Davina McCall

Davina McCall. Copyright Grant Sainsbury

The TV presenter talks about her motivation to get fit.

Raise Your Game: Why did you decide to make a fitness DVD?

Davina McCall: I've always been quite keen on staying fit. Until I was about 25-years-old I was usually clubbing four nights a week, dancing for four hours non-stop, jumping up and down. That kept me fit, but after 25 something physically happened to me. My body just started disintegrating before my very eyes, I got my first bit of cellulite, and suddenly I didn't want to go out clubbing every night, and I started going to the gym.

I didn't have a trainer, and the only time that I would train really, really hard was when the Wasps rugby team were in, because they used to use the same gym. I'd suddenly row very, very hard, or I'd be on the stepper sweating, but the rest of the time I wasn't putting enough in to get what I needed out.

Then I got pregnant with Holly. I always knew when I got pregnant I was going to turn into a big mother because I do love my food. It was almost an excuse to just totally throw caution to the wind and eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. But then I had Holly and it was hard to shift the weight, really, really hard.

I was in my 30's so when I got pregnant with Tilley I thought 'I'm not going to let this happen again. I want to get fit and I want to stay fit,' because I was feeling not just sluggish and slow, and a bit lacklustre, but I didn't like the way I looked. I didn't feel confident; I didn't want to put a bikini on; I didn't want to wear anything figure hugging; I kind of walked a bit differently. All of those things had an incredibly big impression on my confidence. So I thought 'Right I'm going to phone a trainer.' I looked in my local book and there she was - Jackie Wren, personal trainer. We got on like a house on fire and I've never looked back since.

So when I was about 20 weeks pregnant with Tilley I started doing very gentle training with Jackie. Then after I had Tilley I had the most amazing results because I'd kept doing little bits. I trained three times a week after I had Tilley, and it was really incredible. And I remember six months after I had Tilley I called Jackie up, and I was quite emotional, and I said 'I just want to say thank you, because it's not just an outside job, it's an inside job too,' and I just said 'You've made me feel amazing.'

There isn't any reason why everybody can't have that. You walk with a spring in your step when you feel good about your body, and it's possible to be slim and not fit, and that doesn't have the same impact as feeling fit. It doesn't matter what size you are, if you're toned, you're still going to look good. I don't think you have to be thin, it's about being fit and toned - it's an inside thing.


Davina Lucy Pascale McCall

16 October 1967

Television Presenter

Best known for:
Presenting Big Brother

RYG: Was it easier once they'd given you a set pattern of things to work to? Sometimes you go to the gym and you just meander around if you don't know what you're doing.

DM: Before I met Jackie and Mark I did the same thing all the time because my body found that quite easy. Once your body gets into doing the same sort of exercises again and again it gets used to it. Just like you get used to it mentally, which number one: you get bored, and I get bored very easily, and number two: my body is not learning anything new.

We went through a period where we were doing aerobics once a week, and then we'd do a period where we did plyometrics, which is explosive jumping exercises. Everytime I did a new discipline or tried something different I'd notice a big difference to what it was doing to my body, because it was something new and something different that my body was having to work harder at. So it's definitely important to keep changing the routine.

RYG: What kind of things could we do in schools in terms of keep fit other than the traditional netball and hockey?

DM: Netball and hockey are good for your heart, but it is a skill. You need to be good at ball games, and if you're not then these are quite depressing sports to have to do. I think there should be something that everybody can take part in, possibly a lunch club where the kids get a workout DVD. Have three or four that you try each week, and try and do it twice a week. All the girls and boys meet up at lunchtimes and do 45 minutes workout together like a club. Or form a running club, go for a lunch run or something.

RYG: Many girls don't like to work out as they don't know what to wear. What do you work out in?

DM: I think that tight lycra leggings to the knee look good on me, and I have to wear a really good sports bra, and a T-shirt. That's generally what I wear. Don't train in anything other than a proper pair of trainers. They don't have to be really expensive ones, but ones that are going to support your feet, and not flat soled as they're fashion shoes, they're not for training in.

You must warm up and cool down, that's really important. Otherwise you'll be in agony and then you might not do it again.

RYG: Not everybody has a personal trainer. What advice can you give to them?

DM: It is lovely for me because I do have Jackie and Mark to work out with, but I didn't have them all the time before. I had to make a commitment to myself, and whenever I made a commitment to myself it was usually because I was feeling really bad about myself inside. On the outside I probably looked ok in my clothes, but I just didn't feel confident.

I would start with small things that I could achieve. So I remember that I'd decided that every morning when I walked my dog, instead of walking I would jog. Now I couldn't jog around the park when I started so I decided to jog a bit, walk a bit, jog a bit, walk a bit, and then I'd jog a bit longer, walk a bit less, jog a bit longer. I ended up jogging all the way around. When I first started all the people in the park were going 'You're never going to do that, you'll never be able to jog all the way around,' and then I remember when I first did and they all went 'Oooh,' and gave me a round of applause.

I haven't always had a personal trainer, and it hasn't always been passed to me on a plate but it is a commitment you have to make to yourself. Getting fit isn't about getting fit for the summer so you can wear a bikini and then not getting fit again, it's about getting fit and staying fit. Once you're there it's easy to stay there, but if you lose it you've got to get it back again. So once you get fit, try and stay there and make it part of your life.

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