She’s been an ambassador for Reebok CrossFit and is one half of one of Britain’s most high-profile couples. Engaged to Chelsea footballer Frank Lampard, staying fit and healthy must come as second nature to Christine Bleakley, and the TV presenter’s fantastic figure is testament to that. But while she enjoys being in good physical shape, she does stress it’s all about balance, and if she could live solely on pasta, Chinese food and Indian curries, she would!
BF: Tell us about your fitness regime at the moment…
CB: I consider myself to be relatively fit but I wouldn’t say I’m completely religious about it. Life takes over sometimes. But I do start feeling guilty when I haven’t exercised for a few days. I start to feel sluggish and I do feel it mentally, too. Even if it’s a 10-15 minute walk, it doesn’t have to be anything fancy. I always try to do a little bit of something.
BF: You must have trained hard when you water-skied across the Channel for Comic Relief?
CB: I trained like I had never trained before! I did it for about six or seven months, very intensely. I was pushing my body to the point of being sick. There was one session where I’d sit and lift weights for 2,000 reps – I still have muscles in my forearms that have bulged out ever since! My whole body changed, I put on nearly two stone of muscle – not attractive at all! I could see my body changing in front of me and I thought ‘Oh my God, I look like a builder!’ But, when it all came to an end, I missed the intensity of the training and, from a fitness point of view, having a goal. So I got a bit more hooked on exercise off the back of that.
BF: Did you exercise before that?
CB: I’ve always enjoyed running outside, and it was more a social thing I’d do with my friends. When I moved to London it was also a great way to get to know the city. I had no car and didn’t know anything about buses or the tube before I arrived, so in the early days I’d often put my trainers on and go for a run to get the hang of where I was living. So, fitness has always been there but, I do go in and out of love with it!
BF: How have you found doing Reebok CrossFit?
CB: What they do doesn’t involve any big fancy machines, it’s all very back-to-basics stuff, but there’s nothing else like it. Honestly, for two days afterwards, following a very short session, I could hardly walk! It just works your body in such an intense way in a short space of time.
BF: Do you still run?
CB: Not at any great pace, but I do enjoy being out and about. I don’t need to do it for two hours – a 30 or 40-minute walk/jog is great. I live quite close to Hyde Park so I’m blessed to have that on my doorstep, and it is a nice contrast from the intensity of something like CrossFit.
BF: What is it you love about exercise?
CB: When I exercise I can put the whole world to rights; in that time I get such clarity for some reason. I can work out things I need to do, and even if I don’t actually get to do them, I can sort a lot of things out in my head.
BF: Do you have a swear-by move?
CB: Burpees are very difficult, but even if you can only do 10, they give your entire body a workout; they really make a difference and you feel breathless at the end – you can really feel it! Even squats are something you can easily do at home, but you should make sure you get your technique right.
BF: Is fitness an essential part of your daily life?
CB: I think ‘essential’ is maybe too strong a word but it’s not too far off! I know, when I exercise, I just feel healthier. And, when I do it, I eat better too – it kind of goes hand in hand.
BF: What’s your diet like?
CB: It depends on what I’m doing; there’s a lot of eating on the go, certainly. But I really enjoy cooking, not that I’m saying I’m brilliant at it. At home, we eat everything. We love fish so we have a lot of that. The other night I cooked sea bass and lasagne al forno, then a big pot of chilli at the weekend. They’re all relatively basic things, but I don’t overload on butter or oil. I do a lot of steamed food – vegetables, fish, that sort of thing. I guess it’s quite a healthy diet and I make my food as tasty as I possibly can. But that’s not to say we don’t enjoy an occasional takeaway! I use common sense and eat in moderation. Going out for a meal is the ultimate treat for me – it’s all I ever want from a night out! I never want to give up the nice things in life like having a glass of wine or eating what I want at the weekend – exercising lets me enjoy all of that without any guilt.
BF: Do you have any food weaknesses?
CB: We love Chinese and Indian food. And pasta. I could live on those foods without a doubt every day. We love all foods if I’m honest!
BF: Have you ever dieted?
CB: I’ve never been into dieting, because I don’t believe in a vast majority of them. Of course you’re going to lose weight if you do a juice diet for a week, and of course that’d be useful if you’re going to an event and need to lose a few lbs to get into a dress – I get all of that. But I just don’t think it’ll ever last, because the second you go back to eating normally, the goodness has gone – it’s a quick fix.
BF: So, you’re generally quite careful about your diet?
CB: I’m allergic to loads of things and if I don’t eat properly, my skin suffers straight away. If I eat a lot of sweets and chocolate, particularly on a 12-hour filming day, I instantly see the difference and will get spots straight away. So, I’m a bit more conscious with my cooking at home and try and keep things simple. I keep away from too much sugar or anything too sweet.
BF: Do you ever feel pressured to stay in shape?
CB: I’ll read things about people that might say, ‘Oh she’s looking curvier than usual’, or, ‘She’s fat’ – who wants to read that about anybody? Touch wood – and I’m sure it’s been written about me and I haven’t seen it or chose to ignore it – but that kind of stuff is terribly personal for women to deal with. It’s a very, very difficult kind of thing to read about yourself. So there is a certain pressure, yes, but I don’t succumb to it and I don’t live my life by it. If you become obsessed by that then what is the point? You become consumed by it and don’t enjoy anything. As I say, I love my food and my glass of wine and if it involves being called curvier by someone then I’ll deal with it.
BF: Are you happy with your fitness at the moment?
CB: I could definitely do more! I haven’t done sit-ups for a few weeks and I can definitely notice that. My arms are the one part of my body I would work on less, simply because I bulk up so quickly. That comes from the water-skiing I did. If I were to do 15 bicep curls now you’d see a difference in my arms straight away! If I could tighten things up it would be from the knee to the bum. But, I can easily cover that up!
BF: Do you feel more confident in your 30s?
CB: I think maybe it’s not so much about confidence but that in your 30s you feel less of a need to impress. You know your own mind a bit more and don’t get upset about what other people think. Luckily enough, touch wood, having a bit of contentment certainly brings that. I guess maturity more than anything else allows you to be a happier in your own skin.
HER TIME ON STRICTLY:
I was so utterly useless! But, I found my body getting tighter and leaner. Dancing is great for fitness – it’s brilliant for the body and the mind.
HOW SHE RELAXES:
I love nothing more than getting home, scrubbing off all the make-up from my face, scraping my hair back and just lying on the sofa watching telly! Of course, I love my cooking, but I also like going for a walk in the evenings – I find just 20 minutes really therapeutic.
We haven’t planned any dates but I’m relatively easy-going so I don’t want huge fireworks or fancy stuff. If it involves doing it quickly then we’ll do it. If I could do it like that show, Don’t Tell the Bride, I’d totally go with it. I’d just turn up while Frank does everything – it wouldn’t bother me at all. Just tell me what time and I’ll turn up – I’m all for it!
“I also like it because it’s not about fancy outfits and how everybody looks – you can go into a CrossFit Box and not see any mirrors. I don’t want to feel self-conscious, I just want to do my exercise and go home.”}