I first discovered Charlotte Tulloch, or Lottie Lifts, via Instagram. What first struck me about Lottie was her incredibly lean and strong physique (those abs!), and her straight-talking, no-bullshit approach to FiTnEsS – as she calls it.
I then met Charlotte at last year’s Body Power Expo in Birmingham by chance. My friend and I were hanging around waiting for a Gymshark athlete when I spotted Lottie and her boyfriend, Harry. I was having a fan-girl moment like “No way, that’s Lottie Lifts and Harry Ranson” and my friend told me to go and say hello. When I said I was too shy, she shoved me over. They were really lovely and were actually shocked that I had recognised them.
There was no way in hell I thought that a busy and successful fitness coach like Lottie would respond to my interview request, but I should have known better than to underestimate her.
I had so many questions to ask Lottie, but managed to whittle them down to 12. Here is what she had to say.
How many years have you been training?
I got into the gym about seven years ago and I’ve been training with some semblance of structure and routine for four to five years.
What advice would you have for someone just starting out in the gym?
NOBODY is looking at you. It might seem like a cliché, but really, it’s true. I’ve had several mishaps that have been 10/10 embarrassing, until I realised nobody had even noticed anything had happened. Everybody is far too busy gazing at themselves in the mirror to analyse what you’re up to!
Speaking of gym fails, tell us about yours!
My biggest fail was early on when I first started squatting. I was pretty skittish and very self-conscious. I was re-racking the bar and went in a little wonky. My plait whipped over my shoulder and got caught between the bar and the rack. I didn’t realise and went to gracefully hop out from under the rack, leaving a good chunk of my hair there. I tried to play it cool but A.) It hurt, and B.) There’s only so smooth you can be when you’re scooping up handfuls of your own hair from the floor!
What is your advice on getting over a plateau in fat loss?
It might be that you need to make an adjustment – either more energy expenditure (steps / cardio) or a reduction in food.
If you’ve been dieting for a while, a diet break can sometimes help to give you a mental and physical break. One to two weeks at maintenance calories is usually enough to raise leptin (the hunger hormone) which makes fat-loss easier. You can think of a diet break as a mini re-set if you’ve been at it for a while!
Ultimately, experience will teach you whether you need to push on or take your foot off the gas.
What is your go-to for gym wear? Which brand and why?
I’m currently nuts about Superdry sportswear. They are super comfy, look ShArP and honestly, I never see anybody else wearing it which is sort of nice!
My favourite leggings are LNDR as they are super high-waisted, nice and stretchy and very cute.
Please could you give us an overview of your training week
I train five to six days per week following a push / pull / legs split.
Push day usually involves bench press, a barbell shoulder press variation, a chest fly / incline press, a side and front delt isolation, and two tricep isolations.
Pull is one to two vertical pulling movements (lat pull downs, chin-ups), and one to two horizontal pulling movements (rows), two rear delt isolations (face pulls, flys), two bicep isolations.
Legs – one day is squat-focused, the other deadlift-focused.
After those main movements, the next most important for me at the mo is glutes (#instagram) so hip thrust variations and at least two glute isolations happen on both leg days, then hamstrings and calves. I don’t train quads directly since they’re already over-bearing!
Abs I spread throughout the week at the end of sessions when I have time. Three sets of 12-20 reps on each exercise, at least three exercises per week.
“NOBODY is looking at you… Everybody is far too busy gazing at themselves in the mirror to analyse what you’re up to!”
Do you do any cardio or HIIT? If so, what do you tend to do?
When I’m dieting I do cardio – needs must! Usually 15-30 minutes post-workout, which is usually on the stairmaster. I don’t like it much, so I tend not to when I’m not dieting. A few times per week I’ll do five to 10 minutes low-intensity cardio as a warm up pre-workout, but this is simply to raise body temperature rather than a calorie-burning exercise.
On days when you lack motivation, what do you do?
Nobody but nobody is motivated all the time. I’ve been at it long enough now that getting my toosh to the gym isn’t really a conscious decision – it’s purely habit.
If I’m really in a funk and know I’ll have a poor session, I’ll re-shuffle my training and take a rest day.
If I’m just being lazy, I’ll think about the fact that I really do want to get stronger and have better glutes, shoulders, back etc. – and that won’t happen if I skip session after session, which I’ll be miffed about that later down the line.
How often do you have a rest day?
I rest at least one day per week. That means no cardio, no training of any kind. Some weeks is two days, I’ll auto-regulate depending on how beat up I’m feeling!
What is your go-to healthy snack and your go-to cheat meal?
I don’t think of foods as good / bad, clean / cheat any more – I used to, and found that it negatively impacted on my relationship with food and with my body.
If I’m trying to keep it low-calorie, then Breyers icecream usually does a good job of satisfying my sweet tooth for reasonable calories.
If I’m not so bothered about calories, a “proper” Italian pizza is almost always what I’ll go for.
“I eat a salad pretty much every day – but it’s a salad 2.0“
What is your go-to healthy meal?
I eat a salad pretty much every day – but it’s a salad 2.0. I throw apple, raisins, roasted squash, cheese, broccoli florets, beetroot, spring onions in with a pre-made salad bowl, and toss that all together with light mayo BEFORE I plate it up (key). It’s very filling and nothing like the soul-destroying salads I used to make myself back in the day!
What are your travel plans for 2019?
I tend to be very impulsive with travel; I’ll see a deal and go for it rather than planning out trips way in advance.
This year I’m definitely going back to the Maldives in April, which is already booked.
I also have Budapest, Italy, Norway on the to-do list.
We almost always end up in Vegas come summertime, but this year we might swap that for Dubai – we went for the first time last summer and loved it!
Want to look as good as Lottie? Find her coaching details here www.atasteoffitness.co.uk/