World at her fit | 

Meet Irish mum Caroline Girvan who ditched her 9-5 job to become a fitness sensation

Personal trainer Caroline’s videos have racked up hundreds of thousands of views

Personal trainer Caroline’s videos have racked up hundreds of thousands of views

Exclusive by Roisin Gorman

Fitness sensation Caroline Girvan left a nine-to-five desk job to become an international star.

The 36-year-old mum-of-two spent years in admin and accountancy until the call of the gym opened up a whole new world.

Now the personal trainer has a YouTube channel with over 400,000 followers after posting her first online video just seven month ago.

And she says the global community which follows her workouts from her home in Greenisland, Co Antrim motivate her to get active every day.

"I'm in awe of them, from a single mum with four kids who wants to make some time for herself to an ICU nurse in America who still makes time to train so she can be healthy," says Caroline.

"I have recovering anorexics, people going through chemo, professional athletes, grandparents, teenagers.

"A girl in India who didn't have dumbbells made them out of concrete and an iron rod. When you hear that there is no excuse."

The super-fit mum studied accountancy at uni and worked in admin for her husband until after she had their children, now eight and 11.

"I had always been into fitness, running triathlons and doing yoga. After I had my kids, I noticed that a lot of my friends who were mums were struggling with the balance of exercise and what to eat and feeling guilty about eating a cupcake.

"I had your typical admin job, and then I went in the opposite direction when I had that moment when I realised I should be looking at fitness."

Caroline studied to be a personal trainer and spent years reading up about nutrition and exercise until she was ready to start her own PT business six years ago.

She says her massive following - one video got over 600,000 hits - came about by accident when clients who usually come to the gym at her home asked her to put workouts on YouTube so they could watch them on their TVs.

Caroline runs marathons

Caroline runs marathons

The toned mum admits her routines aren't for the faint-hearted, but fans flocked to her no-nonsense workouts.

"I randomly uploaded my normal day's workout from my living room. I just train how I feel that day," she says.

"They are just my real workouts and if I don't talk it's because I can't, because I'm out of breath. I do struggle and I have moments when it's really hard. Everyone sees my pain and I feel their pain.

"When people from different countries started to watch it, I couldn't believe it because there is so much out there.

"The reason I'm still doing it is because there are people who are joining me. To have that community is pretty insane and they help each other."

Caroline came up with the 50-day Epic programme when followers asked her for a routine, and Epic 2 will follow on January 3.

She's not focused on body shape and assures fans if they do the workouts their bodies will change anyway.

"Even in the comments people say they have increased their weights rather than lost inches. You might get a smaller waist but that's not the focus.

"And scales are a no-no. People can put on weight but overall, their body fat is reduced."

Caroline, who ran last year's New York marathon in three hours and 14 minutes, has turned down offers from big brand sports companies to endorse them, and has decided not to launch a paid-for app.

She believes even a nominal charge would be too much for some of her followers.

Caroline Girvan

Caroline Girvan

"I'm watched in every country in the world. Even if I charged Stg£10 to subscribe it would cut off a lot of people I have got to know, people who have been working with me pretty much every day for months, and I just couldn't do that.

"I never did this to make lots of money."

The trainer says she always takes a rest day a week and indulges in a takeaway, and over Christmas she'll take a break before launching her new programme and then getting into training for next year's challenge, a 46-mile ultra-marathon in Switzerland.

And she says 2020 will be a year to remember.

"I'm just honoured people have decided to join me in my living room," says Caroline.

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