She has the sort of ripped abs you would expect to find on a professional athlete, and has sold more than 1.4million fitness DVDs.
But suggest to Davina McCall that she must surely work out every moment of the day to look so fit, and she looks like she has just choked on an apple.
“It’s so funny people think that,” she says. “Who has time to, unless it’s your career? I have three kids – and a day job.”
Instead, exercise is something Davina, 51, fits around her fast-paced life as a TV presenter, fronting ITV’s ever-popular Long Lost Family and Channel 4 game show The £100K Drop.
Mornings are her holy grail for a cardio blast – her self-confessed addiction, and a far healthier one than the well-publicised booze and drink addiction she overcame in her younger years.
She rises at 6.30am most days and does the school run for children Holly, 17, Tilly, 15, and 12-year-old son Chester.
She then meets friends for a 20-minute, fast-paced 5km run.
If she needs to film early, she wakes at 6am to squeeze in 20 minutes then.
On other occasions, she admits, she will work out to one of her own DVDs. “I just work out to myself, which is really, really embarrassing,” she says.
During the school term she manages three to four exercise sessions a week.
But she also knows how it feels to be worlds away from loving your body.
After having her first daughter, Holly, she recalls: “I didn’t think I’d ever be able to walk stairs again. I was just so low on energy and so unfit.”
And being a mum did nothing for her figure.
Davina says: “I was eating six meals a day with the kids. I’d eat my breakfast and their breakfast. My lunch and their lunch. I took to spraying their leftovers with washing-up liquid.
“Then I thought, ‘What the hell am I doing? I gave up drink and drugs, now this?’
“But it’s OK. At times you just do what you can and be kind to yourself.”
When it comes to diet, Davina has also cornered the market in sugar-free cookbooks.
It is a mantra she lives by, while not denying herself something she really wants.
But a binge on mince pies and cream over Christmas was “very much the exception”.
Breakfast is usually Warburtons crumpets. She loves them so much she even carries some in her handbag. Lunch is often a salad, and for dinner something slightly more hearty with her kids, such as chicken, rice and chorizo.
While she believes in “eat everything, in moderation”, she rarely has puddings.
“Why do kids need to be served sugar after a meal?” she says. “If we do something, I’ll use maple syrup or honey so at least it’s natural.” Hoping this year to become a personal trainer, Davina says the energy and well-being she gets from exercise has helped her through some hard times.
Her message is simple: “Whatever your situation, give it a go.” You can start with our taster here of her latest DVD – Power Box & Tone.
Designed with personal trainer Sarah Gorman, it combines cardio, boxing and pilates – packed into 10-minute sessions to easily squeeze into a busy day.
Sarah Gorman – is the Creative Director of Soul Power Nutrition (SPN) in Tunbridge Wells, Kent.
The Workout Plan
Perform each exercise eight times to complete one set, then move straight to the next exercise.
Try to do the exercises continuously, rather than having a rest period in between.
Once you’re feeling confident, build up to two sets of the whole programme, and then three, resting for 30 seconds after each complete circuit.
Always warm up for at least five minutes before embarking on these exercises, and make sure you stretch and cool down after exercising.
Jab Jab Cross
1. Separate your feet so they’re slightly wider than hip-width apart.
2. Flex the knees and place the hands in guard (which means they are in front of the face at about nose height). Tuck your elbows in. Suck in those abs.
3. With weight on the left foot, give two short, powerful jabs to the left with the right hand.
4. Transfer your weight to the right foot and do a longer lasting jab to the right, across your body, with your left hand.
Standing Core Stability
1. Stand heels together with toes pointing out (in ballet this is called “first position”). Bend your knees and engage those abs.
2. Extend your right leg out and extend both your arms in front of you. lift your arms slowly and steadily up. As you are lifting your right leg pulse the leg up and down 8 times before switching legs.
Standing Oblique Crunch
1. Reach your left arm up so your fingers are pointing to the ceiling.
2. Lift your left leg out to the side of your body, while making sure your shoulders are down and your abs are sucked in.
3. Extend your right arm out to the side, so it’s in a straight horizontal line. Use your abs to bring your left knee towards your left elbow.
4. Move the knee and elbow together and crunch your stomach for eight pulses. Return your raised foot to the ground, and repeat on other side.
Lifted Heel Squat
1. Position your legs slightly wider than hip-width apart and place your feet in a turned out position.
2. Squat down, making sure you’re drawing your abs in, with arms out and a flat back. Lift your heels up and then down.
TIP: Avoid rolling the kneecaps inwards by pushing the inner thighs open to turn your legs out.
1. Lie on your back and engage your core so that the lower part of your spine is in close contact with the floor.
2. Bring your knees up so the flats of the feet are on the floor and your knees are pointing towards the ceiling.
3. Keeping your knees in parallel, begin to peel your spine off the floor.
4. At the top of the move squeeze the glutes and “pulse” the muscle eight times.
5. Lower by peeling the spine back to the floor.
1. Lie flat on your back.
2. Hold on to the back of the thigh and draw the right leg towards you at a 90 degree angle, keeping it as straight as possible, while the left leg stays flat.
3. Lower the right leg and lift the left leg.
TIP: Keep the abs engaged and press the lower spine into the floor so your whole back is in contact with it. This is to protect your lower back.
1. Lie on right-hand side.
2. Stack your hips on top of each other.
3. Keep knees together and feet together.
4. Use your stomach muscles to suck in the waist, and make sure your elbow is under the shoulder.
5. With free hand on hip, lift the hip off the floor and then lower it again to just “kiss” the floor with the hip. Repeat eight times, then switch sides.