On Women's Fitness: Lucy Arnold

Firstly, thank you for talking to Warrior Women! Our first question, what is your top fitness and training tip?

My top fitness and training tip would be to find something you love, everything isn’t for everybody. For instance I love lifting heavy weights but I have friends who just love running. It's so much easier to get into a fitness routine if you find something that you're passionate about.

You have launched your range of fitness wear, and IT IS ON OUR WISH LIST! What was your inspiration behind the range?

I was fed up of boring plain gym kits, I love bright colourful leggings and there is only a few brands that do this. I wanted fun patterns like flamingos and dinosaurs not your standard flowers and striped patterns. Initially I thought I would just sell to friends and family but it got bigger and bigger very quickly and I realised I had found a niche that not just me was missing.

Your target audience is real women. Do you think that there is too much pressure on women to commit to working out and to achieve the perfect body (whatever that is)?

Oh yes, definitely. I'm a personal trainer who works 50 hour weeks - I struggle to find time to fit my own exercise schedule in and I feel so much pressure on how I am expected to look for my job. I am a size 12 and last year a PR person called me a plus size personal trainer - I was mortified, how dare he! I think that you have to do what's right for you and sometimes life gets in the way. I think you have to learn to block out other people's opinions and focus on how healthy and happy you feel.

One of your slogans on your tops, which we love is ‘I may not look like a Victoria’s Secret Model, but I can lift one’. Do you think the models put out a negative message of what women should look like, how often we should be working out and what we should be eating? Is there routine realistic?

I think there is a negative message in the media and fashion nowadays and has been for a long time. However this is changing and I have had such an overwhelming response for using real women in my advertising campaigns. I think everybody has unrealistic expectations of what they need to be and sometimes we need to block that out and not compare us to other people. I’m 5 foot 1 - I could never be a Victoria’s Secret model regardless of my size purely based on my height. We have to set goals for ourselves and not ones based on how somebody is portrayed in the media.

Do you think that fitness wear and streetwear is crossing over? Are fitness brands creating clothing with fashion in mind? And is this detrimental to how fitness clothing is being designed?

I wear fitness gear constantly. It’s become a big thing everywhere that activewear is worn so much because it’s so comfy. I kind of just roll with my own ideas when it comes to print and designs so far and don't get too hung up on what everybody else is doing and go with my gut - and so far over the last 4 months its worked.

Most women can’t get to the gym everyday, or can only manage a few times per week. What advice would you give to women, so they can get the most out of their workout?

I would never advise anybody going to the gym everyday anyway - it would result in an overworked and overtired body and mentally in the long run you're much likely to give up. I have personal training clients who train 3 times a week between 30 mins to an hour and still get amazing results in regards to weight loss, feeling stronger and also feeling mentally better.

Sports participation in the UK has a gender gap, with fewer women playing sport regularly. What do you think the government, or sporting bodies need to do to encourage more women into sports?

More funding and accessibility would help. When I was at school I was perceived as a tomboy because I enjoyed PE, and this was typical gender stereotyping - I think as a generation we are shifting in ways of gender stereotypes though so over the next few years we may see a difference.

Are all women’s gyms beneficial in encouraging more women to exercise and work out?

I think it really helps with confidence issues and makes women feel more comfortable - My gym is predominately females only and I think the women I train have made great friendships and love seeing friendly faces and that helps.

What role has Instagram played in encouraging, or discouraging women into sports and exercise?

Does Instagram create unrealistic expectations?

I recently have really swayed away from using my instagram as much. When I was having my own weight loss journey I used to constantly look at pictures and wish I looked like the people in them. We can so easily create a life on instagram that isn’t actually ours. I can post a picture of a gorgeous salad but I haven’t posted the huge portion of fries I had alongside it. I had to take myself out of that world slightly to work on my own mindset and who I wanted to be rather than aspire to be other people.

What exercises can women do at home if they don’t have time to get to the gym?

There are so many bodyweight exercises that are so effective that can be done at home: Press-Ups, Squats, Lunges, Sit Ups, Burpees, Mountain Climbers, Tricep Dips - You can so easily do an at home workout nowadays.

Finally, what advice would you give to women who are looking to get into the gym, or to get back into but don’t really know where to start?

Find something you love, try a fitness class, try everything until you find something that’s fun. If you’re really nervous ask a friend to come with you but most of all remember everybody is in the same boat. I’m a personal trainer and still feel like everybody’s looking at me when in fact everybody is really just focusing on themselves :)

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#Issue11 #HayleySmith #Interview

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