Olympic champion and celebrated British athlete Dame Denise Lewis OBE reveals her expert fitness advice to keep fit and stay motivated with exercise, plus her favourite affordable gym gear from the high street.
As one of Britain’s most successful athletes and President of the Commonwealth Games England, Dame Denise Lewis OBE knows a thing or two about fitness. With five gold medals to her name and setting a world record in heptathlon in 2000, she has since become a popular figure in sports broadcasting and has been made a dame for services to sport in the 2023 New Year Honours.
With January fitness resolutions in the making, Denise has used her expertise to collaborate on a new edit of activewear with high street favourite Next. With each item tried, tested and approved by the pro herself, you’ll find functional yet flattering leggings, sports bras, tank tops, hoodies and joggers as well as swimwear to power up your poolside performance.
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Whether you’re planning high intensity interval training, cardio, weights or yoga, the kit caters to all varieties of exercise with lightweight, breathable and moisture-wicking fabrics. There are also four pairs of technical running trainers to amp up and support high impact activity.
We spoke to Denise to discover the inspiration behind the range, the playlist that keeps her motivated in the gym and the best way to kickstart an exercise regime…
Swimsuit, £48, Next
Hi Denise. What inspired your new edit with Next?
“With workout wear I look for detail and whether a brand has thought about the functionality of the garment. The technical features need to be on point. I’ve been seriously impressed with Next’s range of activewear and how it has developed over the last few years; they really deliver on affordable, stylish activewear while going the extra mile to cater for all women."
T-Shirt, £18, Next
Hoodie, £34, Next
"I’m proud that my edit is available in UK sizes 6 to 22 and I’ve made sure to include pops of colour which stay true to my own style. From squat- proof leggings (which don't fall down!) to sports bras suited to various types of workout, there's something for everyone.”
Which are your favourite pieces from your edit?
“I’ll be wearing the longline hoodies and sweatshirts this winter, throwing them on with a pair of jeans at weekends. What I love about activewear is that it’s easy. I can be going to the gym or picking up the kids from school – it doesn’t matter what time of the day I put it on, it’s just comfortable and I feel good in it.”
T-Shirt, £20, Next
What advice can you offer to stay motivated to exercise?
“Think of moving more as an energy giver not a drain. Scheduling two sessions of 30 minute exercise into your week is a great starting point, and there are lots of apps out there to help you – you could get me as a coach on (NHS app) Couch To 5K! I stay motivated with music and have been playing Stormzy’s new album This Is What I Mean and Beyonce’s Renaissance – the song Cuff It always gives me energy.”
T-Shirt, £20, Next
Do you have a favourite form of exercise?
“I love most types but when tension is high I do spinning. I zone into the feeling on the bike of maintaining the RPM and pushing through the challenge seems to clear my mind.”
What are you most looking forward to in 2023?
“Good health is always number one but along with launching my edit for Next I’m excited to be receiving an Honorary Degree from Birmingham City University.”
Top, £22, Next
Being a busy mother of four, how do you approach parenting?
“I’m not even sure how I juggle it! You’ve just got to have a positive mindset and be really clear with what you want to get out of the day but know that you can’t fit everything in. Don’t beat yourself up!”
Sports Bra, £26, Next
How did turning 50 affect your outlook?
“I’m really appreciative of life and want to show my children the importance of being active and showing up in all areas. As I celebrated that milestone birthday my mantra became to love me more and stress less.”
Shop the Denise Lewis Edit at next.co.uk and in selected Next stores