Okay, so we’ve all been there… we’ve all woken up in the morning with the intention of hitting the gym right after we’ve clocked off from work. Only somehow, when 5 o’clock does roll around, after all the emails, meetings and deadlines — the idea of exercising isn’t quite so appealing.
And, then there’s the commute, which sucks the final bit of determination out of you, so that you actually end up on the sofa watching Love Island instead… repeat for the rest of the week.
It happens to the best of us — and then we feel even more guilty because of the amount of time we spend sitting at a desk, barely moving or burning calories (unless you count the walk to the kitchen for lunch).
Influencers on social media appear to have all the time and money in the world to dedicate to their healthy lifestyle and physique goals.
There is hope though ladies and gents, as we found out from a quick catch up with Helen Christie (better known on social media as Hells Fitness).
She’s living proof that you can balance keeping fit with a full time job, and you don’t have to sacrifice one for the other. In fact, she even finds the time to be a successful fitness blogger, vlogger, and streamer on top of that too… but let’s take this one thing at a time, hey.
Who is Hells Fitness?
Helen Christie is the woman behind the super-successful ‘Hells Fitness’ accounts — she has her own blog, over 310k views on YouTube, and 90k followers on her Instagram (@hells_fitness). And, perhaps even more impressively, she works full time as a Business Development Manager in software.
“My main message is simple — it IS possible to be fit and healthy whilst working in a time consuming and highly demanding job.
I know first-hand how difficult this can be, which is why my social content is dedicated to sharing how I manage this every day, so you can do it too.
Influencers on social media appear to have all the time and money in the world to dedicate to their healthy lifestyle and physique goals. It’s easy to get caught up in it all and forget how life actually works.
We all need a job, we all need to grind and it ain’t always pretty! I aim for my social media to show a more realistic approach to fitness, which resonates with everyday 9-5 people.”
It’s a refreshing approach, right? We wanted to know more, so we asked Helen to go back to where it all started.
Where did your fitness journey begin?
If we go way back, my fitness journey began around the age of 8. I was that kid who loved P.E at school.
At primary school, I remember absolutely loving it when we used to set up ‘the apparatus’ in the hall, and I’d always put in maximum effort to showcase my skills.
In secondary school, my pursuit of fitness became more serious as events such as ‘The Stamina Run’ appeared, which was a mile-long run with the entire year group around the school. I would go running with my dad to train for The Stamina Run and this is probably my first memory of really wanting to be stronger and faster.
At 14 I then joined the gym with my dad and things have just continued from there.
What motivates you to work out?
I was bought up to believe that exercise is a normal part of a person’s day and that being physically able is of great importance.
I don’t feel ‘motivated’ to work out because, for me, it doesn’t require motivation or willpower. I’m not in a constant battle with myself to be motivated because I truly believe it’s just an essential and normal part of my life.
Other than that, I really enjoy exercise! The best bits for me are feeling strong and continually challenging myself on a personal level.
Are you always working towards a goal?
I started training at the gym with no intention of changing anything about my body. My first goal was to be able to row 1000m in 5 minutes… then it was to try and do more than 10 minutes on the cross-trainer.
The athletic physique just came with it as an additional bonus, but it was a few years in before I began to notice that my body had changed.
At the moment, I’m training to improve my posture, core stability and my upper body strength.
How do you balance the fitness side of your life with work?
When I started work I saw an almost immediate drop in my general wellbeing — I was sat down for 10 hours a day which was making me lethargic and my fitness level just seemed to be decreasing. I also developed knee and back ache from a poor desk set-up.
At this point, fitness became even more important to me, and I originally started my fitness blog after I started full-time work at 18. These are my top 3 tips:
1) Spend no more than one hour in the gym
That includes stretching, warm ups, and cool downs. Making my exercise sessions ‘leaner’ allows me to fit them in quickly either just before or after work.
2) Rearrange your desk
I try and stand up and walk around as much as possible in my job and I have a standing desk I can use to switch between the two. I also use the ‘Stand Up’ app to keep me aware of how long I’ve been sat down for and encourage me to take breaks.
3) Bring your own food to work
I always bring my own food to work, which keeps me from grabbing quick and unhealthy food which is just EVERYWHERE in corporate culture. Every meeting I go to there’s a ‘sweet plate’ in the middle of the table containing chocolates and biscuits.
How often do you train?
I try to train 4/5 times per week, but this is dependent on my work schedule as I do a fair bit of travel. I alter my sessions between upper body, lower body and cardio — it looks something like this:
Upper body — back and biceps
Lower body — compound lifts
Cardio — steady state
Upper body — chest and triceps
Lower body — quads and hamstrings
Cardio — HIIT
Upper body — shoulders
Lower body — glutes
Cardio — steady state
All of my sessions are accompanied by stretching and ‘functional movement’ patterns — sort of like yoga, but it’s more specific to my body.
How strict are you with your nutrition — do you count calories and/or macronutrients?
I used to be really strict with my dieting which resulted in a raging 6 pack with veins… along with a lot of tiredness!
After realising that I didn’t have to be restrictive in order to be strong and healthy, my diet became far more relaxed.
I don’t follow a particular diet and I’ve never counted calories, however, I do generally try to stick as close to nature as possible with my food by eating as little processed foods as possible. I also make sure that I have a good source of protein with every meal and eat plenty of fruit and veg.
Do you use supplements?
I use Impact Diet Whey to top up my daily protein intake and help my muscles recover from exercise.
You have a big following on Instagram – do you ever worry about what to post?
I love my Instagram followers! Most of them have been with me since the start and are so supportive of what I do.
I’ve always got something to share when it comes to fitness, so I’m never worried about what to post. There have, however, been a few posts where I’ve worried about what the reaction might be.
At the end of the day, I know my followers are here because they support my message and what I do.
How do you deal with negative comments on social media?
I don’t get a lot of negative comments, but when I do I just ignore them, delete them, or report them.
Have you considered making fitness your full-time profession?
I have lots of fitness qualifications including a Diploma in Sports Coaching, Fitness and Development, and I’m also a qualified Personal Trainer.
I got into business management because I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do in the fitness industry, and was worried that turning my passion into a career would ruin the spark for me. I was also heavily influenced by my family who encouraged me to get an office job.
However, I have some exciting plans in place for the next 12 months so let’s see where they take me!
And finally, if you could give someone just ONE fitness tip, what would it be?
Tricky question… I’d say my biggest piece of advice is don’t be afraid to ask for help at the gym.
There’s so much information to digest about training and it’s so important that your form is correct when performing resistance exercises.
We hope that reading this has given you an idea of how to make fitness work around your own routine, and that you’re newly motivated to get past the temptation of skipping out. Helen shows that it is possible to tailor your training around a career — and that being active and healthy will probably help your success and happiness in other aspects of your life.