Introducing our Noble Collagen Ambassador Dame Kelly Holmes

Introducing our Noble Collagen Ambassador Dame Kelly Holmes

Dame Kelly Holmes, an iconic figure in the world of athletics, not only inspires us with her remarkable sporting achievements but also with her unwavering resilience and dedication to health and wellness. As a double Olympic gold medalist, army veteran and decorated middle-distance runner, Dame Kelly embodies the pinnacle of physical excellence and perseverance. Beyond the track, her journey is a testament to the importance of holistic well-being, supporting her mental health and her body through many challenges. We couldn’t think of a more perfect ambassador for our newest product, Noble Collagen and sat down with Dame Kelly at the launch to explore the benefits of supporting an active life.

Kelly, you're such an incredible advocate for sharing the importance of physical activity for people's well-being & mental health. Can you tell us why you're so passionate about leading an active life?


There are several reasons why I believe people should lead an active life. Firstly, from a psychological point of view, doing something for yourself is important. Taking part in physical activity is probably the only time that you give yourself permission to think about what you’re doing, how you’re feeling, and have that ‘freedom’.


From a physical point of view, we undergo changes at different stages of our lives. We change from this young person who feels invincible to somebody over time that gets a bit more in tune with their body. Maybe you start experiencing aches and pains, feeling more lethargic, or noticing you are unable to do as much as you used to, and this all affects your mental health. So, for me, it's really important that we have a lifestyle that is active.


You've achieved so much in your career, and many obstacles and setbacks to achieve extraordinary success, injury often being one of them. Where did nutrition play a role in this and what helped you to recover and get back into training?


When I was an elite athlete, nutrition was really important. It was all about getting the right fuel to perform and do all the different types of training that was required. I was combining speed, endurance, strength training, and flexibility. I wanted my body in top shape, and to be the best in the world, so my nutrition was specific.


Now, I still really enjoy keeping fit, but my nutrition has changed. People might not think so, but I lead a really normal lifestyle! I'm busy, like a lot of people, so I graze, and I eat on the go. I could probably improve my nutrition more in order to keep healthy, active, alert and energised for my lifestyle. So, it is something I am now looking more into.


That's why I love working with Ancient + Brave, because for me it is convenient to take.


And what about injuries specifically? Did you have to change your nutrition and training around injury?

I’ve had multiple injuries as an athlete, but my injuries are more targeted now - joint pain, back pain, tissue damage, knee pain. I’m in tune with the changes in my body not only as I get older but also whilst maintaining an active lifestyle. So now I need to prioritise supplements which address those targeted areas. 


And how do you approach exercise and movement now?


My exercise and movement have, of course, changed throughout my career. I'm a military veteran, and back then it was extreme - loading, heavy lifting, running, pulling, pushing. Training as an athlete involved repetitive movements, and meant using my body intensely for long periods of time. 


After being retired for a while, but keeping active of course, my body shape changed again. The muscle structure has changed, and I'm probably not as flexible as I used to be. Currently, I base my training around my working schedule, but I know I should also be fitting in recovery time, too. It's important to remember it can be difficult to fit it all in around a normal life. 


I do still want to achieve more though, because I want to prove to myself that I'm capable of still doing things as I age. Leading a healthy lifestyle as you get older becomes even more important.


It seems more and more people are understanding the importance and enjoyment of movement to help them do what they love, but struggle to fit it in - what's your top tips for people who are looking to gain more confidence and consistency with exercise?


I set myself a step goal per day. It’s basic, but effective. If I haven't been able to get in the gym for two or three days, but I've reached a good step target, I know I'm moving enough. 

I also love going out for a run these days, not just as part of a training plan, but for my mental health. Life is hectic, and when I run it feels like a switch off from everything else. 

I’d also recommend people set some goals. Know what it is you want to achieve and why you want to achieve it. It’s so important to move, especially as we get older, to minimise the impact of lethargy and aches and pains in our joints. And being active just makes you feel happier.


And be active with other people - recruit a friend to join you!


You've spoken openly about some of your struggles with perimenopausal symptoms, specifically pain. What's your experience of joint pain and what helped you personally?


Being an athlete, I knew what pain was. Most of my career was consumed with injuries. But a couple of years ago, I got to a point where I was getting extreme body pain, to the point that I couldn't even do one press up. I knew at that stage that something wasn't right. As an ex-PTI and Olympic Champion, not being able to do a press up bothered me! I soon realised that maybe I was in denial of ageing and perimenopause. 


I was very naive to the perimenopause because there was such little information out there. I didn't realise that joint pain and body pain were symptoms of perimenopause. So, I decided to investigate things that might help. I came across Ancient and Brave and chatted with their team and discovered collagen. I wasn’t aware that collagen went beyond skin and beauty, so when I found out it's also about the whole body and the joints, I thought I’d try it. I started taking True Collagen on a regular basis and my pain alleviated. I now feel stronger and more physically able than I've felt in such a long time. Taking True Collagen has allowed me to push myself physically again. 


One thing which is important about taking collagen is being consistent. I make sure that I leave my True Collagen jar right by my hot tap to remind me to add it to my drink every day.


What excites you about the Noble Collagen Capsule?


It's very targeted for joint pain, which is one of the things I am trying to minimise. I'm excited to use it alongside the True Collagen powder that I already have. I wasn't totally aware of the different types of collagen but now I know Type 1 is found all over the body and Type 2 is more specific to joints and cartilage.


The other ingredients like vitamin C and Boswellia for anti-inflammatory effects are really cool. It's also amazing that you can see the benefits in just three weeks.


Yes! Boswellia is traditionally used for pain and anti-inflammatory properties and has been studied in things like knee pain and joint pain, rheumatic issues and Achilles tendonitis. Vitamin C is really crucial for collagen production so it works really well in synergy with Type 2 Collagen. Manganese is a key mineral which is needed to strengthen joints and cartilage and it's an antioxidant so it's really important for oxidative stress and inflammation.


It sounds like I might be taking a lot of this! You only need to take one capsule, which is nice. I had a lot of Achilles problems as an athlete, as well as lower back issues, so for me it's about protection now.


As a female founded business and with over 95% of our team being women, we love how you empower and champion other women through your charity and networking events. Were there strong women in your life who impacted you?


I love the fact that it's a female founded business. Over the years women have been trying to fight for a kind of equality or voice. Women know what women go through, so I think it's important that you combine your expertise from all sides of the business. 


When I was younger, my PE teacher went above and beyond her job - which was to make me do sports at school, of course. She saw my talent, and nurtured me into believing that I could be the best I could be and I would take that throughout my life. She was the first person I called to say thank you when I won my 2 gold medals!

Some people don't know the impact they have on people's lives. When you get advice from somebody that you know is knowledgeable, you listen to it! That's why it's important for me to work with people and organisations that are passionate about what they do and really believe in who they are and pass on their knowledge to others.


What do you love about Ancient + Brave?


There's a few things I love about Ancient and Brave - from the aesthetics to the great quality. I love the range of products and what they do for you, and I love the expertise behind the brand. I have loved speaking with the nutrition team who are passionate about making a difference to women's health. And of course using True collagen as part of my recovery from joint pain and helping me become stronger.

It’s important for me to understand what exactly is in the products I take, if it is ethical, and where ingredients are sourced. I don't just endorse things for the sake of it. I'm very particular with who I work with. 


And finally, what's your daily rituals?


I have hot water in the morning with a spoonful of True collagen in, before I go out in the morning. That is a must!


I try to do some type of fitness each day, whether that is just my step count or a preplanned run or gym session. I take my True MCT oil about half an hour before I do a workout. When people around me complain about aches and pains, or feeling tired, I tell them to make sure to get up and move! 

One of the things I have looked into, because of perimenopause symptoms, is making my sleep environment more conducive to relaxation. So I darken the room, put my oils or scents on and have a hot bubble bath with epsom salts.


I also like to allow for ‘me time’ - even if it is just 15 minutes of sitting in a car!

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