Victoria Spence: How the #GirlGains co-creator found her fitspo
As we watch Victoria Spence lead a workout event for Lucozade Sport Fitwater, she looks relaxed, happy, beautiful and a picture of health. It’s hard to imagine that she ever struggled with her confidence, weight or fitness.
At just 23, the #GirlGains co-founder is already one of the UK’s most successful and high profile fitness influencers, has a clothing range, a BBC Radio 5 podcast Fit & Fearless, and is currently training for a triathlon. But her path to this point has been far from painless.
What sets Vic and her #GirlGains partners apart from the rest of the influencer pack is that they see fitness as a path toward healthiness and happiness – not toward achieving some impossible notion of ‘the perfect body’ and all the anxiety that comes with that.
This focus on fitness as force for positive good is what drew Lucozade Sport Fitwater to appoint her as brand ambassador, and also to partner with us here at BALANCE to put on a Mindful Running Masterclass event in London on August 4 (book your place here).
Where did your fitness journey start?
I’ve been involved in sport for as long as I can remember and competed in just about every sport throughout my school life, but dance and athletics were my main focus. I got into ballet at the age of three, was scouted and started training for five nights a week. I loved dance and was determined to do it professionally.
I went to dance college where we were told ‘your body is your CV’, and that we had to look amazing. At 17 I was signed up to a dance agency and featured in music videos, fashion shows and modelling alongside my training. All the pressure took its toll. I felt I needed to be perfect and developed a relationship with the scales coupled with over-exercising. I was obsessed with my weight and was diagnosed with anorexia and depression. I had to leave dance college, and it broke me into pieces.
How bad did things get?
I’d isolated myself from everyone and then hit rock bottom. People were pointing and talking about me because I was so thin; it was the first time I realised there was an issue. I saw my parents in pain. I was told I had only months to live.
What motivated your recovery?
My dad, who is my rock, bluntly told me: ‘You recover or you die.’ This gave me the kick up the bum I needed. He hired a personal trainer who understood the importance of hydration & electrolytes. I started an Instagram account ‘fightingfitvic’ about my fightback. It was like a diary about what I was eating, what I was up to, and other girls who related to me reached out. People were depending on me and willing me to succeed and sharing their own stories which motivated me more.
What does #GirlGains mean to you?
I launched Girl Gains with two friends [Tally Rye and Zanna Van Dijk] to try and build a community of women who bond over the common goal of living a healthier lifestyle, physically and mentally. I sometimes struggle to acknowledge the positive impact my social media and Girl Gains has had on people, but when I think about it it makes me feel teary with gratitude.
How role does Lucozade Sport Fitwater play in your life?
I now have a balanced lifestyle. Lucozade Sport Fitwater helps me maintain that. I really enjoy exercising, even though I had to learn the hard way. Because I’m losing a lot of sweat, I know I’m losing electrolytes too. Fitwater helps me meet my hydration needs at the same time as replenishing the four key electrolytes lost through sweat – Calcium, Magnesium, Sodium and Chloride – which combat fatigue and muscle cramps, so I get the most out of my workouts.
What’s your next big #goal?
I’m working with Fitwater to get a million people moving more by 2020, and it’s such a great campaign; if I can use sport as a means to live a more balanced life, then I know you can, too. After all, my own journey to helping people get in shape and be more balanced has not been without its struggles.