• Yvonne Heiden Athlete & Personal Trainer

    weightlifting strong gym

    After embarking upon her own weight loss journey, Yvonne qualified as a personal trainer so she could pass on her knowledge to others. She talks to Sundried about her journey.

    Tell us about your journey to fitness? Where did it all start?

    Having lived a sedentary life as a young adult, in my mid 20s I was beginning to feel the effects. I worked an office job, ate mostly convenience and processed foods and the most exercise I used to get was running for the bus. I am asthmatic and even walking became more and more challenging. I knew I had to change something. I eventually joined a gym, hired a personal trainer, became more conscious of nutrition (and indeed became a Level 4 nutrition coach) and lost more than 3 stone - and in the process found my love for weightlifting.

    I continued to lift at the gym for many years following this, until in 2017 I suffered a spinal fracture in a weightlifting accident. I was out of action for a number of months and used this time to focus on myself and what I wanted from life. I decided at that point that I wanted to help others change their lives by encouraging them to find activities they enjoy rather than seeing exercise as punishment. I qualified as a Level 3 personal trainer in 2018 and am currently studying towards my Level 4 Strength and Conditioning qualification, and I absolutely cannot imagine my life doing anything other than this now.

    What are your training goals now?

    In 2020 I have been very focused on strength training and getting my lifts back to where they were pre-injury so this will continue to be my main objective once gyms reopen in December.

    In addition I will continue to run with a view to completing 10k next year and then a half by the end of 2022.

    Tell us one unusual fact we wouldn’t know about you:

    I’m not sure whether it’s really that unusual in our industry but I think it’s something that is sometimes overlooked. After initially losing weight I found myself to have a very strange relationship with food, exercise and with my body. I feel that it’s very important as a coach/trainer to help clients find peace with their bodies and improve their relationship with food and exercise, and even how they view themselves. Rather than weighing clients I encourage them to focus on what they’ve achieved, how they’ve improved on their performance or their health.

    What advice do you wish you'd been given when you first started out?

    Your journey will never be linear; There will always be ups and downs.

    The secret ingredients are perseverance and consistency.

    Do you follow a specific nutrition plan? If so, what/when do you eat?

    I have been vegan for 3 years and my diet is mostly wholefood plant based with the occasional vegan treat. Some years ago I used to be rather strict with my diet however I like the freedom of being able to eat what I want when I want it. I now very much follow an intuitive approach where I listen to what my body needs at that time to fuel my training. Once in a while I will track my food intake on a typical day to ensure that my intake is adequately nourishing and continues to support my active lifestyle.

    What do you do to keep your clients motivated? Do you have any top tips to keep motivated?

    The beginning can oftentimes feel overwhelming. In order to keep you focused and ensure long term change, you can break your journey to health into bite sized chunks such as just incorporating one more nutritionally beneficial meal a day for two weeks or a daily half an hour walk at lunch time, before incorporating anything else on top of this

    Set milestone achievements to keep you consistent and celebrate your successes!

    Depending on your goal, you may not have to go “all or nothing” – moderation and consistency wins the race.

    Talk us through your training regime.

    This varies quite a lot depending on what my goal at the time is. For much of 2020 I have been focusing on strength so my training has been centred around compound lifts, primarily around “the big 3” although I have also been working on my Olympic lifts as well as some conditioning work.

    In addition I run 5k at least once a week, I instruct and take part in indoor cycling as well as

    How do you keep your fitness knowledge up to date?

    Social media and the internet are fantastic resources (providing you follow research and science based sources).

    Staying abreast of any new studies (again the internet is very helpful in allowing us to access this information nowadays).

    Continued professional education.

    What are your top 3 trainer tips?

    1. Choose a regimen that is sustainable for you, physically and mentally – ideally something you enjoy doing.
    2. Set yourself performance based, measurable goals rather than purely aesthetic ones
    3. It’s the small things we do daily that add up to big changes.

    If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?

    Possibly pasta... or cake!

    Why work with Sundried?

    I have known of Sundried for some time having purchased items from the EcoTech range. I’m very environmentally conscious so this concept really appealed to me. I later learned about some of the other great work that Sundried do, such as partnering with Water for Kids and Surfers Against Sewage. Very much like Sundried’s founder, Daniel Puddick, I too would like to leave a world where future generations can enjoy and thrive.

    Favourite fitness quote:

    “It’s a marathon, not a sprint”.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Laura Gallagher Athlete Ambassador

    athlete gym rings workout

    Laura is a trampoline athlete who has qualified to compete at the Olympic games. She talks to Sundried about her journey.

    Have you always been into sport?

    Yes, I have always loved sport. I enjoy doing and watching pretty much all sport! From a young age I did lots: rugby, football, dancing, athletics, table tennis, hockey etc think trampolining was always my favourite. I decided I wanted to spend more time trampolining age 15, so although I kept going with all school sports, I stopped most of my other hobbies so I could train more and I have now represented Great Britain for the past 16 years!

    How did you first get into triathlon?

    I had a few months away from trampolining in 2016 and my husband set me a challenge of doing a triathlon. It was a local event but I loved it! It was a strange one though because I remember thinking on the bike- why am I doing this? But then once I had finished, I had such a good buzz and wanted to do it again! Maybe once I have finished jumping- for now I just bike as part of my training programme.

    What is your proudest achievement?

    I’m going to be greedy because I can’t choose between 2! My most special moment was qualifying for Great Britain to compete at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics by qualifying to the 2019 World Championship final. A huge moment because the journey had really not been an easy one but all the hard work came together and to qualify a place for the team felt amazing. My second was winning the 2013 World Championships with the team! It was a massive achievement for us, following a silver medal at the previous Worlds- and on a personal level I competed a PB at the time too! It meant we were European and World Champions, it was an incredible feeling and still feels so to this day and as with all the team events, such an exciting competition! 

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    It depends on the situation but always have the same purpose and commitment. As I have become more experienced I think I am calmer now and much more rational. I always approach with a plan- that usually becomes many plans! I think it is important to know though, that plans are just a guide and being adaptable is so important. Situations change so be flexible with that- every setback adds to experience and is an opportunity to learn and add new tools to the toolbox.

    What advice do you wish you'd been given when you first started out?

    Be patient! Be smart, good things take time and cannot be rushed. I learned this the hard way! Hard work does not only involve physically smashing every session. It means working hard in training, during recovery, nutrition, planning and psychologically. Strategy and preparation are just as important as the physical work you put in.

    Why work with Sundried?

    I first came across Sundried after seeing a friend wearing the kit. I find the kit super comfortable and soft and although I am not a triathlete I wear Sundried when I am training both on the trampoline, in the gym and on the bike. I admire what Sundried stands for in their care for the environment and giving back and I am proud to wear the kit!

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Francisco Moreno Athlete Ambassador

    ultra marathon runner

    Francisco is an ultra runner who has a true passion for his sport. He talks to Sundried about training and racing.

    Have you always been into sport?

    I have always played sports for as long as I can remember.

    How did you first get into triathlon?

    Just to try, I had always run and cycled, but I had never swam so I took it as a challenge in a Sprint Triathlon.

    What has been your favourite race to date and why?

    One of my favourite races is the Genal Valley Ultratrail, because of the spectacular environment, because of the organization and because we do it as a team and it is an authentic adventure to share.

    What is your proudest achievement?

    Finishing the Genal Valley ultra, since it was the first time I had run more than 60km.

    Have you ever had any racing disasters?

    I have never finished better or worse but I have always finished.

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    I am very disciplined and always keep my cool; I do not get carried away much by feelings or emotion in competition. I always make sure I finish, even if that means walking.

    What advice do you wish you'd been given when you first started out?

    I think it doesn't matter what they tell you; when you are young you want to do everything your way without listening to anyone. But if someone had told me to build up gradually and not go crazy every day, I would've saved myself a lot of injuries.

    What are your goals?

    The main goal is to pass on my knowledge to as many athletes as possible. But for personal goals, I would love to do several iconic races such as the Mont Blanc Ultra or the Alps 2 Ocean Ultra.

    Who inspires you?

    There is really no one in particular, but there are many who provide motivation beyond sports, such as Kilian Jornet, Lionel Sanders, Valenti Sanjuan, Mat Fraser, etc. .. and many other unknown athletes who are a true motivation.

    Why work with Sundried?

    I really like Sundried's philosophy and how they take good care of their workers.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Holly Rostron Athlete Ambassador

    running treadmill gym

    Holly is a professional musical theatre performer and dance teacher. She talks to Sundried about her fitness journey.

    Please tell us about sporting events you have taken part in or have coming up.

    I have a passion for all things dance and fitness. As a professional musical theatre performer I have worked in film, television & theatre, appearing in musicals in the West End, on tour around the UK and in Japan.

    I regularly take part in charity running events and have ran the Manchester, East London & Blackpool Half Marathons. This year I ran the Lancaster Trimpell 20 miler in preparation for the Manchester Marathon, which was sadly postponed until next year. The Manchester Marathon will be my first marathon event!

    Tell us about your journey to fitness? Where did it all start?

    My dance and fitness journey began at a very young age. I have always danced! It is my passion and it’s what I’ve been determined and fortunate enough to make into a 10 year career. My Granddad worked at my primary school, he was a teacher who specialised in sports and would teach after school dance and gymnastics classes, which I attended. He’d also encourage us to run 6 laps of the playing fields as part of his lunch time running club! I loved it. Both dance and fitness were instilled into me from a young age and have had a profound effect on my life. The discipline and healthy competitiveness (with myself & others) have helped me through my dance career and my Granddad’s passion for dance, fitness and teaching has been passed onto me!

    What are your training goals now?

    To train for the marathon next year!

    Tell us one unusual fact we wouldn’t know about you:

    I tried surfing for the first time this year - in Scarborough!

    What advice do you wish you'd been given when you first started dancing?

    I wish I’d have been more aware of how having a career in the dance and theatre world will affect your ‘normal’ life. People tell you how hard it’ll be and how much training you’ll have to put in but nobody can really prepare you for the impact it’ll have on your personal life. It is an ‘all or nothing’ kind of industry and requires the same kind of commitment to your profession as that of an elite athlete. You may miss family and friends’ birthdays, weddings and decide to cancel or postpone holidays because you’re auditioning or rehearsing. It’s hard to prepare yourself for making those choices until you find yourself having to make them. It’s a different kind of commitment compared to the physical side of training every day, but I think it’s just as challenging.

    Talk us through your training regime.

    I currently keep myself fit by running about 3 times a week. I also maintain my body strength by attending Pilates classes with one of the fab instructors from the gym where I work. Recently I have done some online workouts with my personal trainer colleagues too. I teach 2 online dance fitness classes and an online ballet class, which help me stay in shape and keep my creative side active by choreographing and planning lessons.

    How do you keep your fitness knowledge up to date?

    The personal trainers that I work with at Energie Fitness inspire me with their fitness knowledge and workout ideas and I read Runner’s World for running tips.

    What are your top 3 dance teacher tips?

    Have fun with your classes! If you have fun and enjoy yourself your dancers will too!

    Think carefully about what music you use. I am a BIG music fan and enjoy using a variety of music styles for my classes. Really prepare this before the class, make sure the exercises fit and that there is something for everyone. Regularly keep in touch with your dancers. Whether that be through social media or email & texts. Make sure they are kept up to date with information about your classes but also make sure they know enough about you to feel engaged with you. Give them a bit of insight into what makes you you!

    If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?

    Haha I love my food so that’s tricky. I really had to think about this. At the moment I love a tasty brunch so I’d probably say that. Eggs on toast, tomatoes, mushrooms and avocado, everything that makes up a yummy brunch. Either that or a roast dinner.

    Why work with Sundried?

    I’m so excited about the opportunity to work with Sundried. Sundried combines my love for fitness clothing and trying to look after the planet, so I was very keen to get involved. We share the same eco friendly values. I have consciously been shopping much more sustainably recently, trying to buy clothes made from recyclable or recycled materials, so I was very happy to discover Sundried’s EcoTech range.

    Favourite fitness quote:

    "We dance for laughter, We dance for tears, We dance for madness, We dance for fears, We dance for hopes, We dance for screams, We are the dancers, We create the dreams." - Albert Einstein

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Paul John Smith Athlete Ambassador

    mountain biking outdoor adventure

    Paul has a passion for mountain biking and has broken a few bones over the years. He talks to Sundried about training and racing.

    Have you always been into sport?

    I did road cycling in my mid-teens but lost motivation in my late teens. I returned to cycling and took to mountain biking in my forties after a long term injury.

    What has been your favourite race to date and why?

    Open bike race in Gruyere, Switzerland. I lived in Switzerland for three years and miss it terribly. This race involved racing through the castle village of Gruyere. I am looking forward to racing this event again in 2021.

    What is your proudest achievement?

    This is an ongoing thing, I strive to make each event my proudest moment and live in the now.

    Have you ever had any racing disasters?

    During my first 8-hour endurance race, in truly vile conditions, I lost traction and broke my collarbone.

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    As a person with autism, my obsession is in mountain biking and to a lesser extent running. I have broken several bones and maintain my passion. Crashing and injury are a by-product of sport and whilst frustrating, we need to accept this and find ways to motivate ourselves through these struggles.

    What advice do you wish you'd been given when you first started out?

    Don’t expect overnight results.

    What are your goals?

    To compete in the nations in the MTB marathon discipline.

    Who inspires you?

    Julian Absalon, Emily Batty, Isla Short.

    Why work with Sundried?

    I am pleased to be working with an environmentally conscious clothing brand, who produce quality items within an attainable budget.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren