As one of the nation’s TV favourites, Davina McCall needs little introduction! A household name since she first graced our screens nearly three decades ago, the 55-year-old is not only television gold but a much loved fitness icon too. The mum-of-three talks to Suzanne Baum about her passion for exercise, lifestyle tips, embracing confidence and loving life in her fifties.
You always bring so much positive energy into everything you do and don’t seem to shy away from anything. What is the key to being confident in your fifties?
Davina McCall: ‘I don’t think you keep or lose confidence, I think you can keep and lose self-esteem: to me these are different. I am a lot more confident now than I was in my 20s, 30s, and 40s because I’m older and I’m wiser and I love myself, warts and all!
‘There is a big change that happens when you start loving yourself for all the good bits but you also understand and accept that some of you needs working on. You always need to be prepared to work on the bits of yourself that you don’t like and not give much attention to what anyone thinks about that.’
As women, we are often critical of ourselves. What is your advice when it comes to learning how to love your body?
‘This is major! This morning I got up and I said “my body is looking bang tidy at the moment” because I’m exercising a bit more (four days a week rather than three) and I have increased my strength training which is important as we get older and it’s making me feel amazing!
‘However, have I got a bit more of a jelly tummy, yes! I also have some crepey skin around the tops of my arms and my knees but I like the way that I feel, which comes from having body confidence. I feel strong and beautiful and being totally accepting of my imperfections is just part of who I am.
‘And this is what’s interesting to me about getting older… things that used to bother me so much really don’t bother me anymore. I’ve got to give a shout-out to any influencers out there like Chessie King who have spent all of their youth in fact taking photos of the cellulite on their legs to showcase their imperfections. Hand on heart women like Chessie have made me feel a lot better about myself and my body and since seeing influencers online being out and proud about their bodies I wear more shorts and miniskirts than I ever did in my 30s and 40s, or perhaps this is about getting older and feeling more confident.’
How has your body shape changed since you were in your twenties?
‘I love my body a lot more now than I ever did because we have been through a lot together including having three babies. That is why I appreciate it so much. In fact, I would write a love letter to my body and say “look at what you’ve done, you have been through so much and you are still here, thank you for delivering every day.”’
You are very well-known for your love of fitness. What advice would you give for women wanting to up their exercise goals?
‘It’s so important to include strength training in your repertoire. Especially in midlife. Working out is great for your bones, heart, mental health and so much more. I am LOVING my yoga on Sundays, which is always the last exercise session of the week that I like to do. Yoga is literally the BEST way to start a Sunday and it really helps me physically and mentally to unwind and focus on the coming week.
‘Women often tell me they have no coordination when it comes to following exercise routines but my advice is not to worry and just to concentrate on keeping your body moving. The ONLY way you get results is with consistency. And be sure not to miss doing a cool down post exercise as this isn’t just for your body to relax, it’s for your mind too.’
Finally, looking back at such a successful career, what would you tell your younger self?
‘This is such a simple one: I’d say: “It’s all going to be ok!”’