A model juggler
Daniella Moyles tells Tanya Sweeney it's been tough fitting in training with her new job
It is not very often that you will find a regular runner who doesn't enthuse about "runners' high". Yet in a rather refreshing twist, model/presenter Daniella Moyles admits that the joy of regular running is pretty much lost on her.
"Funnily enough, I never did get to that stage where I experienced the high," she laughs. "I wouldn't ever say I have a love affair with running. I'm not a very good cardio trainer anyway. . . the first time I trained ahead of the mini-marathon I tried to run 10k one day and never came close. In fact, I struggled to get 5k done."
Rather, Daniella is a fan of the great indoors, choosing a gym workout over a run every time. A fan of weight training for its lean muscle building benefits, Daniella currently works out about three times a week.
"I did weights purely in pursuit of aesthetics," she admits. "Yeah, it's a shallow reason to work out, but it's still fairly intense. I never necessarily thought too much about how exercise might benefit my heart or lungs. Because I'm healthy and fit, I figured I might be able to run 3k without panting. But when you run on a treadmill in the gym, you can get to 1-2k easily enough. But adding in a couple of kilometres and taking it outside to the wind, rain and hills is another matter entirely."
After the fateful afternoon where she tried – and miserably failed – to crack 10k on her first go, Daniella soon realised that, when it comes to building up running stamina, slow and steady does indeed win the race. Last year, she completed the Flora Women's Mini-Marathon. . . and will attempt to better her time this year.
"When I was training for it, I ran until I could run no more, and then ran a little further the day after," she recalls. "I mapped out a 5k circuit from my house on Google Maps. I also have a dodgy knee, so I had to train that in for running. I got a pain in my hip after 3k, but after about two months of training, I can do 10k easily on it."
Nowadays, as she prepares for this summer's mini-marathon (she is running on behalf of CRY, a charity focused on cardiac risk in young people), she takes to the Naas racecourse near her house for a couple of canters.
"The day of the half-marathon last year was scorching, so even though I'd been in training, the deadpan heat really affected me," she says. "Hopefully this year there will be a bit more of a breeze. Plus, I'm much more prepared this time. The great thing about pairing cardio with the weights is that the cardio is fairly fat burning, so you also get to be a little more indulgent with what you eat."
A fan of moderation and plain old-fashioned common sense when it comes to eating, Daniella still admits that jars of Nutella are her one big guilty pleasure.
"I wouldn't be a food nut, or I don't prepare meals in advance or anything . . . life's too short. My dad was a chef, so I knew about what a clean and healthy diet consisted of from very early on. I think when I was a kid, my favourite foods were random things like Brussels sprouts. But now, I have a sweet tooth."
The love of Nutella aside, her radio DJ boyfriend Dara Quilty also tempts her from the straight and narrow path from time to time.
'He has no interest whatsoever in fitness," she laughs. "He genuinely doesn't care. . . I've never seen him do a workout in my life. We're not the sort of couple to bond at the gym, and I'd never be like, 'right, we're doing this activity now'. But he is my vice. . . he's all about getting pizza and sitting in. But then, all boyfriends can be a bit like that. I just have to be the one with the willpower."
Further complicating Daniella's best-laid plans is an immensely busy work schedule. Not only is she working steadily as a model and occasional television presenter, she has also landed a full-time presenting gig with iRadio. Alas, the commute to Athlone, where the radio station is based, means that there are barely enough hours in the day to keep the career plates spinning, much less be truly dedicated to a fitness regime.
"It's funny, because when I got the radio job, a lot of people were like, 'well that's the end of you now'," she says, referring to the sedentary nature of the job. "When I'm not feeling 100pc I go to the gym and come out beaming. It's a great way to perk up the day for me. And because there's a lot of sitting around involved in the job and the commute, getting out for 20 minutes is a good way of balancing that.
"I'd love to get up and know what I'm doing day to day, and sometimes the schedule affects eating and exercise. Sometimes I've no choice but to grab the healthiest type of convenience food I can get my hands on, and I do try to get those three workouts in a week, but it's really important not to stress yourself out about any of it.
"Usually the gym is the first thing to take a hit when things get busy, but I'll still try for the workouts and a 2k run every week."
It is a wonder that Daniella has any time left for modelling work, yet she remains in demand for photocalls and shows. Just last month, she strutted the catwalk in her lingerie at the Arnotts spring-summer launch alongside pal Rosanna Davison. And, even when her fitness intentions take an occasional knock, she still has plenty of body confidence.
"I try to have the opinion that I don't get bogged down by things that don't matter, so (posing in lingerie) would never get me riled," she smiles. "Of course there are days when you wake up and feel like crap, but I'll think it for a second and then I'll get over it. The job (modelling) can be a little toxic at times, you can't really let it take over who you are."
As it stands, the Irish modelling market favours healthy, approachable girls, meaning that most of the girls working today clock in around a dress size 8-10.
"Nothing in the world is worth that (size zero) lifestyle," says Daniella. "I can't imagine being painfully obsessed with being skinny or having certain measurements. Also, I hate that this pressure is lumped on women only. As girls, we need to support each other and have a healthy and positive body image."
It is a mindset that stood Daniella in good stead when the siren call of the US beckoned. Late last year, she decided to suss out work opportunities in LA on a five-week jaunt. And for Daniella, the healthy lifestyle that everybody enjoys over there was a mere bonus.
"I've immersed myself in the gym for years, so I loved that side of LA. If you're living it day in, day out it can be a bit unhealthy, but I like that in LA they have a very forward-thinking approach to fitness on the whole.
"If you're not that into fitness it can be a bit imposing I think, but I was the healthiest I'd ever been when I was over there. Every restaurant had great eating options and the sun was a big help. I think Ireland's headed that way, definitely. . . but we're a bit off it yet. I miss the food options of LA but we'll hopefully come around to that way of thinking."
For now, however, Daniella is happy to temporarily shelve her Californian dream and build on her blossoming broadcasting career amid the bright lights of. . . Athlone.
"I'm very lucky that I've gotten one of the very few full-time radio jobs out there," she says. "I've always been a model-slash-presenter, and when you're not in your best headspace you can sometimes think 'am I good enough for this? Is it just that nobody is telling me that I'm not good enough?' So the job was a great validation for me.
"TV is more unstable again, but the upside is that I get to do a job I really love. Once that part of my life is up and running, I can get to enjoy other things and fit the other stuff – like having fun and enjoying a healthy lifestyle, around it."
To register for the Flora Women's Mini-Marathon, which takes place on June 2, log on to www.florawomensminimarathon.ie. To run for CRY, call Lucia on 01 4525482 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.