohol; I don’t get enough sleep as it is without the interrupted sleep. It’s a balance; I won’t have a glass of wine every night but I like to enjoy a drink when I’m out and about. I try and avoid any dairy where possible, too, so I avoid milk, butter and porridge. I try and watch what I eat generally and I’ve found by doing so, I can really notice the difference in my energy levels. Waking up at 3, I can’t be having big breakfasts because you can feel jet-lagged throughout the day. I have my routine and it works. I usually have a couple of boiled eggs while at work, then some raw vegetables.
In saying that, I’ll treat myself if I’m going out for dinner. I try and make good choices when I can, but if I’m in a nice restaurant I’ll enjoy that experience.
NJ: You recently did some training with lifetime training, to teach yourself to be your own personal trainer. Tell us about that, why did you do it?
OW: I wanted to teach myself about what I was doing. It’s so easy to get into bad habits. It’s also not always possible to have your own personal trainer all the time, so I felt it was important to do an intensive course that taught me everything I need to know. I was also aware that I wasn’t perhaps making the best use of my time in the gym. There’s so much information out there that it’s sometimes difficult to maximize your time effectively.
I did a two-day circuit-training course because circuits can be really effective, and you don’t need loads of gym equipment to do them. It was interesting to learn about why you shouldn’t overload certain areas when training, and to spread the workout across your muscle groups instead, and also to correct your form and learn about what the exercises are for. You can do courses online, of course, but I was keen to ask loads of questions and really find out as much as I could. For example, I was always worried about using weights in case I bulked up, so it was nice to be reassured by an expert.
NJ: So what will you do in a typical week?
OW: I do two days of heavy lifting, and those will include things like squats, deadlifts and chest presses (see workout below). For the results I’m after, it’s not about building your body, it’s about getting lean. I do a couple of HIIT sessions too, so burning fat. That will usually consist of interval training on either the treadmill or rowing machine. I’ll also do a bit of yoga, too. I need to keep mixing things up to stay interested. For example, I used to do loads of spinning, but now I don’t do any.
NJ: Are there any parts of your workout that you particularly love or hate?
OW: I actually love the squat jumps, although they really burn. I feel that if it’s hurting, it’s working. I feel amazing after those.
NJ: Do you eat anything immediately before or after you work out?
OW: I have a protein shake straight after. I have a vegan and sugar free one, or a Bikini Blend one. I mix these with a Super Green Powder.
NJ: Your husband also keeps fit. Do you work out together?
OW: Not together, but he’s a big reason why I work out. His family are mega fit. His dad, for example, is 72 and works out every day so looks like he’s 60. He’s a performer and can do eight shows a week, which is remarkable. My husband used to be really good at tennis when he was younger and he still has a natural level of fitness, which can be kind of annoying! Kickboxing is his thing. We don’t work out together. I think I know best and I don’t want to hear what I should be doing from him, and it’s probably likewise from his point of view!