As the lead in musicals like Chicago, a finalist in Strictly Come Dancing, and a mountain-climbing Sport Relief star, it may seem like keeping fit and active comes naturally to Denise Van Outen.
However, the 41 year old, who is mum to five-year-old Betsy, admits that she has to work just as hard as the rest of us to keep her body in tip-top shape.
From healthy snacks to sporting challenges and even the odd round of golf, here are the diet and exercise secrets that work for Denise – and could work for you too!
Mix it up
‘What I do is manageable as a working mum. Fitness is about making me feel good,’ Denise told Fit & Well magazine.
‘After school drop-off, I go with some mums to a body pump class. I use free weights for squats, which kill me!’ One of Denise’s tricks is to keep her workout routine fresh – she’s taken up golf and plays regular rounds with boyfriend Eddie Boxshall. ‘We’re like a comedy act on the course because we do argue quite a lot! I get a good workout, swinging the club is brilliant for bingo wings’.
And as if that wasn’t enough, at home, she jumps on the treadmill, walking on an incline for around 30 minutes, and never, ever uses a lift. ‘Stairs are my secret weapon,’ she says. ‘Climbing stairs is so easy to fit into your day’.
Pick a partner
Images: Fit & Well/David Venni
Denise also told Fit & Well of her admiration for good friend and personal trainer Nicki Waterman, who recently revealed she had battled cancer. ‘I’ve always turned to her when I’ve needed help with training. Throughout her illness, she’s been amazing – I can’t come out with excuses not to exercise because she’s kept training throughout. She’s incredible.’
Working out with a partner is great motivation, as you can spur each other on – and if it gets results as good as Denise’s…
Ban the scales
In 2015, Denise admitted to MailOnline that she doesn’t weigh herself and ‘couldn’t tell you’ what she weighs. Instead, she uses a pair of skinny jeans as her gauge – if they start to get tight, it’s time to hit the gym.
However, she added that her weight often fluctuates around holidays and special occasions, but cuts certain things out of her diet to shed the pounds again. ‘It’s from drinking wine, if you’ve been on holiday,’ she explained. ‘I just cut out the booze to lose weight’ – although we’re pleased to see from her Instagram account that she still enjoys the odd cocktail!
Eat smart (with treats)
Denise says she tries to make healthy choices, telling Fit & Well that she loves avocado, sushi, and scrambled eggs. She also sneaks extra veggies into meals for herself and Betsy by whizzing them into bolognese.
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While she’s previously told MailOnline: ‘I don’t have a sweet tooth, I’m lucky. So I don’t have to worry about cakes and biscuits,’ she says that savoury foods are her downfall. ”I like crisps – I could devour a whole bag of them watching my favourite TV shows!’ she exclaimed.
Well, you know what they say, Denise – everything in moderation!
The full interview, along with Denise’s leg toning workout, appears in the new issue of Fit & Well magazine, out now only £1.99