In new research from biscuit brand go ahead!, it's been revealed that we all work better together when it comes to exercise and wellness.

Ferne McCann

Ferne McCann

Teaming up with Ferne McCann and Bradley Simmonds, the brand have launched their Summer Buddy Project, and we got the opportunity to chat to Ferne all about it...

Can you tell us a little bit about the new campaign you're working on, the go ahead! Summer Buddy Project?

When the summer starts approaching I think most people, especially women - myself included - have the tendency to go on some crazy fitness regime, or fad diet, but within a week you get bored and give up. So the idea behind the go ahead! Summer Buddy Project is that through teaming up with a buddy, you're more likely to stay on track and stay motivated to keep up your good intentions. Apparently we're 74% more likely to keep up our fitness and wellbeing goals if we do them with a pal - and let's be honest, it's far more fun...

Through the campaign, myself and Bradley Simmonds - celebrity personal trainer - have partnered together with go ahead! to really champion people to stay on track [with] achieving their goals, with great tips for snacking healthily and keeping active.

Why did you decide to get involved with this campaign?

I know myself how much easier it is to stick to things if you've got a friend to help you stay motivated, so I wanted to get involved and help people out, and encourage them to try something new with their friends that'll not only give them a physical boost, but also a huge boost mentally too. The project isn't just about physical activity - it's not about telling people to lose weight or go on a crazy diet - it's about helping people stay focused and feel better about themselves, whatever their goals. We want to keep people motivated to stay on track and not give up.

When approaching anything new - whether it's a new fitness routine, learning a new hobby, starting a new job or whatever - it can seem daunting at first, and what I love about the campaign is that it provides great tips that are simple and achievable. Plus, have you seen Bradley?! Working with him definitely isn't a struggle...

What is your approach to maintaining your healthy lifestyle?

From experience, I think the most important thing is to make your goals realistic. If you set the bar too high - whether it's a fad diet, crazy fitness regime or whatever - you're almost setting yourself up to fail, which is only going to make you feel worse about yourself. You end up feeling like you're back to square one, which is so demotivating. Wellbeing is as much about mental health as it is physical.

So I always see my diet and exercise as something that is nourishing me, not as a chore. It shouldn't be regimented, it needs to be fun so that it's maintainable and can become part of your daily lifestyle.

Why do you think women are more likely to work out and get healthy when they're with a friend?

I think that everyone's so busy now, and let's be honest, at times it can be so hard to motivate yourself to hit the gym when you've been working all day. If you're with a friend, it's a great way to feel like you aren't having to sacrifice your social life to work out - that's how I stay on track - I work my healthy intentions into my schedule and my social life. Going to a fun exercise class with your friends and jumping around together for an hour can be far more fun than sitting in some restaurant anyway. If your barrier to exercise is that you'd rather be out having fun, then that's your solution - bring the fun to the gym instead. It doesn't even have to be the gym either - I love dancing, running walking - whatever. I think the key is to keep moving.

On a more insightful level though... Go Ahead! did actually do their research on this and apparently the main thing for women in Britain is that we don't feel confident to go it alone - either because we're worried about looking silly, or because we find it hard to self-motivate. That's the idea behind the project - Bradley and I and the team at go ahead! are acting as a support squad to help people stay on track.

What advice do you have for those who want to get in shape but find it hard to get motivated?

Just make a start. It doesn't have to be weight training or running a marathon - take baby steps if needed... Take the stairs instead of the lift, get off the bus a stop earlier and walk - actually, on the walking front, it makes sense to always carry a pair of comfy shoes in your bag so that you don't have an excuse to avoid walking - let's be honest, no one wants to walk an extra mile out of choice in stilettos! It just won't happen.

I think it's the little changes you can make when it comes to exercising, so that it doesn't feel like you're actually doing it. I think the great thing about this campaign - and campaigns of that ilk like This Girl Can - is that they're not about telling people that they need to look like a Victoria's Secret model, or that they should deprive themselves and work out until they drop - it's just about giving people the confidence to go out there and achieve their goals - whether that's running two miles or 20 - and generally just doing the things that they didn't have the confidence to do previously. And what better way to do that, and make sure you stay on track, than with your buddy by your side?

How much pressure is there on yourself and women in the spotlight to remain healthy and 'in shape'?

We are scrutinised so much, it's actually ridiculous. When I damaged my ankle last year and was in a moon boot for weeks, I gained a lot of weight because I couldn't exercise, and I was ripped to pieces about my weight. But the thing is, my weight will always go up and down - it's just how my body works and I accept that. But it's other people who can't and seem to have a problem with it, and I think that's a terrible message for people to be putting out there. No matter what weight I am, I run, I swim, I canoe and I walk a lot. I'm healthy and always active, which I believe to be much more important than being skinny and unhealthy, just to conform to whatever ideal the media have that week.

Women in the public eye are criticised for being too skinny one week, and too big the next - it's something that needs to change, and hopefully through campaigns like this we can put the message out there and you can make healthier choices without taking it too far.

What impact do you think the media has on women in the public eye?

It has a profound impact. You see women who start out in their career a healthy weight and as the years go by they start to get thinner and thinner because they succumb to the pressure that we should be this waif of a shape - it's not natural.

I'm a healthy 10/12. Why should we be super skinny? I love women with curves, it's a beautiful look. The super skinny ideal that's plastered everywhere doesn't just impact on the women in the public eye, it has an enormous impact on the girls looking up to their idols as well. And whilst we hear this all the time, and it's said so often, it still continues. We should be celebrating women of all shapes and sizes - end of. And most importantly, we should be promoting a healthy body and a healthy mind-set over anything else!

Do you think there's too much of a focus on having the 'perfect' body?

Absolutely. It's ridiculous really because it's all so led by trends - one minute it's 'trendy' to be super thin, the next to be bootilicious. The funny thing is there really is no 'perfect' body. People certainly shouldn't be made to feel like their body is anything less than perfection because their boobs aren't big enough, or their legs aren't long enough, or whatever.

The biggest wake up call for me was when I was in my moon boot and couldn't do anything for six weeks. I realised how lucky I am and vowed to get over myself the next time I put on a couple of pounds. It also made me really determined to keep myself and my body as healthy as I can.

You're obviously known for your television work and we know you're returning to TOWIE this series - are you back for good?

No, I made my mind up that when I left last series that it really was the right time to go. I absolutely love TOWIE - I still speak to my girls all the time... In fact they're all getting so bored of me because I am addicted to watching it. I'm like their crazy fan, driving them nuts with questions - I just love watching!

How do you find working on This Morning and their showbiz sections?

Ohmigod! I love, love, LOVE This Morning. I've learnt so much on that show - and the team behind the scenes are incredible. Phil and Holly have been so supportive - and I absolutely adore Ruth and Eamonn, they're really lovely to work with. I just love it.

Finally, what's next for you in the coming weeks and months?

Well all sorts of things really. Acting is a big focus, along with more presenting. I just returned from LA working with Pretty Little Liars star Tammin Sursok. I've got a lot of sporty things coming up too - I'm taking part in the open water Big Swim series, I'm working with British Canoeing for U Canoe, and obviously I'll be Buddying up for summer exercise!

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