Derryn Brown is a top trainer in Dubai who has won awards and accolades and is much in demand for the superb results she achieves with her clients. Although a busy trainer and mother, she has agreed to join the ranks of Contributing Experts at WatchFit and pass on her knowledge and experience. Guy Holland asked her a few questions…

1) You received a huge accolade from a major fitness magazine. How did this come about?

It was a competition that Shape Magazine UAE had put together for all the personal trainers in Dubai. It was open to all trainers and you received votes. There was also an undercover client visit who visited and went though a session with you. There are many hard working and really good trainers around so I felt blessed to have been chosen as the winner that year!

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2)  Have you always been fit and sporty?

Yes I have, I grew up in a family that was very sporty. I absolutely love the outdoors and any form of activity. I’m really grateful that good habits and activity were ingrained early and I will carry them with me for a lifetime.

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3)  To whom or what have you always looked for inspiration?

I don’t have any one particular person, it is more of a type of person that I look to. I am inspired by people who help others to reach their dreams. Those who are selfless, giving and humble.

4)  The entire fitness world agrees that it’s vital to reach children and inspire the younger generations to grow up with better food and activity habits and not end up being processed food guzzling, computer game playing couch potatoes. But as a mother of a toddler you must be more attuned to this issue than ever before. What do you think we can do to arrest the rate of obese, inactive and diabetic youngsters?

Firstly its educating the parents, teaching them about healthy eating. Educating them on reading labels of foods that they may think is “healthy” but it’s actually not. I also think educating on these matters in is critical. They must start supplying more healthy options for the kid’s lunches. I know we have this issue here in Dubai at the moment where youngsters just aren’t getting the right information, encouragement or food.

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It’s so sad to see so many overweight children. And the other thing that must happen is to encourage kids to move more! It doesn’t have to be all formal sport and physical challenges, I understand that really doesn’t suit some kids and in fact puts them off exercise for life. But it can literally just mean dashing around outside playing. Encourage them to burn off their energy and be energised. Sitting in front of TV’s and computers is going to doing nothing body-wise other than than lead to stagnation and a premature sedentary lifestyle. This has all manner of physical and even social repercussions.

5)  You are originally from South Africa, you’ve travelled the world working for a leading airline and now you are based in Dubai and have quickly made a name as one of the leading trainers in that part of the world. What are the differences plying your trade in Dubai compared to doing the same job in SA or in Europe?

South Africa compared to Dubai – Because people tend to make a lot of money in Dubai, most people can afford personal trainers whereas in SA it’s still regarded as something of a luxury to have your own Personal Trainer. I would never make the same money I make here in Dubai back home in SA. So in that sense the market is just so different.

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What is the same is people’s awareness of health and fitness and their desire to build more of it into their own lives. The willingness of people who commit to a trainer is terrific and they will always thank me profusely for helping them reach or even exceed their goals – but they are actually the ones who have done it!

6)  You took 1st place at the WBFF Show in Boston in 2011 which was  a superb achievement. Any preparation ‘secrets’ you’d like to share with the general population?

Not everybody wants to compete but they can still learn from your experiences…  Cutting out sugar is a must. Unfortunately this was a huge challenge for me as I love chocolates! High intensity workouts are superb and variety in workouts can be so effective. So mixing it up with swimming, pilates, running, playing a sport.

7)  I know you trained throughout your pregnancy and even did a workout shoot in the latter stages for the UK’s top fitness magazine for men and women – Ultra-FIT. What tips can you share with expecting mothers – how did you train during pregnancy and to what intensity?

Always listen to your body, some days you feel like you can take over the world and other days you feel so tired that you can barely get off the couch. Just listen to your body, when you feel like you have energy then do a workout otherwise some light walking is also beneficial, you will get to a stage (usually the second trimester) where your energy levels come back and you can then get back into the swing of things.

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I did a lot of body weight workouts, I didn’t lift any super heavy weights, make sure your rest between sets is longer than usual. Drink loads of water. One last thing – remember you are growing a human inside you, so feed your baby healthy foods! Giving into the ridiculous cravings is not acceptable at any point in your pregnancy.

8)  And what was the secret to getting up and running post pregnancy and regaining your wonderful figure?

I followed a really good clean diet during my pregnancy so my weight gain was minimal, which made it very easy for me to get back into shape again. Also because I trained throughout the pregnancy that makes things a lot easier too.

9)  More and more people are entering the fitness industry and the whole health and fitness boom continues worldwide. What advice do you have for those thinking of becoming fitness professionals and fitness models?

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Keep educating yourself each year on different courses, stay fresh and keep learning. There is always more to know and you also need to keep up with the latest findings, teachings and trends. The fitness industry is still young and it is incredibly fast moving. Don’t get complacent and think you know enough! And I’m always amazed how many trainers don’t have a formal nutrition qualification. I think it is a must!

10) If you were given just three exercise to perform for the rest of your life, what would they be a why?

I would choose pull ups, push ups and lunges. Pull ups and push ups to work your entire upper body, and then lunges to work your lower body, nothing tones your legs and glutes quite like lunges do!

Many thanks for your answers Derryn. You are a superb personal trainer and have achieved great things in your own right and with many clients. We are delighted you are able to share your expertise here at WatchFit!

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