Anna Holmes is the sister of Sophie, one of our flagship ambassadors. Having run the London Marathon and won a bodybuilding competition in Dubai, Anna now has her sights set on completing a triathlon. She talks to Sundried about life as a personal trainer in the Middle East.
Tell us about your journey to fitness? Where did it all start?
From a young age I have been passionate about health and fitness; my younger sister Sophie suffers from Cystic Fibrosis, a genetically inherited life-threatening condition, so maintaining fitness in our family was always an important aspect of our lives when growing up. My Dad would enter us all into fun runs for the charity and I later went on to complete the Virgin London Marathon (2012) raising over £3000 for the CF Trust - whilst also finishing sub 4 hours (achieving my goal!)
After school, I went to university to complete a BSc Hons degree in Sports Studies where I was also heavily involved in the University Cheerleading Squad competing on a national level. My experience led me to begin coaching squads from ages 3-30 years old and at this time I also landed myself a position to work for the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games in 2012 as a “Gamesmaker."
Currently, I am working in the Middle East and this has opened up many opportunities for me in a country where health and fitness are becoming a very big part of everyday life. I have learnt to adapt to diverse cultures to provide clients with a professional and holistic service - not just providing them with exercise, diet and nutrition, but also, coaching each one about self-belief and emotional wellness. The past 4 years I have been here I have built up a strong reputation in training pre- and postnatal women, training women throughout pregnancy, preparing for labour, birth and also postpartum recovery.
In 2015 my love for fitness also led me to the world of body building to compete in the INBA Middle East show where I managed to place 1st in 2 categories: Ms Bikini and Ms Fitness and at the end end of 2016 - 3rd in IFBB Bodyfitness.
What are your training goals now?
After competing in 3 bodybuilding shows I am hoping to change up my training a bit and begin training for a triathlon and at some stage an Ironman - this is something I have always loved to do.
Tell us one unusual fact we wouldn’t know about you:
I can touch my nose with my tongue!!
Do you follow a specific nutrition plan? If so, what/when do you eat?
Not at the moment. When I am preparing for a show I am so regimented but I do however stick to good nutrient dense meals around my training - this really maximises my performance and recovery. I love making homemade protein bars - you’ll often find me stuck in the kitchen getting messy!
What do you do to keep your clients motivated? Do you have any top tips to keep motivated?
I offer my clients a free PT session where they actually train with me and see me suffer like them! This also keeps me in check and keeps me motivated! For me, setting a goal is a great way to keep motivated; setting mini goals or challenges throughout the year is a fantastic way to continually grow and push yourself.
Talk us through your training regime.
At the moment I am working on full body strength, putting myself through EDT style workouts - this is a great way to get a large amount of work done but in a short time frame! In an EDT workout (Escalated Density Training) your main goal is that you’re working harder with each progressive set and working for as much volume completed as possible. An EDT workout may look like this:
20-minute timer (8-10 reps per exercise as many sets as possible)
A1. Standing Dumbbell Push Press
A2. Barbell Walking Lunges
A3. Ab Wheel Rollout
A4. Goblet Squats
A5. Inverted Row / Chin Ups
A6. Med Ball Slams
How do you keep your fitness knowledge up to date?
I work at SMART Fitness in Dubai and much of what we do is education and learning, alongside REPs where we take on CPD courses. I also enjoy listening to podcasts from other fitness professionals - “Shredded By Science” is a great listen!
What are your top 3 trainer tips?
1. Always have fun and be sure to enjoy exercise - it shouldn't feel like a chore, make your workouts fun and dynamic!
2. Find a happy and healthy balance in life - fitness and health can be a way of life and indulging should be a part of this without feeling the guilt - I love love love a hot brownie with ice cream!!
3. Be sure to change your training up from time to time with a challenge in order to always better yourself!
Why work with Sundried?
I live in Dubai where fitness is a huge part of life and there are almost too many brands that no one knows what to buy, but Sundried has offered me a real breath of fresh air! The brand pays attention to detail and this is something very different to many other sports brands and for me, this really stands out as the brand takes into consideration the needs of the customer to provide the absolute best. I really want to promote the company here in Dubai as it has many added benefits such as a low carbon footprint and charity connections and initiatives that promote a healthy body and healthy mind.
Favourite fitness quote:
"To achieve success, start where you are, use what you have, do what you can" - Arthur Ashe