Dame Kelly takes an active role in getting the nation fit and healthy
Double Olympic gold medalist Kelly Holmes is on a mission. As well as wanting to leave a sporting legacy behind her she wants to get the country fit.
Since winning gold at Athens in the 800m and 1,500m in 2004 she has spent her time working with young people and schools in an attempt to help them fulfil their potential, not only in sport but in the wider world.
"There is more awareness about the need to keep fit but I still think that we have never properly connected the whole health and fitness area," says Dame Kelly who turned 40 earlier this year.
"If someone is fitter their health will be better. Schools are definitely doing far more than they ever were, both in terms of healthy eating programmes and fitness. But more than half a child's time is spent at home and so you have to change the whole perception at home."
The former Olympic champion was in Leeds to promote her new fitness programme Perfect Fit.
Designed for the Village Hotel group, Perfect Fit aims to make is easier for people to use the leisure facilities.
"I wanted to design a programme which was available to everyone no matter what their age or ability," says Kelly.
Perfect Fit is split into three areas:
Perfect Kids – if their parents are members then children can join classes and groups including such things as swimming and karate.
Perfect Start – Kelly makes sure that all the instructors are properly trained in how to help people get to know the leisure facilities and the gym equipment. "There is nothing worse than someone spending five minutes going through things with you which you then just forget. The idea is to encourage people to keep going to the gym and the way to do that is to make sure that they know what they are doing and they feel happy in the environment.
Perfect Club – Where groups of people can get together not just to pursue their love of sport and fitness but other interests such as ballroom dancing or poker for older people.
"A lot of people think the gym isn't for them but if you can make them feel at home, it makes them feel better.
"I am a true believer in active mind, active body, " says Kelly.
"People say to me 'oh I can't do this and I can't do that' but how do you know until you have had a go? You might find out that you have a talent for it."
Kelly discovered she had a talent for athletics at school. "I started running when I was 12 years old after being encouraged by my school PE teacher," she explains.
"I tried a lot of sports and I was fortunate that I had someone to motivate me and also that I could attend a lot of clubs where I made a lot of friends. I found something I was good at and I loved it and wanted to take it further."
She had a lot of success early on in her career winning the all-England schools championships for 1,500m at the age of 13, six months after she started running.
But she turned away from running for a number of years as from the age of 14 she dreamed of joining the Army. "I believe that the discipline, respect of other people and myself, the physical strength and focus I gained in the Army, stood me in good stead for when I returned to athletics at 22."
Throughout her time in the Army, where she was a PT instructor, sport played a huge role in her life and she says she received nothing but encouragement.
Dame Kelly is a true believer in role models and through her charity,
the DKH Legacy Trust, she hopes to "inspire young people to find and fulfil their potential in sport or in life through our workforce of elite sports performers."
"Sport is something that helps you build your life. As well as the health benefit, it gives you leadership qualities, confidence and grows self-esteem."
She also wants to ensure that her discipline of middle distance running produces champions for the future.
Through On Camp With Kelly, 60 athletes are being mentored and nurtured to fulfil their full potential.
"This will be my true legacy," says Kelly. And then there is the 2012 Olympics.
Dame Kelly was part of the winning bid team and has always maintained her support for the Games and its legacy for the future of sport in Britain.
To find out more about Dame Kelly Holmes visit www.doublegold.co.uk