Sunday 4 December 2016

How I do it: Amanda Byram

Amanda Byram is an international name that needs no introduction. A TV host by day, this multi-tasker moonlights as a fitness and health enthusiast, currently beavering away on a soon-to-be-announced health brand. Byram is full of tips and tricks, she gives Caroline Foran a snapshot of her healthy lifestyle.

Published 04/04/2016 | 02:30

Amanda Byram
Amanda Byram

The exercise programme: “I like to train on a Sunday, because I like to get one step ahead of myself. I take Saturdays off but Sundays are a great day to ease into the week ahead rather than face a reality check on Monday morning. Mondays are all go for me. I spend the weekend creating new ideas and am always desperate to share them with my agents and team.”

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Gone are the days when Amanda used to push and punish herself. “I really listen to my body these days. I used to believe that more was better. It was so unhealthy, both for my body and my mind. So, these days I mix everything up.

Weights are my basic staple, which I try to do 3-4 times a week. I always urge women to lift weights, and heavy ones at that, because weights, especially as you get older, can help you to get leaner faster. Lifting heavy weights tears the muscle which in turn rebuilds and sculpts. The action of weight lifting also means that your body is in fat-burning mode for much longer, most of the day in fact, so you can burn calories and fat for much longer than if you had just done a cardio workout.

“I’m not a massive fan of cardio any more, but it is great for heart health, and also if you are getting into shape for anything special, the combo with weights is great. Twenty minutes before or after a weights workout is enough. I like HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), which involves anything that gets your heart rate up and down quite a lot in a small window of time. I have made some all-over body workouts on my YouTube channel, which are quite HIIT-heavy.

“Beyond the weight and HIIT training, I like to mix things up with spinning, bootcamp, boxing and I throw in as much outdoor stuff as I can. I love to get out on the bike or go hiking. Connecting with nature is such a great way to clear your head while training.”

For Amanda, it’s about the mind, just as much (if not more so) as the body. “I don’t believe that you can be truly healthy if your mind isn’t in the right place. I wasted so many years thinking I was fat or at least not as thin or perfect as I wanted to be. I remember thinking, ‘if only I could be skinny, life would be perfect.’ All those years I looked perfectly normal, but I was scared of letting go, scared of what would happen. I really lament those lost years. I wasted so much precious time worrying about my weight, all the while being completely unhealthy. Hence my new approach of listening to my body instead of focusing on aesthetics. Our minds can cripple us! That said, exercise is a fantastic way to clear the cobwebs, I find that I am brighter and happier when I train.

The food programme: Behold, Amanda’s dietary rules: “I don’t believe in diets any more. No healthy lifestyle should include the word ‘diet’.  You should adhere to a long-term lifestyle plan. Diets suck. They are short term and won’t last, leaving you back where you began. Only more stressed, depressed and most likely gaining weight, all the while messing with your head, raising cortisol levels and not going out for dinner in case you gain weight. We’ll be a long time dead.

“I don’t eat processed or packaged foods if I can avoid them; I drink very rarely and I don’t eat sugar or sugary foods, white refined carbs or dairy. I stick to whole foods. I try not to eat anything that has a long shelf life, or comes in a package.

“I usually start my day with something green. I juice things like cucumber, carrot, spinach, kale, then I blend with ice and some berries, some Maca, Lucuma (which comes from a Brazilian fruit in powder form and is great for Vitamin C), some chia seeds (good fats, fibre and protein) and some avocado (my favourite food and such a good fat). 

“My staples include oodles of veg, lots of fish, chickpeas and lentils. And I love my sweet potatoes, brown rice, quinoa and bean noodles. I stay away from meat as much as I can unless it’s organic or grass-fed.”

Treat-wise, she indulges every now and then. “Every weekend I have whatever it is I’ve been craving all week: chocolate, cake, pizza, whatever. You have to allow your body to reset and also to know that it will get rewarded. That said, the foods I eat every day, I love! So I never see it as denial. I eat every food group; eliminating food groups is a dangerous game, and yo-yo dieting can screw up your metabolism, as it did mine over the years.”

Amanda is building her fitness brand Byram, but in the meantime, follow her YouTube channel for exercise videos and nutritional tips

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