On top of smashing personal targets and becoming a popular Bodybuilding.com athlete, Imogen Parfitt has placed top in bikini competitions and carved a niche in friendly fitness that inspires many to follow in her footsteps. With her advice and upper body workout here, you will be able to metaphorically and literally shoulder any weight to take control of your life and reach new highs of potential.
Where did it all start?
“Having suffered with an eating disorder in my late teens, I wanted to begin making myself strong again, and the gym was the place to do it. I took a step away from the endless hours of cardio, picked up weights and built myself up. Once I’d recovered, I decided to turn it into a competitive endeavor. Winning shows is an amazing feeling, and looking back on my journey makes it so much more gratifying.”
How do you feel about the term ‘cheat meal’?
“I don’t really like the term ‘cheat.’ It has negative connotations and can create an unhealthy perspective on what might be normal for someone outside the industry.”
What’s the hardest thing about fitness?
“Finding a damn bench at peak time in the gym! Ha. I don’t really find anything ‘hard’ about keeping fit. I love training, so it’s not a chore. If I take a few days off, sometimes it can be difficult to get my mojo back and I can become a little lazy. But after a few workouts, I spring back to my normal self.”
What have you learned from the fitness industry?
“There are so many styles of training, approaches and outlooks on fitness, there is constantly something to learn from someone. The industry needs to let go of the ‘I’m better than them because x, y, z’ attitude. No one knows everything.”
What’s the secret to your fitness
“Sometimes, I prefer cardio! Some days I don’t feel a weights session, so I prefer going for a run or spending time on the stepper instead. It’s incredibly therapeutic.”
What’s your biggest achievement?
“Aside from the cliché of winning shows, my biggest achievement is setting up on my own as a personal trainer and online coach. It was a big step and it’s still evolving, but I’m proud of taking the plunge and having faith in myself.”
Any advice on eating?
“I try to get a balance of carbs, fat and protein throughout the day and with each meal. Some lower their carbs and increase fats on rest days but I keep everything fairly static.”
What advice would you give to others?
“Make it sustainable. If you can only train three times a week, train three times a week. Customize your workouts to make sure you’re getting full body circuits in rather than muscle group splits for more volume and a more effective workout. Make your diet inclusive, not exclusive. If you want to keep anything up, whether that’s training or nutrition, it needs to be sustainable. Don’t kid yourself with unrealistic targets.”
For more interviews with your favorite fitness stars, sign up to the TRAIN for HER newsletter.