Hollyoaks actress Jennifer Metcalfe spills all about her diet, exercise regime and why she's the most body confident she's ever been
Jennifer Metcalfe is looking fit, strong and radiant. How does she manage to stay in shape with such a busy filming schedule? She reveals all her shape up secrets as part of our celebrity workouts series…
When it comes to fitness, Jennifer certainly has her head screwed on. The Hollyoaks actress, 34, who recently celebrated 10 years as the show’s Mercedes McQueen, gained a degree in health and fitness before making her mark in soapland, so she knows her stuff.
‘I love exercise so I always try to make time for it,’ she says. ‘Even when my filming schedule is hectic, there’s a way to fit it in. I have a smart TV so I squeeze in quick workouts if I have a spare few minutes.’
Yoga is one of the three exercises Jennifer loves – along with going to the gym and walking. ‘They work well together for me. Variation keeps me motivated.’ She fits walking into her routine by swapping the car for her feet twice a week to get to work. ‘It’s only a mile and half each way but it just adds more physical activity into my week without much effort.’
Jennifer’s gym workouts also help keep her enviable shape. ‘I love HIIT because it gets fast results and you only have to work out for 20 minutes!’ Abs, arms, running, lunges – she does it all but a six-pack isn’t the aim. ‘I exercise to feel strong. I’ve got strong legs so I can do quite a lot of lunges. And I like side planks because, although my waist is small, it wasn’t toned, but planks have really nipped it in.’
She combines her workout with her LighterLife Fast plan (which she’s an ambassador for). Based on the 5:2 diet, LighterLife Fast 5:2 is a diet plan where on two days each week you eat 600-800 calories with four LighterLife Fast products.
It’s certainly paying off, as Jennifer is happy with her trim size-8 figure. ‘For me, it’s a maintenance programme. I like my body the way it is and I don’t want to change. I’m at my happy weight and feel confident.’
Try Jennifer Metcalfe’s home workout exercises
The glute bridge exercise
Lie on your back, knees bent, feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Relax your arms by your sides. Lift your glutes off the floor, pushing with heels – aim for a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Squeeze glutes and abs, hold for two secs, then lower to the floor to a count of three.
Side plank exercise
Lie on your right side with your legs straight and feet together. Prop yourself up with your right forearm directly below your shoulder. Tighten your core and lift up your hips until your body is in a straight line. Hold the position for 60 secs for five to 10 secs then rest for five, continuing for one minute. Don’t let your hips drop or knees touch the floor. Repeat on your left side.
Stand straight with shoulders back and chin up. Engage your core then step forward with one leg, lowering your hips until both knees are bent at a 90-degree angle. Repeat on the other side, aiming for three to five sets of 10 on each leg.
Warrior pose 3
Stand with your feet hip-width apart, arms at your sides. Raise both arms overhead with palms facing each other. With your weight on your right foot, lift your left leg off the floor until it is parallel with the floor, while lowering your body parallel to the floor. Reach your arms forward, keeping your palms together. Straighten your right leg, continue lifting your left. Bring arms, body, hips and raised leg parallel to the floor. Stretch from fingertips to toes, hold for 30 secs. Breathe out as you lower your left foot to the floor. Repeat on the other side.