Getting to Know... Lucy Pinto
The human body is made for movement. Our ancestors spent their days walking, climbing, running, crawling, swimming, clambering, hauling, digging, squatting, throwing, and carrying things to survive. And yet we live in a time where most of us spend the majority of our days sitting. Functional movement doesn’t always have to mean a ‘work-out’ - but even when we know we should be moving more, it can feel difficult to fit it all in. We sat down with the mind + movement coach from TheBox, Lucy Pinto to get some pearls of wisdom on the topic.
You have so many strings to your bow Lucy, CEO of a thriving fitness studio, a successful PT, Creative Director and consultant to magazines and an inspiration to your online community - where does your drive and energy come from (and how do we get some?!)
Not sure I’m an inspiration but that's very kind of you thank you. I have found something that I feel a deep connection with and I want to shout it from the rooftops – health is wealth.
We face many crossroads in life and there is no right direction but if we are in a positive mindset and feel confident from within you are halfway there. If you don’t like where you are you have a chance to switch the narrative, isn’t that amazing.
How did it all start for you? What led you to the wellness world?
I have someone very close to me suffer from depression throughout my childhood. My way of coping was to control my relationship with food. The journey of negative talk continued well into my 20’s but I wanted to help the person close to me. I started to learn about the positive effects of exercise and how it could help with depression – with this newfound knowledge and changing my own story I saw how powerful movement was to the person I loved. From that day, I never looked back. The evidence that shows how training can have a life changing effect on an individual's state of mind is too powerful to ignore.
We seem to be at a bit of a crisis point in many ways when it comes to the nation's health. Post-pandemic reports tell us that a huge percentage of the population find their physical and mental health have deteriorated with more people than ever struggling with their weight, as well as new conditions such as Long Covid. On top of this, one in three UK adults reported that their mental health had deteriorated too.
We see studies upon studies showing the positive impact of a regular fitness practice on preventing chronic conditions and supporting our long term health and yet so many people seem to struggle with it. What do you see as the main issues for people and how can they overcome it?
It takes effort and if you aren't in the right mindset the last thing you want to do is make a concerted effort. I also think we are led to believe that it's hard work, showing people in a gym for hours at a time. Don’t get me wrong it can be hard but that is up to the individual. It can all start with a few extra steps a day, the simpler the better.
Do you think training with other people has its benefits too?
Absolutely! Working out with friends and at a community of like minded people can be such a life changing experience. You’ll be surprised how much people and their positive energy can lift you. If you book a sweat-date with a friend it makes you more accountable – plus it's a great way to catch up. Workout then coffee after, what's not to like!
Now summer is well and truly over and the autumn weather is closing in, what’s your top tip for those of us determined to get started with our fitness?
Just start. Start out small and set bitesize goals. This could be as simple as getting off the tube a stop earlier to get your steps in. Make your meetings walking ones. Don’t set unachievable goals. ‘I’m going to quit smoking, train 6 days a week and run 5k every day.’ small goals and small steps equal big sustainable change. Find something you love – You're more likely to commit to something that you actually enjoy.
Do you have any great tips to help you stick to a regular practice when life gets busy?
The rule of 3. If you can’t find 30 minutes in a day then split it up into manageable chunks. Ten minutes in the morning, this could be your walk to work or a 10min strength session. Ten minute at lunch time, either a walking meeting or a jog around the local park. Ten minutes in the evening, a relaxing yoga flow or 10 mins of meditation.
We’re so inspired to see so many women lifting weights over on TheBox account. How important is it for women to use weights?
Weight-lifting brings tangible results and can be hugely satisfying.
For years people (women in particular) have been chasing cardio for change and let's face it ‘the calorie burn’ when actually we should be focusing on resistance training for sustainable and long term results.
A stronger muscle has more potential to do everything better. It's capable of generating more power, building up stamina and taking pressure off our joints and connective tissues.
In order to get the benefits of resistance training you don't have to be lifting 100kg 4 times a week. Start off with bodyweight – think compound moves such as squats, lunges and push ups. Then progress to resistance bands and when you have nailed the technique train with a barbell or dumbbells. There is increasing evidence that women who weight train can stave off osteoporosis post-menapause. Your joins and your 80-year-old self will thank you.
Weight training makes you think more about the weight on your bar than on your body, now that’s compelling!
There are so many fitness classes to choose from these days! What’s your top 3 ways to work out? Are there any fitness trends we should avoid?
Anything that looks like a fad – Fitness trends come and go like hotcakes. If your trainer is getting you to do one handed burpee’s on a bosu I would suggest you rethink your relationship with them
Look out for ‘Functional training classes’ Think back to caveman days when we were lifting boulders, running to catch our meals and fighting off competition. You don't need the latest trend or any fancy equipment to get great results.
Make it fun, train with a friend and include resistance training where possible.
You know we’re huge fans of collagen here and we know it plays an important role in our joint + bone health and injury prevention, especially for those who work out regularly and as we age. What do you think is the best way for people to ensure they protect themselves from injury?
Find yourself a good coach. Functional training should be just that - there is no need to reinvent the wheel. Keeping it interesting is all down to your style and connection with your clients. Anyone can put a programme together but the trainers who ask ‘how you are’ before a session and keep their phone in their pockets are the ones who are booked out.
When it comes to your training, less is often more. Rest days can be overlooked as we think we should be doing more – but doing this and ‘pushing through’ could actually be counterproductive. Our bodies need rest in order to recover and come back stronger and can therefore progress with your training feeling good about ourselves.
We’re witnessing an exciting shift where aesthetics aren’t the only goal for people when it comes to healthy practices, whether that means taking their daily collagen, supplements or moving their bodies. There now seems to be a bigger emphasis on actually feeling good + living healthily, almost prioritising wellness practices as a form of beauty. Do you see people’s mentality shifting when it comes to the value of overall well-being or is there still work to be done? What has been your personal experience of this?
There has definitely been a shift and people are more concerned with their health and ways to support it. Unfortunately, due to the power of social media, 'Toxic Positivity’ is also a real thing! We are consumed by people telling you to ‘live your best possible life,’ make banana bread, run a marathon and drink lemon water daily. Whilst all these things are great if you aren't doing them it can be a little consuming.
Something we strive to communicate at TheBox is feeling fit in body and mind. People are now more open to trying new ways to improve their health and not ashamed to try something new.
We’re a big supporter of women in business here at Ancient + Brave with our own female founder heading the ship. As a female CEO, what challenges have you overcome in the journey thus far?
I’m so proud to be a woman in business. I have many female trainers who I hope one day will take the reins and continue to offer the support and passion that I do though being a woman in her own lane.
I have been subjected to sexist comments throughout my career, in publishing and fitness. I’m so determined to change this attitude that I've actually turned it into a positive and try to break those barriers and question the people who say them
‘Oh, it’s your boxing gym’ It sure is and I’m proud of it!
What has been the most important piece of advice you’ve received?
Take a breath before you respond. And ‘It can wait till tomorrow’ I’m still working on the latter.
Congratulations on your award for Best Gym 2022! You must be thrilled. What do you think it is that makes TheBox so special?
The people, we are nothing without our members. Plus what you see is what you get, nothing is sugar coated - we create a safe environment for everyone to just be themselves. Also my team, I have so much love for them they are my family.
We love that you and your studio support the next generation with their health too! Can you tell us a little bit about the initiatives you have for younger ones?
We work with many local schools and offer an ‘After School Club’ . We believe the earlier you can introduce fitness to an individual the more likely they are to keep it up into adulthood. Fun fitness classes exploring movement not only translates back into the classroom it also helps the young become better team players, switches on all their receptors (especially boxing) and can help the next generation think positively about their bodies.
Do you have a favourite Ancient + Brave product? What’s your top tips for fueling your workouts?
We can all overload our work schedules sometimes and things can slip. I have a pretty good balance but my sleep is terrible. I know that I’m giving my body that extra support if I'm taking Naked Collagyn for the Body, it ticks all the boxes for me. Immune boosting and gut supporting, after all the gut is our second brain and we must treat it with respect.
Try to eat before a big session. Fasted training won't get you anywhere apart from being annoyed and feeling like you have failed. If you are limited on time and prefer to train first thing, have something bitesize, an apple with almond butter for example. Refuelling after; Opt for real food, it's there to be enjoyed. Why would you want to drink your food? Look at your macros as opposed to your calories. Look at how nutrient dense your food is as opposed to how long you have to run to burn those calories!
Breakfast? Eggs anyway with a side of sauerkraut
Place to holiday? Any one of the Greek Islands. Or Portugal - the food, weather, surf, climbing and it's only a few hours away
Way to relax? Sea swimming. You can’t beat walking barefoot on the sand
Dose of nature? I love hiking.
Brunch spot? Mortimer House Kitchen, London. I love the spiced Shakshuka
Happy place? The mountains or the sea
Thanks so much Lucy!