Q&A: Recharging with Alice Liveing
How do you recharge when your day job is personal training, running an app and keeping almost 700K followers up-to-date on social media? Aside from keeping busy online and at the gym, Alice Liveing is an ambassador for Volvo, and she recently jumped in her electric C40 and met Rebecca Cox at Hampshire’s Heckfield Place to talk about cars, clothes and KeepCups.
Alice Liveing & The Volvo C40 Recharge
When I meet Alice Liveing I am wearing a swimming costume on a (mercifully mild) autumn morning about to descend into a lake for a spot of sunrise cold water swimming. The purpose? To ‘recharge’, an idea conceived by the Volvo marketing and PR team, who have brought a group of journalists together, each in a borrowed Volvo C40 Recharge, for some time to rest and rejuvenate as we learn more about the virtues of going electric. Shiveringly cold water immersion aside, the venue is the perfect location for a wellbeing retreat. Acres of woodland for walking or meditating, spacious, luxe interiors and feather-soft beds for relaxing in, and delicious, biodynamic organic farm food grown on-site.
Getting here was a breeze, too. The drive to Heckfield in the C40 showed off all that the fully electric Volvo had to offer, from driver assistance technology, built-in Google services and plenty of punch (0-60mph in 4.5s, apparently). Recharging is simple, but you only need a top up roughly every 260miles. Although, if a stopover at Heckfield is on the agenda for to plug-in and top up, taking the back-roads as an excuse is advisable. Sustainability is one of the key objectives for the Swedish car brand, and as such the fully electric C40 features a leather-free interior, partially recycled carpets, and a subscription model that allows car-sharing or short-term or part-time ownership.
Back at Heckfield and thankfully out of the cold water and into warm clothes, I am having a cup of tea with Alice and finding out how Volvo’s sustainable ambitions align with her own aims to live better. We’ve covered clothes (Alice rents her own out, buys and sells second hand and donates to charity shops) and F1 (we’re both big Lewis Hamilton fans) and now move on to living a little better.
Q&A: Alice Liveing
What do you do to recharge?
This retreat ticks a lot of boxes! But aside from this, I’m shifting into recognising the importance of recharging. I’m turning 30 in February. So I feel like that’s a quite a big shift in terms of what’s important to you with health and how you approach your wellbeing, you know, in my 20s, I got away with doing a lot of stupid things like not eating enough, doing too much exercise, not getting enough sleep. And you get to a point where I can’t really get away with doing that anymore. And also, I really understand what health is now rather than it just being having a six pack. Health to me is so much more complex now. When I look at things like longevity, and fertility and all those things, you start to really take into account that recharging yourself is such a huge part of your long term health.
So, my recharging is, I’ve taken up things like meditation, or do Pilates, which is a very low intensity form of exercise that’s kind of stimulating, but at the same time recharging and being in nature. Exercise, too, and whilst it’s a stress in the body, I see that as like my headspace. Life can be so chaotic, particularly in London. And even just having that moment to put your headphones in, and sort of close everything out for an hour is definitely recharging to me. But then also reading a book and doing the things that I now know help to slow me down, which I never really ever made time for in my early 20s. So I think being able to see the benefits of those things and know why you’re doing them. For example on a Sunday, rather than me getting up at 6am and going to the gym, I’m actually going to let myself lie in and make a slow breakfast and maybe just go for a walk instead. Being much more intuitive about what feels good.
What has your experience driving electric been like with the Volvo?
I’ve worked with Volvo now for about 18 months. So last year, I had an XC 40, which was their first electric car. And then I switched over to the C 40 about three months ago. The things that I really love about the brand, I was really impressed by the safety stats when we first had initial meetings, they’re super safe, very family orientated, I think they’re super stylish, especially the C40, the sage green one. Then obviously, the sustainability element, I think everyone now is trying to do their bit to make a bit of a shift towards being more environmentally friendly. I hadn’t had a car in London, but really was developing a need for it. So it felt like the right time to go electric and see how we got on. And I’ve been so pleasantly surprised by how convenient I found it. We use the car all the time, and mostly short trips, but last year, we drove up to the Peak District in our XC 40. I think a lot of people worry about the inconvenience of having an electric car in terms of just charging but I found it super easy.
At Country & Town House, our ethos is all about a life in balance, how do you maintain balance in yours?
I think that that balance will look different to everyone. And I think that it’s also an immense privilege to be in a place where I can get eight hours of sleep a night, because I have no children. And I have no other commitments. I think that it’s important to be realistic about what balance can look like at every stage of your life and know that, you know, someone who has a young child isn’t going to be able to get that sleep at night, I would never want them to feel bad about that.
But it’s about the small things, it’s about, you know, making it as simple as possible to feel the best that you can. So it doesn’t have to be about spending a huge amount of money, or doing things that you feel are kind of unrealistic for your day to day life. But even for example, you know, with my clients that I’ve worked with, over the years, who are either immensely busy, have children or both? Can you get outside for 10 minutes on your lunch break? Can you go for a 10 minute walk? Can you make sure that you are getting up and going to sleep at roughly the same time so that your circadian rhythm is regulated? Are you able to drink water throughout the day? Are you able to do really simple things? Because I think the more pressure that we put on ourselves to hit certain metrics when it comes to our health, the less we are able to actually hit those things. You know, research has shown that if we put immense pressure on ourselves to do things, it actually often pushes us the other way.
I think similar to your ethos at the magazine, you know, we can all kind of shift ourselves. So just trying to hit those things [getting sleep, natural light, drinking water, eating well and moving] when we can, yeah, it’s not like, Oh, God, I’ve got to make sure that, you know, there were times when I was like, macros and calories and all that sort of stuff. Like, we go through phases, right, and we learn as we go. But I think that when we’re looking at balance, it’s got to come back to the basics. And it’s got to be realistic for everyone. So I would say that those are my things that I tend to lean on. And I now realise the importance of rest, sleep, stress, all those things so much more. And I’m just trying to be very, very much mindful of not doing too much and not putting too much stress on myself. And yes, working hard. Yes, living my life and having fun and doing all those things. But also just learning to pull back.
How have your views on what a healthy lifestyle consists of changed over the years?
I think that we’ve lived in a very warped world when it comes to health. I have to admit that I played my part in that. If I think back to even 5,6,7 years ago, the atmosphere in which the health and fitness world existed was pretty toxic. It was all about how thin you could be, you know, did you have a six pack while you’re training seven days a week, it was no days off. It was calories, it was very intense. And for that reason, I think a lot of people got really, really confused about what health is. I really believe that everyone knows what makes them feel good. I think the important thing is to remember that it’s never too late to bring it back to doing those things. It’s never too late to start exercising. I’ve had women who have joined my app and who have come to me as clients who’ve never done exercise in their life or since school and they’re in their 50s 60s. And they’re suddenly like, now’s the time. Amazing! It’s never too late. And it’s never going to be the wrong time.
Do you prefer recharging in the country or the town?
It’s so hard because I am such a 50/50! I love the city. And I’m very happy living in London and really love my life there. But I grew up in Buckinghamshire and the countryside, I very much love escaping out there, too. In terms of driving the car, I really love being out on the country roads and doing all that. So, I do like a mixture of the two. I love the busyness and the chaos of the city in some ways. But then I also love the escapism of getting away… Sorry, terrible answer because I’m completely split!
How can we all live a little better?
The first thing you can do is understand that there’s so much conflicting information out there. So do a bit of research and understand a little bit more about why going green is better, why having an electric car is preferable…give yourself a foundation of knowledge. Similar to my ethos with most things in life, it’s got to feel right to the person. Don’t put pressure on yourself. I start with: ‘what am I doing day to day?’. I was getting a takeaway coffee every day and I was getting a takeaway cup, that’s a really easy change, I can get KeepCup. I realise that it is a privilege to be able to do things like get an electric car and take different forms of transport, for example, if you’re going abroad, but I think that it’s whatever is accessible to you. Try and do those small things.
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Whether you are headed back to the city, like Alice, or country-bound like myself, a wellbeing recharge is the perfect way to reset at the start of the season. But if you do have access to the new Volvo C40 Recharge, running down the batteries again will be just as appealing.
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