Holly Symons, 25, is a physiotherapist, personal trainer and masseuse. She works as a personal trainer and class instructor at several gyms in Bristol, including Easton and Horfield Leisure Centres. She teaches Spinning, Aqua, BodyPump, Kettlebells and FKPro and works part-time as a physiotherapist for the South Gloucestershire Community Healthcare Trust.
What’s a typical day like for you?
I had two personal training clients this morning and taught an Aqua class from a GP referral. I’m home for a bit now, and will then teach Body Pump and FKPro this evening. FKPro is a relatively new system where you use your bodyweight to perform a range of strength and conditioning exercises. I’m also one of the head coaches for FKPro so went up to Edinburgh to run a course for them.
Today is a client- and class-based day. If I’m having a physiotherapy day, which I do three times a week, I do my own training first thing at six and start work at half past eight. I’m working with the elderly community at the moment. One night a week (in three-month blocks) I also help to tutor YMCA Level two or three fitness instructor and personal training courses.
What do you do to work out yourself?
I’ve done marathons and a lot of triathlons over the last few years. I ran the Skyline 10k in Bath a month or so ago and came second out of all the women.
I’m running 30 miles a week but want to get up to 40 or 50 miles a week. I try to keep up some strength sessions with Kettlebells and FKPro and like climbing and biking too. As my training starts to increase, I’ll have to re-prioritise my workload and teach fewer classes to fit it all in.
What mental techniques will you use to get you through the Ultramarathon?
I am very determined and competitive with myself so this alone seems to push me through the barrier. It’s also good to think about the end and the reward of finishing. Pain is nothing compared to what it feels like to quit!
Are you a nutrition nerd?
My ideal breakfast will be porridge if I need the energy or poached eggs as a treat. I’ll have a banana or other fruit or a cereal bar mid-morning.
Lunch is an omelette if I’m at home. It’s important for me to have a protein-rich meal. l’m not a big sandwich person. If I’m at work, I’ll have a bean or couscous salad. My post-workout snack is cottage cheese with sliced pear – it’s yummy.
During the day, I need carbohydrates for energy, but try to limit them in the evenings. Because I’m teaching, I can go days without a sit down evening meal. I’ll often have a tuna salad when I get back, because it’s low in carbohydrates and high in protein. I like my vegetables. I’ll eat them raw or boiled or steamed. If I feel I need an extra bit of protein I’ll have a protein drink but it’s not a normal part of my day. I am healthy but like the odd bit of chocolate. A bag of Haribo can be gone in minutes.
Are all your friends as healthy and fit as you?
My partner is probably healthier than me. He’s an ex marine, does martial arts, and does a lot of maritime security stuff. He used to train a lot more than me but he’s got a back problem at the moment.
We like being out and about. If we’ve got a Sunday off, we’ll go climbing or out on our bikes. He’s from North Wales and I’m from a farm in North Devon, so we’ve always been outdoorsy types.
Many of my friends are healthier than me. When you work in the fitness industry, a lot of your friends are into fitness. The odd pizza gets thrown around though. You can’t be good all the time.
As a physio, I imagine you never get overuse injuries despite all your training
I do tend to self diagnose. If something hurts I’ll stop because I can’t really afford to be injured when part of my income is from training. I go for a massage once or twice a month and go to the chiropractor if I need to. I’m very careful about my back and manual handling as I’ve seen so many people with back injuries. I make sure I look after myself as much as I can but we all get niggles sometimes.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
I love Pepsi Max and fudge bars. Not the most extreme guilty pleasures are they?
Check out Holly’s website at www.pure-energy.co.uk