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While she was smashing personal bests and winning medals in her twenties, former athlete Denise Lewis said that she’s currently in the best shape she’s been in for five years, and it’s all thanks to lockdown.
Speaking on White Wine Question Time, Lewis said that lockdown has given her the chance to regain her fitness with the help of some of her celebrity friends.
“I went for it. I trained twice a day where I could,” she explained.
“I exploited that opportunity because I was doing all the Zooms like everyone else. I was reconnecting with some of my presenting mates. Colin Jackson, he'd be doing these Zooms together with other mates, so we had these mass classes.
"And my body just benefited from that, so I'm actually in better shape physically than I have been for an age.”
WATCH: Denise Lewis opens up about learning to "soften"
Despite putting herself through hours of training when she was younger she says her body is still in “good order” and only has a few issues with her knees and ankles occasionally. However, with her big 50th birthday looming next year, she’s determined to carry on working out, especially as she likes the odd treat.
“We talk about hitting 50 — you've got to look at yourself, you've got to nurture,” she told Thornton.
“I'm not fanatical about, and crazy about, what I don't eat. I naturally eat well. I'm conscientious about what I'm eating.
"I like my glass of wine, but I work for it. You can't expect to maintain that sort of level of physique if you don't do something.”
Obviously, fitness is something close to Lewis’ heart and she told Thornton that even getting pregnant at a later age didn’t stop her working out.
“I was determined to be fit during my pregnancy because I didn't know what I was going to get in terms of labour, so I wanted to be prepared for that,” she explained.
“I didn't go crazy, just very functional exercises. I did a lot of walking on the treadmill when I could? I just prepared myself for motherhood - and then beyond.”
Lewis is now using her fitness know-how in a collaboration with Next. Launched earlier this year, the Next Active Denise Lewis range includes stylish workout gear, all fully road-tested by the former athlete.
“I said to the Next guys: ‘I want to be immersed in this fully. I want to be hands on’, and they've been brilliant,” she told Thornton.
“It is about looking at the textiles, feeling the fabric. It's about trying it on, putting it through its paces, testing the equipment.”
Lewis said that it’s been important for her to make the range all-inclusive and has worked with Next on making sure the range is “workable for all sizes”.
Sports bras in particular are very important to her she says, she wonders why we don’t just wear them all the time, as they’re so much more comfortable than regular bras.
“Let's face it, you get home from work and what's the first thing that comes off?” she asked.
She continued: “It’s your bra, isn’t it? You don’t even take the clothes off. You actually sort of pull it out one of the sleeves and then fling it off. You're free. You’ve just got to let it breathe.”
WATCH: Denise Lewis on sports bras, having a baby later in life, and what it really takes to win Olympic gold