The cook and ac­tor shares her fit­ness se­crets

Belfast Telegraph - Weekend - - FRONT PAGE - Lisa Faulkner re­cently joined Beko at EuroCucina as an am­bas­sador for the brand’s Eat Like A Pro healthy eat­ing cam­paign aimed at rais­ing aware­ness of tthe global epi­demic of child­hood obe­sity. For more in­for­ma­tion visit eat­likeaproby­

Acur­sory look at In­sta­gram would have you be­lieve that prac­ti­cally every­one lives in the gym — and loves ev­ery sec­ond of it. This is great, es­pe­cially if it’s en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple to get mov­ing a bit more, but what about those who hate the gym but still want to keep fit?

Cook and EastEn­ders ac­tor Lisa Faulkner is one of these peo­ple. After years in the spot­light, how­ever — she started off as a model when she was a teenager, be­fore em­bark­ing on a TV ca­reer — stay­ing ac­tive is still a big part of her life.

Here, the 46-year-old mother-of-one talks to us about her ap­proach to health and fit­ness and feel­ing body-pos­i­tive...


Even though fads like spin­ning and box­ing classes have ex­ploded in pop­u­lar­ity re­cently, it’s doubt­ful you’ll see Faulkner try­ing any of these out.

“I am not a gym per­son,” she ex­plains frankly. “I need to do stuff I can keep up for the rest of my life.”

In­stead of spend­ing hours on an el­lip­ti­cal at her lo­cal health club, Faulkner is big into yoga. “I’ve done yoga for nearly the past 20 years and I ab­so­lutely love it,” says the Lon­don-born ac­tor.

“I do mainly hatha yoga, I’ve been go­ing to Nadia Narain’s yoga classes at Triyoga in Cam­den (north Lon­don) for years and I love it.”

Hatha is a type of yoga that has a slower pace than vinyasa or ash­tanga. There is an em­pha­sis on the breath and, in­stead of an in­hale or ex­hale per move­ment, you’re en­cour­aged to try and hold each pose for a few breaths.

With a fo­cus on med­i­ta­tion too, it’s said to be good for both body and mind — and it’s the men­tal im­pact of yoga that Faulkner likes.

“It does more for my head than it does for my body,” she says, and then adds with a gig­gle: “It isn’t too bad for my body ei­ther, so it’s good all round.”


Yoga isn’t the only part of Faulkner’s fit­ness regime. “I walk my dog wher­ever I can,” she says. “I try and walk ev­ery day, even if it’s just 25 min­utes or half-an-hour of walk­ing.” Faulkner’s on the money here, be­cause even a short spell of walk­ing ev­ery day can have a huge im­pact on health. A study from Cam­bridge Univer­sity, pub­lished in 2015, found that a brisk 20-minute daily walk could re­duce your risk of pre­ma­ture death by be­tween 16-30%. “I’ve got a run­ning ma­chine in my shed that I don’t use for run­ning, I lit­er­ally walk up hills on it and hold hand weights,” says Faulkner, ex­plain­ing how she mixes up her walk­ing rou­tine. “I feel set up for the day when I’ve got my­self mov­ing in the morn­ing.” In terms of what she lis­tens to that gets her mov­ing, she says she al­ter­nates be­tween lis­ten­ing to books, pod­casts and mu­sic. “Some­times you need some songs to help when you’re try­ing to get up a hill!”


Faulkner has been in the spot­light for a long time, so is used to the pres­sure. “I started off as a model so it was re­ally hard,” she says. “I was 16/17 and the in­dus­try is pretty harsh at telling you that you need to lose weight.”

Luck­ily, Faulkner’s self-es­teem wasn’t dam­aged too much by her time in that pro­fes­sion. “I wasn’t that both­ered about be­ing a model — I didn’t care what they said, and I spent most of my lunchtimes in McDon­ald’s,” she re­calls. “There were times when it re­ally did af­fect me, but luck­ily I got out of that busi­ness quite quickly and started act­ing, which is what I wanted to do.”

Faulkner ac­cepts that women are still judged by their looks in the world of act­ing, but be­lieves it isn’t as harsh as in the fash­ion in­dus­try. “I’ve al­ways had a very fast me­tab­o­lism, so I’ve al­ways been very lucky in the fact that I’m quite thin,” she ad­mits.

That’s not to say that she goes crazy with burg­ers and sweets ev­ery day — as a keen cook (she won Celebrity MasterChef in 2010 and has since writ­ten var­i­ous cook­books), Faulkner knows the im­por­tance of a healthy diet, which she sup­ple­ments with her yoga and walk­ing regimes.

“You get to an age and you think, ‘I don’t want be su­per-fit, I don’t want to be su­per-ripped, I just want to have a healthy, happy body that works re­ally well, that I can still wear a bikini’,” she says. “It’s not about be­ing over the top, I just want to keep fit and healthy and look after my­self.”

You get to an age when you just want a healthy body

HEALTHY OP­TIONS: Lisa Faulkner and (in­set be­low) with part­ner John Torode

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