The pre­sen­ter and I’m A Celeb run­ner-up ad­mits she wasn’t in­ter­ested in fit­ness un­til her late 30s – and ex­plains why dis­cov­er­ing weight train­ing changed her life

Men's Fitness - - Contents -

On how to make time to train

To men of a cer­tain gen­er­a­tion, Me­lanie Sykes will for­ever be linked to that Bod­ding­ton’s ad: so ar­tis­ti­cally shot, so clever, so… well, ex­cit­ing. But ap­proach­ing 45 the mo­tor-mouthed Man­cu­nian has a body you’d ex­pect from some­one half her age, and does num­bers in the gym that put a lot of men to shame. Here, fresh from the I’m A Celebrity jun­gle, Sykes calls out girls who don’t lift weights and ex­plains how she got so ripped while still be­ing par­tial to the odd porky pub snack.

As we saw in I’m A Celeb, you’re in amaz­ing shape. Have you al­ways been into ex­er­cise?

I’m nat­u­rally slim so I never used to ex­er­cise at all. Then I hit 37 and thought it would be a good idea for my health, if noth­ing else. I started run­ning be­cause it seemed like the eas­i­est thing, but I soon picked up a knee in­jury and my calves were get­ting chunky so I joined a gym. Ini­tially, I didn’t have a clue what to do, but I watched and copied other peo­ple for a bit, be­fore even­tu­ally get­ting my­self a trainer. It wasn’t long be­fore I was lift­ing weights, knew my way around a gym and was look­ing for­ward to ses­sions. I was al­ready mak­ing good progress, but it wasn’t un­til I changed my diet that I re­ally saw a dif­fer­ence.

What was that change? And please don’t say detox­ing.

No, a sports nu­tri­tion com­pany called Ac­tive Woman ap­proached me. They do pre- and post-work­out shakes, re­hy­dra­tion drinks, fat burn­ers and fish oils. At first I wasn’t in­ter­ested be­cause I as­sumed those kinds of sup­ple­ments were just for body­builders. Then I agreed to try some of the prod­ucts and was gen­uinely amazed. I could train for longer, my re­cov­ery was bet­ter and I got more ripped. Once I’d ex­pe­ri­enced the benefits of the sup­ple­ments I was more than happy to at­tach my name to them. Even­tu­ally they be­came my own prod­ucts.

How con­sis­tent are you with the rest of your diet?

I don’t overindulge – well, rarely – but I don’t rule out any­thing ei­ther. I eat well for the most part so if I want to go out and have a drink I’ll do it. Fuck it, I’ll even have a packet of pork scratch­ings if I fancy one. That be­ing said, if I know I’ve got a shoot com­ing up I won’t drink for the week be­fore­hand to en­sure I’m feel­ing and look­ing as fresh as pos­si­ble.

That’s prob­a­bly sen­si­ble. What about your gym rou­tine – what’s that like?

I typ­i­cally do four to five hours a week of high-in­ten­sity train­ing, usu­ally cir­cuits. Most ses­sions I’ll blitz it on the bike, come off and do three sets of three arms ex­er­cises, get back on the bike, and then do the same with legs. I’ve got a nat­u­rally flat bot­tom so I work re­ally hard on my glutes. Nicki Mi­naj prob­a­bly doesn’t have any­thing to worry about, though.

You’re too mod­est – but let’s change tack. How did be­ing on I’m A Celeb af­fect your train­ing?

The main prob­lem was the lack of pro­tein that wasn’t in the form of some kind of an­i­mal gen­i­talia! My abs started pop­ping like crazy and my arms looked re­ally toned when I was in there, but that’s be­cause I lost so much body fat. I even trained with [fel­low con­tes­tant] Jake Quick­enden us­ing logs, do­ing press-ups and some abs work, but we got too weak to do it be­cause of the lack of food. ITV never showed any clips of our jun­gle boot camp ses­sions, which was an­noy­ing.

We agree – see­ing those might have steered some peo­ple in the right di­rec­tion. Re­lat­edly, do you

‘I eat well so if I want to have a drink, I’ll do it’

‘i’m happy with my body and I’ve never felt stronger’

think women are start­ing to train dif­fer­ently th­ese days?

The main dif­fer­ence is that ath­letic, mus­cu­lar bod­ies are now fash­ion­able for women. That fash­ion doesn’t seem to be go­ing any­where – I hope it sticks around for good. Nowa­days, you go to the gym and there are loads of older women with bet­ter bod­ies than the 20-year-olds who don’t train. I’m 45 this year and I’ve never felt as good as I do now. The main­stream nor­mal­i­sa­tion of ex­er­cise is partly to thank for that.

What’s most sur­prised you about your­self since you started train­ing?

Just how much I love it. I’m happy with my body at an age when some women are aban­don­ing all hope, and as an added bonus I’ve never felt stronger. Don’t get me wrong, there are some days when I go for a ses­sion with my per­sonal trainer and I re­ally don’t want to do it. There are points where I even start to de­velop a healthy dis­like for him, but once we’re fin­ished my en­dor­phins are pump­ing and I’m as high as kite. I don’t go to the gym to fuck about, and be­cause I have that at­ti­tude I never leave it feel­ing bad or sorry for my­self.

Have you got any fit­ness goals?

No. I’ve got what I want so it’s all about main­te­nance now. Ev­ery time I go to the gym my goal is to fin­ish the ses­sion. So far, I’m smash­ing it. Ac­tive Woman nu­tri­tion and equip­ment is avail­able from and bio-syn­

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