Davina McCall’s fitness plan from when to eat to why morning workouts are best

She’s the fitness queen who’s sold more than 2 million weight loss DVDs, so who better to help us get in shape this year than Davina McCall?

The much-loved TV presenter has been helping the nation get fit for almost two decades. But while her washboard abs continue to make headlines, the mum-of-three is all too familiar with the challenges of shedding a few pounds after
a week of festive indulgence. The Masked Singer panellist, 55, who’s been dating hairdresser Michael Douglas, 48, since 2019, tells us her food intake was “off the chart” over the holidays, admitting: “We all indulge over Christmas – I know I do.”

And while the former Big Brother host very much champions exercise and healthy eating as a way of boosting mental health as much as physical fitness, she says we shouldn’t be afraid of admitting when we simply want to lose our love handles so we feel better in our clothes.

“We’ve often been a bit nervous about talking about weight loss, but we shouldn’t be ashamed of it because it’s what people want to know about,” says the star, who hopes her online fitness platform, Own Your Goals Davina, will help kick-start our 2023 the right way. “I’m not trying to get you to give stuff up, I’m just trying to get you to make sensible choices. I just want you to eat in a way where your body’s going to be screaming, ‘Thank you!’”

Here, Davina – who shares children Holly, 21, Tilly, 19, and Chester, 16, with her ex-husband Matthew Robertson – reveals her tips for fitness success…

Hi, Davina. Is watching what we eat the biggest issue when it comes to losing weight?

Yes, but also exercise, exercise, exercise! My biggest mission in life is to try to find a mode of exercise that everyone can enjoy. You’ve got to train so you’re building muscle tone, the muscle then burns fat. It’s good for your body, it’s good for your posture, it makes you feel more energetic, which makes you want to be more active on your rest days.

What if you feel nervous about starting to exercise after a long time away from the gym?

Even I’m nervous about some exercises – and I’m more careful now I’m older. There are also some things I’m not great at, so I’ll do easier versions. I’m not asking anyone to throw themselves in at the deep end – do start small if you need to. There is no downside to exercise. In terms of weight loss, it’s 20% of your weight-loss journey. Diet and what you put in your body is the other 80%. Getting fit isn’t going to work if you’re eating tons of fried food and enormous portions.

Any other tips for us?

I’ve started to eat a bit earlier in the evening and not eat after dinner at all. I realised that I consumed maybe 300 or 400 calories after dinner. I’d have a tub of hummus and carrots, or a herbal tea with a huge dollop of honey. Snack amnesia is a big thing. I think we’re having a snack amnesia pandemic in the UK.

You also want to take the guilt out of eating, don’t you?

100%. I’m not trying to get you to give stuff up, I’m just trying to get you to make sensible choices.

Did you put on any weight during lockdown?

I did. I really try not to weigh myself, but I noticed that my clothes were getting tighter. It’s funny because I was still doing three training sessions a week and I was walking my dog twice a day. So I knew it had to be my food.

How do you motivate yourself to exercise?

If I’m going to exercise that morning, I put workout gear on straight away. If I put normal clothes on, I’ll say to myself,
“It’s fine, I’ll do it this afternoon.” And then I don’t.

When is the best time to work out?

If you’re really serious, do your exercise before your day starts and once you’ve done your workout, you can always take a picture of yourself and post it on our community page. It might be the thing that motivates you. Choosing to train three times a week is a brilliant goal and the rest will come.

How do you manage your hectic work and fitness schedule?

I’ve always got quite a hectic schedule, but I really, really try to book time out in the school holidays when I know that the kids are going to be home.

How are things going with your boyfriend, Michael?

We like to keep things as private as possible, so whenever I’m asked about him I say, “Go and listen to our podcast, Making The Cut, and you’ll find out what we’re like together.”

We’re obsessed with The Masked Singer. Tell us about some of the characters you’ve got in the new series…

Potato is really brilliant. And my God, some of the talent! You never know what you’re going to get each week because they keep disguising their voices and you think, “Oh, are you actually a really good singer? Or, are you a bad singer who’s had an amazing week?” It’s fantastic.

Which contestant has been the biggest shock for you so far?

Natalie Imbruglia, because I’ve known her for so long.

Who would be your ultimate guest panellist?

It’s got to be someone who gets the madness of it. We had Stephen Mulhern on the new series and he was joyous, because he just kept going, “What is going on? This is the weirdest programme I have ever worked on!” I think Ant and Dec would find it hilarious, so they would be great.

Do you all hang out off-camera?

We hang out together backstage and I love them all, but I am yet to get us all out for a night together. I have tried, believe me, but everyone is so busy. I’m determined though, so it’s going to happen.

Big Brother is coming back! Are you excited?

I can’t wait to see what they’re going to do with it. If they go back to real basics and don’t try and do anything too different, which is what I think they’re going to do, I’m going to really enjoy it.

Do you have an all-time favourite housemate?

I always say Nikki Grahame, and Jade Goody in her first series. Both were brilliant, funny characters, although
I did worry that sometimes people weren’t always laughing with Jade but sometimes at her, and that upset me. They were both amazing and it still shocks me and saddens me that we’ve lost them.

Which contestants have you kept in touch with?

I’m still in touch with people like Anna Nolan from series one and Cameron Stout, who was the winner of series four.
I saw Josie Gibson the other day and she’s just brilliant. And Alison Hammond is like a flippin’ superstar. I’m so
happy for her.

Get fit and feel confident with Davina at Own Your Goals, available to access on demand anywhere. Head to ownyourgoalsdavina.com and pay just £49 for an annual membership in the New Year sale.

The Masked Singer is on Saturday at 6.30pm on ITV1


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