With 22 years experience in the fitness industry Helena Philippou tells Sundried how she's helped her many clients over the years.
How did you find yourself in the world of fitness?
I once weighed 15 stones, after undergoing every quick fix diet that was available on the market and not getting results, even though I trained from a young age with martial arts and boxing. I started to eat more cleanly and still continued to exercise regularly, but this time more intensely, including not skipping any meals and keeping more focus my journey. In just under a year this lead to myself losing over 6 stones and everyone that knew me saw the difference. The best bit I worked for it and hard.
Through my achievement, I encourage others around me to take the same route, inspiring me to begin my career as fitness professional, now 22 years later I have never looked back.
Do you follow a specific diet?
I mainly eat very well and I am a vegetarian. My diet consists of a lot of beans, salads, tofu, sweet potatoes and lots of vegetables and fruit, with the indulgent of a cake or 2. When I’m competing I get strict with the 1-2 cakes being none at all.
What do you do to keep your clients motivated?
I have always been a firm believer that when you train your clients, body & mind needs to be intact in order for clients to gain the best benefits.I am quite a positive person in general and it helps that I have a degree in psychology, this enables me to see mentally where my clients are at. For instance if they are in contemplation mode, I have hands on experience to see what is restricted them in achieving results and any doubts they have in continuing to be motivated in carrying out their journey. Through my process, my clients are able to identify what is restricting them in progressing. As a result, this helps my client to highlight what is needed to be done, to stop their negative thoughts continuing and more importantly continue their journey to a fitter life, without any doubts. I also very strongly preach to my clients that health and fitness is a lifestyle not a fad and investing in it is by far the best investment you will do in your life.
Talk us through your training regime.
I train 5-6 times a week and mix my training with: boxing, weights, circuits, HIIT-training and yoga. When I compete I split my training sessions into 2 a day, mainly working on weights in the morning and in the afternoon my cardio. I specialise with training specific body types and this suits my type to a tee.
How do you keep your fitness knowledge up to date?
I am a freelance writer on health & fitness so research is carried out throughout on the subject.
Through my research and years experience, I am familiar with all trends that are on the market, which ones work and which ones don’t.
Knowledge is power baby!...........................
How do you balance work and a social life?
Firstly what’s the point in working for yourself if you can’t have a social life?
I am a strong believer in balance in your life; after all I preach this to my clients I would be a total hypocrite if I didn’t do it.
What are your top 3 trainer tips?
I could say, do squats, eat clean but this doesn’t apply to all, but I would say is this:
Remember keeping fit and healthy is not a chore, without your health you can’t really enjoy life to the max, think about that one.
Invest in a food diary and record what you eat on a daily basis, also how you are feeling mentally. This will highlight to you if you’re eating healthy or not, and if your lifestyle has an impact with the foods you eat: for example if you are feeling down, can this result to you choosing junk food over clean foods. It’s also great as a reference to go back to your monthly entries and see the difference in your eating habits, I find this effective with my clients in ensuring they don’t result to junk food just because they are having a crappy day.
Make sure you have at least 10min of ‘me time’, where you can sit in silence and just evaluate how you are feeling and just take a breath.
If you could only give your clients one exercise, what would it be?
Mmmmmm, this could be a tricky one, simply because it's important to train the whole body, after all you don’t want to become lopsided. If I had to choose an exercise where you get an all round body workout and cardio at the same time, it would definitely be boxing, including a circuit.
What are your training aspirations?
It’s simple, to be the best version I can be for myself both body & mind.