Yogi, black belt kick boxer, author, actress, personal trainer to the A-list, vegetarian… Holly Davidson’s moniker Holly Active couldn’t be a better fit! Holly’s inspiring and motivational Instagram feed is one of our favourites here at Active in Style, and we’ve already pre-ordered her latest book Active – filled with great workout tips, simple to follow routines and healthy yet tasty recipes. Holly aims to help you set realistic and achievable goals – so you can feel happier and healthier whatever your age!
Caroline Lucey our roving reporter and Co-Founder of Active in Style, caught up with Holly to find out what inspires her to keep motivating us all to keep active, and she shares some amazing tips with us too – happy reading!
What does living a healthy life mean to you?
For me it’s finding a balance for body, mind and soul. For the body… Getting enough sleep, staying hydrated, nourishing it with good nutritious food, having a fun varied exercise routine (yoga, running, weights training). For the mind… taking time to rest and relax, getting to the countryside and being with nature, technology time out when I totally switch off. For the soul… Having good quality time with my family and friends, laughing being silly and having fun.
Have you always been interested in and passionate about fitness?
Yes always – at around five years old, I started going to ballet class which I then swapped for gymnastics at eight. I LOVED trampolining and remember saving up so I could buy one for our garden, I would spend hours and hours playing on it and I would compete for my school and local trampolining club. At secondary school I loved to play sports, rounders and netball. And at 18 I took up kickboxing which I continued until I got my black belt at 30!
When did you decide to train to be a PT / instructor?
I had been an actress for 15 years and loved my career, but as a profession it can be so unpredictable. I wanted a career that I could be in control of and also enjoyed doing just as much as acting. As I had always been passionate about fitness and interested in nutrition, it seemed like a super easy transition. Within 6 months of qualifying as a PT and my clients list grew, I realised that making the change had been the best decision ever as the fulfillment and joy I get from my work as a PT is beyond anything I could have imagined.
You are about to release your second book, what’s it about and why did you decide to write a second one?
I wanted Active to be unintimidating and accessible to everyone. It’s for the time poor, the unmotivated, the newbie exerciser, the full time mum who cant get to the gym, the health conscious who need a reminder of what to do. I wanted the book to help you get the most out of training anywhere with little equipment and with options of quick workouts if you are short on time. Its not about crash dieting or scrambling to get a bikini body, Active is all about setting realistic and achievable goals. Finding the workouts that work for you that you enjoy and will be able to maintain long term.
My first book Nourish was a collaboration with two other authors Sadie Frost and Amber Rose and we covered many other things as well as fitness. Active is purely fitness with of course some delicious recipes as well .
What is your weekly workout routine?
I love so many aspects of fitness I keep it pretty varied. I will exercise 4-5 times a week and do a mix of yoga, running and weight training and will go to a group HIIT class so I get told what to do for a change :0) I also go to a handstand class once a week.
I’m always signing up for challenges as I find that keeps me motivated and makes me explore new things. I recently did a Spartan race so added in some strong-man classes, hill sprints, climbing across monkey bars.
Can you share some exercises with us that we could do at home – without having to go to a gym or class?
Body weight exercises can be really effective. And if you’re short on time I would recommend doing a circuit that will hit all your muscles, plus get your heart rate up so you get a rush of endorphins afterwards.
Do these 3 times. Get it done in 10 minutes max. All these routines (and more) are in my book Active
Walkout to stand x10 – great for the whole body!
Jump squats x10 – great for toning legs and butt and getting your heart rate up
Commando x10 (total) – great for strengthening your core and arms
Dead bugx10 (total) – make sure you do these super slow. great for strengthening the deep core muscles
How important is it to ensure you combine your intense workouts with enough rest and recovery time?
VERY. Its all well and good to push and challenge your body but if you don’t give it adequate rest then you will end up causing more damage than good. When your body rests, it’s actually being super productive. It’s working to recover. So pushing another workout onto your body when it’s trying to reload its glucose stores and lay down more muscle can cause overtraining, difficulty sleeping, or even lead to injury.
You talk a lot about increasing energy and reducing lethargy, what are two small changes you can make to help with this?
Make sure you are getting enough sleep – I know this sounds super obvious but it’s easily overlooked.
Cut down on alcohol – I cant stress enough how too much booze can affect the body in a negative way. It will mess up your sleep patterns, make you dehydrated, spike your blood sugar levels, give you naughty food cravings, you are less likely to exercise after a night of drinking, plus its giving your body zero nutrition value and a whole bunch of empty calories. I’ve seen huge results positive with my clients when they cut it out.
It ok to say NO -We all try to fit so much into our busy lives we can overwhelm our daily schedules with doing things for others and then we don’t have enough time to look after ourselves. Its not selfish if you prioritize your health and fitness regime.
What are your favourite workout wardrobe staples to be active in style?
Long high waisted leggings and an oversized tank. Comfort whilst training is key. There is nothing worse that feeling conscious when working out. Half way through a yoga class once I realised my leggings were see-through and spent the rest of the class tugging at my t’shirt to cover my butt. Not fun!
You’re a vegetarian, have you always been or when did you make the change?
Always been a veggie. My mum and Dad are both vegetarian so it’s been a natural thing all of my life.
How has being vegetarian changed how you feel?
As I’ve never eaten meat I’ve got nothing to compare it against. I’m super conscious of what I eat not just because I’m vegetarian but because I have studied the benefits of eating nutritious food and the huge impact it has on our health and well-being, so I always make sure I’m eating is feeling my body in a positive way. I have SO much energy and Im never ill to being a healthy vegetarian is working for me :0)
What’s your favourite vegetarian meal? Can you share the recipe with us?
Oh my, that’s a tough one, I have so many! and it also changes with the seasons. Now we are coming into summer and getting warmer weather again, I’m moving away from my stews and into my salads.
Love this Raw Pad Thai recipe as it’s super simple to make and extremely tasty!
Any noodle of your choice (I like to use Explore Asian Organic Black Bean Spaghetti as its full of protein)
½ Cumber spirilized
1 Carrot spirilized
5 Spring onion chopped
10 Green beans, chopped and blanched
A handful of Fresh coriander
1 tsp chili flakes
Juice of half a lemon
And for the dressing…
2 tsp. Almond butter or peanut outer
2 tbsp Tamari or soya sauce
1 tsp Honey
Would you ever become a vegan?
I don’t eat huge amounts of dairy anyway and only ever buy eggs to have at home. But I do love my eggs and enjoy having the occasional bit of cheese… so no I wouldn’t want to cut it out completely.
What’s next for you, any other plans for this year?
Promoting my book Active and keeping busy training my clients. I will be talking at some fitness and wellness events over the year and I’m also holding a fitness retreat in Morocco in September which is a first for me so that’s super exciting. Oh and I’ll fit in a relaxing holiday at some point – need to keep the balance :0)
COMPETITION ALERT… We were lucky enough to have a sneak peek at Holly’s new book Active earlier this week, and if you follow us over on our Instagram, you may be in with a chance of winning a copy – so stay tuned…