Personal trainer, cylist and physiotherapist Becky Hair

Physiotherapist, personal trainer and triathlete, there’s not much Becky Hair can’t do.

But when it comes to working out, there’s much more to it for her than just staying insanely fit.

Having trained to exceptionally high levels her whole life, exercise has definitely taught her more than just how to run, swim and cycle.

It’s showed her what she needs, how she works and what she’s made of.

It’s also been a chance to become a role model for others.

A motivator and a fantastic inspiration to many, we grabbed 10 minutes with Becky to find out more.

Where it all began

Growing up in Newcastle, Becky’s love of fitness started when she was very young.

A strong swimmer, she spent a lot of time in the pool, and swimming became her passion for over 10 years.

By the time she was 16, she’d started going to the gym and was quickly taken under the wing of the gym staff. It was then she started doing her personal training qualifications, as well as taking gym classes.

“There weren’t many women in coaching back then, so I was doing things like leading a spin class of 20 blokes,” says Becky.

By the time she was at university, Becky was running, cycling and captain of the swimming team.

“I did so much gym stuff, it prevented me from getting any major injuries,” she says. “It’s so important to have that strength side.”

As she progressed, Becky went on to do triathlons around Britain and even France.

“I competed around the country and I have done a couple of GB races too. I also did the French Grand Prix triathlon series last year,” she says. “I’ve definitely had some amazing opportunities, but it does take up a lot of time.”

Training today

Becky works full-time as a physiotherapist for the NHS, taking care of respiratory patients.

“A big part of my job is being a role model for my patients and the people around me,” says Becky. “I work in a cardio-thoracic specialist hospital so most of our patients have had surgery and we’re the ones to get them up and moving again. You really have to practise what you preach. So, you’ve got to be exercising and seen to be exercising and that’s a really big part of my professional identity and definitely a motivator for me.”

As well as physical health, Becky explains how beneficial exercise can be for mental health as well as taking care of things like stress.

“Training for me is about getting out and getting rid of that energy, it’s just a relief,” she says. “If I go out for a jog, it just resets me. All you’re doing is running so you don’t have lots to think about or concentrate on.

“And if I’m feeling stressed, I often take a break and do a lot of Yoga. It really helps with your focus on the here and now.”

As well as doing Yoga and Pilates, Becky focuses her training around her cycling and her running, and is also an ambassador for Specialized.

“As part of the Specialized ambassador role, we’re trained up as ride leaders and we do bike rides once a month. The main aim is to get more people on bikes and especially more women on bikes. The group of ladies that comes has grown to 35-40 women that communicate regularly on social media, and we train once a week on a Friday morning. It’s really snowballed and the good thing about it is that it’s been completely organic – I haven’t had to push it all,” says Becky.

“We do beginners’ rides as well as sessions for more experienced riders where we’ll do 40-50 miles together.”

Becky also has a garage gym set up with a few bits of strengthening equipment including a squat rack and some resistance bands. And she’s also part of a running club.

Her weekly training schedule looks like this:

  • Monday: strength conditioning work/ Yoga and Pilates and a 20-30 minute run
  • Tuesday: running club
  • Wednesday: either bike or run, depending on the weather or if she’s on call
  • Thursday: running club
  • Friday: cycling/ swimming and strength conditioning work
  • Saturday: usually a bike race or a bike session
  • Sunday: race or rest

The importance of strength training

Being so active, Becky has always had to focus her strength training.

She explains why it’s so important to keep up: “Most of the time, the injuries I see are when people have been overtraining,” says Becky. “People come to me and I say, ‘you’ve done too much too soon’. That’s where people lack education, I think. You should always be looking at the bigger picture. If you’re running 100 miles a week, been stressed at work and then not slept properly, you can’t expect your body to be recovered.

"You need to find a balance and that’s when people overdo it."

"A big part of it is about consistency. Not doing things off and on but making a change long-term."

"It always starts with a discussion around strength. People forget that in running glute work and core work are key in reducing your chances of injury."

"Also, you might start running but have weak ankles. Then, when you do a lot of running on grass or trails and you get pain in your ankles because of that weakness. Then that translates into knee pain, which then turns into a bad back. You need to be doing regular strengthening around all those areas to get the most from your body."

"Single leg exercises are really good too as they help to isolate each side to keep that balance."

Staying motivated

Even though Becky is so passionate about her training, there is still the odd day when she says it’s hard to find the motivation to head out.

“It’s usually when the weather isn’t great. I start to think, I don’t want to go outside, but I always end up going anyway – usually when my other half reminds me what my next race is,” she says.

Being a personal trainer, Becky tells her clients to write down her goals. And to make sure she practises what she preaches, that’s what she does too.

It can be as simple as writing it down on a Post-it note. She explains that just seeing a time getting quicker or whatever goal you have getting nearer, is a great motivator.

She also highlights how important it is to have a regular schedule that you keep to. And if you can’t make a particular session, plan in when you’re going to do it at another time during the week.

Equally, Becky says there are times when you just need to look after yourself.

“If I miss a session, then it’s good to do that and feel good rather than push it too much and end up with an injury,” she says.

“I’m sure I could be a much better athlete, but I also like to have a social life. It’s important to have goals but not to get too stressed out about them. We’re not Olympians, we just do what we can.”

Another big factor in staying motivated for Becky, is training with a group.

“I hate treadmills and I don’t have a gym membership,” says Becky.

“It’s the same with cycling, I always try to cycle with friends or with the group I set up."

“I love doing it and I love seeing more and more women coming back and feeling more confident. They’re also starting to teach each other which is so great to see. And they’ve been coming whatever the weather, through thick and thin,” she says.

It’s also been a real mission for Becky to encourage more women to get into sport as well as be a role model for them when they join in.

“I’ve always been very confident and outspoken, but there are times when it can be very frustrating being a girl,” she says.

“We need to be more encouraging, make the effort and speak up for one another!

“It can be hard turning up to a session when you’re a beginner and it’s easy to feel belittled. We just need people to be more welcoming.”

Want to know more? You can follow Becky on Instagram @tri_raving