Actress Sarah Dunn shares her fitness and diet tips…

We caught up with Sarah Dunn, best known for playing Mandy Richardson in Hollyoaks, to find out how she keeps fit and healthy... 

1. How do you keep fit?
I try to work out in some way at least 3 times a week, it can be difficult with work schedules or lack of gym access but I like running & fitness classes & I’ve started up weekly ballet lessons, which are great for toning & flexibility.

2. How will you challenge your fitness in 2014?
As I get older I’m finding it harder & harder to stay in shape, I now really have to put the effort in. I think the main change for me for 2014 is going to be finding new, enjoyable ways to keep fit, without relying on a gym or personal trainer.

3. Did you make any new year’s resolutions and have you kept to them?
I didn’t this year, I rarely do, as I feel you can put a lot of pressure on yourself to stick to them & ultimately fail. I like to work towards a goal, whether it be a holiday or a charity run, that way I know I have a target in sight.

4. What has been the hardest fitness challenge you’ve completed?
I completed a half marathon a few years ago, I trained hard for it & put in the necessary work but even then, on the day, it was a challenge, I have no idea how people run full marathons!!

5. Why do you like reformer Pilates?
Reformer pilates is completely new to me & I’m loving it. I’m a big fan of regular pilates but feel it doesn’t challenge me enough to feel like I’ve done a full workout. Reformer pilates is much more gruelling than I’d expected & I ache a lot afterwards but for me this is a sign of a great workout & that I pushed my body & will start to see results faster. I feel like I’m getting a good workout but also toning & conditioning my body at the same time. I also like that the classes are quite small & your teacher closely watches your technique to ensure you’re getting the best from your workout. It’s fun & different & I’m hooked!!

6. Who inspires you to keep fit?
Like most woman, I look at celebrities & models in magazines & I think ‘I want to have a figure like that’. My ideal figure would be toned & strong yet still curvy & feminine. It’s difficult to have fitness 
inspirations as we’re all individual with our own shapes & sizes, so instead I try to eat healthily & exercise & get my body into it’s best shape.

7. Do you eat a healthy diet?
I have just started the Paleo Diet, which is basically just very healthy eating, nothing processed & no grains or dairy. It’s actually been very easy & enjoyable so far. You can eat as many vegetables as you like & lots of meat & fruits & herbal teas & lots of water which I’m normally useless at. I’m hoping my body will respond to it well & it will become a permanent healthy living choice, with the occasional ‘cheat day’ & pizza here & there!!

8. Is it hard sticking to a healthy diet when you work in TV?
It can be difficult because the hours are long & often you’re so hungry by the time you get to a break, that you want to eat everything & anything. It just takes discipline & organisation. If you can have an idea of what you’re going to eat for the week & pre prepare lunches then it’s much easier. The hardest part is when they bring biscuits to set or someone brings in cake!!!

9. What is your top tip for other women trying to get fit?
Get fit & healthy at your own pace, there’s no point trying some fad diet & seeing results quickly, if it’s not something that you can practically fit into your lifestyle & ultimately you’ll get bored of it & go back to square one. Find a fitness regime that works for you, whether it be reformer pilates & a run & swim or zumba & a gym session or a jog round the park with your friend, at least you’re doing something. Anything, however little you do, is better than sitting on the sofa & doing nothing & guaranteed you’ll always feel better for it & proud that you made the effort & when you start seeing results, that’s when it all becomes worth it. Be patient, getting into shape takes time & effort, but stick at it & you’ll get there! 

Sarah is currently working as a make up artist and a qualified HDBrows stylist & LVL Lashes technician working in Balham. She is also working as a guest presenter on QVC.