14.10.13

Living the simpElle life: Victoria

Welcome to back my mini series - Living the simpElle life - where I talk to someone who has inspired me with their story. 

Based on a great phrase I heard recently - 

"The Universe is made up of stories, not of atoms"

- so that is what I want to share with you, stories, to open up the Universe to us all! 

Each individual we meet embodies what this entire blog is about. They have dug deep to find motivation, they have sought inspiration and in doing so become inspirational to others. They have been empowered with knowledge to change and that is what their story will do for the rest of us...

Meet: Victoria Atess 



I first met Victoria while teaching Nike Training Club (NTC) at Westfield London and Clapham Common. I remembered Victoria well; after leaving London and my regular NTC classes in March, I saw Victoria again when covering at Clapham Common in August. I was astonished by the transformation Victoria had made and inspired by her commitment, dedication, her journey and her success!

- {THEN} -

Elle: What made you decide to start training / running? ...What was your plan / goals?

VA: I’d been thinking I must get back into shape for years but had made all the classic excuses not to. But I was spurred on by a couple of things - first, I moved into a fairly sporty house share - one housemate did wakeboarding, another climbing and another had done an ironman competition, so I suddenly felt very inadequate with my only exercise being the walk to work! And then my super fit brother moved to London for a summer internship so I had a running buddy that wouldn’t mind me slowing them down! ...who also handily lived in a part of London where I wasn’t likely to bump into anyone I knew!! My only goal to start with was to be able to run 10 minutes comfortably without stopping to walk, because that’s what I could remember doing in PE at school! I thought this would take forever to reach but the first time I ran with nike running club I did a 35 minute run no problem. My stamina just increased so fast. 

Victoria's success is clearly evident here...

- {HOW} -

Elle: What's your favourite way to work out? 

VA: NTC exercise classes - High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). It is such a lovely group of people to train with, so much support and such a good atmosphere. Theres lots of trainers with different backgrounds/disciplines so always something new to try. I get excited by new warm ups/cool downs to try! And new drills-if theres a new one that I struggle with the form or something I end up trying to master it at home! And in bootcamp/NTC classes theres always someone mentioning a race or competition they’re doing so you find yourself signing up too. Its just a great atmosphere, everyone wants to get better, fitter and healthier. I’ve never had a gym membership so don’t really know how this compares but I just can’t imagine it being the same buzz!

Victoria (left) after training with me at Regents Park this September

Elle: What's your typical weekly exercise schedule

VA: I try to do either a class or a run every day except Friday. If I can’t make a class I’ll fit a run in somewhere, and if I’m feeling good I’ll do a run and a class!

Elle: What / who has been your inspiration?

VA: Everyone I’ve trained/ran with, that come back every week, push themselves hard and cheer you on too. And of course, all the NTC trainers! And there are loads of great blogs to find inspiration from.

Elle:  What was the first big difference in you, that made you feel proud and excited?

VA: When I did my first 10k race, the energizer night run in Victoria park. I hadn’t ever timed myself and when I got my time, it was the first time I realized I wasn’t just doing good for someone who had been overweight, that I’d gotten a decent time for someone who’d been keeping fit a lot longer. It was just such a brilliant feeling knowing I’d worked hard and it had paid off.

Elle:  Did you make any changes to your diet once you started training?

VA: Yep! The biggest change is probably breakfast! I never really put that much thought/effort into what I ate for breakfast before and wasn’t too fussed if I skipped it entirely. But now I make sure I always have something nice and balanced to look forward to when I wake up! And I cook a lot more now, there are soo many blogs/forums with people sharing recipes for balanced tasty meals and its fun to experiment and you feel good that you're looking after yourself properly. Eating healthy and training just come together because if you want to train you have to fuel yourself well, you very quickly realise how rubbish you feel if you try to exercise after you’ve been living on takeaways the whole weekend. Also, after exercise I don’t want to just undo it with a cookie or something so I always eat healthier when I’m exercising. Its rest days my sweet tooth gets the better of me!

  {NOW} - 


Elle:  How do you track your progress? 

VA: At the moment, I’ve been focused on how many full push ups I can do on my toes as I was scared of these for a long while! And I just did my first two half marathons recently so always looking at which half marathons are coming up to get a PB.

Olympic Park run

Elle:  Have your goals changed since you started your journey?

VA: My goals at first were just about sticking to plans and surviving classes/runs til the end, just not giving up and not making excuses to skip classes/runs. Now my goals are more to push myself to do more reps/get a faster time/better form, just to keep improving.

Elle: How do you keep yourself motivated?

VA: It is at the point now where it is something I just have to do and can’t imagine not doing - I’m very grumpy if I can’t train for whatever reason! Don’t see it as a chore at all, just see a great mood lifter I can tap into whenever I want to. And the chance to get better at something. It’s great to be doing something that you know you will be rewarded for all your effort. This is a really important feeling especially if other parts of your life, like work, do not quite work out like this!! While I am actually doing a class or run, I stay motivated to keep going just focusing on how great I’ll feel for the rest of the day if I do better than last time.

run club 

Elle: If you could go back and give advice to the "before" you...or any other person contemplating changing their lifestyle...what would you say?!

VA: Don’t put it off, don’t make excuses, do it now, it honestly makes such a difference, I’d never go back.

See?! ...inspirational huh?! 

If you'd like to leave Victoria a comment below please do!

...and if you have a story you would like to share just get in touch! {Contact Elle}

Keep living that simpElle life ;) 

Elle :) 

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