Julia Buckley: Fitness Expert on Keeping It Real!

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you’ll know that I am a little bit easy-breezy in my attitude to looking and feeling fab as I age. Yes, I like to try to look and feel my best (as much as life getting in the way allows) but I like it to be e-a-s-y. It’s not that I’m lazy, it’s more that I  like things to be achievable and sustainable – not too much faff, you know?

I don’t want my health and beauty routine to feel like hard work. I want it to feel like fun! I never want to take away from the enjoyment that life has to offer such as a glass or two of fizzy, an evening of great food and laughter with friends or sloping off from the gym (now and then) to catch up on re-runs of Housewives of Orange County. 😉

Basically, I like things that deliver great results with minimum of fuss, that allow me to live a normal, happy life. I’m not into self-denial, strict regimes and cauliflower rice BUT I am aware that as we age, looking and feeling your best does take a bit of effort, so I believe in moderation, not deprivation.

And that’s why I’m so pleased to introduce you to London based fitness trainer, 40 year old former journalist, Julia Buckley who has sold me with her ethos on Real Life Fitness. Read on, I think you’ll like it…

What do you mean by ‘real life fitness?’

Well, I feel that the recent proliferation of fitness-related social media accounts has created a gap between what people see online and the everyday reality of simply maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Professionally shot and edited images of models, celebrities and even their meals creates a false impression of effortless perfection. Under the guise of #fitspiration, these posts are merely self-promotion with the additional negative effect of intimidating and deterring those seeking to make positive changes to their lifestyle. I really think we need to put a lid on the current trend for perfection! Like most people, I enjoy images of colourful smoothie bowls sprinkled with flower petals, or I-just-woke-up-accidentally-looking-gorgeous portraits. However, as a professional in the fitness industry, I see these images as entertainment. But many people take them seriously and end up feeling depressed about their lives.

But you have some very #inspo images on Instagram, haven’t you?

Of course, I also have to make my social media interesting, so I can’t post images every day of me sitting at the computer with the cat on my lap. But to make a point, I post reality-check pictures as often as possible. Recently it was a shot of a very normal plate of scrambled eggs, spinach and tomatoes. A healthy breakfast doesn’t have to mean chia seed mousse and fresh juice served in a jar.

In a nutshell, keep it simple, take care of your body, eat natural, wholesome foods. Enjoy moving around, and appreciate the health you have. That’s the simple route to a healthy and happy life that the fitness industry should embrace and promote in 2017.

So, what simple workouts do you think will get results?

Disillusioned with complicated training protocols and classes requiring special equipment or outfits, people are increasingly aware that to get in shape they simply have to move. In 2017, simplicity will be a key trend. Bodyweight exercises (callisthenics) have been steadily growing in popularity, as has strength training with free weights. In 2017, both of these timeless conditioning methods – traditionally marketed at men – are more likely to be enjoyed by women of all ages.

People are waking up to a more balanced approach to fitness and they want to be able to workout anywhere, anytime. Fitness needs to fit with their lives and not the other way round!

How can we keep exercise from becoming boring?

Most people limit themselves to repetitive cardio workouts, but the truth is that to achieve a lean, strong and athletic body, it’s not enough.  Plus, it’s boring! Adding variety by mixing it up with strength-based exercise keeps the motivation high and brings results. What most people don’t know is that effective training can be done with practically no equipment. You don’t need anything fancy for push-ups. And if you don’t have dumbbells, water-filled bottles or a heavy bag will do!

Tell me about your online workouts – they sound interesting!

Technology is present in every facet of our lives, and with millions of people enjoying on-demand TV, similar accessibility is becoming a new standard in fitness. With many clients reporting that work and family obligations prevent them from going to the gym, working out at home is the answer to their increasingly busy lifestyles. I believe that in 2017, you don’t need to go anywhere to get fit. There are a ton of options available to those wanting to squeeze in a quick training session before or after work.

Staying active and monitoring your progress is now made easier than ever thanks to mobile apps, wearable gadgets, and online training. You can stream sessions on-demand or live, and you can stay in touch with a fitness professional to guide you.

Virtual gyms offer hundreds of workout videos and detailed training programs, as well as access to a supportive community. I’m always there for my clients to ask me anything, or simply get a little support when their motivation runs low. Really, the internet offers amazing opportunities, so instead of focusing on the bad, why not make the most of the good?

What are your tips for realistic weight loss?

With weight loss still topping the lists of New Year’s resolutions every year, it is consistently a very important driver behind people’s interest in fitness. However, as more and more attention has been drawn to the potentially dangerous effects of negative body image, in recent years many people felt somewhat uneasy about weight loss.

I think, for a while it wasn’t in fashion to exercise for weight loss. You definitely heard of the ‘strong is the new skinny’ trend. Being strong is of course awesome, but we shouldn’t just ignore the issue of obesity. In 2017 people are facing the reality that carrying excess fat is simply not good for the body. But I’m not saying everybody has to run themselves into the ground until they look like an airbrushed model. That’s just not realistic! Bodies are meant to come in different shapes and sizes, especially given that we all change with age. My philosophy is to move your body because you love it – not because you hate it!

More and more people realise that staying active is not about conforming with fashion trends, but about physical and mental health. Physical activity counterbalances the effects our sedentary lifestyles and in 2017 we are seeing more employers encouraging their workforce to stay active.

As an expert in getting great results with your clients, what message can you leave us with to inspire us to become the best we can?

Always remember that body and mind are a single unit. Well balanced training fires up multiple muscle chains, burns fat, releases endorphins, and builds true athletic strength and control. It makes you feel fantastic, and that feeling should be available to everybody.

As a fitness professional I see it as my responsibility to present the public with realistic, easy-to-follow fitness options. It doesn’t have to be all about busting out complex yoga poses on a beach, wearing designer leggings, as the sun sets over the sea. Strong, lean, energised bodies and calm, clear, confident minds can be achieved by real people, leading real lives. Being fit feels amazing and enhances all aspects of our lives – no Instagram filter needed.

Yay to that! Thank you Julia for sharing your brilliant – and realistic – fitness tips! I’m getting my trainers on right now 😊

Find out more about Julia’s online fitness programmes here and get inspired by following her on Instagram

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