In the past few years as a London based Personal Trainer, Fitness Instructor and Blogger I’ve been lucky enough to have some incredible opportunities come my way and I’ve met some amazing people. I’ve trained musicians, actors, professional sports players…. and last week I got to train with my first reality TV stars – Charlotte and Holly from the hit MTV show Geordie Shore.
Ahead of the launch of series 12 of the show, MTV and influencer agency 1mpact invited a select group of fitness bloggers to the MTV Studios in Camden to experience the workout the Geordie girls are put through to prepare themselves for 6 full-on weeks in their reality TV show house, along with the girls themselves and the man behind the workout, Richard Callendar. And I thought I wore a lot of lipgloss to work out in… the glamorous Geordies put the trademark Wildcat glam to shame! The workout was fun (and by no means easy), but getting to talk to the girls afterwards was not only a privilege, but also made me stop and think about the life of a reality TV star and how fitness, health and body image sits within it.
Charlotte already has two fitness DVDs out – Charlotte’s 3 minute Belly Blitz and her new workout which we had a taste of – Charlotte’s 3 minute Bum Blitz. Holly has a series of books which make up Holly’s Body Bible – a 12 week “fat loss guide”. Yet when talking candidly after the workout, both admitted that working out and healthy eating often have to take a back seat in their busy lives. Holly revealed they film usually for 5-6 weeks solid (sometimes with a 3 day break in the middle) during which time they remain in the house with no phones, internet, TV or reading material. A workout with nothing to listen to? Tough going by anyone’s standard! Charlotte then followed up by telling us that once filming is done they not only want to catch up with friends and family, but often have a full-on schedule of other filming and travel commitments, which can mean that finding time to work out is tough – hence her creating the “3 minute blitzes” to at least enable her to do something for her body, even in just a few short minutes.
Many in trainers though have been quick to critique the girls and their foray into the fitness industry, some even branding it dangerous and irresponsible that girls with no training or background in nutrition and exercise are suddenly branded as role models for their army of fans (Charlotte alone has over 4 million Instagram followers). And that’s without even mentioning their on-screen antics of downing shots and binge eating burgers. As someone who has been working in fitness for almost ten years, on the one hand the notion of getting a tighter butt in 3 minutes a day is somewhat far-fetched and misleading, but on the other hand something Holly said in our open chat really struck a chord with me. When asked how she deals with her new found fame and in turn the inevitable media pressure to look a certain way that all females in the public eye are forced to endure, she paused (a big deal given this bubbly blonde spent most of the chat talking at 100 miles per hour!) and quite calmly said “nothing can ever prepare you for the constant criticism over the way you look”. Granted, if you choose to live your life in the public eye, you have to expect to waiver your right to privacy. But no matter how famous you want to be, how successful you want to become, however many opportunities you want to open up for yourself – they are human after all and to have to read comment after comment, tweet after tweet of negative slurs about their bodies must hurt after a while. Whilst everyone is entitled to an opinion on their behaviour and even their character, what is the need to tear them down for putting on weight or having cellulite? They are young, normal girls and they’ve never held their hands up for wanting to be the nation’s role models when it comes to diet and exercise, and whilst being famous naturally requires a thick skin to survive, being called fat or ugly for the whole nation to see is unacceptable and no doubt difficult to deal with.
On the flip side, as someone who has studied (and continues to study) for years to become a fitness professional, who spends not only hours a week working one on one with clients, but hours “behind the scenes” creating programmes, sessions and diet plans to ensure they are on the path to becoming the best version of themselves, of course it is a bitter pill to swallow that hundreds of thousands of young people are taking the advice and following the lead of someone with no fitness qualifications whatsoever, and an on-screen persona which embodies most of the things I tell my clients not to do. I’ve slogged for years to get where I am today and whilst working tirelessly to spread the message of health, fitness and self love (especially among females), yet my social media following is less than 0.01% than that of the glamorous gym-phobic Geordies.
Despite this though, I am actually glad that the 3 minute Bum Blitz and 12 Week Body Bible exist. One of the main messages I try to hammer home to my clients, class members and followers is that “something is better than nothing”. I’ve said it time and time again, because it’s something I truly believe. Of course I would rather my clients ate clean 80% of the time, drank alcohol only once a week, got 8 hours of sleep every night and trained at least 4 times a week incorporating both strength and cardio into their routines…. but I also know they’re only human and that life will happen. Would I rather they did a few minutes of a fitness DVD (be it a 3 minute Blitz or otherwise) rather than internally beat themselves up about the spin class they didn’t do or the arm session they slept through their alarm for? Hell yes I would. Of course there is an ideal level of nutrition and exercise that will achieve maximum results. But there’s also something to be said for enjoying life and not missing out on incredible and special opportunities, most of which mean sacrificing workout time, and almost always involve unhealthy food and alcohol. I truly believe in the principle of doing what you can when you can, but also not missing out on life’s special events because it doesn’t fit with your training and eating. Is 3 minutes a day going to get you the body of your dreams? No it most definitely isn’t. But is it better than doing nothing at all? Yes it absolutely is. The funny thing about exercise is the more you do it, the more you want to do it, and the more you want to do it, the quicker you’ll start to see results. So if someone working out to Charlotte’s DVD for a month then decides they’ll take it a step further and start running or zumba classes or swimming or Body Pump…. then what an amazing thing that is.
So whilst I won’t be hanging up my Nikes and handing the baton over to these two to run my mini fitness empire any time soon, I am not going to join in with the criticism they have been facing from other trainers and nutritionists. The message of fitness and healthy eating, no matter how diluted, is an important one, and as the saying goes, Every Little Helps. Just don’t be getting “mortal” (Geordie slang for heavily drunk) , eat your greens, do your squats and hey, maybe do a little 3 minute Belly Blitz too. Wa-ay man!