Personal trainer and dancer Courtney Pruce knows a thing or two about health and fitness. She is on a constant mission to raise awareness of proper nutrition during exercise.
Having recently appeared as a dancing debutante in the blockbuster hit Beauty and the Beast, Luxurious Magazine caught up with Courtney to ask her how seriously she took her own advice when making smart nutrition choices for her latest athletic adventure.
LM: How did you first become involved in health and fitness?
CP: I trained in Performing Arts at the Urdang Academy in London and as a dancer, there is a big focus on your physical appearance, but I found there wasn’t much nutritional advice available on how to achieve the desired physique. I quickly learned that removing carbs from your diet and just working out in the gym was not going to work, no one can gain a 6-pack from just eating salad leaves! There was a pressure to look a certain way, but there wasn’t the information on how to achieve it, so I started doing my own research and that lead me to doing my PT course and understanding more about the relationship between food and exercise.
LM: When did you train to become a personal trainer?
CP: I actually finished my course at Train Fitness International in Southwark this time last year. I chose to do the Intensive Level 3 Diploma, which was a total of 7 weeks. I went in every day from 9-5 so it felt a bit like going back to school but it was great fun to be learning again!
LM: Tell us about the work you’re doing with CLIF Bar.
CP: I have been lucky enough to work with Clif Bar to help launch their new energy bars, used for fuelling endurance activities. They are designed as a pre and post work out source of energy, as they are high in natural sources of carbs. I love working with Clif Bar as they reinforce how important it is to fuel your body both before and after a workout. The energy bars were initially designed for long-distance bike rides and hiking, but I find they are a really good snack to have when weight training, so I really recommend them for easy pre/post work out carb sources, accompanied with some protein – they are also really great for on the go!
LM: How important is nutrition when it comes to fitness?
CP: Nutrition and fitness go hand in hand. They are just as equally important, or I’d even go as far as saying nutrition is more important. Whatever your goal is (be it fat loss or muscle gain) performance is key in progressing. It is so important to give our bodies what they need, in order to reach our individual goals. We can train as much as we like, but if there is no focus on nutrition, you’re not fuelling yourself properly and you won’t see the results you’re looking for.
LM: Do you think people have a good grasp of nutrition when it comes to fitness?
CP: There is a lot of information out there, so sometimes it can be rather overwhelming. At the moment there seems to be a fixation on taking everything to the extremes, for example cutting out certain food groups, but being unnecessarily restrictive like this doesn’t lead to living a healthy lifestyle. I like to emphasise that no food is bad for you, everything is good in moderation and a balance is what we’re looking for. I encourage my clients to think 80% nutritious whole foods and 20% flexibility. There are a lot of misconceptions on social media, such as dairy being bad for you, so I’m trying to get rid of these misunderstandings and to push to get a balance back. We are generally getting better at this and are starting to learn that everything in moderation is good.
LM: How can the correct nutrition help when striving for fitness goals?
CP: It’s key to fuel your body for performance as well as recovery. You want to think long-term and to do that you’ve got to look after yourself, so refuel your muscles and allow them time to heal; cutting out carbs isn’t going to help you progress your strength and fitness goals. What’s most important is making yourself feel good, because if you feel good, you’ll perform well, so with a balance of protein, carbs and fat, you’ll constantly keep going – it’s all about longevity.
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