Stay Strong – interview with inspirational fitness trainer Carmen Macdonald

April 25, 2020

Eric Page catches up with inspirational fitness trainer Carmen Macdonald to talk about how you can become your own best role model.

What inspired you to become a PT?

About ten years ago I couldn’t walk without excessive pain in my knees. The pain would be so bad that I couldn’t sit with my leg bent and would have to keep it elevated and extended. Being only 25 and collapsing under my bodyweight (I wasn’t overweight) due to the weakness in my knees was a horrible experience. My GP told me that I would just have to accept that I was going to be disabled with pain for the rest of my life and that I might need surgery in the future.

There was no mention of resistance training, band work, anti-inflammatory foods or any of the other tools I use that helped me and my clients. Learning about these made me want to be able to help and inspire others.

What kind of clients do you work with?

Committed ones. I take pride in knowing my clients have the best quality in coaching. I’m constantly evolving and learning so I can share new and updated knowledge. I put an emphasis on clients needing to put the time and energy into their workouts and nutrition for them to see the results they desire. We all need to get stronger and strive towards optimum health.

How important is regular exercise to mental health?

The most important. My philosophy is this: Strong body > Stronger Mind. You can’t build one without the other, they go hand in hand. Even if you are ‘too tired’ or had a ‘shit day at the office’ you must follow through with your training plan. Why? because training builds resilience. When you push through you are building mental strength, which in turn helps deal with anxiety/depression. With each step you’re more in control. I have clients who I’ve been training for a while who are now looking at reducing their medication with the help of their GP because of their regular weight training.

What are some key nutritional principals?

Make sure you eat enough at breakfast and all throughout the day. I regularly see people making the same mistakes, not eating because they ‘aren’t hungry’ and masking their lack of energy with coffee after coffee.

With a lack of nutritionally dense foods you’re more likely to snack on biscuits, crisps, doughnuts or anything else Janet decides to bring into the office that day. Even if you do manage to dodge Janet’s snack desk, by the time you get home, subconsciously your brain is going into overdrive trying to think of every way it can cram as many calories into the body as fast as possible – and that leads to binging. “Make sure you’re eating healthy fats, carbs and protein in every meal.

How does being vegan shape healthy goals?

As a vegan, one thing I find quite frustrating in the vegan community, is the idea that we don’t need to worry about where we get our protein from. Although most people get more than enough protein in a standard Western diet, when transitioning to a plant-based diet don’t just take foods away (meat and diary), you must replace these foods with other nutritious and more ethical products such as tempeh, tofu, black beans and green lentils, for example.

You cook with fresh whole foods daily, have you made a chore a pleasure?

It’s definitely not a pleasure. But not everything in life is meant to be fun. Sometimes you’ve got to suck it up and deal with the boring things in life – it’s called being an adult. I hate adulting, but I know my inner child will thank me for it in the long run and future Carmen is always so happy when I’ve got yummy healthy foods to eat and I’m not buying a sandwich which is going to be high carb and low protein. So the chore becomes the pleasure.

What positive life changes have your clients experienced since working with you?

Everyone experiences positive change – mental and physical – when incorporating regular exercise into their lives. I helped a young lady in her 20s regain her period, I’ve helped with recovery of frozen shoulder. I can 100% say than every client who has come to see me, their confidence has increased. I work with all ages and genders, sexualities. I worked with a trans lady just before her surgery and so her goals were very specific. I felt very honoured to be part of her journey and to help build up her confidence.

What training support do you offer?

I give everyone guidance with what kind of cardio and how to go about it when they’re on their own outside of their training sessions with me. This is because my training sessions are strength based, as this is where you’re going to get the most bang for your buck. I’m not going to stand next to you on the treadmill to count down the seconds… yawn… you’ll be constantly challenged, with each session working towards beating your personal best.

What can a new person expect from working with you?

They can expect to be lifting weights, to understand perfect form and understand that technique is ever adapting. I like to introduce small changes each week so you don’t feel overwhelmed and so we can see small regular successes, which is every empowering and motivating.


Email –; Insta – @coachedbycarmen; Facebook – Fauna Fitness – CoachedByCarmen

Also check out CycleWithSatan Heavy metal spin class lead by @coachedbycarmen

and you may recognise Carmen from our XXX issue of Gscene, when we were honoured to feature her on the cover.