Ellie Goulding: ‘Exercise is good for the soul’

The pop star and Pantene ambassador talks to Prudence Wade about endorphins, haircare at the gym, and how boxing helps her feel empowered.

Like so many pop stars, Ellie Goulding is in exceptionally good shape.
However, talking to Goulding about fitness, it’s clear she doesn’t just work out to look good for the cameras (although that is an undeniable bonus).

Instead, it’s something she does for herself, and the benefits go far deeper than how she looks. In fact, Goulding might currently be huddled in the studio recording her new album, but the Hereford-born 31-year-old still makes time for the gym. Here, she explains why it’s such an important part of her life…

Healthy body, healthy mind

“Exercise keeps me sane,” says Goulding. “It’s good for the soul – it releases endorphins and it’s a way of making you feel good about yourself.”

A pop career might be synonymous with partying hard, but Goulding recognises the importance of taking care of herself. “It’s scientifically proven that it’s not good for you to not exercise, and I take that seriously! Especially when I’m sat in the studio, I make sure I get at least 45 minutes of exercise a day.”

Mixing it up

Any PT worth their salt will stress the importance of mixing up your workout routine. If you stick to the same exercises every week, your body will plateau and it will be more difficult to get results, whereas opting for a bit of variety means you’re forcing your body to work harder, and working a greater range.

This is something Goulding is well aware of. When asked what she does if she’s hitting up the gym, she excitedly lists a range of exercises she’s into at the moment: “I do everything from the stair machine to the elliptical, which takes pressure off my knees. If I need a real burst of cardio, I go on the treadmill, which you can put in dynamic mode so you can just push it with your feet, then I just do a variety of weights.

“I’ve picked up the most effective exercises over the years. There’s this one exercise that you can do which is full body – hold two weights in your hands (don’t go too light or too heavy), put them on your shoulders, squat down, lift them above your shoulders and then do a bicep curl. Keep repeating this and it’s one of the most effective full-body exercises you can do.”

Feeling powerful

If you’ve had a glance at Goulding’s Instagram, or seen her in those Pantene ads on TV, you’ll already know she’s fond of boxing – and she’s frank about why she first got into it: “I wanted to have the potential to punch a guy in the face if they were threatening me.

“I think that so much inequality is based on the science of a man being physically stronger than a woman, and having the potential to overpower them if they want to. I’d like to quash that in the near future, with women being as strong as men.

“Not that a woman should ever have to be in a situation where they’re threatened by a man, but unfortunately it happens probably once a minute in this country,” Goulding continues.

Of course, she appreciates that boxing is an amazing cardio workout too, but it’s about the mental benefits too: “Boxing makes me feel extremely empowered.”

Beauty boost

Exercising regularly can wreak havoc on your hair and skin, what with the tight ponytails and sweat clogging up your pores – but Goulding is convinced it can be a chance to boost your beauty regime too.

“If I wake up in the morning and I go straight to the gym without showering, I put some oil in the ends of my hair,” Goulding says. “While I’m training, it doesn’t really matter what my hair looks like, so I use that as an opportunity to let oil soak into my hair – especially as I’m blonde, I need quite a lot of hydration.”

In terms of skincare, she keeps it pretty simple. “I think if you’re taking care of your skin in general, then when you’re sweating, you’re getting the toxins out – so the gym is actually very good for your skin,” she says, adding that she does quite like to swipe a few cool eucalyptus towels out of the fridge at her gym, to de-sweat with while she’s working out.

Ellie Goulding is a Pantene ambassador. Pantene 3 Minute Miracle Repair & Protect Conditioner has the power of a deep treatment in the form of a daily conditioner, repairing the look of up to three months of damage in just three minutes. To find out more, see pantene.co.uk