- Athletics Interview with Athlete Louise Hazel
- Fat? Really? Olympic hope laughs off official’s jibe – but others
- Louise Hazel: why I quit heptathlon
- What was the hardest moment of your career?
- Without a coach, what resources did you use to compose your training plans?
- What discipline in the heptathlon is your favourite and why?
- Is there any particular exercise that you found the most effective for improving your performance in all seven events?
- What is the proudest moment of your career?
- You’ve been an athlete for your whole adult life. What prompted your decision to retire from heptathlon?
- Could you explain what The Podium Effect® is?
- The five-year-old fan who inspired Louise Hazel to fight back in London 2012 Olympic Games
- LOUISE Hazel has revealed how a five-year-old fan inspired her to launch a comeback in the London 2012 heptathlon
- What I Eat In A Week By Louise Hazel
- Louise Hazel reveals secrets to her killer figure with weightloss plan
- 5am starts and cups of tea in the gym: how former Team GB athlete Louise Hazel is getting Hollywood in shape
Athletics Interview with Athlete Louise Hazel
17 March 2014 • By – Max Jerrard
The countdown to the 2014 Commonwealth Games is well and truly on. World class athletes from across the globe are putting the finishing touches to their training regimes before July’s games hosted in Glasgow.
Playfinder has spoken to Louise Hazel, who won gold in the Heptathlon at the previous games in Dehli, to get her view on the Commonwealth Games and athletics in the UK.
Louise Hazel competing at the London Olympics in 2012.
You go into the 2014 Commonwealth Games as the defending champion, what event or events do you think will be your strongest this time around?
Hurdles, 200m and long jump will always be my strongest events, especially since my background in athletics has always been sprint based. I’d be surprised if I threw over 13m in the shot putt, which would be awesome.
You moved away from London at an early age, is there any athletic club you have a strong connection with in the capital?
Not really, as I was just a baby when we left London. My connection lies in the Midlands, I am a Lifetime Member of Birchfield Harriers who are based in Birmingham.
In your view, what support do young athletes get now compared to when you were getting started in the sport?
I lived in a rural area in Cambridgeshire, and I received no support from my local town and council, which was disappointing. Having said that my school was great at helping out and when I moved to a larger club in the City of Peterborough I started to receive support from local business people, it was much needed.
Nowadays, more money has been invested into grass-roots level sport and participation and there is probably more competition for sporting grants, bursaries and sponsorship. My best advice is for young people to be proactive.
Going into athletics is a huge commitment and results in having to make big sacrifices. If you were speaking to your 14 old self, what encouragement and advice would you give?
Start playing more tennis!
Is there any routine or superstition you have kept since you were starting out?
Louise Hazel in action performing long jump
The night before a competition I mentally visualise each event and how I am going to perform, I play out the rhythm, the noise, the adrenaline rush in my head in order to feel the excitement and anticipation of the event.
Outside of your training regime, what do you do to stay active?
I started an online home fitness and nutrition plan called The Podium Effect in September 2013 and I have filmed 6 stages of intense 60 day workouts, that keeps me extremely fit and in shape.
As well as personal training, I do enjoy a bit of golf and…go karting!
How does the build up to the Commonwealth Games compare with the London 2012 Olympics?
It’s a different kind of excitement, as I will be going in to the competition as defending champion, so I guess you would expect an element of expectation and pressure but I just want to go there and do my best… and smash it!
You announced your retirement from the heptathlon in 2013, but recently reversed your decision. What inspired your comeback?
Ultimately, it was the desire to be competitive again. That spirit never dies for an athlete, whether it’s go-karting or going bowling with friends there will always be some way of making life challenging.
What are your plans post Commonwealth Games?
Watch this space…@LouiseHazel
You can follow Louise via her page
Fat? Really? Olympic hope laughs off official’s jibe – but others
The row over remarks branding the champion heptathlete Jessica Ennis “fat” escalated today as other female athletes spoke of similar taunts.
The comments were reportedly made to Ennis’ coach last year by a high-ranking official in UK Athletics who also said she was “carrying too much weight”.
The 5 feet 4 inches poster girl for Team GB who is one of the best hopes for Olympic Gold, weighs 8 stone 13 lbs. today she laughed off the remarks about her famously honed physique, reportedly made to Tony Minichiello.
“Its not something I worry about. I can just kind of brush it off and ignore it,” she said. Fellow athletes today sprang to Ms Ennis’ defence.
Team mate Louise Hazel branded the remarks “ a disgrace” and said she had been subject to similar harassment about her weight.
Sharing the full story, not just the headlines
“It's not a nice feeling to be called overweight. Some people think that you have to look you are completely emaciated to actually be in physical shape and that’s not the truth,” she said. She added: “There needs to be more support rather than more criticism and it is as simple as that.
” Minichiello told The Guardian that “people in high positions … should know better” and that Ennis did not need distractions in the run up to the Games.
But he played down the row today, pointing out he did the interview with the paper in November and saying: “I think the biggest problem I’ve got this week is counting to ten.”
Susan Ringwoood, chief executive of b-eat, the eating disorders association, said the comments were “completely unacceptable”. “We know they are unhelpful to anyone, let alone someone in peak physical perfection. ”
Athletes have a unique body composition, she said. “They have much more muscle, which is heavy, and very little body fat. You can be slender and muscled and appear to be heavy for your height.
The nature of an athlete’s sport also affected their body shape. Sprinters needed explosive power with lots of muscle while marathon runners needed lean bodies built for endurance.
Heptathletes such as Ms Ennis required a bit of everything.
The remarks are all the more surprising because sporting bodies are increasingly sensitive to female body image issues. On its website the IOC dispenses advice to women, warning of “scientific evidence that, under certain circumstances, the healthy body image of some female athletes can suffer through sport.”
There are an estimated 1.6 million people with eating disorders in the UK , caused by a desire for perfection and control which is undermined and turned inward as a destructive force by low self esteem.
Triathlete Hollie Avil, who represented the UK at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, earlier revealed she had suffered from an eating disorder after a coach’s comment.
The former World junior champion said she virtually starved herself after being told in 2006 that the best way to improve her swimming was to watch her weight .
“You start cutting things your diet and it all catches up with you until it possesses your life,” she said.
UK Athletics declined to comment.
Louise Hazel: why I quit heptathlon
I had a lot of support from my father because he was a distance runner when he was younger. He took me to the local athletics track and encouraged me to participate in a number of different events.
Once my school saw me achieve local and county titles they started to really get behind me, support me and recognise me as a sportswoman.
At my local club I was recognised as an outstanding athlete, which was a great confidence booster.
What was the hardest moment of your career?
The most challenging moment was training for the 2010 Commonwealth Games. I didn’t have a coach at the time so for months I was turning up, training myself, writing my own training programmes and linking up with specialist event coaches to oversee my technical events. It took a lot of determination and a lot of co-ordinating.
It was a very tiring progress. I could see my fellow athletes turning up at the tracks and their coach would have written their training programmes for them, so they could go home and not have to think. I wasn’t that fortunate.
I knew what I wanted to achieve and there were a lot of things I had to do proactively in order to make that happen.
Without a coach, what resources did you use to compose your training plans?
I got friends to film sessions and meet up with other friends for running sessions. I tapped into all the resources and coaching around me.
I drove myself up to Loughborough to do shotput sessions with [former UK Athletics heavy throws coach] Bob Weir and javelin sessions with Steve Backley’s ex-coach.
I made sure that during those sessions somebody was going to be there, even if it was just a friend timing my hurdles. It was very mentally tiring, but well worth it.
What discipline in the heptathlon is your favourite and why?
My favourite is the javelin. It is the one event where I feel I can really express my explosiveness without holding back. My best event has always been the hurdles but the javelin is the one where I feel I can completely let go, and it is definitely the one I would come back to if I decided to get back into athletics as a hobby.
Is there any particular exercise that you found the most effective for improving your performance in all seven events?
It’s not really an exercise for improving performance in itself, but the one I felt was indicative of me being in great shape was the Olympic clean. I could lift 70-80kg, with 80kg being my top rep. When you only weigh 55-60 kilos, the ability to shift those kinds of weights tells you your body is in shape, strong and fast.
What is the proudest moment of your career?
The proudest moment has to be winning heptathlon at the Commonwealth Games for England in 2010. The accumulation of all the hard work I’d put in coming together in one day was absolutely amazing. I had a feeling I could do it but when you actually go out there and win it’s the most satisfying feeling there is. It’s completely and utterly irreplaceable.
You’ve been an athlete for your whole adult life. What prompted your decision to retire from heptathlon?
I feel I have given my best to the event, and it’s not an easy event to commit to: training is twice a day, six days a week.
This year, after the joy of competing in the London 2012 Olympic Games [where Hazel finished 27th], I was faced with the immediate struggles of trying to find sponsorship and endorsement and I fell short of my targets, which made it very difficult for me to stay in a full time training programme.
Then I was ill in November last year, and I felt it was time to give my body some time to recover. That’s when I started working on my new venture, The Podium Effect®. I’m very fortunate in the sense that while I’m leaving the heptathlon behind, I have completely thrown myself into a new challenge.
Could you explain what The Podium Effect® is?
It’s a 60-day online-based training and nutritional programme. A subscription service, subscribers get a 60-day workout programme and a 60-day nutritional programme aimed at helping them get back in shape. Every 60 days the programme changes and they can choose to add on exercises for areas they would lie to work on more – abs or legs, say.
My initial thought was to do a fitness DVD that offered continuity. I wanted the person to experience what it’s to be an athlete, but I also wanted it to be manageable for people with busy lives.
A common excuse for not exercising enough is not having the time, but with The Podium Effect® each workout is only 30 minutes, so there’s no room for excuses.
I think we are all guilty of purchasing a fitness DVD with the hope of shedding Christmas weight, but the way to do that effectively is by doing the right things continuously day in, day out.
Louise Hazel, founder of The Podium Effect®, is running The British Heart Foundation Blenheim Palace 10k on Sunday 6th October www.justgiving.com/TeamHazel
The five-year-old fan who inspired Louise Hazel to fight back in London 2012 Olympic Games
PUBLISHED: 08:00 10 August 2012
Story by: ROB SETCHELL
Louise Hazel competing in the long jump. Picture: RICHARD PELHAM/NOPP
LOUISE Hazel has revealed how a five-year-old fan inspired her to launch a comeback in the London 2012 heptathlon
Louise Hazel, right, and Katarina Johnson-Thompson, left, congratulate Jessica Ennis on winning the women's heptathlon. Picture: RICHARD PELHAM/NOPP
March’s golden girl was holding her head in her hands on Friday after a disastrous high jump saw her slide down the leaderboard to second last.
“I just bombed out,” she said. “Then I turned around and saw a little five-year-old girl in the crowd and I heard her say ‘We love you Louise’.
“That’s when I knew it was time to grit my teeth.”
Over the next 24 hours, Hazel showed the world her fighting Fen spirit. She clocked a season’s best in the 200m and the long jump, before throwing an incredible personal best in the javelin.
Friday, 10.05am – 100m HURDLES: Hazel clocks 13.48secs to finish fourth in her heat. The time is about 0.25secs outside her personal best.
Friday, 11.15am – HIGH JUMP: Disaster strikes as Hazel manages just 1.59m – a long way off her personal best of 1.74m. The shock result relegates her to second last in the standings.
Friday, 7pm – SHOT PUT: The fightback begins as Hazel hurls the shot 12.81m – just a few inches short of her personal best.
Friday, 8.45pm – 200m: Hazel powers past reigning Olympic champion Natallia Dobrynska to win her 200m heat, clocking a season’s best of 24.48secs.
Saturday, 10.05am – LONG JUMP: It’s another season’s best as Hazel leaps 5.77m.
Saturday, 12.05pm – JAVELIN: The crowd erupt in the Olympic Stadium as Hazel throws a personal best 47.38m. She hailed the throw as “phenomenal” and said it was her highlight of the Games.
Saturday, 8.35pm – 800m: March’s Olympian seals a courageous effort by finishing third in her heat, in a time of 2:18.78.
The results meant Hazel finished 27th with 5856 points – but it was the courageous comeback she was most proud of.
“After the high jump I was shocked and disappointed,” she said. “But then I thought ‘game on’.
“I told myself that there will always be winners and losers but it’s most important that I show my true character and my inner fight.
“There are hundreds of thousands of people who would have died to be in my shoes and I had to go out there and fight.”
Hazel, who was rated as a 50/1 long-shot for Olympic gold, was one of the first TeamGB athletes to take to the track in the Olympic Stadium.
“Stepping out in front of that crowd was unreal,” she said. “I got a huge rush when I heard the noise.
“It’s the sort of noise you only ever hear at football matches. It’s not polite clapping, it’s just roars and roars of encouragement and you know that 80,000 people are cheering for you. That is an amazing feeling.
“I loved every minute – the highs and the lows – and I feel I’ve grown so much from the whole experience.”
Fellow TeamGB star and friend Jess Ennis took the gold with a magnificent 6955 points.
“I choked up when Jess gave her interview afterwards,” said Hazel.
“It’s the first time I’ve ever seen her really emotional and I just got this feeling of immense pride.”
Hazel, who is due to appear on Question of Sport following the Olympics, is planning a return to March to celebrate with her family and friends.
But she also admitted that she was considering her future in athletics.
“It’s something I have to go away and think about,” she said.
“Being on the biggest stage has presented me with a lot of opportunities and I will re-evaluate what is coming my way.
“The Olympics has not only made me a better athlete, it’s made me into a more well-rounded person.
“I always said I wanted to be an Olympic athlete. It’s a complete and utter dream come true.
“That’s why I’ve worked so hard all these years. That’s why I’ve chosen social groups carefully. I had that goal in my mind and to say I’ve achieved it is amazing.
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What I Eat In A Week By Louise Hazel
How does a former Commonwealth champion heptathlete stay in shape (and keep those abs) in retirement? If you're Louise Hazel you readjust your diet.
7:30AM Bircher muesli and hot water, lemon and fresh ginger
11AM An apple and a handful of mixed nuts
1:30PM 2 scrambled eggs on rye toast
3PM Spinach, cucumber and spirulina smoothie
3:30PM 2 celery sticks with hummus
7PM Chicken escalope with a hash brown and kale
8PM Green tea
As a former athlete I'm very aware of my body. So when I gained 2kg after I stopped training it felt much more. My diet has really changed over the past 18 months. I retired so had to cut down on calories. I base meals on protein and have cut down on carbs – I'm not going to pretend it was easy.
7AM Blueberry yoghurt, mixed seeds and berries with hot water, lemon and fresh ginger
10:30AM A pear with a handful of walnuts
2PM Tomato omelette
2:30PM Beetroot, apple and blueberry juice
4PM Half an avocado drizzled with balsamic vinegar
7:30PM Lamb stew with cous cous
8PM Chai tea
With the drop in calories came a drop in energy levels. I use low GI foods beetroot and walnuts to keep my blood-sugar levels constant and aim to eat at least every three hours.
READ: Louise Hazel On Her #BodyForLife In The Naked Issue
8AM Porridge made with water and half a banana with hot water, lemon and fresh ginger
11AM Seeds and berries
1:30PM 2 scrambled eggs with smoked salmon on rye toast.
2PM Spinach, cucumber and spirulina smoothie
3PM Popcorn with almond butter
7PM Steak with potatoes and kale
7:30PM Peppermint tea
I found out recently that I have the bowel condition, colitis, so try to cut out foods that place stress on my system. Dairy is out and I've found I'm far less bloated and have loads more energy. I wish I'd done it years ago.
8AM Bircher muesli and hot water, lemon and fresh ginger
10:30AM A pear and a handful of walnuts
1PM Tomato omelette
2PM Beetroot, apple and blueberry juice
4PM 2 celery sticks with hummus
7PM Steak hache with cous cous, tomato and avocado
8PM Green tea
I still train 6 days a week doing 30 minutes of running and 40 minutes of body-weight exercises because I'm thinking of returning to sport. Even though I'm not training professionally I need to fuel my body effectively.
READ: The Free Olympic Workout You Can Do Anywhere With Louise Hazel
7:30AM blueberry yoghurt, mixed seeds and berries with hot water, lemon and fresh ginger
10AM Apples and a handful of mixed nuts
3PM Quiche lorriane with a salad
4PM Spinach, cucumber and spirulina smoothie
5PM Half an avocado drizzled with balsamic vinegar
8PM Black cod with edamame
9PM Chai tea
I'm always trying to eat more fish because it's hard to get the omega 3 versus 6 balance right – which can lead to inflammatory diseases such as metabolic syndrome.
I take a multivitamin when I remember but I know it's always better and more bio-available to get your omegas through your diet.
9AM Bircher muesli and hot water with lemon and fresh ginger
11AM Seeds and berries
2:30PM 2 scrambled eggs with 7 cherry tomatoes and 2 rashers of bacon
3PM Spinach, cucumber and spirulina smoothie
5PM Soy yoghurt
8PM Steak with a kale salad and a glass of red wine
9:30PM Chai tea
I probably eat out four times a week and love red wine with red meat. I never have more than two glasses though. The older I get the longer it takes me to get over hangovers.
I find a beetroot, apple and blueberry juice always works when I'm flagging.
10AM Porridge made with water and half a banana and hot water with lemon and fresh ginger
11AM Yoghurt with passionfruit
2PM 2 scrambled eggs with plantain and bacon
3PM Beetroot, apple and blueberry juice
4PM A handful of mixed nuts and berries
7PM Curried cod with sweet potato mash
8PM Peppermint tea
I try to be as healthy as I can 95% of the time but that 5% of the time when I treat myself – I go all out. I will never turn down a sticky toffee pudding if you're offering!
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Louise Hazel reveals secrets to her killer figure with weightloss plan
- Commonwealth gold medallist is often asked how she gets enviable figure
- Now she's revealing all with fitness and diet plan, the Podium Effect
- Recently announced retirement from international heptathlon
- Said lack of financial support made it hard to carry on as full-time athlete
- She'll keep on running and is planning 10k for British Heart Foundation
By Lucy Waterlow for MailOnline
Published: 11:48 BST, 17 September 2013 | Updated: 12:23 BST, 17 September 2013
With her washboard stomach and pert bottom, it's not surprising Louise Hazel is often asked how she gets her enviable figure.
Now the Commonwealth champion, who recently announced her retirement from international heptathlon, is letting people in on the secrets of her toned body.
She's become a personal trainer and has devised a new workout and nutritional plan, called the Podium Effect, that's designed to help people lose weight and shape up. The plan is based upon the Olympian's own training methods but is aimed at beginners.
Enviable figure: Louise Hazel is often asked how she gets her toned abs, now you can find out with her new workout plan
She told MailOnline: 'People always ask me “how do you get your arms and your bum that? And how do you get your abs?”
'Now I have the opportunity to share the knowledge and tricks of the trade that made me an elite athlete.
Personal trainer in your living room: Louise demonstrates workouts that can be followed in your own home
Simple but effective: Louise said the workouts are high intensity but suitable for beginners
Fight the fat: The plan involves moves and nutritional advice to help people lose weight and tone up
'The 60 day plan reflects what we do as athletes as we know what training we have planned for the next four weeks. I wanted to give the average person access to something that. I hope I can be a role model and give people the information they need to better themselves.'
The Podium Effect is an online programme that people can subscribe to for £9.99 a month. They can then log in to access workout videos demonstrated by Louise and nutritional advice including meal plans.
London-born Louise said the workouts are all 'simple but effective' involving moves such as sit ups and burpees that you can do in your own home.
Golden girl: The heptathlete came first at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Dehli
Team GB: Louise with fellow heptathletes Katarina Johnson-Thompson, (left) and Jessica Ennis-Hill. She won't carry on training to qualify for Rio 2016 due to a number of factors including lack of financial support
She explained: 'I wanted to make it so people have no excuse not to exercise. The main excuse for exercising nowadays is “I don't have time” and people can't always afford to join a gym or get a personal trainer. So I wanted to offer a solution to the average person to get them into fitness and kick start a new regime.
'People get the habit of exercising and I wanted to create something that takes the stress away. It's effectively a fitness DVD but streamed and available to you wherever you go. The workouts are 45 minutes long including the warm up and down.'
Louise developed the nutritional side of the plan with Kim Pearson, who was her nutritionist in the build-up to the London 2012 Olympics.
Louise explained: 'It's a low glycaemic, low carb diet and is portion sizes not calorie counting. Having to count calories is just tedious and I wanted to create something that's sustainable both in terms of fitness and nutrition.
Still training: Although she's retired from the heptathlon, she will keep running and plans to take part in a 10k for the British Heart Foundation
'Having to monitor every bite you put in your mouth seems ridiculous. You just need to know the nutrients and foods you need to put in your body to stay healthy. That's the information we are providing.'
She added: 'Dieting shouldn't be a case of “today I'm just eating celery”. It should be exciting and people should be able to look at a list of ingredients and create something tasty.'
'Having to monitor every bite you put in your mouth seems ridiculous. You just need to know the foods you need to stay healthy'
The personal trainer said she's seen 'amazing results' with the people she's worked with so far.
'Some lost 5kg in 26 days and 7cm around the waist,' she said. 'When I put the programme together I knew I needed to create a calorie deficient to ensure users will see results.'
Louise's new fitness venture comes as she hangs up her track spikes, retiring from athletics at the relatively young age of 27.
She has been competing at international level since the age of 15, excelling at the seven different disciplines of the heptathlon in order to represent her country in the European, World and Commonwealth Championships, as well as the London Olympics.
The highlight of her career was a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in 2010.
The University of Birmingham graduate admitted some have seen her retirement as premature but she said the time was right to pursue new opportunities due to a number of factors.
She said: 'The London Olympics was an incredible time for me and I've had a great career gaining a Commonwealth gold medal. The Rio Olympics is another three years which is a long time to keep training. I wanted to do other things and explore opportunities that could be equally as exciting and rewarding.
'It's a personal decision and injury and illness has come into the equation. They can mean you train hard but still don't fulfil your full potential on the day of competition.
Some people have been sad about me retiring but I'm really enjoying it.
I've had an amazing opportunity to represent my country and it's opened so many doors for me for which I'm very grateful.'
Without bitterness, the heptathlon added that her ability to carry on as a full-time athlete till Rio 2016 was hindered by a lack of support from sport governing bodies and sponsors – as she was dropped from lottery funding and had no kit deal.
- Grab a friend. Once you have someone you're answerable to it makes it harder not to turn up. You can use one another for support
- Set yourself a goal a race or an event you want to look good for a wedding or a holiday
- Focus on progress not perfection
- Don’t give up, be resilient to get back into shape and remember changes don't happen overnight
- It can be a long and lonely road but remember you are doing it for yourself
- Keep in mind the benefits training will have to your confidence and self-esteem, by working out, you are basically investing in yourself
She said: 'Not having funding made it difficult for me to consider a long term future in the sport. We talk about Olympic legacy but it remains to be seen for those athletes who didn't medal at the London Games. The onus is on us to create our own Olympic legacy.
'There are athletes out there Greg Rutherford who has said he can't get a kit contract. That's a basic you'd expect for someone who has achieved an Olympic gold medal.
'It's no surprise for me that there's a struggle for funding in sport and I didn't want that to be an on-going battle for another four years.'
She added: 'It's difficult to keep going when you don't have a means to stay on track. The heptathlon means training for seven events so it's more than a full-time job. You have to be at the track five hours a day. I would train twice a day, six times a week.
'If you can only fund that by getting a part-time job then you have to ask what you can achieve when you can only give it half your time. I had to be realistic.'
On the plus side of retirement, Louise said she's grateful she no longer has to run painful lactic acid inducing 800m races. But she doesn't want to stop running altogether so she's signed up for a new challenge – the Blenheim Palace 10k run on Sunday 6th October.
She'll be taking part as an ambassador for the British Heart Foundation – a cause that resonates with her as she lost her father to heart disease in 2008.
She said: 'He had a heart attack and a stroke and spent six weeks in hospital before he passed away. It was tragic as he never got to see me compete in the Olympic Games. So I want to help give people information about how to have a healthy lifestyle and a healthy heart.'
Louise is running The British Heart Foundation Blenheim Palace 10k on Sunday 6th October, to sponsor her visit www.justgiving.com/TeamHazel. To subscribe to The Podium Effect®, visit www.thepodiumeffect.com
5am starts and cups of tea in the gym: how former Team GB athlete Louise Hazel is getting Hollywood in shape
In a private gym in Los Angeles, close to the iconic pavement stars of the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the theatres and nightclubs of Sunset Boulevard, former British heptathlete Louise Hazel is busy helping Hollywood actresses, celebrities and producers get in the best shape of their lives.
Born in Southwark and raised in Cambridgeshire, Hazel won gold at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and competed alongside Jess Ennis at London 2012 before retiring in 2013.
But since moving to America, her innovative training ideas, tough but tactful honesty and playfully British penchant for drinking tea with clients have helped her to become one of the most admired trainers in Hollywood.
“My gym is called Slay and it is located on 6201 Hollywood Boulevard, which is right next to the Capitol Records Building, so if I walk outside I can see the Hollywood Sign in the distance,” enthuses Hazel, still audibly breathless from her last client workout, when we speak via FaceTime. She gulps some water before continuing.
“I moved to LA two and a half years ago and opened the gym in March 2019, so to have claimed a little piece of Hollywood Boulevard for myself and my clients feels quite momentous. This is all from word of mouth. I just had an amazing actress slide through my DMs [the direct message feature on social media] and she is going to visit soon.
We are becoming a little-known secret in Los Angeles.”
The 34-year-old says her gym is “female-first but not female-only.” Many of her celebrity clients prefer to remain anonymous.
But the actress Sophia Bush, the screenwriter and producer Mara Brock Akil, the dietitian and influencer Radhi Devlukia-Shetty and the reality star Tori Deal – who have a combined Instagram following of over 4.5 million – proudly share their workouts with Hazel online.
Louise Hazel (right) with fellow athletes Jessica Ennis (centre) and Katarina Johnson-Thompson during the 2012 London OlympicsCredit:Getty
“In the UK, often people don’t want to be seen sweating on social media. Over here, they are : no, they better see me sweat because I lifted that! I will celebrate that! We are not just showing talented people as the polished product on the red carpet but also the grit and grime of the 6am session you did last week.”
In a city swamped with fitness frauds who promise impossible results through faddish regimes, Hazel’s intimate knowledge of elite athletics ensures she stands out a guiding lodestar.
“The one thing you can count on with me is the truth,” she insists. “We are very good at selling lies in this industry.
But how long are we going to have to drink a ‘tummy tea’ in order to get in that dress? And what is that telling me mentally, that I can take a short cut?
“I want to build a brand integrity, truth and sustainability. My method of training is very much rooted in track and field.”
Arriving from the land of Mary Poppins, Harry Potter and The Queen adds a little magic, too. “They love the accent,” laughs Hazel. “As far as they are concerned, we do things properly in England.
It has not been difficult to create a brand that stands out because the cultures are so different. In the UK we are more polite about everything. So we drink tea in the gym. In tea cups.
When I ask clients to stop by for a cup of tea, they think it is hilarious.”
Hazel’s career as an athlete taught her that everybody should work with – and not against – their unique body shape. “My job is to figure out what kind of athlete they are and create a plan suitable to their body type. Everybody that walks through that door, I am sizing them up, just I would a competitor.
I am , 'oh, I have competed against you before but your name was Rebecca and we used to complete in the shot put'. Or 'your name is Hannah and you ran the 1500m in rapid time'. In track and field, we are all different shapes and sizes. Everybody is an athlete or had a sport at school or something they excelled in.
I want to remind clients that their body is unique.”
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She encourages her clients to develop the mentality of elite athletes by setting ambitious goals.
“I work with high-functioning and highly intelligent individuals so I want to deliver a unique and boutique service,” she explains.
“Some people might be getting ready for a birthday or a wedding, so that means periodised training. As an athlete, there are times when you want to peak, so I say: your Olympic Games is the day you walk down that aisle.”
She believes every fitness regime should include strength training, cardiovascular workouts and some yoga or Pilates. “It’s my job to sprinkle a bit of grunt work in with a bit of fairy dust,” she explains. “I will always err to what they enjoy but we also do things they find challenging because at the end of the day this isn’t a trip to McDonald’s.”
Weight-lifting is the foundation stone of all her programmes, helping to improve functional strength, resilience and posture. “We do squats, bench presses and deadlifts as well as cleans and snatches and overhead squats because I want my clients to feel their inner athlete. To keep intelligent people engaged, I need things which are complex and which make them dig deep.”
Functional training, such as single-leg exercises and dynamic core workouts, is also key. “We single-leg Bulgarian squats or single-leg kettlebell lifts because we rarely stand on two feet – even when we walk we pass from one foot to the other.
And being able to transfer power through your core is something every human being needs to do. All my clients love the drills I did for javelin training – lots of medicine ball throws and amazingly dynamic core exercises.
When you have a 4 kilo medicine ball flying in your direction, you tend to be quite alert.”
This fusion of fitness and psychology is important to her. “I love using slam balls and battle ropes because we are human beings and things affect us in our daily lives: your boyfriend or wife can stress you out; your boss can give you a deadline; or something can go wrong. I use the med balls to take out that daily frustration. The only thing that gets hurt is the floor.”
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The former Olympian has worked hard to build up her business, getting up at 5am to wipe down the gym mirrors, liaising with builders, and raising funds from investors, athletes and friends. Having already launched a Slay podcast and workout app, she also has plans for a clothing range and fitness book.
“One publisher said the word ‘Slay’ was too aggressive,” she sighs.
“He didn’t understand that there is a culture of women who don’t need to be ‘pretty’ or ‘cookie-cutter’ (look the same), who are happy to see what Marks & Sparks have in the reduced section but are still go-getters who don’t take no for an answer.”
Hazel is relishing her new life in Los Angeles but she still craves a taste of home.
“I went for a Sunday roast last week at a place called The Pikey on Sunset Boulevard, with beef and all the trimmings stuffing, horse radish and Yorkshire pudding.
It was a really overcast day in LA so I took my (American) friends who had never had a Sunday roast. I said, the weather is crap, trust me, this is the perfect day for a Sunday roast. I loved it.”
For more fitness advice from Louise, visit www.theslaygym.com and follow her on Instagram @LouiseHazel