For the imperfect Fashion lover.

Saturday, 30 June 2018

Amazing Women | Power of Positivity | Real Life Fitness

Real life fitness inspiration | Amazing women | Fake Fabulous

If you're someone who is remotely interested in health and fitness then you'll agree with me when I say it's great to get some real-life relatable inspiration.

Much as I love to follow fitness bloggers (and Instagrammers) they often seem unrelatable and their goals unachievable for someone like me.

Today I want to introduce you to Clare.

On the surface of things, she has it all...
She's the 'perfect' person that haters love to hate...
She's professional fitness coach, Les Mils instructor and bodybuilder.
She's gorgeous, 20-something with a toned, tanned, and uber-fit figure with legs up to her armpits.

{Standing next to her my so-called long legs feel like stumps!}

She's also super-cheerful, positive and friendly.

You could be wondering what the hell is she doing here at Fake Fabulous!

You may be thinking...

It's all right for the young and perfect.They have it all from the offset.Great genes.A perfect life.Nothing to worry about.

You might even feel like she should...

"Get some real problems like the rest of us and eat a bloody pie while you're at it!!"

Well, Clare is (as we all are) a complex character.
She's not just a pretty face and a perfect bum!

She's a real-life woman who has just as many issues, problems and complications in her life as the rest of us.

In fact, as you read on, you'll see that she's had more than her fair share of adversity to overcome.

When I first read her story I couldn't believe it was the woman I saw before me.
She really is an amazing lady!

Plus, despite having youth on her side, looking this good doesn't come easy.

It takes HARD work.
Serious graft.

{The things she does to prepare for a competition are beyond my understanding... weeks and weeks of huge calorie deficits and incredible discipline}

This is what her professional life looks like...

Real life fitness inspiration | Amazing women | Fake Fabulous

(Images: Raff Fitness)

Nothing I can relate to that's for sure!

However, if you meet her in person she's bubbly, positive, cheeky and fun to be around.
Her energy is contagious.

This is the real Clare...
Chatting, laughing, clowning around... and giving me a load of lip!

Real life fitness inspiration | Amazing women | Fake Fabulous
I'm so glad she agreed to share her story with you... plus so many great tips and tricks from her not-so-perfect life!

I really wanted you to see her in her full-on-glam competition mode (above) BUT also I wanted you to see her without makeup, hair, nails, clever lighting or skilful posing.

{She had just taught three (very strenuous) classes before I took these images}

She doesn't have a scrap of makeup on, and as I was taking the photo's she said to me...

"I'm a mess! I don't even have my brows on!"

I replied... 

"Don't be daft, you're bloody gorgeous!"

and this is the face I got back...

Real life fitness inspiration | Amazing women | Fake Fabulous

Hahahahaha... That expression says it all!

{I could photoshop some big slug brows onto her to get my revenge??.... hehehehe}

I think she is at her most beautiful with messy hair, no brows (😝) and a genuine smile.

Here is her story in her own words (my comments are in italics).
I hope you find some inspiration from her story.

1. Hi Clare, could you please share a few details about yourself?

Name: Clare Rafferty
Age: 25 (Virgo)
Primary Occupation: Online Female Fitness Coach {see her website Raffitness HERE
Secondary: Teaching women how to be bad-ass no matter their age, size, background or lifestyle. 

{She also teaches fitness classes at my local gym that are always packed out!}

For as long as I can remember I have been a workaholic and exceptionally introverted. 
I thrive off of the stress, the hustle and the challenge of work. 
But, I love to work alone for the most part and I prefer my own company a lot of the time. 
As part of my job I get to make people feel good which requires a lot of high energy, it’s fantastic. 
Once I’m on a roll it spreads like a virus! 
So, I generally spend my time either working and being on my own. 
(Probably not what you would expect!?)

Over the past 12 months, I have invested more time in personal development and learning how to manage my emotions and ambitions through working with various mentors.

I’ve lost both of my parents, one when I was 20 the other when I was 23 and I have just bumbled along simply keeping things together over the last 5 years.  

Mostly I’ve invested my time in work and education to grow my business and brand. 
Lately, I am trying to manage this (loss), feel more, and of course heal to allow me to be a little more vulnerable and connect with my family and friends. 

I love to travel, train and eat. 
My ideal day would consist of waking up on a beach, getting a good training session in, spending some time chatting to friends/clients/family and eating a huge burger alongside a gin (and some cake) as I laughed my ass off.

2. Have you always been fit?
Have ever had any issues with your weight/size/shape?
How was your first session/class/activity?

I have always been active so to speak. 
Growing up I danced, took part in gymnastics, played netball and was part of every school sports club you can imagine. 
I was always pretty average, better at Maths and History, but I enjoyed sport and gave it my all. 

Throughout my life, I have struggled with weight. 
I used to have a pretty poor diet and never knew how to control my hunger, often eating until I felt sick. 

In my older teenage years, I managed this better and got my weight to a ‘healthy standard’ but there was nothing healthy about the way I was treating my body!

This is where my fitness story really starts. 

I played netball at university and went to the gym when I could be bothered. 
I gained a lot of weight in my first year, I became depressed.
I slept for 12-16 hours a day.
I became disconnected from friends.
I put up walls around my emotions and I would use the next night out as my excuse to ‘let loose’ and ‘feel better’. 
After around 12-18 months of this, the doctors finally ran some blood test.
I had an underactive thyroid and a pretty bad one at that. 
It took a further year to get stable on medication and my mental and emotional state had only begun to improve. 
Physically, I had a lot of work to do.

Cue, study abroad in Australia. 
The most perfectly timed opportunity I have had to date. 
I spent 7 months with family and friends going between Melbourne and Adelaide enjoying all things sun, wineries, culture and fitness. 
It was incredible. 
I went from "ugh, not the gym" to planning my days around my morning session.
I became addicted to Les Mills group exercise. 
The weight was finally coming off. 
I learnt about protein and healthy foods to fuel my body and energy. 
I became addicted to feeling good and I was learning quickly what worked for me and how I could manipulate things to look how I wanted to look.

I remember the first class I went to. 

My friend Tamara dragged me along. 
It was a Bodypump, CXworx double. 
The energy in the room was contagious. 
I was so scared, but the second the music started I felt at ease – I vibe off of good music (it’s my thing). 
I was sore for a couple of days, unable to sit on the toilet, couldn’t brush my hair, if I laughed I thought my stomach was going to fall out. 
But...  it was addictive and I have never looked back. 

Exercise really pulled me out of a dark place, I was so low on self-worth, confidence and just ‘being’. 

It’s strange to think that pre-2013 I hated exercise and training. 
Now, it’s my saviour. 
It is my main way to escape the world.
It helps me manage my thoughts and feelings.
It improves my energy.
It drastically changes my mood. 

3. How do you stay motivated? Is it important to set new goals?
What is your current goal?

Now, my motivations lie in becoming a WBFF Pro and standing on the world stage with the best of the best athletes in the Bodybuilding world. 
However, something I try to teach clients and I know within myself, motivation is not enough. 
If I am honest, at least 25% of my week I spend de-motivated. 
But, my end goal is so clear and my 'why' to do it is so set that I’m kept going when motivation is at an absolute low. 

I always have a goal to work towards, I personally struggle when I don’t have one. 
It can be super challenging to keep yourself ‘on track’ when you don’t have a clear outcome in mind. 
For around 18months, 2016-recent, my goal was ‘to compete in the WBFF’ but the deadline was not concrete. 
This made it difficult to focus and stay consistent day to day. 
I found as soon as I put the date deadline down my motivations increased and ‘the fear’ was real. 
Over those 18 months, I had other goals that were business, family and lifestyle focused. 
These kept me progressing and developing in other ways – I am all about the goal setting!

I work a lot with clients on goal setting. 
Some I get them to set them 2x per year, some more frequently if they are crushing them or circumstances change. 

I do believe without a desired outcome we can get lost. 
I also believe that once you achieve your goal you need to set the stakes higher.
We should never be content and happy or ‘fine’ for too long. 

I believe as soon as you are comfortable you are missing out on an opportunity and on greatness. 
So, I constantly get people to set 8-week, 16-week and 24-week goals to keep challenging them, give them accountability and help remind them why they are doing what they are doing. 

4. What does a typical week involve for you? 
Could you share your fitness schedule?

{I'm guessing it's pretty bonkers!!}

A typical week for me is pretty intense. 
It can change as well depending on my ‘on season’ and ‘off season’ cycles with competing. 

As a general:

AM: 3 Les Mills Classes (coaching) 
PM: Upper Body Session 90-120 mins

AM: 1 Les Mills Class (coaching)  
MID: Leg Session 90-120mins 
PM: 2 Les Mills Classes (coaching)

AM: 1 Les Mills Class  
PM: 2 Les Mills Classes

AM: Upper Body 90-120mins

AM: Legs 90-120min

OFF (or weak spots if additional training needed due to season)

AM: 1 Les Mils Class (sometimes more if covering)
PM: 2 Les Mills Classes

I will admit, this schedule is currently ‘under development’ because I am overtraining quite a bit and it is too much for my body to handle. 
I am more susceptible to injury and work bi-weekly with a physio team and sports massage therapist to keep my body in check. 
I also have a coach who advises me if things need to change due to lack of recovery and fear of burnout. 

5. What about rest days? 
How important are they?

Rest days are SO IMPORTANT. 
Hence why I really try to have 1 per week. 
Often this may mean I miss a session or have to get classes cancelled if I do not have enough recovery time. 
What often people miss out on is, when you train you literally tear your muscles and cause inflammation and stress in the body. 
Unless you rest your body cannot repair, therefore, you lack muscle development and often don’t see the results you want to see as your body is permanently inflamed and under stress.

NOTE: Before I step on stage to compete I rest my legs for 7-10 days and I rest my upper body for at least 48 hours. 
In that time pre-show, I eat a lot and I sit on my butt. 
That’s how we end up looking so good – rest! 

6. What about nutrition?
Do you have any specific foods/drinks that you recommend?
What about any food you avoid?
Tips to beat cravings and/or overeating binges?

For me, food is pretty basic most of the time. 
I always try to fit in a snack (or a craving killer) in at some point if I know I am more stressed, more tired or busier (these are rare and often just before bed if ever!) 
But, for the most part, I eat the same 5-6 meals on rotation.

I will put in a disclaimer here and PLEASE NOTE: I have suffered from severe episodes of binge eating throughout my life. 
I now have these under control for the most part and it has taken a really long time to work through this and manage this. Hence, I often have a pretty boring diet to avoid any triggers.

Breakfast: Bagel + 2 eggs, ½ avocado, 2 bacon rashers, spinach and tomato
Snack: 100g chicken + broccoli + sweet potato mash
Lunch: 100g chicken + 125g rice + sugar snap peas + corn on the cob
Snack: 4 rice cakes + strawberry jam
Dinner: 130g Steak + 400g white potato + 50g halloumi + green veggies
Snack: 50g oats + 100g frozen berries + 15g choc shot +  1 shot/toppings packet

Personally, I try to avoid triggering cravings.
Unless I know I am in a really positive head space and feel relaxed I try not to feed my cravings. 

These are the ways I help clients:
Melt a few squares of dark chocolate – makes an epic choc sauce and add to banana with toppings (or add to anything!!!)
Melt dark choc with Fage yoghurt and protein powder and set. 
You can then roll it into balls or eat it as a pudding (can even add some nut butter!)
Buy individual servings. I know the 4 for £3 sounds great, but if you can’t trust yourself, don’t torture yourself.
Give yourself a treat day each week. Set some boundaries, but relax around food that 1 day.
Stop splitting foods as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ you need to have a level head approach to what works for you, what your taste buds like and setting some boundaries. 
Pizza is not bad for you, pizza every day will probably make you gain weight, but 1x a week – you will survive!

Bulk out your meals with green veg – these have a really low carb content – and without getting into the science – their calories don’t really count in the body.

7.  Do you think being a woman (i.e. hormones and monthly cycles) affects your ability to sculpt body the way you want it and/or your ability to stick to a healthy regime?

This is a really interesting question!!!! 
So, yes, and no!
This one is a case by case scenario and I am sorry to say it’s not until you try and test methods time and time again will you learn what really works with regards to sculpting your body.
As for sticking to a healthy regime.
We are a negative society and culture.
We love to complain about the things we can not do before we boast about the things we can.
We love to create barriers and restrictions and make things hard for ourselves.
I am of a #positivevibesonly personality.
If you want something bad enough you will find time to do it.
We spend hours of our day scrolling through social news feeds, talking on the phone, watching Netflix… the list goes on.
To be healthy takes no more time than it does to be unhealthy? You just have to spend a little more time investing in the plan to get you started and you just need a little more self-belief that you can make it work.
Being healthy should be easy to do.
I am not naive to the fact a lot of women have crazy work schedules and homes to run, but being healthy needs to be an integrated part of that lifestyle.
Whether it's doing it as a family or incorporating longer breaks into your working day to clear your head and walk.
There is always a way to do it.
We are just too quick to see the negative and convince ourselves we can’t before we even try.
Change is hard.
But change is worth it!

As for me, I’m pretty young but I have a poor cycle and an underactive thyroid as well as haemochromatosis. 

{I was stunned at this!}

If you ask any medical professional they will say some of the things I can do, and the schedule I lead, is not possible, but it is.
I have a great tolerance for carbs now as I have spent years training my body, being consistent and focusing on foods that are good for me.
I have adapted well as I have ‘youth’ on my side.
I work with a lot of clients who believe they will never change.
Most of my clients are +35.
I like to prove them wrong. 

The correct manipulation of training, macronutrients, stress, sleep and other activities can have an incredible impact on any woman.
Yeah, so when you are due your period you may bloat and gain 5kg, but that’s not fat mass and not an accurate measure of what’s going on. 

Yeah, you might be pre-menopausal and have a lot of bloating and cravings all the time, but if we can manage your stress levels, give you a diet with the right amount of fats and correct training protocols we can reduce the internal stress. You will manage your moods better.
You will feel better.

8. Any tips to beat the bloat?

Bloating. Honestly, you need to find the source.
Chances are you have an intolerance in your gut to something OR you have restricted something from your diet for so long that when you put it back in your bacteria start to have a panic as they don’t remember how to process it.
Both scenarios, bloating.
Gut health is massive in our industry right now.
Having a healthy gut can really make an incredible difference to weight loss, mood, energy, sleep, stress and more.
Things to consider?
A good amount of probiotics and prebiotics in your diet each day, increase fermented foods, keep an eye on your veggies and get as much colour as possible in there, healthy oils and fats, the list goes on!
Eat sitting down is an important one, not on the go, let your food digest properly!
Try to eliminate too much food a one time if you are struggling – think smaller meals more frequently.
If you can keep a log of the times your stomach bloats and keep a track of the foods you have had a few hours prior then work through a process of elimination. You will start to get a grasp on ‘is it food’ or not?
For some, it may be too much caffeine.
Monitor your intake here too.

9. Do you have any other advice for any (older 40+) women who are thinking about starting their journey to fitness? 

The key thing to know is that you are never too late to start.
It doesn’t have to be Grit classes or HIIT, you can start with bodyweight at home and then build up to using the gym.
There is so much support out there nowadays and there are so many ways to train.
I really think, for most people, just getting up and moving more is a fantastic way to start.
When was the last time you went for a walk for an hour?
Go do that right now, then again tomorrow… and again the next day until you are ready to walk to the gym and ask to be set up.
If you are struggling with ‘the ring round your tummy’ as I hear so often, all hope is not lost if you want to shift it?
Cut back on your alcohol intake, increase foods like avocado, eggs, oily fish, nuts and pull back – just a little – on bread and pasta.
Small changes to your eating habits will start to make the huge differences.
To get fit, to be healthy, it doesn’t take too much change.
There are levels for everyone.
You just have to start.
Remember, you are not alone in this. 

Real life fitness inspiration | Amazing women | Fake Fabulous

Real life fitness inspiration | Amazing women | Fake Fabulous

If you want to ask Clare anything you can get in touch with her easily...

Email Clare at: clare.rafferty05(at)

You could sign up for Clare's fantastic 6 week Body blitz plan HERE or check out her website

Why not follow her on FACEBOOK and INSTAGRAM for more inspiring chat and videos!


  1. I loved reading this! I relate to so much of what she said. I adore the energy of Les Mills classes; I don't feel like I'm working out but more like I'm at a fitness party. I can see why she teaches them! Like Clare, I eat mostly the same foods all the time... food that is too sexy can be triggering to me and kick starts all kinds of cravings that I don't enjoy fighting, so I keep things very simple. I'm off to explore all of her online sites!

    1. They're addictive, aren't they Lisa! and Clare is SO popular... her classes are jam packed.
      I'm intrigued by what "sexy' food makes you turn to the dark side???

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. WOW!! Clare is truly inspirational Her advice seems well researched and her process although WAY to much for the average woman is clearly working for her. Bravo Clare!d

    1. She is amazing Judy... medically she should be slow, tired, lethargic... she is the anthesis of these!

  4. What an inspiration Clare is! I love her photos too. You're right, she is beautiful without all the makeup!
    Suzy x

    1. She was having non of it though... hahahaha. I felt like such a mum giving her a row! XXX


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