In Chill Chat, Bustle sits down with stars to chat about all things wellness, from their workout playlists to their most reliable self-care hacks. Here, Shaughna Phillips shares her unique approach to fitness and her strangely satisfying wellness routine.
Let’s get one thing straight: no one really enjoys working out. Not truly. But perhaps that’s because we come at it the wrong way, suggest Love Island’s Shaughna Phillips. When we meet over zoom, she tells me about her approach: how working out isn’t about physical gains – but mental gains, instead.
“As I've gotten older, I've realised that separating being healthy from your body image, and how you ‘think you should look’, is the true gamechanger,” she tells me. “I feel like a lot of us just subconsciously go to the gym because we think we need to look a certain way. But there are so many other benefits; looks should be the lowest thing on your list of reasons to go to the gym.”
“Don't get me wrong,” she interjects, “the health benefits and all of that are absolutely amazing. But for me personally, it is all about the effect physical activity has on mental health.” Which is why the reality TV star is crossing into wellness, with the launch of her new fitness, nutrition, and lifestyle plan, Be You With Shaughna.
Launching via an Instagram post, she outlines what the plan is – and crucially isn’t. “No before and after shots. No guaranteed ‘drop a dress size’ promises. No get fit quick plan,” she writes. “What my plan does include? Dedicated work to improve your mental health. Workouts that go at your pace. Nutritional advice aimed at encouraging your relationship with food, and not how to restrict your food.”
Keeping it real – just as she did during her time in the villa – Phillips’ 90-day plan is focused on offering an inclusive plan for every body, no matter your fitness level. “I wanted to create something that isn’t about how you look, it’s about how you feel,” she explains.
“I’m just hoping that the app can get people to think, ‘Right, I need to fit this in my diary’. It needs to become as routine as brushing your teeth,” she laughs. “I might not be something that you enjoy, but you know it has to get done regardless.”
Below, Phillips spills the tea on her “aggressive” workout playlist, her surprising wellness hacks, and the key to the perfect bath.
What motivates you to keep fit?
Honestly? I become an anxious mess if I don't work out. It sounds cliche, and everyone always says, ‘Oh when you work out you feel better,’ but it’s actually true.
What’s your morning routine like?
I've always been an early bird. Ever since I was little, I've just always been up literally before the sun. I don't like being rushed in the morning, so although I could probably easily get another hour in bed, I would rather just get up and start waking up gradually. These days, my normal morning routine starts at 6 a.m. I get up, make my breakfast, and have a cup of coffee, or tea, depending on my mood. I watch a little bit of TV before I head to workout at 8:30 a.m. I like to get it done and dusted because that way it means nothing like social media can impact my workout.
What’s your favourite workout?
Well, I can tell you what I hate doing and that’s squats. But I really like the feeling of lifting weights and boxing. It almost doesn't feel like you're working out because you're learning something new.
Do you have a workout playlist? What’s on it?
Yes! I read somewhere that music also gives you the same sort of endorphins as exercise does. I can't think of anything worse than working out and having rubbish music. Or worse: no music at all. I need to listen to angry music, like DMX. Or if I'm going on holiday, then I’ll listen to happy vibe music.
Sauna or a bath?
I'm definitely a bath girl. To the point where I miss having them in the summer because the last thing you want is to increase your body temperature.
When I used to go to the gym after work, in the days before Love Island, I remember the moments when I would see a text from my mum saying, ‘Your bath is running’ and it would literally feel like I’d won the lottery. Thinking about my bath is one thing I used to do to get me through the gym. Feeling that post-workout ache and being in the bath. There is nothing better!
What’s your routine in the bath?
I've got to have a lot of bubbles, not bath salts – I can just feel the grains and it makes me feel like the water is dirty. Lots of candles. I like to have my hair up, out of my face, because I get very hot and bothered.
Sometimes I'll have my laptop in there and I'll watch something, but nine times out of 10 I prefer just to have music on, and I try to not be on my phone. Like bed, the bath is a safe zome, and I try to keep social media out of that.
What’s your go-to self-care practice?
Washing my hair.
What’s a wellness trend you want to start doing this year?
I was meant to try goat yoga the other day, but it got postponed. Now I’m intrigued.
And what about any other new workouts?
Pilates. I'm a sucker for anything Kardashian and they are always doing Pilates.
What’s your favourite gym class?
Absolutely not. I have literally been to one exercise class in my life and it was the most traumatising experience ever gone through: I couldn't keep up. I lost all sense of my right and left. I am clearly nowhere near as coordinated as I thought I was because looking in the mirror and thinking “Why is my body not doing what I told it to do?” I'm definitely more of a working out on your own kind of girl.
What’s your weirdest wellness ritual?
Okay, this is weird and it’s not really a wellness ritual – but after you do your makeup, you need to clean the inside of your nose. Using a wet wipe over a small makeup brush and clean from within. I bet no one has ever said that. I can't tell you how clean I feel afterwards.
What do you need to have a good night’s sleep?
I need noise, so I always go to sleep with my telly on, which is not great for my electricity bill.
What’s the best wellness advice you’ve ever received?
Happiness, health and self-love all start from you. You've got to be your biggest priority. I don’t know if it’s a British thing or maybe a woman thing, but we feel like everyone else has to take priority before you. So put your priorities first. Put your health first. And just put your happiness first.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.