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  • Community
  • India Harl / Q&A

    28th July 2020

    28th July 2020

    By Robyn Schaffer

    India is a full-time model but a passion for health and fitness drove her to become a part-time trainer at F45 on the side. India doesn't let anything get in the way of her smashing her goals, and we've loved seeing how she's adapted her busy lifestyle over lockdown to continue to reach them. We caught up with her to find out what she's been up to.

    "Health and fitness has become a huge part of my life, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. It brings me focus, new goals, a positive outlook and BIG-level energy. Working in the modelling industry, it’s always important to look your best – but fitness does more than that, it makes you feel good too! What’s more important than health, right? Healthy body, healthy mind!" - India

    What’s your hustle?

    I've got many hustles. I'm a full-time model, which is something I've always done and have the biggest passion for. I work with brands on Instagram and create content. But I'm also really passionate about health and fitness, so last year I came on board as a part-time PT for F45. Those are my main lanes.

    What does #liveinnermost mean to you?

    It brings purpose to the day. It motivates me to workout because I know I can have the products before or after. It’s a lifestyle, and since I've been really on board with health and fitness it's become a way for me to live my life to its fullest capacity.

    Favourite Innermost products and why?

    I'm obsessed with anything vanilla flavour right now. So I'm loving The Fit Protein in Vanilla and The Lean Protein in Chocolate. I'll have them every single day as I'm trying to increase my protein intake at the moment. They fit into my lifestyle perfectly, and they taste amazing.

    View this post on Instagram

    country girl behaviour

    A post shared by I • R • H (@indiaharl) on

     

    Why is staying fit and healthy important to you?

    It's always something to work towards. There's always so many goals you can set yourself in health and fitness. You're never going to reach the maximum, and even if you fall off the track one day, you can get straight back on it the next. It helps me wake up early, and it brings community. I've met so many new friends, whether it's through Innermost, F45, or any aspect of the fitness world.

    Any current goals, fitness or otherwise?

    In the short term, I'm trying to tone up and lose a little bit of body fat. But long term I want to build more strength, and now gyms are open again I want to figure out a new style of workout routine. It's really important to get back in the gyms and support their openings. I'm just really excited to try some new things in health and fitness.

    How did you find lockdown? Was it a challenge and if so, how did you adapt?

    It was important to me to find a routine early on and that was so important for providing me with structure to my days. I would workout in the mornings (I'm a morning person) knowing that I would feel amazing after. But it was also nice knowing I had the time to commit to something. That time you had was yours.

    It was difficult dealing with lots of cancelled photoshoots. A lot of work was cancelled, but there was a way to try and turn the situation around. Because I do work with brands on Instagram I was able to continue with those kinds of jobs. But I actually created a home studio with parents and they were amazing at helping me out. My dad jumped on board as a photographer. You just have to try and do what you can and you've got to make it happen for yourself.

    View this post on Instagram

    waiting for my next Zoom call

    A post shared by I • R • H (@indiaharl) on

     

    How did you try to stay fit and healthy (mentally and physically) during lockdown?

    I was in the countryside outside of London during lockdown, so I really upped my running and found a whole new motivation being out of the city. I also just tried to set daily intentions. So I'd wake up and say to myself: "Ok, today I will run a 10k." Putting the pressure on but not too much. It was about daily goals rather than long-term plans. And on other days, if I didn’t want to train I didn't. It was just about going with the flow.

    What have you missed most over the past few months? 

    Normality. The small, mundane things. The buzz of London and the day to day lifestyle. I'm never normally at home so to go from that to full lockdown was a big transition. I also miss travelling.

    Any books, films or TV shows you’re currently obsessed with and why?

    I reintroduced Prison Break back into my life. It was the best decision. I watched it originally a few years ago but my parents had never seen it. We were hooked. We watched maybe two or three episodes a night and did the whole thing. It became part of our routine and that became our thing which was really lovely.

     

    What’s the most challenging thing you’ve ever done and how did you overcome it?

    I think for me it's been any sort of work rejection and learning to deal with it. In modelling it’s tough. But I think that's something I can say I've overcome now and I've grown up and know what I need for myself to overcome it. I give myself a day to get over it. A day to sit on the sofa and cry and eat loads of ice cream and then I put it behind me. If you keep dragging it along with you then you can't move on. It's mindset training and it's really hard, but I'm getting there with it.

    Who or what motivates you?

    I love supporting other people’s successes. I think it's really important to admire and praise the people you love and get inspired by them. But I've always worked for myself and been a big believer in making things happen for yourself. You can never have dreams that are too small.

    Best advice you’ve ever received?

    Not to worry about things that haven’t happened yet. And if you're stressed about something, ask yourself: in 10 years time will it really matter? I find that that brings you back down to earth.


    If you want to see more from India, don't forget to follow her @indiaharl. And if you want to read more exclusive Q&As with Innermost Insiders, be sure to check them out here.

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    Innermost Insider, Neev Spencer, is probably best known for her positions as a television and radio broadcaster, having found success in her multiple broadcast roles, including her notable award-winning shows on popular UK radio station KISS FM. Having spent years of her career supporting industry-giants on tour, hosting for some of the world’s biggest brands and being the face of some of the UK’s favourite TV programmes, Spencer is also known for making waves with her advocacy for mental health, particularly following her own experiences with postpartum depression since becoming a first-time mum. The subject of mental health is one that Spencer is hugely passionate about, combining her wealth of industry experience with the topic to interview A-List celebrities such as Ed Sheeran on the topic live on air. Having been inspired by her incredible work and dedication to raising awareness surrounding mental health, we sat down with Neev to discuss the reasons behind her passions, her incredible fitness and mental health journey, and all things optimism. Hi Neev! Can you tell us a bit about how you got into your fitness journey? I would describe myself as a yo-yo dieter. My whole life I was never very happy with my weight but never quite took it seriously enough – I would go through phases of trying this and trying that. I would say that it became a very important thing to me when I was pregnant, this is when it became a priority in my life. I wanted to do a lot of pregnancy yoga and wanted to be the fittest I could ever be or have ever been ahead of the birth. A couple of months after my first baby was born, I found out I had an undiagnosed slipped disk in my back – not the kind of surprise that you want when you’ve got a tiny baby to look after. It was horrific. It was an injury that they think happened years before, from DJing – maybe carrying my record bag around, but it was a terrible, terrible surprise. It meant that I was separated from my baby a lot which really impacted my mental health. It was a dark and difficult time, but a time for me to learn so much about myself. I had to have physiotherapy to get walking again and take care of my little one – this is when I learnt about my body in a much deeper way and had a much deeper appreciation for my physical health. After this happened, I was hell-bent on helping people with their mental health, especially pregnant women. I had gone to deep depths and had to rise and swim to the top, and thankfully, I made it. But – not everyone does. This is what motivates me with my charity and mental health. Following his journey, fitness is now something I prioritise and enjoy. Why is fitness so important to you as a woman? As a woman, a lot of us want to be mothers. As a result of this desire, it’s very important that you keep your physical health up there. It’s also really important for our hormones, and our mental health. It’s good to feel proud of yourself! As women we have high pressured jobs – many of us whilst juggling being a mother, being able to create that time for yourself and your preferred exercise method is you and that thing – and that is important. It is for you. What is the one piece of advice you would give to our readers regarding their fitness journey? Listen to your body, and what it is telling you. Don’t just think of fitness in an aesthetic way. I’d love to be able to fit into my jeans before I had children, but you need to take your time. You’ve got to nourish the changes you are making and cultivate it – that’s where Innermost comes in. Those supplements supporting your goal, keeping you maintained and on the right track. What is your greatest life accomplishment? First and foremost, my children. But, I am also immensely proud of the fact that I was the first British-Asian woman to ever get a commercial mainstream radio show. How did you know that you were ready to become a Mother? I had always wanted to be a Mum. I’ve always loved children and after I met my partner I knew that was a priority. We are so grateful that being a parent was able to happen for us – there were many years when this dream seemed very distant, and this struggle really opened up my wellness journey. Being a parent and having gone on that natural journey is a blessing. Can you tell us a bit more about your mental health campaign work? I use my own lived experiences to help relate to other people and help them through what they’re going through. These range hugely – from domestic abuse, to personal struggles: I lost my best friend to drugs and alcohol when I was in my 20s, I suffered depression in my teenage years, and again, as a first-time Mother, when I was separated from my little one, this took a huge toll on my mental health. I’ve found that being honest and sharing how I got through those moments is what drives me to help other people, and that’s why I make it my mission to do as much mental health work as possible. Do you think ‘optimism’ is something that we can learn? Absolutely. It’s something that we have within us naturally – children are very optimistic, they are innocent and joyful. Life really wears us down – experiences, loss, trauma and grief, all of that plays a part in where we begin to lose that optimism. For me, optimism really is faith. I am Sikh, but this faith doesn’t necessarily have to be in God, if you’re not religious. It’s a faith in the greater good. Faith in humanity – that something good is out there. It is the most important thing you can have as a human. What are your top three life tips for staying optimistic? I think the place we are in as a society with the pressures of social media can lead us to forgetting how lucky and fortunate we really are. When you focus on where you are in comparison to someone else, this can be really powerful. It’s important to ground yourself. Get a blessing box. This comes from Tibetan culture and is a way of looking ahead towards your dreams and never give up on your fantasies. This allows you to really focus on what is important. Allow yourself to see the positive sides of life, don’t focus on the negatives. Do you think that optimism affects our physical health, as well as our mental health? Absolutely – without being optimistic you can begin to feel lost. Optimism gives us direction, and we need this grounding to feel at peace. This allows us to feel less anxious and in control. Being able to look ahead to our dreams is a way of us constantly motivating ourselves. Small practices like setting an intention everyday and using this as motivation to keep this together is a great way of keeping your mental health in check. Optimism is the line that lies beneath all of this – regardless of what your intention is.  This is hugely important for our psyche. You can’t have good mental health without good physical health – they work in synergy. Finally, who are your role models? I’d have to say my parents. They are just wonderful. They’ve been through so much, they care for my little brother who has special needs, and even though they have been dealt with unbelievably difficult cards in life, they have always taught me to persevere. They taught me that you must remain kind and compassionate and have really instilled those morals on me. I’m very proud to be their child. Other than that, I would have to say Mother Teresa, the Dalai Lama, Muhammed Ali – anyone that uses their platform and voice to help motivate and change the whole world we live in. That’s what a role model is to me. To keep up with Neev, follow her on Twitter and Instagram.  Read more