Louise Thompson | From Chelsea to Healthy
Health and fitness has always been a part of Louise’s life. At school, Louise was an active member of the Downe House Lacrosse and Swimming teams, but University soon changed things. Louise’s tight schedule and manic filming life allowed little time for training. Studying Geography at the University of Edinburgh, filming Made in Chelsea and maintaining her Pocket London business meant that she became distracted from healthy food, exercise and a balanced lifestyle. She may have fallen out of love with exercise, but personal trainer Ryan Libbey soon changed things…
Jumping on board of the Myprotein bandwagon in 2016, Louise now enjoys an active lifestyle, healthy diet and her “lovey dovey” relationship. Check out our exclusive interview surrounding Louise’s workouts, nutrition and snacking habits!
What were you doing fitness-wise before you met your PT boyfriend? Were you more laid-back about exercise?
University was where I totally fell out of love with exercise, it wasn’t even something I thought about, I didn’t even have time to socialise or go out, it was ALL WORK. My friends would all run, but running has never been something that I’m good at, I’m too impatient, and I have short legs. Since moving back to London and as the show has become more popular I’ve realised how important it is to look and more importantly feel good.
Before I met Ryan I definitely took exercise less seriously, I would work out when I had a bad week to lift my mood, or if I went through a break up I would work out A LOT. But then I would get comfortable again, it was always a temporary solution. Prior to dating Ryan I would go to the gym and use the machines for around 40 minutes and then do a bit of floor work, predominantly sit ups. Perhaps it was more intense training because I didn’t have the distraction of him but it wasn’t fun and I probably wasn’t doing the right exercise for my body. I also started doing some classes which were fun, because it is hard to know what you’re doing without the instruction. It’s nice to be part of something and to meet people, and sometimes it can be very funny. I even did Zumba.
Did Ryan encourage you to get as fit as you are now?
I didn’t need much encouraging. At the time I met Ryan I was going through a transition in my life and working out made me feel really good, so it was a no-brainer. I can’t remember whether we worked out more at the beginning of the relationship or now, the last 8 months has gone so quickly. He has always been so complimentary about my body which is definitely encouraging. I’m rather muscular, so I’m lucky that he appreciates that look. Other guys prefer more feminine curves, or really skinny girls.
He tells me that my body has got better since we’ve been together, at the start I was definitely more ‘thin’, but he much prefers me now. At the beginning I thought he worked out too much and that his body was too pumped haha! It wasn’t something I was used to at all, but now we are both very encouraging of each other’s fitness and we set each other goals to get more and more physically fit because it is really exciting seeing results. He tells me I’m very lucky that I can get ripped pretty quick and that I need to utilise it.
What has your boyfriend taught you that’s given your body that extra push?
We used to do a 5 minutes cardio warm up, then a 55 minute work out. Now we scrap the cardio altogether haha! For me, my body responds really well to weights. So occasionally we will do some HIIT work, just to keep my heart pumping, but mostly we hang out in the floor part of the gym. We will do 4 sets of 8 reps for each exercise, which includes things like deadlifts and weighted squats.
It is important that you get someone to teach you to use the correct technique with these sorts of exercises though. With the heavy weights, I have recently learnt to make a note of what I’m doing so that I can improve every fortnight and try to lift heavier. What I’ve learnt is to do things that you like, I get bored easily, so I like to experiment with different things. For example, I will test my body by hanging off things, doing the monkey bars, doing muscle ups, and just doing about any movement whilst tensing my muscles.
Sometimes I just dance around the gym if I feel like it, maybe not the most productive. If he is not with me or if I’m feeling too lazy to set up the equipment or intimidated by a busy gym I will just go round the various weight machines or stick to body weight things but do higher repetitions. There is so much you can do with your own body. Oh, another thing I like doing is short sprints (If I have to use the treadmill to shock my body).
Why do you workout so intensely? Is it just to have a good body or to feel good?
Of course, it’s both. But I don’t actually work out ‘intensely’. I think I manage it quite well. It’s very rare that I actually work out more than 3 days a week. I don’t have the time. Intensely would be every day. If I did that I would probably have a very, VERY good body, or I’d be too muscley!
Do you think working out together helps you in your relationship?
We have a lot of fun in the gym together so yes, I love it. But my boyfriend practically lives in the gym training other clients around London so he probably doesn’t find it as exciting. Also, sometimes I forget he needs to train his body, so when we’re together we’re probably only operating at 80%, because I can be needy and will demand his attention and then he gets on with his things, we sort of have to take it in turns because we don’t do the same stuff.
Often we waste a bit of time just lying on the floor! Come to think of it, it’s probably really annoying for other people working out alongside ‘gym couples’. They say that the pheromones released make you more attracted to someone so maybe that plays a role in why we’re so obsessed with each other.
What are your top tips for getting abs like yours?
Floor exercises. That is something that we do together! We will do a quick 15-minute ab blast a couple of times a week. It is SO easy and gets easier each time because my abs get stronger, but my god do you feel the burn. My theory is that your abs will only get better if you feel a strong sharp burn in them! So I will push each exercise too far, till we’re both rolling around in pain. It’s very satisfying. It’s not hard to look up ab exercises but we do things like flutter kicks, leg raises, medicine ball Russian twists, weighted sit ups. You can pretty much do all of these on your bedroom floor. NO excuses.
Abs are apparently “made in the kitchen” how do you maintain a good diet when you’re on the go?
Yes, that is the age old saying, I suppose it makes sense. You may have a flat stomach from what you create in the kitchen, but you’re never going to actually have ab muscles unless you do exercise! That’s just a fact, you can’t take shortcuts. I think it is important to eat a lot of the right things if you actually want to gain abdominals. Personally, I use the 30-minute window after exercising for optimum results.
If I don’t have time to cook something (it’s very hard to get back into the kitchen and whip up a meal in this time) then I will take a shake instead. I like the low calorie shakes from MyProtein Active Women Range because if you’re not into doing cardio you don’t want anything high in calories. There is a taboo that women who drink protein are going to get bulky, but it is simply not true, people are too apprehensive. Drinking protein is simply a way of getting what you need to repair your body in a shorter period of time, ideal for those on a tight schedule. It is also cheaper than buying tonnes of meat.
Do you wear make-up in the gym? A lot of girls do because they’re conscious of sweating/going red, what do you do?
Because I’m always rushing around in-between filming, meetings, parties, events etc, etc. I often have make-up on when I can fit in a gym visit. I used to ridicule people that would wear make-up at the gym because I thought it was a bit try hard. But now I am that person so I’m a total hypocrite. I suppose it’s not great for your skin because of the sweat clogging up your pores etc, so from a hygienic point of view, it’s not recommended.
A lot of the exercises that I will do I don’t actually sweat (which is remarkable because I’m the sweatiest person ever) so that isn’t really a problem if I need to leave looking fresh. If I was to do cardio I certainly would take off my make-up, especially anything on my skin. Even moisturiser can be a nightmare. I actually think the red, sweat, glow look is very attractive because it shows off your hard work, I don’t think anyone can be critical of that, I envy that look.
For a quick workout, what’s the best exercise to do if you don’t have much time?
- 10 minutes of sprinting on and off on the treadmill as fast as you can
- 5-minute ab bursts
- 5-minute squat and lunge exercises for that peachy bum
THE LOUDER THE MUSIC THE BETTER
When do you allow yourself “cheat” days?
I am obsessed with food. So I can never ‘diet’ or maintain a permanent ‘diet’. Typically I will have two cheat days a week where I will eat whatever I want. For example, a roast lunch with lots of roast potatoes and Yorkshire puddings, some ice cream, chocolate, pudding, you get the idea. But then on the other end of the spectrum, I will have a couple of days a week where I will only have two large meals and skip the other (this will tend to be breakfast). If I have a large meal before I go to bed then I won’t actually feel hungry until the afternoon the following day so this comes quite easily.
I’ve learnt to only really eat when I’m actually hungry because there is no point, your body doesn’t need it otherwise, so I will only refuel when my body tells me to. I think I most noticed the change in my body shape when I cut out excessive drinking and also not binge eating, i.e. not eating TONNES of food at dinner to the point of feeling really really full and not being able to sleep haha! Just because I LOVE the taste of everything and I have a bad habit of not being able to leave food on my plate. To be honest I still never leave food on my plate, it is just rude.
What is your go-to healthy snack to grab if you’re leaving the house in a hurry?
I’m always in a hurry so I will sometimes carry a snack in my handbag so I don’t have to buy an unhealthy alternative from a supermarket. Bananas are great, although they go a bit gross and bruised. I like raw energy bites that I make in my kitchen with different flavours, I’m obsessed with a chocolate and orange combination at the moment. I’ve also started trying some of the MyProtein’s snacks, I like the high protein bars and also the Skinny Cookie! That way I know that I’m getting a protein fix to feed muscle growth whilst filling up at the same time.
How are things with Ryan?
We’re sickeningly happy. I almost feel guilty about how happy we are and I don’t like rubbing it in people’s faces because that’s just gross. We’re way too lovey-dovey. Sometimes I find it scary because I’m just waiting for something to go wrong because it can’t get much better.