2015-08-24 - “Don’t think of running as an extra ‘to do’ or another thing on your list… but rather as a pleasure. Think of it as a ‘to may’.” Flemish running expert, media star and all round motivational guru, Evy Gruyaert, tells us what keeps her going – and offers some rock-solid running tips.

Evy Gruyaert (36) is a well-known TV and radio presenter in Flanders (the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium), who has built a ‘do-it-yourself’ running and sports community with a following of over 200k. Evy is perhaps best known for her voice in the running app ‘Running with Evy’ in which she literally keeps you going with vocal commands such as “Come on”, “Don’t give up” and “Only a few minutes left!”. We asked her how she combines her career with sports and still finds time to enjoy her 3-year old son.

First of all, why do you run?
Evy: “I love the way it makes you feel. It’s more than just a physical activity – running empties your mind. It’s good to combat stress and very good for fighting the blues. But one of the best things about running is that it’s so time-efficient. I have a really hectic life and a young son to look after, so I love how you can always somehow fit it in. And of course it’s also total ‘me-time’!”

You’ve got hundreds and thousands of people out running in the last few years; can you describe your (crazy) journey?
“In 2001 I won a competition on Belgian national radio, VRT, to present a new show. I’ve since presented programmes on all manner of subjects, such as travel, showbiz and economics. In 2006 I started presenting a show called Vlaanderen Sportland (Flanders sporting country), in which the aim was to get people who didn’t exercise, outside and running.  Seeing the transformational effect of sport and running firsthand led me to make a running podcast called ‘Start to Run’ and (on www.starttorun.be). Since my first 2 million downloads, I have released an app, many books and social media platforms, and of course I still do lots of TV.”

How did your life change when your son arrived?
“Well, I won’t be the first to say this, but when you have a baby pretty much everything changes. You have to reconnect with yourself, with your partner, and you automatically reassess your priorities. Now, he’s three years old, so it’s mainly lots and lots of planning!”

How did you get fit again after having your son? What’s your advice for others?
I was quite single-minded about it. From the moment I was allowed to exercise again, I did. I knew that having a baby requires a lot of energy, and that the best way to increase your energy is by exercise.  So I forced myself to take the plunge and start running. It’s a decision I have never regretted! My advice is to make a ‘mental click’ and just get out there and do it! Don’t see it as a punishment, see it as a pleasure.”

Why have you put so much time into getting other people out there moving?
“It’s actually quite profound. I’ve noticed that children – and society as a whole – have moved to a very sedentary lifestyle. Studies show how bad this is for our health. That’s why I use digital technology like apps, podcasts and social media to encourage as may people as possible to get out there and move.”

Now, over to your running tips. Please share your secrets!
“There is no real secret to running. It’s mostly a question of motivation and just getting out there and doing it.

This list is made up of the things I wish that I were told when I was trying to get back into shape after my son was born! 

  1. See running as pure, unadulterated, me-time. Half an hour without nappies or bottles. Time for you and no one else.
  2. Running – and in fact any kind of exercise – generates serotonins. This means that by moving you’ll feel happy and better about yourself.
  3. Running is actually a really cheap course in mindfulness!
  4. Running will change the proportions of your body. Quickly! 
  5. Why not use running as a way to meet up with other parents? Go for a jog and a chat together as a healthy alternative to meeting up for a glass of wine.
  6. Don’t hibernate indoors when you have a baby or toddler.  It’s much more fun to take them with you in a stroller suitable for running.
  7. Don’t think of running as an extra ‘to do’ or another thing on your list… but rather as a pleasure. Think of it as a ‘to may’!

Good luck!”

More Evy here:
Evy’s Instagram
Evy’s Facebook
The apps ‘Start2Run’ and ‘Hardlopen met Evy’ can be found in Google Play for android, and in Apple’s app store.
From mid-September 2015 Evy’s new online yoga platform will also go live, so watch out for that on www.yogametevy.com

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