The Fitness Series: Q&A with Former World-Class Competitive Sprinter
“My fitness journey started by chance but over the past 17 years it has become my true passion and love in life.” - #HerbalifeNutrition expert Samantha Clayton's story from track field to global fitness educatorClick To Tweet
This week, the American College Sports of Medicine (ACSM) will host their 65th annual conference, bringing more than 2,000 sports medicine professionals together from throughout the United States and around the world to discuss the importance of physical fitness and the future of sports medicine. To commemorate our partnership and attendance at this event, we’re launching a new series introducing our fitness and sports nutrition experts who will share more about themselves, their insights on trends and innovation within the industry, and offer readers tips for maximizing their own journey toward a healthier, happier lifestyle.
As vice president of sports performance and fitness at Herbalife Nutrition, Samantha Clayton is responsible for all activities relating to exercise and fitness education for our distributors and employees. She also oversees our Fitness Advisory Board (FAB), a team of fitness coaches located around the world who provide their guidance and expertise to develop fresh and exciting fitness programs. A former world-class competitive sprinter and busy mother of four, Samantha sat down to share with readers her journey from the track field to Herbalife Nutrition and her favorite tips for maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle.
- What led you to a career in the fitness world?
As an elite runner, I spent my teen years surrounded by coaches who not only trained me but also taught me about wellness, nutrition and fitness. Naturally, friends and family approached me for questions on such topics, but it wasn’t until I started training a friend as a favor after she had her first son that I considered being a personal trainer. My friend was so excited about her results that she told everybody about it and before I knew it I had ten people coming over to my house three days a week to work out! I realized that I loved helping people find joy in exercise, so I decided to make it official and get certified. I interned with a doctor, where we created rehabilitation fitness programs for professional athletes. After a year, I opened my own gym called Femme Fitness, a place for women of all ages to train and support each other on their journey toward living healthier and more active.
- Can you explain how fitness complements a healthy, nutritious diet?
Healthy nutrition is essential for everyone, especially people who are active. Through a balanced, nutritious diet, not only do you help your body to perform at its best, but you provide it with the necessary ingredients to repair and rejuvenate post workout. An increased physical activity level allows your body to burn excess calories, which can help with weight loss and maintenance, and to become more efficient through exercise.
- What does your own fitness and nutrition regimen look like?
I make sure to train at least five days a week, even when I’m traveling. Being well aware of the importance of diversifying your routine, I try to incorporate a variety of exercises. Running is my first love, so I definitely do that at least once a week. I also do high-intensity interval training (HIIT), core work and yoga. Last but not least, I include coordination workouts when I train with my 14 year old son, which I’m convinced is good for my aging brain.
- How do you balance a busy schedule with a healthy lifestyle?
Making healthy nutrition and exercise a number one priority for my family and me. Balance is difficult, but planning is the key to success: I schedule my gym sessions and pre-plan our weekly menu to ensure we stay on track. Being prepared and disciplined goes a long way.
- How do you think technology and social media has impacted the fitness industry?
Technology has taken away the old “I don’t know what to do” excuse for not being fit and healthy. Today you can find recipes, exercise routines and aspirational content at the touch of a button. In addition, people are increasingly sharing their fitness success stories through social media and it is amazing for two reasons: one, it provides accountability; two, it allows other people relate to you story. Real people talking to real people.
- What are 5 essential exercises if I only have 15 minutes to workout?
- Squats: my favorite exercise.
- Lunges: fantastic for legs and core muscles.
- Step-ups: it combines posterior chain muscles and cardio, which makes this an amazing exercise.
- Planks: it is actually a total body move that especially tones the core, but your shoulders and glutes feel it too.
- Push-ups: another total body move that is especially great for chest and back.
- Where are your favorite outdoor places to workout?
- The beach is my number one location. The sand adds a level of difficulty to any routine and the sound and sight of the ocean motivates me to push myself.
- In England I love training in the woods. It is green, beautiful and the uneven surface and varied terrain adds an additional challenge.
- Yoga on a deck in India was an unforgettable spiritual experience for me. It is hard to describe how special it was practicing yoga with local experts.
- Malibu, California is home to me and the trails for hiking are just incredible.
- My sister has a gym on stately home grounds in a field in the middle of nowhere in Corsham, England. She does a circuit class involving tractor tires, stones, axes and sand bags, all in a natural (usually cold and wet) setting. Maybe I love it because my sister is training me, and I admire her.
- What are some of your favorite songs to workout to?
I love all kinds of music to work out to, but my most played right now is a mix of pop & hip-hop!
- At Herbalife Nutrition, our purpose is to make the world healthier and happier. How would you define your purpose?
My purpose is to help people all over the world achieve body confidence and joy through exercise. I want to help them understand how important physical movement is for their body, mind and spirit and to fall in love with it.
- What’s in your gym bag?
My gym bag is pretty basic: I keep a towel, make up remover wipes, hand sanitizer, headphones, lip gloss, protein bars, water and a spare plastic bottle for my protein shake post workout. I must confess I keep a plastic box in my car that is always stocked with clean workout clothes, tennis shoes, a yoga mat and Rebuild Strength Protein. I hate missing a workout; it is my job to stay fit! So if I have been busy all day, this way I know I can always stop off on the way home from work and run or do some outdoor yoga.