Meet The Experts: Nicola Addison

Fitness expert and member of Aromatherapy Associates’ panel Nicola Addison tells Debra Brock how we can all easily improve our wellbeing

 

 

DB: How would you define wellbeing?

NA: For me it’s pillars of health: activity levels, nutrition, your brain, your stress levels, family and work. You don’t need to have any of these as excellent – but you do need to have all of them as consistently good. Consistency will always win. There’s no point having your food at 100% but your stress levels through the roof, or exercising hard but getting three hours sleep a night.

DB: If you ask anyone how they are at the moment, they’ll nearly always say busy or stressed. So what are simple, achievable changes we can make to really help our wellbeing?

NA: We live in a society where it’s cool to be busy and stressed. It’s a reflection of how important we are. I find so many people manage their time and priorities to put themselves last. Actually, if we prioritised one very simple thing, it would give our brains and bodies a little bit of time and make us feel really good. And that’s for us all to be walking for 30 minutes every day. For me that’s a pre-requisite for health. It can be one lot of 30 minutes or three lots of 10 minutes, but it will really help those feelings of tiredness and stress. There’s something about the plod, plod, plod of your feet and your heartbeat that brings down your sensory system a bit. We also know that fresh air and activity releases endorphins. If you do that consistently, you’ll feel great.

DB: Do you think our stress levels as a society are increasing due to us being bombarded by perfection via social media like Instagram?

NA: Yes, for sure. I think that as a society, we set ourselves up to fail and that our expectations of what we can achieve are incredibly high. Then when we don’t achieve them, our self esteem gets knocked. I try to be real in my work here – my favourite food is curry, and I’m going to have one tonight and really enjoy it. The reason why I can do that is that I’m not eating curry every night – I make good choices 4 to 5 nights a week, but a couple of days a week I can relax a bit. I believe that having realistic goals is the way to go. I find a lot of the Instagram feeds people talk about are unrealistic, and style over substance. As a personal training business, we’ve lost coverage in the media because we won’t oversell or overpromise. It’s a bit unsexy, but our route is overall wellbeing.

DB: What are the major trends in wellbeing?

NA: Being more mindful, and being more realistic. I’m delighted to see more questions around things like HIIT (high-intensity interval training) – the intensity levels for some people are too much. It’s not always about harder, it’s about adherence – if you love Zumba for example, go and do it three times a week.

DB: What should we do differently as we get older?

NA: Look at your activity levels. Exercise isn’t necessarily gym workouts, the first place to start, as I said, is daily walking. Then, if you want to get fitter, you need to do something 2 – 3 times a week on top of that. It doesn’t really matter how old you are, how fit you are, how injured you are – just start. Fitness activities are so available now – Race for Life, Pilates, Park Runs and so much of it is free. Choose the more active choice. Wash your car or mow the lawn, rather than paying some else to do it.

DB: Are there things in other areas of your life which have unexpectedly crossed over into your work?

NA: I moved to Brighton three years ago. That was a really big shift for me – I now commute in to London four days a week. I needed to make some new, local friends there, so I decided to go old school and join a netball team, which I found via Facebook. It’s completely reinvigorated my love for fitness, and gave me a new impetus to get fitter for the netball court. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not very good – but in my head I’m playing for England.

DB: Who inspires you?

NA: There’s one person that massively inspires me at the minute, and that’s my client, the radio presenter Gemma Cairney. Every time I meet her I feel really empowered. She really has a message, and a real force behind her that wants to do good. Even though her book (Open) is for 12 and 13 year olds, I’ve read it and I love it. Her dedication to wanting to help younger people take care of themselves is incredibly motivating.

 

 

DB: How did you get involved with Aromatherapy Associates and what are your favourite products?

NA: Originally, there was an Aromatherapy Associates shop near our studio, and we stocked the products here. And coincidentally, one of my earliest personal training clients was Tracey Woodward, who later became CEO of Aromatherapy Associates. I was already using the De-Stress range long before I got involved with Aromatherapy Associates, especially the bath oil (£45) when my muscles were sore. And then after my business partner and I trekked up Mont Blanc I found the Muscle Gel (£25) great for spot relief.

 

Nicola Addison has a personal training studio, Eqvvs, in Knightsbridge, London. She is the De-Stress spokesperson for Aromatherapy Associates.

Debra Brock
Debra Brock is co-founder of salihughesbeauty.com and a contributing writer.
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