Merry Fit-mas YouTuber Caroline Girvan fighting Xmas excess with her 'fitness' Advent Calendar
"On Christmas Eve I'll make it a good hard cardio workout and then we'll have a party," Caroline says
YouTube star Caroline Girvan is the 'calendar girl' you desperately need in your house this Christmas.
The personal trainer - who shot to global fame during the pandemic and now boasts 1.4m YouTube subscribers - has come up with an advent calendar that certainly won't pile on the pounds - and it's free!
While most of us are raiding our advent calendar for chocolate, gin and even beer every day, the 37-year-old mum-of-two has come up with a Christmas twist to keep us fit from the comfort of her home in Co Antrim.
"People are so busy this time of year I thought a good way to help people stay fit through all the partying would be with a short workout a day," says Caroline.
"So every day from December 1 to Christmas Eve I'm putting up a new 20 minute routine which I've dressed up as an advent calendar.
"They are quite intense but easy to do and all you need is a chair, an exercise mat and a couple of dumbbells of whatever weight suits you.
"On Christmas Eve I'll make it a good hard cardio workout and then we'll have a party."
And despite having a million reasons to cash in on her global success, she's keeping it real and continuing to give it away for free!
"I've been approached by just about every major sportswear company out there but it's not for me," she says.
"I make some money from advertising and it's enough. If something came up that I thought would suit and would help me improve the classes I record, then I'd think about it but at the minute I'm happy enough doing it my way.
"I want to keep my content free because it reaches so many people all over the world and that's what I like most.
"I have had to make some changes, like at the start I made a point of answering every email and Instagram message personally but that's just not possible.
"It got to the point where I was spending six hours responding to messages. Hopefully people understand I just can't do that anymore."
Last year we revealed how Caroline was winning fans and rave reviews for her exercise routines which she started putting up on Instagram and YouTube, initially to keep her friends, family and fitness clients happy during lockdown.
But in the space of just 12 months the Green(island) Goddess has added over one million new subscribers to her YouTube channel and her videos have had well over 100 million hits.
"It's been a crazy year," she says. "It's just me in my living room but it seems to have struck a chord with people all over the world.
"I'm told I have had viewers from every country in the globe which is just mind-blowing. All I'm doing is recording my own workouts, the workouts I do to help me keep fit rather than just posting 30 second clips of specific exercises.
"I only started posting them on YouTube when a client asked me to during lockdown so she could access it through her TV. That video got a comment from someone in Italy and then it snowballed from there."
In fact, Caroline's workouts have proved so successful and kept her so busy she had to make the call to quit her one-to-one clients to dedicate herself completely to her online business.
Caroline says when she started, she was just using her mobile phone but when she realised how popular the workouts were she invested in some proper camera equipment.
"It's just me so I've had to learn on the job when it comes to editing. That's the biggest part of my day - editing and planning programming for the next workout.
"I'm always looking out to learn new ways to make the videos more fun and more presentable. I would have been a very anxious person believe it or not.
"I don't talk during the videos because I'm doing the workout myself and I'm not able to speak because I'm knackered!
"But I've found that playing music and not speaking works really well because I've lots of people watching who don't speak English and I'm able to give tips on screen without speaking - I'm kind of fluent now in the language of fitness."
And she says though it may appear otherwise, she's an extremely private person who isn't brimming with confidence.
She explains: "I'm very private and never thought I'd have the confidence to be doing what I'm doing now. My confidence has grown since I started.
"It's not just because people from all over the world have been watching my workouts but it's that they keep coming back for more and they tell me how it has really helped them.
"That's what I get out of it. Knowing I'm helping someone with their health and their confidence.
"It's a real boost to read comments from people asking for more - that's what motivates me.
"I've got grannies and granddads, teenagers and even professional athletes doing my classes. My workouts are designed for everyone.
"People can just add more weight to their dumbbells as they see fit.
"I get people saying they are excited to see what workout is coming next so to think someone is actually looking forward to my exercise videos is brilliant."
When she's not filming or editing her exercise videos, Caroline is leading a normal life in Greenisland with her kids and her beagle, Winston.
"I lead a normal life, I eat a takeaway every week, normally Indian food, and I don't subscribe to mad diets," she says.
"I don't believe in scales. I always tell the people my workouts are all about being healthy rather than losing weight, but if they do them they will notice their body shape will change for the good anyway."
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