This summer, we’re asking you to #OwnTheSummer by stepping outside of your comfort zone and trying out something completely new.
And we couldn’t possibly expect so much from you guys without putting our own words into action, which is why we’ve got four brave members of staff to sign up to 8 weeks of #MyChallenge too.
One of those volunteers is 25-year-old Alice Dempsey, who will be taking to the ice under the expert guidance of figure skating champion and Dancing On Ice star, Sylvain Longchambon. She’ll be put through a unique two-month training plan, which will combine regular gym workouts with sessions on the rink.
Alice moved to Manchester in 2012 for university and never left. She currently lives in Bollington, which she describes as a ‘quaint little town in Cheshire’, and she loves how rural and picturesque it is, as she’s a self-confessed ‘country bumpkin’ at heart.
Three years ago she started at Myprotein as a social media executive, and now she currently manages the global social media team, which she absolutely loves. When she’s not at work, you can find her either on a walk with her two labradoodles, Wilson and Riley, or doing a pub quiz somewhere (and probably losing). She loves spending quality time with her friends, family and boyfriend, and tries to watch live music whenever she can.
We asked her a little bit about what made her decide to sign up for #MyChallenge, and what she hopes to achieve from doing it.
How would you describe your relationship with fitness and working out?
Sports were quite a big part of my upbringing, especially swimming. My mum represented Britain multiple times when she was younger for swimming, so this was obviously the main sport we were all first brought up with.
When I was about 11, me and my twin sister were obsessed with horses and horse riding so the swimming phased out and riding quickly took up most of our time — by the time I was 12 we owned three horses and spent all of our time outside of school at the yard.
I probably underestimated at the time the physical endurance of owning horses as it wasn’t just about the riding, but even to bring them in from the field was a 4-mile trek, never mind the mucking out of the stables and all of the stuff in between.
In school I was into running, I ran 100m and 200m and was the district champion for those races for a few years on the bounce. Unfortunately, even though I was fast, by the time I was 16 friends, boys and going out had caught my attention, so I started taking the training and running less seriously.
By the time I started uni, the only real sport I was doing was the training needed to keep my lifeguard qualification, as this had been my job since I was 16 and when I came to Manchester I quickly found another lifeguard job whilst I was a student.
Fast forward to current day, the exercise I do now is purely walking — I go on 3-4 mile walks at the weekend with our two dogs.
I’ve never been a gym goer and I find the gym quite an intimidating place. On the times I have been, I’ve been filled with dread that people are looking at me because I don’t know what I’m doing. I’d love to just be able to go to the gym and not feel nervous or self-conscious.
Do you keep track of what you eat or follow a specific diet?
I’ll put my hands up and say, my diet shocking. I don’t eat breakfast or lunch, and then pretty much don’t count calories or macros when I do eat at teatime.
I don’t skip breakfast and lunch because I think that’s healthy or that it will help me lose weight, I’m just genuinely not hungry at those times, so I’ll normally wake up at 7am and go all the way through until 7pm purely fuelled on coffee and water.
An average meal in the week would be something like chicken sausages, vegetables and mash, or turkey mincemeat fajitas, usually followed by dark chocolate. When it gets to the weekend I do probably go off the wagon, so just eat what I want even more so than in the week.
I’m not really conscious of what I eat on a day-to-day basis, but I definitely should be. I have a bit of a weird relationship with food in that sense and I’ve picked up some pretty bad habits that need sorting out — three meals a day will be a good start, I’m sure.
My biggest food weakness would be a Greek night, with pitta bread and humus, lamb chops, and stuffed vine leaves… actual food night-in goals. Another big ‘no no’ of my diet without doubt is wine — I do love a Friday/Saturday night wine (and maybe some Tuesdays), and well, we all know that liquid calories are the devil.
Why did you put yourself forward for #MyChallenge?
I put myself forward for a few reasons. Not only is this going to really challenge me physically, it’s also really going to challenge me mentally, probably more so than the physical… just don’t tell Sylvain I said that, in case he tries to prove me wrong.
One of my biggest motivations behind doing this challenge is to finally have that invaluable education that will not only help me to complete these 8 weeks, but will also play a pivotal part in helping me to finally make changes to my lifestyle.
Having that education will undoubtedly help me on my fitness journey going forward, I’m seeing these 8 weeks as the beginning of something bigger for me long term but it’s the motivation I need to get started.
The education doesn’t just stop in the gym either, there are other things such as nutrition that I would love to finally get to grips with, as I know my eating patterns are not the healthiest.
What do you hope to achieve from #MyChallenge?
I want to feel like I’ve accomplished something, and I want to feel proud of myself that I’ve given something my all. I want my friends and family to be proud of me too, and hey, if I can lose weight whilst I’m doing that, then it’s a win-win.
The way I also see this is; if I can do it then anybody else can too. So if I can also help to motivate someone else to try something new too then I’ve hit the jackpot, that would be amazing!
What do you think you’ll find hardest about #MyChallenge?
No doubt it will be the gym; I’ve got a real phobia of it because I am just a complete novice and I feel conscious that people around me are thinking the same about me. I’m hoping I will move past that quite quickly with Sylvain’s help.
After that, probably just getting in the routine of it — gym sessions in the morning, figure skating in evenings, three meals a day — all things I’m just not used to at all.
And possibly missing out on the wine. Maybe.
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Everything you need to know about getting your skates on.
Our articles should be used for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to be taken as medical advice. If you’re concerned, consult a health professional before taking dietary supplements or introducing any major changes to your diet.