WHL chats to celebrity personal trainer Olivia Cooney

12 October 2017 by
First published: 20 November 2017

WHL chats to celebrity personal trainer Olivia Cooney

PR mogul turned fitness guru to the stars, 26-year-old Olivia Cooney isn’t doing too badly. Spending her days training the elite (Millie Mackintosh and Storm models are among her clients) in sunny locations across the world at her ever-popular Pop-Up Fitness retreats, her switch from desk to dumbbells has certainly served her well – and it’s all thanks to a gap in the market (and a lot of hard work).

‘My inspiration [for Pop-Up Fitness] stemmed from there being nothing else like it available yet,’ she tells us. ‘I was looking for a retreat that I would be pleased to go on with my partner, or even by myself, and I just couldn’t find it.’ A firm believer that fitness retreats needn’t be all 5am wake-up calls, sorry breakfasts’ and militant discipline, Pop-Up Fitness is everything a regular bootcamp holiday isn’t. ‘I wanted a holiday at the same time as getting super fit and healthy,’ she explains. ‘Not military as far as accommodation went, but I do like that style of training. There wasn’t a luxury but intense retreat available, so I decided to create it myself for my clients.’

And luxe she went – Pop-Up Fitness now holds retreats in Ibiza, South of France and Switzerland, with Mauritius on the cards, too. The week-long retreats promise beautiful food, stunning locations and equal measures of fun and fitness. We caught five with the PT that’s changing the bootcamp game.

Have you always been interested in health and fitness?

I have always been active, I was the loudest kid in the playground and was obsessed with sports days and anything to do with outdoor, competitive activities. I took to tennis in a big way. Heather Watson and I grew up together and were even doubles partners at one point! She carried on to be a star in tennis and I carried on my love of being active and healthy everyday right up until now.

What makes Pop-Up Fitness unique?

The fact that you as the client are in complete control. You can do as much or as little as you want from our fitness schedule. By no means are you locked in on campus either. We encourage you to go out and explore whatever location we are at. Our main focus is also not about weight loss.

Where’s your favourite Pop-Up Fitness destination and why?

Ibiza will always be the ‘home’ of Pop-Up Fitness since it was the original. However as we progress we get further and further away, as I’m completing this interview I am actually on route to Mauritius to launch Pop-Up Fitness Retreats over there!

What does a typical day at one of your retreats look like?

Each day has a different itinerary, but let’s take a day in Ibiza for example – Beach Bootcamp at 8, 30 minutes of Core Focus at 10, lunch at 12, Pop-Up Circuits at 1.45, a coastal run at 5, dinner at 7:30, and moonlight meditation at 9. We also have paddle boarding, cooking workshops and nutritional talks throughout the week.

You have some high-profile clients including Millie Mackintosh, Zara Martin and Laura Whitmore. What’s it like training celebs, and does your approach to training differ for them at all?

Not at all! I’ve never been starstruck by anybody, but I also knew a lot of these guys from my previous job in PR, so it is never scary to see the same faces again. I appreciate that they took interest in my new career.

What does your own training schedule look like?

I work out about five times a week. My favourite is to box, I have a trainer who will make sure I get a taste of my own medicine! My job is so active, even though I don’t necessarily do the workouts with my clients (so they have all of my attention on their form), I have to demonstrate about 40 exercises per day, around five reps each so this line of work definitely keeps me on my toes.

What are your favourite and least favourite forms of working out?

Boxing is my favourite since it clears my head from everything – work or play. I get lost in the combinations, rhythms and reactions. I am quite an aggressive person, haha! So it releases some steam. My least favourite is yoga, I think too much throughout and just think I could be doing boxing or burpees instead! I know some fantastic yoga instructors though, and I employ the very best at all of our locations to be part of the retreats, because I know how complimentary yoga is to what I do.

What does an average day of eating look like for you?

I keep my breakfast simple, I love bran flakes sprinkled with a few raisins. I drink gallons of water and tea each day – I stay away from dairy so use lactose free milk/almond. A heavier lunch of quinoa/pasta and then light fish and salad for dinner. I love chocolate so I do sneak a piece every day for sure. I am very good at watching my intake though, so if I realise I have had a bit much one day, I will pull back over the next three days.I’m obsessed with frozen grapes at the moment, they are like little grape sorbet balls (perfect after dinner snack!).

Favourite cheat day meal?

I love pasta… truffle pasta!

How do you juggle staying fit and healthy with managing a business?

Staying fit is my business, so not only what I like to do, it is in my interest to keep up-to-date with what’s going on in the fitness world. I love to try all the new gyms, studios, classes and trainers to keep my business as current as possible.

What’s next for you?

Going global with the brand. I love collaborating with hotels to help expose how amazing they are and to work with amazing locations and new people. I have also just contributed to developing the Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein gym in Amsterdam. It has been an honour to do and I hope to do more concept building and development in the future.

Want more? Check out our interviews with The Lean Machines and Clean Eating Alice!

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WHL chats to celebrity personal trainer Olivia Cooney
Fitness guru to the stars and founder of wellness retreat Pop-Up Fitness, 26-year-old Olivia Cooney isn't doing too badly.