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Davina McCall on her new Boots fitness range & why Christmas is her favourite time of year

TV presenter and self-confessed health and fitness junkie, Davina McCall, is launching her new fitness range into Boots in time for Christmas. With everything from dumbbells and fitness planners to a yoga mat and a brightly coloured exercise ball, Davina is on a mission to encourage everyone to be a bit more active – even if it’s while you’re cooking your dinner! Here she reveals her top tips for self-care during the festive season and why wrist weights and fabric gift bags will change your life...

How excited do you get for Christmas?

Anybody who knows me well would laugh that I’m being asked this question because I’m basically Mother Claus. I mean I have a costume. It’s, you know, relatively saucy but not too saucy – it’s above the knee. I’ve got stripy socks and a little cape with the fake fur and everything.

I’ve started beef with houses down the road about who’s going to do more at Christmas, which – I’m sorry – I’m going to win every year. There’s a lot about this idea of family coming together and the magic of Christmas. I love traditions and the little things we used to do with the kids when they were young, like leaving out carrots for the reindeers and cookies for Santa. We still do that, even though they are now 20, 18 and 15. Hilarious!

What are you like as a gift buyer? Do you buy in advance or are you a bit more last-minute?

I’m super-duper organised. I have a list of everyone that needs a gift and I start buying things in August. If I haven’t finished by November, I start having panic attacks. I normally forget some of the gifts because I’ve squirrelled them away so well and then end up buying people a second present! I used to be quite extravagant when the kids were younger. We’ve kind of toned it down a bit. There’s a lot of laughter with our gift giving. 

I’m a very casual wrapper because I now do stockings for a lot of people. Fabric gift bags are so good. That person can wash it, keep it in their cupboard and then reuse it. All you have to do is tie the string. I like that!

I think I’m an easy person to buy presents for. Anything cats, anything dogs, anything shiny or glittery or sparkly, anything workout, anything food – there’s a lot of different areas you can go for. Any nice lingerie… thank you very much! Anything bath and anything funny, so there’s a lot to go at there. I got all the lyrics to a particular song that I love in a frame last Christmas, that’s a special present. Someone made it for me so it isn’t something you can buy in a shop.

How do you look after yourself at Christmas?

I’m a fixer and a giver. Christmas is like my favourite time of year because I get to do both of those things. If you’re in a team with your family and your partner, and everyone mucks in, it really can be a nice time of year. My self-care is having a lovely time at Christmas. That’s what makes me happy…and a bath. Oh my god, I love a bath at the end of the day. Nobody knock on the door, nobody come in, this is my time!

My self-care is having a lovely time at Christmas. That’s what makes me happy…and a bath.

How do you find inspiration to keep fit at Christmas?

Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day – I do nothing on those days apart from walk the dog. I say I do nothing but there’s a lot to do. I’m probably on my feet all day on Christmas Day, either milling around, running about or having fun, so I’m active. I just think there’s got to be one day of the year, or even three, where you just do nothing.

When it comes to food, I just throw caution to the wind. It’s what we should all do! We should all just enjoy it. But the rest of the time I try and stick to my schedule and work out at least six times a week. I enjoy Christmas because in my business everything shuts down for two weeks so I can probably exercise more than I do usually. It’s a real treat.

What are your tips for building health & fitness into your life if you're really busy?

It’s very hard to fit working out into the schedule but there are two things you need to figure out. First, when is the best time for you personally to exercise? I know mine is in the morning. If I get to the end of the day and I’ve got my civvies on, I know it’s going to be really hard to change out of those into my gym outfit and do a workout. The trick is to set your alarm for 45 minutes earlier than normal. You wake up, get changed into your workout gear and exercise for between 30 and 40 minutes. Then have your shower and off you go.

The other thing is only do what you enjoy because you’re more likely to do it. Find something you get a buzz from – a class that you love or some online workouts like pilates or HIIT that you can do in your own time. There are also very simple ways that you can incorporate working out into your daily routine. I’ve got wrist weights and ankle weights that you can wear while doing the house work. If you walk up and down the stairs a few times with those leg weights on, you are really going to feel it. While you’re cooking you can do some squat knee lifts, shoulder raises or bicep curls. It’s exercise by stealth.

What are your favourite products in the range?

My biggest passion is to try and help everybody live a healthier life. I know for a fact that an exercise routine will lift your mood. But I also wanted to include things that would motivate you, which is why I’ve done planners and whiteboards. When the prototype arrived at my house, I was like where’s the whiteboard gone? I went into my 15-year-old son’s room and he was planning his workouts and food for the week. I was like ‘This is amazing because rather than winging it day by day, you have a plan and you’re much more likely to follow it.’

The weighted gloves are probably my favourite product that I’ve ever made. They are phenomenal for boxing or even ballet barre because of where the weight is carried, on top of your hand, so it’s amazing for any kind of movement. I also wear them for running. They add a little bit of core, arms and shoulders workout. They’re just an amazing addition. I also really love the skipping rope. If you don’t like things like running, it’s one of the most amazing forms of cardio. @lauren.jumps started skipping on the first day of lockdown and she does fantastic tutorials on her Instagram page.