It’s 12 noon on a sunny Saturday afternoon in Suffolk and personal trainer Cecilia Harris is running on the spot in front of me, shouting words of encouragement to the 20-strong crew of women around her clad in workout gear, myself included. Lucy Mecklenburgh is next to her, keeping up with the instructions with a smile on her face.
Positive energy is literally radiating off the pair, and for good reason. We’re here at the stunning Wilderness Reserve in Suffolk to celebrate 10 years of Results Wellness Lifestyle (or RWL) – an online platform created by Lucy and Cecilia to empower women to improve their health and wellbeing. Full of workout videos, recipe ideas and a community of like-minded women, it’s become a lifeline for those seeking a different approach to fitness.
From humble beginnings
First established before Instagram had really taken off and the majority of us couldn’t even imagine the way digital platforms would come to influence our lives, Results Wellness Lifestyle really was a pioneer in the online fitness world.
The vision for the platform was born soon after Lucy had finished filming The Only Way is Essex in 2013 and began training with Cecilia. Amazed by the difference fitness made to her mental and physical health, Lucy was keen to share her journey with others.
So the pair began by uploading videos onto Twitter, with 30 videos in their initial repertoire. A decade later and there are now more than 3,000 workout videos available, 40 programmes and challenges, and 1,000 delicious, healthy recipes on the app.
Today, RWL has countless fans and friends across the world including likes of TV presenter and former pop star Frankie Bridge, nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert and celebrity doctor Zoe Williams, plus thousands of real women wanting to make a difference to their lives. And, after seeing how inspiring the pair are first hand – and how Cecilia injects joy and enthusiasm into every workout – I can see why it’s so popular.
RWL: 10 years of fitness inspiration
Sat back inside, after catching my breath and eating a delicious lunch cooked by Lucy’s sister Lydia (a chef and recipe developer for RWL), I want to know how it feels celebrating a decade of motivating women to embrace health and fitness.
“It’s crazy actually,” Lucy admits. “We’re just really proud because we were the first app of this kind, and a lot of people doubted us.
“But what we’ve created and how we’ve evolved over the years is incredible. We’ve got such an amazing platform now ready to support women no matter where they are in their life – whether they’re pregnant, going through the menopause, aiming to lose weight or just want to get fit and feel more positive.”
Made for everyone
The app is designed for all people whatever their fitness level – whether they’re a keen gym bunny already, or just starting out, like Lucy was 10 years ago.
Recounting the time she first met Cecilia, Lucy says she didn’t own a pair of trainers and turned up at the personal trainer’s studio in knee-high boots, expecting an initial chat, not a fitness session. Cecilia – not content with simply talking – pulled her own trainers off for Lucy to wear and put her through her paces.
Before this, Lucy says she didn’t feel comfortable in a gym and wasn’t a fan of the exercise sessions she’d attempted previously, but things soon changed with Cecilia’s energy driving her forward.
“I feel like we all need to be a bit more Cecilia,” she laughs. “She’s so happy and so positive. She’s been a role model to me for the last 10 years and has totally changed my attitude to fitness.”
Lucy isn’t afraid to admit that fitness has transformed her life, and along with a love of exercise has also come an interest in nutrition. “My diet was all about cheesy pasta and super noodles when I was younger,” she admits. “I was young – going out drinking, not eating very good food and grabbing a McDonald’s on the way home.”
Now though, eating nutritionally balanced food is one of Lucy’s priorities. Although she’s keen to point out that a lot of her life is balance (takeaways can still feature heavily during busy weeks!), nowadays you’re more likely to find her cooking healthy dishes like roasted veg pasta, risotto, salads and frittatas, rather than processed burgers and chips.
And it’s the ease at which you can make small changes to your life that Cecilia and Lucy want to draw attention to with the RWL platform. They veer away from being preachy and evangelical, and instead offer down-to-earth advice that doesn’t feel overwhelming.
Lucy and Cecilia don’t hide the fact that their app has changed and grown along with the time. The idea of getting ‘bikini body ready’ isn’t the focus it once was, and the pair are keen to help women improve their health and wellbeing as a priority over aesthetics.
This change has been mirrored in Lucy’s own life, who – in the past 10 years – has got engaged and had two children (Roman, 3, and Lilah, 1). Cecilia too, now 52, has talked about the hormonal changes of peri-menopause and menopause, and the pair are keen to be inclusive with their advice.
“We all change constantly, right?” says Lucy. “And changes in my life have meant I look at health and fitness differently. I used to just want hardcore HIIT sessions, but that’s different now. I’ve had kids and I look at my body differently. I felt like HIIT after having my kids became something like a punishment to me, too. I mean, it kind of is anyway,” she laughs.
“Now I have this admiration for my body, and I want to just make it really strong and feel powerful and repair it. So I’ve been doing more breath work, Pilates and exercises with slower movements, and I feel much more in tune with my body. And this is reflected with what we offer in the app. We go through phases and we want the app to be there for all these different phases.
“It’s nice that that the brand and the app can change with our members and the changing trends around us too,” she adds. “We always try to really listen to the community in that way. For example, we introduced more boxing workouts and a step workout recently, because they asked for it. It’s a two-way street – we do what we love, but we also do whatever our members want.”
A close RWL community
It’s these members which really make the app what it is. I describe it as being like a sisterhood of uplifting women and Lucy nods.
“It’s definitely become that,” she agrees. “We’ve got this big group of women that are just there to support and encourage each other and it’s brilliant. We have something like a mini social media platform inside the app, and everyone shares advice on it and what’s going on in their lives. It’s become this lovely community, like a big family, and we’re really proud of it.”
It’s clear that RWL means a lot to its members. Also on the weekend retreat is one of the app’s brand ambassadors who tells me that the platform helped her when she was grieving the death of her mother and other members say how much RWL has become a key part of their lives.
Gathering around the table that evening for another delicious spread put together by Lydia, it’s obviously that everyone is feeling buoyed by a day of exercise and self-care. And, there’s a sense of celebration in the air as Lucy and Cecilia reflect on the magnitude of hitting their 10-year birthday.
Lucy tells me there are two key things she’s learnt over the past decade. First of all – balance is everything. “One of the things that Cecilia has taught me over the years is that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing with your food or fitness,” she says. “Cecilia is really motivated with exercise – every day she gets up and she trains. But she also loves a glass of wine so she’s got that real balance. And that’s inspired me to realise that it’s not just about ‘good’ and ‘bad’ labels – it’s about doing what you love and what makes you feel good.”
And secondly? “Everyone needs help at the beginning,” she says. “My one piece of advice for beginners would be don’t overwhelm yourself when you’re just starting out. Change one thing a week. So week one, make a healthy breakfast or two – something like an omelette, or avocado on toast. And then, the next week, add in a couple of walks. The following week, maybe try a class. Make those little habits permanent and keep doing the things you enjoy – that’s how you make changes to your life. The little changes make the big change.”
No slowing down
So, what’s next for RWL? Lucy is excited to share they have a new programme coming out in September, which will have a strong focus on music and providing the right soundtrack for an uplifting workout.
“I can’t wait for this one,” she says. “Personally, as a new mum, I feel I need to make time for things that make me happy and smile, and give me a bit of energy and positivity – and music does that for me. It’s going to be a really fun programme.”
And, Lucy and Cecilia are also planning a number of retreats and in-person events to help the community come together and celebrate what they’re doing.
If they’re anything like this two-day retreat, sign me up.