Second up in our M Y L O N D O N series is the lovely Claire Brien, blonde bombshell and total pocket rocket, this girl is awesomely badass. A bit of a back story… I met Claire in 2008 in Ibiza, we were both there as part of bigger groups and we pretty much joined forces for the week and had the. best. time (I think I’ve finally mentally and physically recovered from that trip… just about. Haha!). We stayed in touch and now the lovely Claire has relocated from Australia and has more than earned her badge as an honorary Londoner!
From 9am to 6pm Monday to Friday you will find her either at her desk working as Marketing Product Manager at a pharmaceutical company, or flying around Europe chatting to Health Care Professionals about potentially life changing treatments. But as Claire says, it’s not the day job that defines her, it’s how she spends her free time that speaks of her true personality, what she actively chooses to do with her mornings and evenings… and let me tell you, this gal squeezes it all in! She is a fully qualified Personal Trainer and teaches 3 early morning spin classes per week, as well as this she is currently working towards completing and achieving her Hot Power Yoga Teacher Training certificate.
I know exactly what you’re thinking… How on earth does she do it?!
A word from our featured athlete…
“Health and Fitness is a passion for me, and teaching brings me a satisfaction that I cannot explain. But training hard and maintaining results whilst living in London – juggling a busy job, international travel and an active a social life is tough. But how I see it is we make time for our priorities, and for me, being active and healthy is a huge priority in my life and also puts me in the social circles of wonderful vibrant people.”
As you can probably tell, Claire’s get up and go and general attitude to life makes her absolutely perfect for being featured in this series. She may not have lived in London all her life but I bet she knows almost as many (if not more) of it’s cool little nooks and crannies as someone who has lived here for twice the time!
So without further ado…
1 // Tell us your favourite outdoor space to train in London and why?
Clapham Common is my favourite outdoor space in London, partially because it is right near to where I live. I run around the Common at least once a week and in the Summer I spend quite a lot of time there training and / or socialising. I love the vibrant, young energy of the park and the people who tend to occupy it, how I can feel a sense of space amongst the chaos within 7 minutes of stepping outside my door. They also have great outdoor workout stations with pull-up bars that I also really like.
2 // Your ‘go to’ gym or indoor space to train in? Is it down to the equipment, the staff, the other people who train there?
My favourite indoor space to work out is Barbican Virgin Active. I am a little biased as I teach here but I really do LOVE the cycle members, they are hardcore!! They come in and absolutely smash a class, if I give options; they always take the hardest choice. Game on Barbican VA!
My other favourite indoor workout space is ‘Hot Power Yoga’ in Clapham, it’s also where I am doing my Yoga Teacher Training. It is a non-pretentious yoga studio (yes, sadly this type of yoga studio is SO rare in London) such a little gem, check it out! It took me two-and-a-half years to find a studio I loved, but now I have! Dylan the main Yoga teacher there, is a miracle worker! The staff are so beautiful and friendly, everyone takes the time to chat and their kind hearts are really apparent.
‘Kindness doesn’t cost a damn thing, sprinkle that sh*t everywhere’.
3 // Not that we need any excuse to take the scenic route but…Of all the awesome running, cycling & walking routes in our fair City, which one gets your heart racing and your fingers and feet itching to lace up or clip in and why? Tell us your point A to point B…
I absolutely adore the canals near Stratford, East London. You can roller blade along the canals from Homerton right through to Stratford Park area and its bloody awesome in summer!!
Richmond Park is also lovely for a big run, and makes it super easy to forget that you’re even in London.
Side note; I really, really want to ride more outside. Sure I teach my spin classes and I have taken a couple of cycling trips to France (Alpe D’Huez rocks, by the way!), but this year I want to buy a road bike and really get out into the English countryside. I must admit though, riding in London doesn’t interest me at all due to the constant inhalation of toxic car fumes. My desire to ride outside stems from the thought of fresh air and a feeling of space and freedom, not from the thought of being stuck weaving through nose to tail traffic. (I hear you on this one! Oh to have rolling countryside right on your doorstep… the dream of every cyclist!)
4 // Tell us about your current fitness addiction? (Class, sport, gadget etc…)
My current fitness addiction is Yoga. I NEED to go to Hot Power Yoga every week and I practice my own sequences as many mornings a week that I can. Whether I am in my hotel room in Austria, doing handstands next to the Berlin wall, or on the beach on holiday in Greece… I always find the time to get in some downward dogs and birds of paradise!
It’s lucky that this is my addiction as like I mentioned before, I am currently training to get my Hot Power Teacher Training 200HR certification this September, so I need to be doing as much as I can before then. I really like the Baron Baptise philosophy on yoga, it’s a type of Ashtanga Yoga but in a heated room and more playful. I really feel like I can be more of my authentic self by bringing this playfulness into each class, it’s such a beautiful practice and totally kicks your butt!
5 // Do you have a sporting hero or idol and if so, who and why?
To be honest, not really… only yoga gurus! The Dalai Lama rocks my world, he is just fabulous and his books and interviews continue to inspire me.
6 // What motivates you to get out there and get a workout done when you’re really not feeling it? Because let’s face it, we all have those days, especially with British weather to contend with!
This is a really good question. For me, it’s a lifestyle – not an ‘exercise regime’ or ‘diet’. I tell everyone the same thing… You need to find something physical that you love to do, and when you find that thing, it will keep you going back for more. Forcing yourself to do something you don’t enjoy is not sustainable and you will eventually quit. So my theory is ‘love what you do, and you will do it often!’ If you do it often, you’ll see the benefits that it has on your body and mind, and you’ll become addicted to that feeling. For me there really is no option! I don’t care how tired I am, I am getting up and I am hitting the mat or the bike. For me, it’s just my life, like breathing and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I would suggest trying lots of new fitness things, whatever toots your horn – just try it. You will eventually find your calling and stick to it!
7 // Your favourite place in London to fuel + hydrate / refuel + rehydratebefore /after a killer session? Any hidden gems?
I love the Virgin Active Aldersgate gym. It’s super plush, the spa, sauna and pool is amazing. If you have a classic Virgin membership, hit it up! It’s also SUPER quiet on a weekend!
Also after a workout at the Barbican I go to the ‘Look Mum No Hands’ coffee shop around the corner. It’s a killer little cycling café, and the coffee rocks! And there are awesome bikes everywhere and a super cool cyclist crowd. When I’m in Clapham I hit up Brickwood for coffee and munchies. You can not and will not find a better coffee in London! Awesome vibe and amazing staff, go check it out!
8 // Who is your favourite training partner and why? Go on, show them some love!
My favorite training partners are my best friend Kate Stewart and my amazing man Ross Zeibari. Kate is a fabulous SPIN instructor and PT, so we are always doing events and charity rides together. We also do obstacle courses and yoga retreats etc together too. She is just such an outstanding person and because she is on the same wavelength as me, any exercise I do with her is just so much fun. My other exercise favourite is Ross, my beautiful man. He is so naturally strong and fit and always challenges me! Whether it’s trekking in the Lake District, cycling Alp D’Huez in France, or running a fun run in Newcastle, he always teaches me something new and pushes me to try something I haven’t done before. He is utterly amazing and supports everything I do, he even tries yoga and meditation without me having to ask! I love him.
9 // No matter how successful, we are all still a work in progress and it’s SO inspirational to see others striving for greatness in one-way or another. We would love it if you could share with us a current fitness or lifestyle goal and tell us a bit about how you are working to achieve that goal? It could even be a previous goal that you set for yourself and subsequently smashed! Put it out there, be proud of your achievement! #humblebrag
Kind of answered before – My yoga teacher training, oh and getting (and using!) a road bike!!
10 // Briefly talk me through your perfect session? From warm up to cool down…
The perfect workout for me would be doing my own challenging RPM class (I just do my own thing with my headphones in and smash myself), then doing a full hour Power Yoga Sequence in a quiet space, followed by some relaxation and meditation at the end. It feels amazing if you have the time to do this! Gives you some wind-down from a serious cardio calorie burning session, also allows you to stretch out the body and work any areas that still need it. Then you get to thank your body for being wonderful and capable during the meditation at the end.
11 // What is one piece of advice would you give to an athlete who is new to London?
Talk to people!! Make friends at every opportunity you can! Find a good club/gym that does whatever exercise you are into – get involved! Talk to the receptionists, compliment someone on their awesome yoga pants, make friends and build a community around you. Go to www.meetup.co.uk and find a group in your area that does your sport and go along and meet people! It’s the best way to generate a sense of community. London is SUCH a busy city, but it can also be really lonely. You need to push yourself out of you comfort zone and meet new people to share your passion with! Soon enough you will find yourself surrounded with amazing like-minded people.
12 // What is your favourite genre of music or artist to listen to during your workouts?
Deep house music all the way!! Uplifting soulful house is also lovely for yoga! Harder house is required for RPM.
13 // Finally and most importantly… How do you ‘BREAK THE LOOP’, what does the phrase mean to you?
‘Breaking the loop’ to me means break the corporate loop, that dull loop of repetition. So many people in London define themselves by what they do to make money and not what they do outside of work, what really makes them tick. Some people are blessed to earn money from their true passion, but for most of us, how we make our money is not what gets our blood really pumping. Breaking the loop to me means breaking that monotonous cycle of sleep, eat, work, repeat. Life goes in the blink of the eye, and you need to break that loop of repetition to push yourself to experience new things. You could wake up one day and realise that you never took the risks and did the things you always dreamed of. One of my favourite sayings is ‘you are your own limitation’ and it is so true. We limit ourselves with the internal dialogue that we have constantly running in our heads, like ‘I can’t do this’ or ‘I’m not good enough’. You need to tell that voice in your head that you CAN do this – You can go out there and try a new sport or activity, meet some new friends who can really show you a whole new world, get outdoors, get out of the office and experiencing the world! Go Break The Loop!
If you want to know a bit more about the lovely Miss Claire Brien or would love to train with her then you can find her here;
Thanks for stopping by Claire, we’ve loved having you!
Hope that you all enjoyed the read and that it’s inspired you to try something new in a new part of town!? Want more of the same? Click here.