TV presenter Gabby Logan talks about her sporting life, the legacy of London 2012 and why women should be talking about heart health
KEEPING fit is a family affair in Gabby Logan’s household. While the TV presenter is working out in her gym at home, seven-year-old twins Reuben and Lois can often be found kickboxing and cartwheeling nearby.
It’s something Logan and her husband, former Scotland rugby international Kenny Logan, encourage.
“We’ll all go swimming together, the kids have been on a run with me and we’ll go for bike rides,” she says.
Logan’s own childhood was exceptionally sport-filled. The daughter of the Welsh international footballer and manager Terry Yorath, she competed for Wales at international level in rhythmic gymnastics and was due to represent her country at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992, but she was forced to retire two years earlier, aged 17, because of sciatica.
Logan, who was the first woman to host Match Of The Day, doesn’t know if her own children will ever take up competitive sport, but for now keeping active and healthy is something she wants her children to enjoy.
“I’m not sure if they’re going to be sporty people or not but I want them to see it as being important that they keep moving.
“I want them to think of exercise as a really integral part of their lives as opposed to something that’s a pain.”
As for 39-year-old Logan, she doesn’t have a regime as such, but likes to keep her exercise routine varied from week to week.
“I’m a working mum, so every week’s different. I try to train a few times a week - swimming, a bit of running, conditioning, a little bit of yoga,” she says.
That kind of sporting variety is part of the London 2012 legacy, Leeds-born Logan believes.
“The variety of sports is what’s really important, because there’s more to life than just football, cricket and rugby, which are the traditional sports of the back pages.
“The hope was with the Olympics that the legacy would leave not just an elite generation of sports people but a general interest and more people competing at local club level.”
And from what Logan has heard, that’s already starting to happen around Britain.
“I’ve heard people are ringing up rowing clubs wanting to start rowing and that (British gymnastics silver medallist) Louis Smith’s gym club has got 140 kids on a waiting list now.”
The TV presenter is well placed to comment. Every night during the Olympics, Logan fronted a BBC round-up programme, interviewing the day’s competitors and medal winners.
But it’s not just Olympic glory that Logan sees as the goal of taking part in sport. Heart health is of particular importance as, tragically, her younger brother Daniel died of a congenital heart problem aged just 15.
A long-time supporter of the British Heart Foundation (BHF), Logan is currently working with Flora pro.activ and the BHF on the Love Your Heart campaign to raise awareness of heart disease among women.
“That kind of loss for a family is really traumatic, so that’s what we want to avoid.”
“Heart disease is now a bigger killer of women than breast cancer,” she says.
But recent research reveals that women aren’t talking about this major health risk, nor the ways they can lower cholesterol and improve heart health.
“It’s only through talking about the key indicators and raising awareness in that respect that we’ll become more aware of it.
“We’ve become such a looks-focused society now, but the heart is internal, so it’s not always obvious that somebody has heart disease, because heart disease is usually associated with big men who eat chip butties,” as she puts it.
You won’t find many chip butties on the menu for the Logans. A balanced, varied diet for all the family is the aim at their London home.
“Our food choices are based around health and having energy and vitality. For the kids we don’t really indulge in lots of fatty and sweet foods. My main aim is that the food that they eat should be beneficial to them.”
While no foods are completely banned, red meat is limited in favour of chicken and fish - something that took some getting used to for Mr Logan.
“My husband comes from a country background, so he came to London with an ‘eat red meat everyday’ philosophy because that’s what he’d been brought up with, but now, like me, he eats hardly any red meat.”
Weight loss isn’t a priority for Logan, who recently modelled a swimwear collection for Speedo, revealing an impressively toned figure for a mother of two.
“If you’re thinking about the food that you eat for your heart, you’ll probably find it really difficult to be overweight,” she believes.
And she hopes to pass on that attitude to her children.
“I never want to talk to them about things making them fat or using any adjectives that are synonymous with attractiveness, it’s all about their health.”
So far it seems to be working.
“My daughter handed me a bag of sweets back because she said it made her head ache. She knew that the sugar was actually overpowering for her.”
The kids love to get involved in the kitchen too, with Reuben stirring and Lois chopping vegetables, under their mum’s supervision of course.
Logan believes it’s important to make time to prepare fresh home-cooked food and that lack of time shouldn’t be an excuse.
“People will still find the time to sit down and watch The X Factor for two hours. We’re all time poor but actually, if you’re really honest with yourself and look at your day, there is time.”
Logan can whizz up a tasty, healthy salad in minutes with the help of a few ‘secret ingredients’, giving the example of a “nice little dressing of anchovy oil and a bit of red wine vinegar”.
“Put it on some peppers and you’ve got an amazing little salad,” she says. “I made something like that the other day and the kids loved it.”
If Logan does find she falls off the healthy-eating wagon, then she notices very quickly.
“If I’m not eating well, if I’ve eaten a few rich foods, then it comes out in my skin and I feel bloated, I don’t feel as good.”
While she doesn’t follow a detox plan, Logan does have her own so-called ‘super foods’, such as almonds and broccoli, that she feels make a difference to her skin and hair.
She certainly hasn’t got time for strict diets touted by nutritionists and celebrities.
“I don’t know anybody who’s been on one of those that hasn’t put the weight back on.”
With her glossy blonde locks and svelte physique, it’s clear that Logan’s sensible and committed approach to health and wellbeing is working.
She hopes, through the Flora pro.activ campaign, to encourage women to look out for each other and to reap the rewards of such an approach.
“Even though we live in a diverse society, women are still the beating hearts of most families.
“I want women to be strong and fit and healthy so that they can keep being the powerhouses they are.”
: Gabby Logan is working with Flora pro.activ and the British Heart Foundation on the Love Your Heart campaign. For more information, visit www.loveyourheart.com