Hosting much-loved TV shows such as Wipeout, Something for the Weekend and Dancing with the Stars Ireland, Amanda Byram also has a huge passion for health and fitness. A qualified personal trainer, Amanda writes a monthly column for Your Fitness magazine, shares her workout secrets, nutrition knowledge and mental health advice on her social media accounts and has her own Body by Byram activewear range launching later this year.
Amanda talks to Willowberry natural skincare about loving and nurturing your body, being fit beyond forty and how to train smarter, not harder.
What drives your passion for health and fitness?
I spent years struggling with body image issues. Never really feeling like I was thin enough, or good enough. I wasted so many precious years thinking about what my next meal would (or would not) be that finally, in my mid-30s, I realised my body had had enough, and more importantly it was affecting me mentally.
I realised that education was the key, so I started training properly and educating myself about food and its nutrients. I finally learnt that after all those years of depriving myself, all I had to do was stop beating myself up, nurture my body with good foods and that fat and carbs are not the enemies. I was my own worst enemy.
Now I am so passionate about health and fitness, so that I can spread the word to others who are going through the same struggles. It is so important for me to empower women through health and fitness.
Has health and fitness always been important to you?
I used to mistake aesthetics with health. To me, being healthy meant being skinny, but it couldn’t have been further from the truth. Health and fitness really only started to make a difference to my life in my late 30s.
You are fabulous and fit in your forties – what’s your health and fitness regime?
Why, thank you! I try to be consistent. I think that’s key. But just as importantly I try not to do too much, or beat myself up when I am not in the mood. Too often we think that more is more, whereas with both training and diet, it's just important to be consistent.
I weight-train about 4 times a week, and then I do cardio on the days that I feel like it. Weight training for me in my 40s is the best thing, because it keeps me lean and toned. The notion of women bulking up with weights is ridiculous. Unless you are using steroids or pumping extreme weights, it is hard for women to bulk up.
I walk a lot; this is where I get my headspace and I also quit drinking a few years ago. I stay away from sugar, dairy and red meat and don’t deny myself good fats or carbs. In fact they are a big part of my diet, along with good protein. Quite often I treat myself to a monstrous ice cream, pizza or bag of chocolate.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to introduce fitness into their busy lives?
It is never, ever too late to introduce fitness into your life! Your body is a wonderful object and it is just waiting to be pushed and challenged. You can achieve anything you want; you just have to want it.
For women who already workout, what advice would you give for taking their fitness to the next level?
Ironically, I suggest training smarter, not harder. A lot of women insist on training every day, whereas that has the opposite effect on the body. I also advise using weights, and not light weights… work up to a weight that you find hard to lift. This is the best way to tone and get lean, and to burn calories for longer!
What are your top tips for eating healthily?
Cut back or quit booze. It is the number one cause of weight gain in women (especially around the belly area). Drink plenty of water as not only does it flush out toxins, but also often when we think we are hungry we are actually thirsty, so drinking water will stop cravings. Eat good fats and good carbs - they have a bad rap, which annoys me so much! Good carbs (brown rice, quinoa, oats, etc.) contain glucose, which converts into energy through the ATP system. Without carbs it is hard to get enough energy to exist. And our brains use up most of our energy through food, so imagine not feeding your brain before you go to work!
What’s your beauty regime?
Being stress-free – I’m still working on it! Stress shows on my face so I try to relax as much as I can. Apart from that, I use lots of yummy creams. I travel a lot for work and need to carry as few skincare products as possible, and with Willowberry I can whittle my skincare to three essential products - the Cleansing Balm and the Day Cream and for evening I mix the Day Cream with the Treatment Oil. My skin feels great.
What does wellbeing mean to you?
Wellbeing to me is not about one specific thing, it’s about many things working together in harmony. I believe it is very much about mental health. It is about being happy in your skin and happy in your head. Without that, no amount of diet or exercise will be enough, because you have to be content with the inside before you can even think about the outside.
You can follow Amanda Byram on Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook. You can also find fitness, food and beauty advice and videos on her website at www.amandabyram.com. Amanda's Body by Byram activewear range will be launching later this year - find it on Facebook to be first when it launches.
Images: Amanda Byram, Instagram
Willowberry natural skincare is dedicated to your skin’s wellbeing to help it feel content, comfortable, happy and balanced. Just how we all want to feel in ourselves, too! The Willowberry Wellbeing blog aims to inspire you to live a healthy, balanced and happy life for enhanced wellbeing.