From sprinting to red carpet premieres, being Jessica Ennis’ body double and gaining a Masters degree in sports psychology, Natalie Jowett is a great all-rounder and a model of fitness.
Tell us a little bit about your background, fitness, sports and family?
Keeping active is something that’s always been a big part of my life and always will be. My background is in athletics, particularly the 100 metres. I think doing a sport really helps develop certain attributes that can help you in all aspects of life. I have always been really competitive so even if I didn’t get into athletics I’m sure I would have pursued another sport.RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
My family has always been so supportive in whatever I have chosen to do. I can’t stress enough how important having the support of friends and family is when you want to try and reach a certain level in a sport or achieve a particular goal. I also think it’s important to surround yourself with like-minded people if you want to be the best at what you do.
Were you always into sports and fitness and what inspired you to get involved?
As indicated, I’ve always been into sports and keeping active. Even from a very young age I loved running. One of my earliest memories was going to Greece on a family holiday when I was 3 and running around the track at the original Olympic stadium. I remembered I loved the feeling of running fast (or what I thought was running fast at the age of 3!).
I’m not sure exactly what inspired me to get involved but I started off doing gymnastics when I was around 8/9 but my real passion was always for running. So when I was 12, I asked my dad to let me join the local athletics club and it just went from there really.
What type of training do you focus on at present and what’s a typical week look like?
I focus predominantly on weights and train a different body part each session. A lot of women have the misconception that lifting heavy weights makes you bulky but it’s a myth. I’ve been weight training for nearly 10 years now and I’ve roughly stayed the same weight and shape. Everyone is different but if you want results, the most important thing is to train hard and push yourself.
A typical week for me would be:
Mon: Back and Abs
Tues: Chest & Biceps
Thurs: Legs & Abs
Sat: Shoulders & triceps
My training has changed somewhat since I used to sprint but the intensity is still the same. My trainer Louise Beard-Ritsma is a bodybuilder and a real inspiration. She always pushes me to get the most out of myself and although I train hard, it’s always enjoyable which I think is the key.
What is your favourite workout and why?
I enjoy all my sessions but my favourite workout is probably my back and abs session on a Monday because I do deadlifts as part of my session, which is my favourite exercise. Last week I did partial deadlifts and managed to lift 140kg for 3 reps. I was really pleased with that as its over 2 ½ times my body weight, so that gave me a real buzz.
What body parts do you find it easier/harder to work on?
I’d say my weakest body parts are definitely my biceps. My biceps are not particularly strong and it takes me quite a while before I can put the weights/reps up. However, it makes me more determined to improve, even if I’m only putting the weight up slightly, I know its more about the intensity of training and how hard your muscles are working, so I try not to get too caught up in worrying about the amount of weight I’m lifting.
My strongest body part is probably my back but my legs are pretty strong too from all the years of sprinting. I think its easy to build up strength fairly quickly especially with compound movements such as squats and deadlifts, due to the fact you are recruiting a number of muscle groups, as opposed to isolation exercises.
Why did you get into fitness modelling and how difficult was it/is it to make headway?
I started by doing a couple of shoots for photographers when I was at university and then my coach put me forward to be involved in some filming for the IAAF (International Amateur Athletics Federation) on Olympic lifting.
I really enjoyed doing the shoots and being involved in the filming and decided it was something I wanted to pursue, so I joined a sports modelling agency. At first I was a bit impatient when I didn’t get any calls for jobs but getting my first job was really exciting. It’s quite difficult to make headway at first but even if you don’t get the job, it’s all good experience. It’s good to go to lots of castings but it’s more important to go to the right castings so it helps to have an idea of what the client is looking for.
What tips have you got for anyone embarking on this route?
For anyone looking to get into sports and fitness modelling my best advice would be not to take rejections personally. Rejection is a big part of it so when it happens, I think it’s important to be able to deal with it so that you can learn from it and move on. It’s impossible to have the right look for every job so you have to accept that you can’t be right for everything but with enough persistence and determination, you will find something that you are right for.
My second tip would be practice posing/ having your photo taken to find which angles work best for you. You might feel silly at first but the more comfortable you are with having your photo taken, the better it will come across on camera. There are plenty of people who look great, but it doesn’t seem to come across in photos.
You have to find a way to connect with the camera and allow your personality to come across which takes practice! My final tip would be don’t be too proud to do unpaid work when you are starting out. A lot of people think modelling is glamorous and extremely well paid, which it can be, but it is also an extremely competitive industry.
A good way to start off is to do tfp (time for prints) which means that although you won’t be paid, you will get some modelling practice and also get some photos out of it which is a great way of building up your portfolio. As well as this, joining a reputable agency is a good way to get work, as they will also be able to let you know if you have the kind of look that is marketable.
In Part 2, fitness model, Natalie tells us how she became busy being Olympic Champion Jessica Ennis’ body double. And she also talks about her first experience of major movie work and her taste of the red carpet treatment!