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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”.

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