Sundried activewear ambassador personal trainer

Vikki is a personal trainer who uses her experience as a runner and triathlete to help her clients. She talks to Sundried about training and motivation.

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

Running was my first love in the world of sport and fitness and I have gone from strength to strength since my first 5k, taking part in all manner of running events from Parkrun to ultra marathons and 24-hour events.

It took quite a bit for me to overcome my nervousness about cycling and to re-learn how to swim as an adult but doing that opened the doors to duathlon, aquathlon and triathlon. I did my first Ironman triathlon last year (my husband signed me up as a Christmas present - that was a bit of a shock) and completed the London Classics (Swim Serpentine, RideLondon, and the London marathon).

I'm prone to over-committing myself with events so I'm trying to do a bit less this year, however I've still racked up a middle distance triathlon, a handful of sportives including RideLondon and still have three running races to look forward to (10 miles and two half marathons). Next year I've already got a middle distance triathlon, a 10k, and a 6-hour endurance run booked... I don't think I'm slowing down anytime soon!

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

It started in my early twenties with a Race for Life. Before then I had zero interest in sport or fitness but that event sparked something in me that gradually grew along with my ambition. As I started to do more events, friends and family would ask me for tips and advice. I didn't want to just give my opinion, I wanted to give real advice based on research and evidence so I decided to study for a diploma in Personal Training alongside my office job, purely for my own interests. I got involved with Run Mummy Run and their running fitness program which, along with some wonderful opportunities with my local authorities and an independent gym, gave me enough reason to think that I could make a career change. I spent a year building my business on the side before making the leap and it's now been four years since I left the 9-5 completely. I've never looked back; fitness is now a complete lifestyle for me!

I'd found something I was completely passionate about, working with all sorts of people, young and old, beginners and experienced athletes. I love that my work as a PT, fitness instructor and running coach gives me such variety in my work life and the ability to help so many people find something they enjoy doing, helping them stay fit and healthy, and to challenge their limits.

What are your training goals now?

I'm planning to use the autumn and winter to develop my cycling and swimming skills with sessions that my triathlon club put on, to lay down a base for next year. I'm also chasing a 5km PB so speed work is starting to feature more often. I don't find the gym terribly inspiring so I've made a pact with a friend to go once a week to work on upper body strength and the sort of conditioning work that will help my running.

However, life's too short to always be in "training mode" so I'm trying to do something fun once a week too. For me this means yoga or indoor climbing.

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

  • Have patience – it takes time to build a client base.
  • Don't try to be all things to all people – work out what you are good at and don't be afraid to market yourself.

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

No, I try to focus on having a generally healthy and well-balanced diet with all things in moderation. I'm vegetarian and I really enjoy cooking so vegetables feature heavily in most of my meals and I'm trying to eat fewer processed foods. That said, I'm partial to cake and chocolate and probably eat more than I should! I'm experimenting with limiting my caffeine intake to the mornings only and eating within a 12-hour window each day. I occasionally use sports nutrition products but prefer to use "real" food. I fuel my bike rides with sandwiches, my runs with flapjacks, and post-workout I refuel with milk, yogurt and nut butter.

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

I try to keep the sessions fun! It's boring if you know what to expect each time so my classes feature games and team efforts while I try to use different equipment like battle ropes or slam balls in my PT sessions to keep it interesting, without making things complicated for the sake of it.

The bottom line is that if you're not enjoying what you're doing, you won't keep doing it and you won't see results. Setting small goals and re-evaluating them regularly is key too, something I apply to my PT and running clients as well as myself. It's OK to decide that a goal isn't right for you and change it.

Talk us through your training regime.

It depends on the time of year and what events I've got coming up but if I'm not focusing on anything specific then I'll usually run 2-3 times a week up to 10k each time, hit the gym once and do some yoga either at a class or at home. Sometimes I'll put myself through a metafit workout if I'm short on time or away from home as it only takes 20 minutes and no equipment!

How do you keep your fitness knowledge up to date?

I make it a rule to take at least three courses a year to top up and refresh my skills. I also spend an hour or two a week listening to podcasts and reading around the latest trends. I find taking part in classes and talking to colleagues in the industry helps to keep things fresh and relevant.

What are your top 3 trainer tips?

1. Engage with other trainers in your area and share tips and advice. When I started, I was amazed how helpful others in the industry are and I've tried to pay some of that back to others starting up. There is space for us all if we are considerate.

2. Be prepared to be a beginner again sometimes and never stop learning. It helps to keep you fresh and enthused.

3. Look after yourself. It can be tempting to work all the hours and not take time out for yourself but that won't serve you or your clients. Give yourself cut-off times from work and allow space for relaxation.

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

Pesto pasta salad.

What do you like about Sundried and what's your favourite bit of our kit?

I love Sundried's ethical outlook. We all need to be doing what we can to be more responsible in our purchases and impact on the planet. I've long been a supporter of Surfers Against Sewage so it's great that Sundried works with them too. I'm especially enamoured with the Les Rouies 2-in-1 shorts. They look great and have top notch green credentials too!

Favourite fitness quote:

Understand that your limits may not be where you think they are