Melanie Sykes seems to have not only stopped the clock but has managed to reverse ageing! But presenter and model Mel, 48, is the first to admit her impressive results don’t come easy and she puts the work in at the gym to get those killer abs. More than focusing on her appearance, Mel says working out is her chance for some self-care and a rare chance to focus on herself. Something, she says, we all need to do more…
You live a really healthy life but are also busy – how do you fit everything in?
It’s all about planning. I mean I actually plan my week in terms of food, in terms of when I can fit in exercise, its actually in my diary! It’ll be ‘yoga on Wednesday’, and it changes every week because my schedule changes every week. But I do do it and I’ve learnt to do it over the years, and the older I’ve got the more time I put in for myself because I suddenly realised it’s not a selfish act it’s actually really crucial for my well-being. And, if I’m not feeling good I can’t perform and be a good mother and do all the things that I do.
So, you make time for ‘me’ time?
I learnt to put me time in, I’d say it was only about 10 years ago, I realised I wasn’t having time to myself at all and it wasn’t healthy. I joined a gym and it was from there it’s kind of grown into an interest in nutrition and health. It happened when I was in my mid-to-late thirties and I think from the research, that’s also when people start looking at their lifestyles and what the impact it has on your health.
Yes, a lot of research says 33 is when the focus changes…
I was probably about 37/38 so I was a bit later at it for whatever reason. It’s been a slow burner! If I don’t put in me-time I feel like I don’t work at my best in all the other areas of my life, so it’s important.
What kind of workouts do you like?
I discovered hot yoga this year. I had a back injury very early in the year and I thought ‘oh gosh, are my gym days over?’. I was a bit worried about it but I just took care of it, stopped training and started doing yoga, and now I’m fitter and stronger and I’ve put training back in.
That’s great – what kind of gym work do you go for?
I do some high intensity workouts and I try lots of new things. I’ve got a lot of friends in that world now, so if anybody’s coming up with a new concept I’m the guinea pig to try it out! There’s loads of things and it’s just great. It’s just great fun and I don’t know what I’d do without it because it gives me energy! You know, even on my tired days where I’m walking towards a class not wanting to go but I just know when I come out I’ll feel a million times better.
They say ‘you never regret the workout you do’…
It’s true! I’ve never regretted any exercise that I’ve done. I’ve been on my way there not wanting to do it. But, you know I have to plan it, otherwise it just doesn’t get in there. Some weeks its only 2 hours, some weeks it’s 4 hours. It’s whatever I can do. I’ll get there when I can, but I’ll always get there.
What’s your favourite workout music?
It changes all the time. It’s usually something like Liam Gallagher or Miles Kane, or something quite rocky!
If you could only do one type of exercise, what would you choose?
I would say hot yoga is my thing because its meditation as well and it’s all over body. I would choose that over anything else.
As a society we’re quite fixated on quick fixes and shortcuts. How do you take healthy steps to combat that?
I don’t obsess over any particular area. You know, not everything is doable all of the time. I think the pressure of that is quite difficult. So yes, some weeks aren’t as healthy as others, some weeks I don’t train as much as others. The worst thing you can do is drive yourself crazy with that expectation of yourself because I think we all do that don’t we? It’s more about an internal competition that we have, and you need to drop all of those things.