The Lowdown: Alice Liveing Talks Fitness and Sustainable Fashion
For the third year running we’ve teamed up with pint-sized fitness powerhouse Alice Liveing to launch a collection of stylish gym wear. To celebrate the collection launch, we sat down with her to chat all things wellbeing and workout. Read on as she shares her tips for gym newbies, thoughts on sustainability and the soundtrack behind her best training sessions…
‘I have so many job titles,’ begins Alice. ‘I’d say being a personal trainer is what I’d define myself as, it’s my bread and butter, but I guess I’ve grown into being an influencer and then off the back of that I’m doing lots of other things…’ Alice isn’t exaggerating. She’s the author of three bestselling recipe books, writes her own blog and a column for Women’s Health magazine alongside training clients and sharing her ethos on social media to more than 650k followers. ‘I’d say I’m quite scatty,’ she shares, ‘I’m organised with some things like my diary for example, but I think it comes with the nature of my job, there’s a hundred things going on at once’
The 26 year old has, as usual, a rather busy day ahead but we’re keen to find out what’s really in that gym bag of hers. ‘It’s actually really basic.’ she laughs, ‘I have a water bottle always…I’m one of those people that are constantly drinking water. I also carry a spare set of gym kit, because you never know how much you’re going to sweat! I always have hairspray, unless you see me on a glam day my hair is always like this.’ she points to her slicked back blonde ponytail. ‘I’ll carry some make up and I have a facial spray that kills bacteria, so I like to spritz that on my face if it’s been a particularly sweaty session.’
Alice’s third Primark collection offers a variety of prints and styles for all shapes, and all levels of gym-goer. ‘I think great workout wear is important,’ says Alice ‘In the gym when I’m wearing something that I feel flatters me and is stylish as well, that’s perfect. Gone are the days where people want to go to the gym wearing their dads old baggy t-shirt. If we want people to embrace exercising it’s vital that they go in whatever they feel most comfortable in, it’s the perfect motivation to encourage someone to get active.’
We’ve certainly got a favourite set from the range (the zebra print, fyi) but what about Alice?’ ‘I love the grey seamless set, it’s so nice,’ she beams, ‘I feel like this time the collection has really evolved. We’ve listened to what people loved last time so there are lots of seamless options and we’ve got great high waisted leggings. They really hold you in but at the same time have plenty of stretch so if you’re doing lots of movement they have the ability to move with you.’ She’s not wrong, four way stretch technology means the you’ll never have to fear rips and tears when wearing leggings from the collection.
A variety of product in her range is made using recycled polyester, so we asked how important sustainability is to Alice. ‘The sustainability side of things has been a huge shift this time around. We came into it much more pro-actively trying to make sure that we are making changes where possible to make the range as environmentally friendly as it can be. It meant working closely with Katherine, Primark’s head of Ethical Trade and Environmental Sustainability but also just being really mindful of where we can make changes, what fabric can we use differently.’
‘I think people need to learn that there’s no compromise on quality when an item is made from recycled fabric, it’s purely much better for the planet.’ says Alice ‘We need to keep up with the way the world is going, we’re so much more informed now about the impacts of our shopping choices it would be absolutely ignorant to turn a blind eye and not make a change.’
Following the launch of our sustainable cotton program in 2013, and the release of a range of jeans made from 100% sustainable cotton last year, we’re keen to find out Alice’s thoughts on Primark’s sustainable efforts. ‘I think the little things about Primark surprised me and my friends. They’ve never ever had plastic bags in store, not selling online means they cut out so much of the plastic associated with deliveries and even in the supply chain plastic use is so, so minimal. Even tiny things like all of the employees being given reusable water bottles is great, all of those small changes should always be applauded too.’
But what about the fitness industry as a whole? Alice shared her tips for becoming a more sustainable gym goer. ‘Taking a reusable water bottle to the gym instead of buying plastic is a no-brainer! Another thing, which some people might think is a bit gross, is re-wearing your gym kit rather than washing it every single time. Sometimes it doesn’t need to be washed, people should take better care of their clothing, that way it’ll last. Taking a post workout snack in reusable Tupperware rather than buying something each time is a good step too.’
A new year often brings an abundance of fitness related resolutions, so if you’re someone with a gym goal in mind Alice has the perfect advice. ‘Start slow, I think a lot of people go too hard on themselves and then towards the end of January they’re exhausted. Find yourself something you enjoy, that’s the most important thing and then start doing it once or twice every week. I’d always suggest a one off personal training session if you’re new to the gym, it removes that sense of intimidation and looking at equipment thinking ‘how the hell do I use this!’ We’ve all been there!
Does she have a saying she sticks by? ‘One mantra I definitely tell my personal training clients is ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day.’ I cannot tell you how long it takes to see lasting change. The people that see instant change when training are those that do silly things that they aren’t able to sustain. For my clients I want to implement changes that they’ll do for life, so changes aren’t going to happen overnight but they’re going to stay! Really simple things like walking a little more, drinking more water, being a bit less stressed, getting good amount of sleep and exercising a couple of times a week.’
Exercise plays a huge part in Alice’s day-to-day work, so how does she keep up her motivation levels? ‘I always have a coffee before I train, that is my number one thing. I try not to overthink my appearance either, I never judge anyone when they step into the gym whether they have a full face of make up or not, I think it’s really important that we remove judgement, if someone wants to exercise then that’s a positive thing regardless. I think music really helps too, I have a couple of go-to playlists that make me feel ready to train.’
We laugh as Alice assures me that she does (like all of us) imagine that she’s in a music video while training, ‘Absolutely, I’ll be there on the treadmill with the wind in my hair like yeah, check me out!’ Does she have an ultimate workout track? ‘Right now it’s Moment For Life by Nicki Minaj, I recently interviewed Olympic boxer Nicola Adams and she told me that was the song she uses to fire herself up, as soon as I listened to it afterwards I was like oh my gosh this is amazing, so now its mine too! adds to playlist