Sarah Maxwell, celebrity personal trainer, has recently joined Reebok as a brand ambassador. Find out how an early career in athletics led to working with TV and sporting personalities – and how she manages to fit all of this in with her busy family life.
I was wondering whether you could tell me a little about your early athletics career and how it all began for you.
School was very difficult for me due to undiagnosed dyslexia, so sport was my saviour. I started sprinting and hurdle at 10 as I had poor co-ordination (hockey, tennis etc). I got to a decent level in athletics but my coach pointed out that I wasn’t going to make it due to my interest in coaching everyone else. I was so lucky to be taken on by Gateshead Leisure department as a coaching assistant in sports development. This allowed me to attend college an get coaching/sports management experience and an armful of fitness qualifications.
I really love your two ebooks, ‘The little exercise book for a flat tummy’ and ‘The booty bootcamp’, do you have any plans for any more books?
I currently don’t have any plans for more books, but I have just finished filming a series of six DVDs for busy women who want a no nonsense exercise programme that they can fit in with their busy lives. They will be on sale on my website soon.
What advice do you have for women, like me, who struggle to find time to exercise? How can we incorporate a regular fitness regime into our lives?
I don’t have the time or inclination for an hour long workout, so I fit in exercise whenever and wherever I can.
Stair climbing in one of my favourite things. If I’m working from home, I can sit at my desk for hours so I walk and run up and down the stairs every couple of hours (I usually set an alarm to remind me).
Try these top tips from me:
a. Walk/run as fast as you can between household chores. It surprisingly makes the chores less hideous!
b. Step ups on a park bench while supervising the kids or dog in the park.
c. Dancing to your favourite record – I’m very good at seriously bad parent dancing.
d. Jogging or walking with a buggy or dog, older children may want to join you with their bikes.
e. Exercise DVD alone, with frineds or your children. Having company really helps to keep you motivated.
I often do a short workout in the day (10-15 minutes) by combining exercises like lunges, squats, press ups etc. I find it’s easier to fit them in and they give me more energy. I have also joined my kids’ karate class and I’m the oldest by 30 years! Now that I’ve got over the horror of kids staring and giggling at me, I love it!
What attracted you to working with Reebok and the ‘FitHub’?
I’ve been a fan of Reebok since I got my first pair of high tops in the late 80’s when teaching aerobics classes (showing my age now). And when Reebok approached me to launch Reebok FitHubs in Debenhams across the UK, I jumped at the chance.
There are many people who are intimidated by fitness instructors and sports shops. The idea behind the Reebok FitHubs is to encourage and support people who have previously been non-exercisers or current exercisers who want no nonsense advice about health, fitness and lifestyle. They also provide perfect training gear to help them achieve it.
This month so far, I have helped Reebok to launch their FitHubs in Basildon, Southampton and Bristol. But this weekend we will launch the Manchester Reebok FitHub (in Market Street) on Saturday 26 July and Newcastle’s Reebok FitHub on Sunday 27 July.
I am giving away free fitness consultations on both dates.
Being a mum, wife, a successful author and a fitness and lifestyle trainer, how do you fit it all in?
For me, it’s all about balance…
This is not to say everything is perfectly balanced all of the time! Juggling the family and work is difficult. There are times I sneak into the bathroom, lock the door and spend a few minutes sitting on the floor to get some peace and I take a few deep breaths.
I’m a real person, honest and straightforward with first-hand knowledge of what it is like to leas a busy life with not enough time to fit everything in. I’ve learned to fit exercise into my daily routine. I don’t believe in dieting, excessive amounts of exercise or obsessive approaches to health and fitness – because it doesn’t work for me. I try to do what I can, when I can, and to feel good about what I’ve managed to achieve – above all, exercise should be fun and not guilt ridden!
Finally, before we finish, can I ask what you keep in your handbag?
I’ve just looked in my handbag. And oh dear!
I have wet wipes, a make up bag, a purse, a 3kg dumbell (no wonder it’s so heavy), a furry biscuit (about 3 weeks old), a small bottle of water, paperclips, loose coins and finally, a pair of dirty kids socks from the festival we went to last weekend