24-year-old Alice Liveing radiates goodhealth. Her flawless skin, shiny hair and megawatt smile top off a spectacularly honed physiquethat’s clad in Lululemon leggingsand a Triumph Lingerie crop top. Take a brief glance at her Instagram account, with 567,000followers and counting and it’s clear that Clean Eating Alice,she’s known to her fans, has a lot to smile about. Betweenregular posts featuring her beautifully constructed healthymeals and photos showing the diminutive fitness star (she’s5ft 1in) sculpting her considerable muscles at top Londongyms are images of Alice promoting her third book, EverydayFitness (£14.99, Thorsons).
This latest publication reveals themoves and training plans that have helped bring about andmaintain Alice’s transformation from overweight teen tosvelte, body-confident young woman. As she reaches for her coffee (a single-shot Americano withregular milk – no non-dairy alternatives here), Alice apologisesfor her rasping tones. Following a busy few days of eventsand appearances, she’s lost her voice, but – with characteristicpositivity – Alice remains undeterred, her enthusiasm forsharing her belief that eating and training correctly can makeeveryone healthier and happier undented.
Body-Confident Young Woman Photo Gallery
When she describes her typical day, it’shardly surprising that Alice has lost her voice.She gets up early (‘between half five and sixam’), preps and eats a healthy breakfast,then heads to the Third Space gym inLondon’s Soho to complete an hour-longweight-training workout before coaching herfirst few PT clients. When she leaves ourshoot, she’ll head back to the gym to eat herlunch (‘I make a large dinner and pack upwhat’s left for the next day’) and continuewith PT sessions. Between clients, shehandles her blog work, taking calls,attending meetings and giving interviews.In the evening, if she doesn’t haveblogger events to attend, she’ll either meether boyfriend – ‘although we both workincredibly hard so see each other rarely atthe moment’ – or hang out with friends.‘Thankfully, a lot of them are into fitnessso we’ll go to a training session together,which kills two birds!’ she laughs. Oncehome, the committed fitness bloggerprepares and photographs her dinner,before getting stuck into some bedtimereading: ‘I want to be a real expert in myfield, so I swat up on the latest research ontraining.’ Working on her blog seven days a week can be draining, but she clearly relishes what she does. ‘Helping people change their lives makes me happy and I’m so grateful to love what I do,’ she says.
Three years ago, when she started hereponymous blog, Alice was in a differentplace. In her second year of musical theatrecollege in south London, she was very bodyconscious and struggled to control hererratic eating. By her own admission, herdiet was disastrous – ‘takeaways, pizza, icecream, sweets, chocolate and no realnutrients. I’d then go on restrictive diets andeat low-cal and low-fat products that werefull of nothing.’ Despite dancing for hoursevery day, Alice battled her weight, bingingthen over-exercising to compensate.Her moment of reckoning came when shetalked to a personal trainer who suggestedshe incorporate weight-training into hertwice-weekly gym sessions. Alongside a fewbasic moves, Alice began to explore sensibleways of eating, a far cry from the restrictiveand food-group-banning diets she’d triedout in successive failed bids to shape up. Toher amazement, her body quickly respondedto these changes and her excess weightsoon morphed into lean muscle.
Chartingher remarkable progress on Instagram, Aliceposted pictures of her transforming body,alongside snapshots of the nutritionallybalanced meals she devised. Her postsstruck a chord with the online communityand her follower numbers rocketed. ‘Peopleseemed to relate to my story and I began toengage with them, quickly realising therewas a whole community of people in asimilar situation. But I never imagined I’dhave over half-a-million people following meon Instagram. It’s crazy!’After graduating, Alice spent a year touringthe UK in a musical while she qualified as aPT and continued to blog, but her Instagramfollowing was too big to ignore, and she leftthe stage to take up residence in the worldof fitness bloggers. By then, Alice hadlanded a publishing deal. Of her writing, Aliceexplains that it’s ‘a way of putting into wordseverything I’ve learnt on my journey tohealth, and as a way to speak to a widerange and large group of people, to helpthem understand that you don’t have to restrict food groups, starve yourself or work out for hours to be happy with yourself. I want to make people see there’s a different, healthy way to do things.
Unsurprisingly, Alice’s life has changedimmeasurably since hitting Instagram fame;she can’t walk down the street withoutbeing recognised, which she finds‘totally bizarre’, but she hasn’t let it goto her head. ‘I’ve been on the cover ofmagazines, published three books andhave thousands of followers. It’s surreal,but I don’t think I’m any more special thanthe next person; I just happened to be inthe right place at the right time,’ she says.She credits her family, especially her mum,with helping her stay grounded. ‘The mostoverwhelming thing for me is being told byfans and followers that I’m amazing – I wasshy and quite self-conscious growing up soit’s hard for me to process. But I can phonemy mum and just be Alice – not Alice fromClean Eating Alice,’ she explains.The comments on Alice’s posts arefilled with fans telling her how much she’shelping them and ‘it never gets old or lessexciting’ but, ‘training clients one-to-one isreally fulfilling – seeing their health andfitness journey evolve is incredibly satisfying.’So does she miss the world of musicaltheatre? ‘Nothing beats the feeling offinishing a show and the applause thatgreets you, but I get the same pleasure whensomeone messages me saying, “Because ofyou, I’ve changed my diet and become somuch healthier”,’ she says.Alice is inspirational, not least because inevery selfie and social-media picture, even post-workout snaps, she lookspolished. How does she dealwith the pressures of having tolook good? ‘I’ve always been intogrooming,’ she says. ‘I love havingmy hair and nails done, and preferto treat myself with massages andpampering treatments than buyingshoes.’ But she adds, ‘I have dayswhen I look awful and leave thehouse without any make-up on– I’m not precious about that.’
Every week, between her PT day job,filming workout videos, devising recipesand posting updates, Alice slots in six,hour-long training sessions, includingfour weight-training sessions (twoupper- and two lower-body), andtwo conditioning sessions thatare cardio-based, high-intensityworkouts. She enjoys tryingout different classes in F45(F45training.com) or Unit gyms(unitlondon.co.uk) in south-westLondon, walking and swimming.‘But I always factor in one or tworest days,’ she adds. ‘I eat well andtrain hard because I enjoy it – it’s lessfor aesthetic reasons than because itmakes me feel great.’When it comes to devising recipes, ‘mybiggest bugbear is that healthy eating isseen as hard work and expensive, but itdoesn’t have to be,’ says Alice. ‘My mum isa great cook and big inspiration, but I’m allabout fake-it-till-you-make-it. Through trialand error and reading about what to eat, I’vecome up with great recipes.’ It helps thatAlice finds cooking therapeutic and that herbest friend, Rhiannon Lambert, a registerednutritionist, advises on recipe development.Does Alice photograph everything sheeats? ‘At times I toss stuff on a plate andforget. I’m so hungry, I just tuck in,’ shegiggles. ‘But I try to be as transparent aspossible when it comes to posting my mealson Instagram. I don’t have an impeccablediet and I do drink alcohol on weekends.I show this as I don’t want to increase thepressure to constantly attain perfection.’
Which leads us onto the Clean Eatingbacklash. Alice is frank about the title ofher blog. ‘I wish I’d never chosen that namebut when I came up with it, clean eatingwas a buzzword that didn’t have the currentnegative connotations,’ she explains. ‘Tome, it encapsulated everything I wantedto do with my diet and lifestyle, which wasto get healthier by eating more nutritiousfoods.’ She deplores food restriction andhas never advocated extreme diets. ‘I don’talign myself with the strict clean-eatingcrowd. I have the name for circumstantialreasons, but I like to promote a well-balanced and normal way of eating.’ Onher plate are lots of veg, fruits, whole andsingle-ingredient foods but she also lovesice cream and champagne. ‘About 80 percent of the time, I eat balanced, nutritiousmeals, but when I feel like it, I let myselfhave the things I really want.’Alice acknowledges that ‘social media isa dangerous world’, but adds ‘my job is tocurate and take authority for the space thatI have. I can’t affect what anyone says ordoes, but I have the responsibility to putacross correct and sensible information. Myadvice will always be science- and evidencebased, and balanced for anyone to follow.’With her pragmatic approach to bloggingAlice’s future looks bright, including a holidayto Ibiza and a course with the UK Strengthand Conditioning Association, plus trainingwith US strength coach Tony Gentilclore.With more knowledge to back up herinfectious enthusiasm for her brand ofbody positivity, Alice will be unstoppable.
Single-leg Romanian deadlift
Holding a kettlebell in both hands, placeyour weight on your left foot and rest yourright toes behind you (A). Keeping yourback straight, hinge forward until you feel apull in your hamstrings (B).Then drive yourhips through and come back up tostanding. Repeat 10 times on each leg.
Either from your knees or from a highplank position (A), lower your body downslowly, taking four seconds to reachthe depth of your push-up (B), thendrive up fast to full arm extension.Repeat 10 times.
Holding a kettlebell in a cupped position atchest level, place your feet slightly widerthan hip-width apart (A). Keep your chestup and your core tight as you slowly squatdown, ensuring your knees don’t cave in(B). Then drive your legs up to fullextension. Repeat 10 times in all.
Single-arm kettlebell swing
Standing upright and holding the weight inone hand, reach the kettlebell through yourlegs with as little bend in your knees aspossible, keeping your chest upright (A).Drive your hips through and use the forceto send the weight up in front of you (B),then repeat before switching to the otherside. Perform 10 swings per arm.
Single-leg glute bridge
Lie on your back with your knees bent andone foot flat on the floor, the other huggedto your chest (A). Drive your hips up, kneespushing away from your body (B).Lower and repeat with the other leg.Do 10 lifts with each leg.
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