What drew you to the health and fitness world?
I was bullied as a kid for being overweight until I found the gym and it completely changed my life. I started working out, eating right and I never looked back. I qualified to become a personal trainer and I’m still doing that today, at my own gym ‘The Ranch’ in Scotland, and through my fitness app ‘Anton Fitness’.
How does exercise benefit your mental health?
For me, exercising was never just about getting in great shape – it was the way it made me feel. When I overcame my insecurities about my weight, I realised how much the gym changed my entire mindset and gave me a more positive outlook on life. We know that the endorphins released through exercise help improve our mental health in the short term, so if you can incorporate that into your everyday lifestyle, it can only bring positive improvements.
Can you talk to us about some of the pressures that come with looking good and being in the public eye through your time on Love Island?
Obviously everyone going on the show wants to look their best – it’s watched by millions of people, and you’re in swimwear 75% of the time. So I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a factor. The thing for me was that I always intended to maximise any exposure the show gave me to progress my fitness career, so representing a healthy body image was extra important. Essentially, being in good shape is my business and I love what I do – so it’s not so much about looking ‘good’ but being healthy and representing the things I stand for.
Tell us about your recent appointment to World Merit, the UN initiative to promote physical and mental wellbeing for young people.
Working with World Merit has been hugely important to me. Stemming from my own experiences with fitness as a kid, it’s been a big focus of mine to actively educate and encourage the younger generation, by showing them that fitness can be fun, and how important it is for both their physical and mental health and development. Through the organisation, I’ve been able to visit schools and properly engage with the kids. I believe if they start young and have the right information presented in a fun way, the chances are they will continue to strive for a healthy lifestyle.
What’s one piece of advice you can offer to anyone who is interested in incorporating more exercise into their lives?
Just get started – you’ll never regret a workout! Half the challenge is just getting up and doing it. People often aren’t sure what the right course of action is for their lifestyle or body type, and they just need that extra push and motivation from someone else. These are things I really thought about when developing Anton Fitness. It’s the personal trainer in your pocket – we tailor the workouts to suit your needs, and my team and I are with you every step of the way, celebrating your progress and advising/tweaking every step of the way.