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10 Minutes with...Debbie

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10 Minutes with.....


In the last blog, Amanda from the Hope team talked about New Year’s resolutions and finding the time to take care of yourself. This week, we caught up with friend of the brand, personal trainer Debbie Atkins. We asked Debbie for her advice on keeping healthy and active…

My Story...

Eight years ago this month I officially started DA Fitness as a personal trainer and nordic walking instructor. Prior to this I spent 17 years in corporate life as a management accountant for Centrica (British Gas). I was inspired to start DA Fitness by a conversation with another mum at Reading Hockey Club and then a couple of months later our team at work were made redundant, it was meant to be.

Initial comments about becoming a PT ranged from "there are 100's of PT's why would you want to be one" to wonderful encouragement and positivity - I listened to the positive comments and have not looked back. My advice is to surround yourself with positive thinking people and believe in your capabilities, which is not always easy when embarking on something new that requires change.

surround yourself with positive thinking people and believe in your capabilities


Finding an activity you love and making it a habit...

Positivity is also important when it comes to choosing how to be active; understand why you are doing a specific activity and appreciate that it’s your choice. Make sure you enjoy it and if you don’t, go and search for something you do enjoy, this way you’ll stay doing it and it’ll become a lifestyle change, not just a fad for a few weeks……and it doesn’t have to be a formal class that you have to attend!


Finding the time...

We all have 1,440 minutes in the day, finding 4% of those minutes to improve your health and wellbeing is not difficult, you just have to want to do it.

“I haven’t got time to exercise because of…”  is an excuse for not actually wishing to do something.  There must be “will energy”, especially if it is getting out of bed on a dark morning and attending a PT session.  I trained a client at 5.30am for an hour, outside every week throughout the year – she was dedicated to getting fit and made this fit with her work and family schedule!


Keeping motivated...

If you need some extra motivation then buddy up with a friend as you’re less likely to let your friend down – please do choose a friend who is motivated and will encourage you to keep active.

If you get yourself into a routine then you are focused and others around you can help support you.


When to do it...

Meditating and exercising are wonderful ways to start the day and you will have a better day because of it.  If exercising in the morning means getting up earlier than you normally do then please get to bed earlier so that your body has time to go through the physical and psychological repair cycles that it does when you are sleeping – sleep is a valuable resource and please respect that lack of it can have negative health implications.

If exercising in the evening after work and after a stressful day then yoga, pilates, mindfulness and walking classes are great for your health and help your body stay in its natural wake/sleep cycle.  When we “hit” the gym with loud music, bright lights and intense activity we are firing up our bodies adrenal system to cope with the stress of the activity – you are waking up your body when it was naturally trying to go into sleep mode!  I take a nordic walking class on a Tuesday evening throughout the year in Swallowfield – it is so calming and therapeutic even in the dark and head torches are only used if a vehicle is approaching or it is a particularly dark patch of road.


If you've only got ten minutes...

Alternate between meditation/mindfulness, a brisk walk or run, a small PT session using your body weight as resistance or mindfully body brushing either before or after your shower/bath.

If working inside then at lunchtime do a few minutes walk around the building/block/to the park as getting outside will help concentration in the afternoon.


Health is not all about exercise...

A lot of focus on health and wellbeing is on exercise but an even bigger impact on our health and wellbeing is what we put into our mouths.  Vary your meals with lots of different coloured, freshly prepared foods i.e. not processed or containing ingredients that you do not understand or are not whole foods.  Low salt, low sugar and low fat or food/drink with the ‘diet’ word before it usually mean highly processed and with chemicals added to the food.

Food should give you energy when you digest it. If after eating you feel sleepy and lethargic then it can be a sign that the food you have eaten is not agreeing with you, so listen to your body and make changes so that you’re energized and feel good about life…..take responsibility for how you feel.

Listen to your body and take responsibility for how you feel

Do try to drink enough filtered water throughout the day and preferably not from plastic bottles that are not good for our environment and also leach chemicals into the water which we then ingest.Do I use supplements – yes I do to help support my body both physically and mentally.  Ideally our nutrients should come from the food that we eat, grown in the soil but because of intense farming and the use of chemicals to grow our food quicker, it’s  not as rich in nutrients as it used to be.


Listen to your body...

Our bodies are amazingly clever and are also very good at telling us when something is going well as well as going badly – do listen to what your body is trying to tell you. When feeling fabulous, recognise what you have done to feel so good and when your body is presenting a niggle or a pain, listen to it and work out “why is this happening”, there will always be a reason.


My 5 Tips for feeling healthy and happy:

  1. Find something you enjoy doing and it will be easier to stick with.
  2. Do the right exercise for the time of day.
  3. Get away from your desk and move. It will make you more productive.
  4. Be mindful of what you put into your body. Eat the foods that make you energised and make sure you drink enough water.
  5. Always listen to your body and do what makes you feel good!

Embrace the changing you

If you wish to know more about how to improve your health and wellbeing and to start doing something you enjoy and making those small changes that lead into lifestyle changes, then please do get in contact with me and I am happy to help you on your journey.

Debbie x

Debbie Atkins [email protected]  07834 861827

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One thought on “10 Minutes with...Debbie”

  • Ooh Id love to get some Nordic Walking Training. It sounds like something anyone can do regardless of age and fitness. I feel even I could do it and thats pretty spectacular! It was interesting reading the bit "when to do it", it encourages us to actually make the time. Like most folk I say I dont have the time, but if I got up earlier Id be making time for it. I liked the bit about Nordic Walking at night, I wouldnt have thought of that but I can imagine its really lovely. A good read. :)

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