Living the simpElle life: Sian

Let’s welcome in September – the month that we probably say goodbye to summer – with some inspiration from someone I’ve met on my journey over the past couple of years.

Continuing this fortnightly mini series – Living the simpElle life – where I talk to someone who has been empowered to change.


I heard a great phrase last year –

“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 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 I hope that is what their story will do for the rest of us…

Meet: Sian Kneller of www.dashing-divas.com


I met Sian at the Zero Calorie Advent  Calendar event last year; we’d already known of each other via social media. I remember reading Sian’s blog and loving her uniques style, amazing pictures and all the running stories! She inspired me to continue on my journey to reach a new personal best for 10km.

…here’s Sian’s story…

– {THEN} – 

Elle: What made you decide to start training / running? …What were your plans / goals?


Sian: I started training properly after I came back from Kilimanjaro in September 2011. At the time, I was overweight and nowhere near the fitness level for taking on such a task, and needless to say, I didn’t reach the summit and was emotionally crushed. The whole experience was so traumatic that I decided to up the anti by getting my eating under control, hiring a personal trainer and running. It was tough to start with because at the time I was naturally lazy, but something clicked inside of me and I knew that if I wanted to change I needed to push myself and get it done.



The weight dropped off such that by January 2012, I had shifted a third of my body weight and had gone from a size 16-18 to a size 8-10. I ran my first half marathon in the February 2012 in a time of 2:10 and summited my first mountain, Toubkal in Morocco. From there on my love of running, travelling and summit bagging started.


Being fit and strong has opened my eyes to what I can achieve in every aspect of my life – it’s given me confidence, focus and an excellent excuse to travel!


– {HOW} – 

Elle: What’s your favourite way to workout?

Sian: I would probably say boxing because it’s got a combination of strength, power and intense cardio. It’s all about technique too and with proper training you can really see yourself improve. I am also really into cycling at the moment – I love how you can get so far on the bike under your own steam. I’m hoping to start cycling to work over the next week or so (44 mile round trip).


Elle: What / who has been your inspiration?


Sian: The people I have met through my blog and twitter – there are some amazing people out there constantly pushing themselves. Probably the most inspiring of all is Charlie [http://www.therunnerbeans.co.uk] who is well on her way to achieving a sub 4-hour marathon.


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


Sian: Probably when I reached the summit of Toubkal in January 2012. After the disappointment of Kilimanjaro, I realised how far I had come. The 6 hours of vertical ascent were tough both physically and mentally, but I did it and I was so proud of myself. I realised that anything was possible for me after that if I just believed in myself.


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


Sian: I stopped eating a loaf of bread a day (it soon adds up: 2 slices of toast, a sandwich, garlic bread!) and a massive bowl of cereal in the morning. That made a huge difference! I also increased the vegetables in my diet, slow release carbs and upped the protein.



– {NOW} – 


Elle: How do you track your progress?

I guess my blog is the best way of tracking my progress – I look back through old posts every now and again to remember how far I’ve come. I also time myself on my runs using my TomTom multisport and do a lot of races so I can see how fit I am at the time and if I need to up my game training wise.


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


Sian: My goals are constantly evolving and changing – some people exercise to stay in shape, I exercise to better myself and to see what my body is capable of. A great example of this is that I took up cycling a mere 2 months ago and then cycled 44 miles last Sunday! My next big goals are to climb Kilimanjaro and this time reach the summit, run a half marathon in 1:50, and cycle from London to Paris, but I also have lots of smaller more manageable goals like taking part in my first duathlon and triathlon next month.


Elle: How do you keep yourself motivated?


Sian: I try to make exercise fun – if it is dull, involves standing on a x-trainer for 45 minutes whilst watching loose women, I simply won’t stick to it. I enjoy running and cycling in the fresh air and getting out of the house. Blogging also keeps me motivated because it keeps me accountable – if I say I’m going to run a marathon then that makes it real, and therefore my pride makes me stick with it. My advice to anyone who is thinking of making the move from couch potato to fitness junkie is to announce your intentions to the world! ☺


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?!


Sian: I would tell myself to embrace exercise and have fun with it. It shouldn’t feel like a chore and if it does it’s time to shake things up, and try something new. For example, if you hate aerobics classes, why not try boxing or a martial art? Exercise gives you wings – if you are fit and healthy, you can do almost anything you want to do.

…so what d’ya think?! 


If you’d like to leave Sian a comment below please do!


If you would like to share your own story please get in touch with me: {Contact Elle}


Until then, keep living that simpElle life 😉 


Elle 🙂 




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