Spotlight on… Lisa Thake

Lisa Thake AKA Fat Girl Fit
Lisa Thake AKA Fat Girl Fit
In 2015, Lisa Thake embarked on a fitness journey with the sole goal of losing weight. By 2018 she’d fallen in love with cycling – and with herself

By November, you’d cycled more than 5,000 miles in 2020 – that’s incredible. Was that figure the goal, or something that just happened?

In 2019, I set myself a goal of hitting 5,000 miles, and decided to try and do the same last year. I was a little unsure how realistic it would be with events being cancelled and so much uncertainty, but was pleasantly surprised to hit the target and do so earlier than planned. I started lockdown by replacing my cycle commute with a turbo session – little did I know how long that would last!

How did cycling become such a huge part of your life?

My husband got into cycling first and set up a local club with some friends, so I was always surrounded by people cycling. These same people soon became friends and I decided to join them. My husband had fallen in love with cycling and I was more than a little intrigued – the rest is history.

I honestly never knew it would become such a big part of my life but it has, and I love it.

Going back to 2015, what prompted you to go on a personal fitness journey?

I was overweight, very unfit, not living the most healthy lifestyle, and pretty miserable. I had seen the improvements in my husband’s mental and physical health and it inspired me to do the same.

Be Fearlessly, unapologetically you (C) Rich Maciver/Pain caves

Have your goals and objectives changed since you started?

Completely! I started with the sole purpose of working out to lose weight. Everything I did became fixated around weight loss, it wasn’t healthy, so I changed, with a focus on becoming healthier and happier.

That was in 2018 and I changed the strap line on my blog from ‘An ordinary girl on a mission to get fit and lose weight’ to ‘Be fearlessly, unapologetically you!’ which is far more me and how I like to be.

Your Instagram has been successful and you have picked up sponsors. What do you think it is that people relate to so much?

I actually really like Instagram. It can be punchy, super visual and a great way to engage with others. I’ve met so many people through Instagram who I class as friends, some of whom I have met, but some who I have actually never met in real life (and yes I realise that sounds so odd).

I said from the start of my blog I will always keep it real, so I include all the highs and lows and I am honest in all reviews. I am far more interested in long-term relationships and some of the brands I regularly work with like Foher, BioRacer and Big Bobble Hats – those I genuinely love and use myself all the time so it provides quite a natural feed of content.

Be fearlessly, unapologetically you!

Lisa Thake, Fat Girl Fit

What messages do you share that you think are the most important?

I think once you find something you love then you should do that and do so unapologetically. Not everyone will get it and that’s fine. I have loads of friends who don’t understand the appeal of cycling and that’s fine as I am doing it for me and it makes me happy.

I mentioned earlier about cycling being accessible. What I meant by that was that if you cycle to work, to the shops, social riding, race, wear full Lycra or just casual clothes – it’s all good.

You have been trying mountain biking for the first time this year, what drew you to it?

I have and I love it, but I also find it somewhat terrifying – I need your brave Anna!

My husband got me a mountain bike during lockdown, and if I am honest I found the transition from road cycling and being clipped in a world away from riding trails I like that it focuses more on fun – and muddy fun, too.

I love being outside, and find that when I am on the mountain bike, I can make up a route in-between trees, through woods and forests and find some gorgeous trails. One of my best friends Laura competes in cross racing and is a Specialized ambassador, so between her and my husband – who has no fear – I have been in good hands getting hints and tips.

Lisa (C) Mark Massey/Essexism

What do you have to say to people who would like to try something, but the fear holds them back?

Just do it anyway. What’s the worst that can happen?

I’ve had rides where I have walked with my gravel bike on large loose gravel that has unnerved me and then got back on and forgot that feeling. The same with mountain biking where I find I go back to parts of trails I couldn’t previously do so I can try again.

Everyone starts somewhere, so find the right people to help you start and support you.

What are your fitness goals for 2021?

My main goal for 2021 is to get stronger on the bike. I have trained through lockdown, despite no events, as I liked the consistency it provided. I have good base fitness on the bike right now that I want to build on. We have a camper van, so when I say “have van and are willing to travel” I mean it. Provided we are allowed, I can see lots of weekends away cycling and hiking in 2021.

What are your cycling plans for 2021?

I am keeping my fingers crossed that events I had for 2020 that were deferred go ahead in 2021. Hopefully we will be heading back to Sweden for the Vatternrundan bike week and potentially adding in the mountain bike event as that is the only one I have not done before.

Also, coronavirus permitting, I can finalise my British Cycling Level 2 qualification so I can share more knowledge with others looking to get into cycling.

Keep tabs on what Lisa’s up to on her blog, Fat Girl Fit.