Fitness expert Chloe Madeley: Following Mum and Dad into TV was wrong choice

Chloe Madeley talks to Hannah Stephenson about how weightlifting eased her anxiety, married life and the difficulties of having famous parents

Chloe Madeley, author of Transform You Body With Weights

PERSONAL trainer Chloe Madeley has found a fulfilling career as a fitness guru but married life with former rugby player James Haskell has also brought happiness.

That's despite the fact he doesn't pull his weight at home, she says with a laugh, as she jokes about his shortcomings.

"I love James to pieces but he is no domestic goddess," the bubbly fitness expert says. "I do all the cooking, which I love. James doesn't cook. The guy cannot even change a light bulb. Anything that needs doing within the house, he can't do.

"Weirdly enough, he's quite good at gardening," Madeley (32), daughter of former This Morning hosts Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan, adds. "He likes to have a little mow and a little trim."

Before fitness became her calling, Madeley appeared on TV as a presenter (Big Brother's Big Mouth) and a contestant on sporty reality shows Dancing On Ice and The Jump.

Many thought she would follow in the footsteps of her famous mum and dad but today she feels more at home in the gym than on telly.

She's now written her third fitness book, Transform Your Body With Weights, in which she shows the benefits of weightlifting for both body and mind, demonstrating various weightlifting workouts for anyone from beginner to advanced, with accompanying meal plans.

Chloe Madeley with her parents Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan

"This is my third book but there's still so much stigma around women and weightlifting that I really had to fight to get this one out there," she says.

Weightlifting has also helped her manage her own long-term anxiety issues, she adds.

"[Anxiety] was habitual in my 20s, but now that I'm in my 30s something has to happen that is a genuinely stressful situation for me to get anxious about it. So when James was doing I'm A Celebrity and I looked at the screen when he had his 'hangry' episode, and his face looked gaunt, I got really upset and anxious. He looked ill.

Chloe Madeley with her husband, mixed martial arts fighter and former rugby player James Haskell

"People laugh and roll their eyes and say, 'It's just a TV show', but unless you know someone who's done the show, you don't realise how incredibly hard it is at points to watch."

As well as having 231k Instagram followers, Madley has a fitness podcast called Bodcast, which has featured her father and her husband as guests.

Married a year, they have started to think about starting a family, she reveals.

"There was a point about a year ago where we were thinking that maybe kids wasn't for us because we are quite career-driven and like to spend our free time and money on travel," she says. "But in the last few months, we've definitely started thinking about it and considering it more."

Of course, her parents would love to be grandparents again, she beams.

"They already have three grandchildren, but I'm the only girl in the family and they always say to me that there would be something quite special about me having a baby."

She admits her anxiety when she was younger was exacerbated by the fact she's the daughter of a famous TV couple.

"It would have been fine had I not wrongly decided to go into a career in television," she says candidly. "If I'd found a different career earlier on, it wouldn't have got so bad.

"I was in their world as their daughter and was given a lot of flak both behind the scenes and in the press. Everybody was accusing my whole family of nepotism – it was and it wasn't. I was working my socks off as a runner behind the scenes, and then I was taking the novelty factor of being my parents' daughter and going in front of the camera.

"Because I didn't have my own identity or my own sense of self, it made the problem worse."

Now, with a successful personal training career and two previous best-selling fitness books under her belt, she has found time to support her parents with their own wellbeing.

Finnigan has lost lots of weight over the past few years, Madeley agrees.

"Both she and my dad stopped drinking completely about a year ago. A glass of wine is anywhere between 100 and 200 calories. If you are drinking throughout the week, those calories add up, so when you take that out, you are talking about potentially thousands of calories being pulled out of your weekly average calorie intake.

"I didn't encourage them to give up booze, they just decided to stop drinking. I would never encourage them to do anything. They're my parents, they're not children. They can make their own decisions," she says.

"But when they told me they were giving up drinking, I said, 'That's fantastic'... I feel quite proud of them."

While her fitness career remains her focus, there's only one way she'd be lured back to TV now, she reveals.

"I would go back to TV if I could do something with my husband, because it would just be so much fun to work together," says Madeley. "That is pretty much the only situation in which I would go back to television, or if it was really focused on what I do, which is health and fitness."

:: Transform You Body With Weights by Chloe Madeley is published by Bantam Press, priced £16.99.

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