By Fiona McKim and Nathalie Whittle. Photographs: Camera Press/Nicky Johnston, Simon Way
Davina lives in East Sussex. She has three children Holly, 16, Tilly, 14, and Chester, 11.
Right now people keep saying, “Oh Davina McCall – she’s addicted to exercise” – but actually, I’d love to have the time to be addicted to it! I’m a mum of three with a very busy job, so I don’t have the opportunity to work out “too much”. I try to exercise a minimum of three times a week and most of the time, I do HIIT classes. But let me tell you, if I were at retirement age, I’d probably work out five days a week. Even if you just do a 10-minute stretch, exercise is like a little gift to yourself – it’s something just for you, and that’s incredibly important.
It was only when I stopped clubbing in my twenties that I first thought, “Right, I need to start working out now.” It wasn’t about the whole wellbeing thing at all, it was more about trying to keep myself slim. At first, it seemed pretty easy, then I got pregnant with my daughter, Holly, and just seemed to balloon. Let’s just say it got a little trickier after that.
It was around that time when I met personal trainers Jackie and Mark Wren, who encouraged me to start my fitness journey. They made me realise that working out isn’t just about looking good, it’s about feeling good – and it’s the latter that’s most important to me now. Shortly after, we released our first fitness DVD together, never dreaming it would become as big a hit as it did.
If you don’t know where to start, the best piece of advice I can give you is to begin at home. Gyms can be such scary places; everyone looks like they know what they’re doing, don’t they? I make my workout DVDs for anyone who feels that way. The trick is to set yourself small goals. If you can only do one 10-minute workout at a time, then do one 10-minute workout three times a week. The next month? Do 20 minutes each time. Set small goals and you’ll feel great when you achieve them; that’s when the feel-good factor comes in.
I get a lot of my inspiration from Instagram – I just love it. I’m watching my cousin, Fenella (@fitfenji), at the moment. She lives in Australia, so when I wake up in the morning, she’ll have done her daily exercise and posted it already. And when I feel like I can’t be bothered, I think, “She’s done it, so can I.” She’s just had a baby, and somehow she’s still fitting in her workouts!
I recently took part in the 5K Race for Life, which was fantastic. It was a hot day and you’d think running that distance in the heat would be awful, but there’s such a buzz that comes from doing something collectively and for a good cause. I was with a woman who had gone through chemotherapy and hadn’t done any exercise for a long time, so she was really quite scared. She walked most of it until the very end when she said, “I want to run this last bit”; the woman I’d met four months earlier would never have said that. It was a very special moment.
My diet is mostly sugar free now, but I do allow myself the odd treat too. I try not to keep pudding or cakes in the house, but do I fall off the wagon? Of course I do! There are nights where I’ll go “Sod it” and have a slice of banoffee pie – why not? I’m not going to be rigid about it.
I also allow the kids sweetie Sundays. That’s when they’re allowed to choose three small packets of sweets that they can eat throughout the week. I’m sure they’re also eating a load more sweets when they’re at their friends’ houses too.
When I first got into TV and I was newly clean [Davina battled heroin and alcohol addiction in her twenties], I really cared what other people thought about me – but I don’t feel that way any more. Age has given me this amazing confidence, which means I don’t really care what other people think now. I feel as though I can be who I am and say what I’m thinking – and it’s OK. That’s a really nice feeling.
The thing that gives me an instant confidence boost is fake tan. Garnier Summer Body Gradual Tan is my go-to product. In fact, my daughters and all their friends now use it too as it’s the only self-tan that doesn’t have that horrible biscuit smell. Plus, it comes off in the bath after a couple of days, so you can never really go too far with it. You must try it!
Davina McCall has been a Garnier ambassador for more than 15 years. Her hair is coloured using Nutrisse 4.3 hair colour.