In this episode of Decathlon’s Power of Ten podcast series Graham Bell meets singing and soccer star Chelcee Grimes.
Chelcee has worked with Dua Lipa, Kylie Minogue, the Saturdays and Kesha. She's also a very talented footballer: her past clubs include Liverpool Ladies, Tottenham Hotspur Ladies and Fulham.
Chelcee is also starting out on a broadcasting career, working on the Match of the Day spinoff show Match of the Day XL for BBC Two. She's also presenting segments of the NFL End Zone on Channel Five. In lockdown, she launched her own podcast called ‘What Could Have Been’, interviewing stars of music and sport.
In this episode Chelcee shares her fitness secrets and explains to Graham how she maintains her motivation, even when faced with lockdown.
GRAHAM BELL [00:00:04] Welcome to the power of Ten, brought to you by Decathlon.
GRAHAM BELL [00:00:11] The power of Ten is a mix of one to one interviews, plus some positive health tips. It's all about providing advice on how to improve your wellbeing, both in body and in mind. We've got an impressive selection of talented guests lined up for the podcast series, all ready to impart their knowledge, advice and secrets for improving your fitness. I’m Graham Bell, a five time Olympic skier turned reporter and presenter. I've been to a total of 10 Winter Olympic Games, but today I'm joined by singer songwriter who's worked with the likes of Dua Lipa, Kylie Minogue, the Saturdays and Kesha. She's also a very talented footballer. Her past clubs include Liverpool Ladies, Tottenham Hotspur Ladies and Fulham. She's also starting out on a broadcasting career, working on the match of the day spinoff show Match of the Day XL on BBC Two. She's also presenting segments of the NFL End Zone on Channel Five. In lockdown, she set up our own podcast called ‘What Could Have Been’, interviewing stars of music and sport, the likes of Lucy Brons, Nicole Sebesta and do a sleeper. So she has all the bases covered. Today, I'm joined by Chelcee Grimes.
GRAHAM BELL [00:01:22] Welcome, Chelcee . How are you doing?
CHELCEE GRIMES [00:01:24] I'm very good, thanks. I like the little intro. They set me off nicely.
GRAHAM BELL [00:01:31] So how's your general fitness right now? And, you know, are you still playing? Well, what's the school with football right now?
CHELCEE GRIMES [00:01:38] Yeah, obviously it's been a bit of a mad time over lockdown and all this stuff, but I actually moved back to Liverpool, so I've just recently signed for Tranmere Rovers, so I'm still playing. Yeah, I mean, I'm 28 now and I think I've started to pick up little injuries when I don't train as much because I used to be training flat out. And now obviously with music, TV, radio, all the other stuff that I've been doing, it's hard for me to make train and like three times a week. So I train once or twice, play a game at the weekend and my body is feeling it. I'm not going to lie. I played soccer as well this year, which is a little dream come true for me. And obviously you got to raise loads of money for a great cause. But I pulled a muscle then and I've been struggling to get over it, to be honest. So three weeks I haven't been full.
GRAHAM BELL [00:02:22] So tell me about when you're at your fittest. When would that have been over lockdown?
CHELCEE GRIMES [00:02:26] I was very fit. I was working out every day, a lot of cardio, a lot of weight training. I was running pretty much four times a week. And that was just for my mental state, to be honest, as well as the physicality side of things. I was quite bowled and I got restless very easily. I like to do a bunch of things all at once. So when I had that much time to myself, it was even like fight or flight kind of thing. I was even like, I can the enemy, which is still midday or I can get off, go for a run, get the weights out. And I felt amazing. Honestly, I think that's probably the fittest I've been since I was about sixteen.
GRAHAM BELL [00:03:03] Well, you got the time to do it as well, haven't you? I mean, there was a lot of people went into lockdown and it has a big effect on their mental health. But actually getting outside and exercising makes a massive difference. And I kept saying it, just get outside, get outside. It does help.
CHELCEE GRIMES [00:03:18] Also, you know, we have to look at the weather. I was in lockdown. My parents, I was like, stay in there and Liverpool and all over the water. And there's a nice beach. And, you know, we've got the dog. And I was just out in the mornings and it was it was gorgeous, to be honest. I was happy.
GRAHAM BELL [00:03:33] So, Chelcee , your road into music, how did you first get into music?
CHELCEE GRIMES [00:03:38] I mean, I honestly never done music until I was sixteen. And last year of school, I was determined to be a footballer. And then when I got to that age, I realized that I really my options, I'll go and find another job and play football part time or go to America and leave my family to like, you know, study over there. I got a scholarship or I was too much of a home bird by then.
So I took music at GCSE level. And then there was a bit of a weird tie in with a footballer called Ryan Babul, who played for Liverpool when I was at Liverpool and a Dutch player, and he was doing a competition in Liverpool called Next Big Star on a big radio station. And one of the players in my team, Shanice Williams, I'll never forget it because she she fought me forward for this. And I got an email saying, oh, you've missed the first round of this competition of Brian Babylon, MySpace, I remember. And I was like, oh, my God, my bubbles messaged me. By that time, I was Liverpool made, like, absolutely obsessed. So anyway, I went down to the next round. I ended up winning. I sang a song that I wrote myself on. Everyone else was singing like Adele or Elvis and like I just sang a song that I wrote. Never thought that when I ended up winning.
And then I got six months worth of studio time with a Liverpool player and he introduced me to all the amazing people in the industry, really. And it went from there. And then after that I got a manager and after that I got a record deal. So it was kind of the Liverpool football team which got me into music, which is strange.
GRAHAM BELL [00:05:11] People would think that they're fairly different. You know, you've got singing songwriting and then you've got competitive sport. How do those two worlds connect and how do they connect with you? And do people in the in the music industry actually believe you when you say you play football?
CHELCEE GRIMES [00:05:27] Yeah, a lot of people don't believe it at first until, like, I pull off my Instagram and show them some skills or whatever or got the photo albums out of me holding the coffee eleven for Liverpool or whatever. But I think it goes on and I'm massively to be honest, I obviously I started people ask chicken or egg. It was a football on music first. And for me I started playing football at the age of nine, got signed to Liverpool on the Thames, stayed with them until I was sixteen. I did go to a center of excellence was massive back then. The most England capped player, male or female, FA Williams. She was there as he. Kristiansen is now back at eleven, but she was at Leon. You know, Alex Grimaldi plays left back for England and Manchester. The all the girls that are playing elite level now, I played at youth level, but like I said, I was I was a woman. And back then, you know, talking ten plus years ago, it was still wasn't professional. It was a. Had another job, and for me, it installed a good mentality, playing football, it was a team sport. You couldn't really get the ball from the goalkeeper and run past 10 other players and score. You have to work as a team. So it taught me a lot about that and not you. Take that into music now. You might see the biggest star on the planet up there getting the Brit Award or the Grammy. But it's a massive team of people. You know, it's the producers, the songwriters, the management, the record label, the people who take it to the radio. I think me playing football, actually, people don't realize it's very similar and also it is competitive. No one puts a song that really and you know, I'm not really bothered by those. And I guess that's like scoring goals. If you strike it all a creative player like me, at the end of the day, it is all about the team, but it's always nice if you got to go with it.
GRAHAM BELL [00:07:11] It was more nerve wracking when you're going one on one against the goalie or, you know, stepping out on stage at the very same level as well sometimes, taking a penalty.
CHELCEE GRIMES [00:07:22] Oh, yeah. You know why I don't take penalties. I don't like them at all. Where it was funny at soccer, obviously it went to penalties there as well. And Harry Redknapp told me to go and put my boots back on because I was changed, like ready to leave on him. Yeah, I don't like penalties. So I'd say it's more scary to take a penalty than for me to step on stage.
GRAHAM BELL [00:07:42] When you play, you're a number ten, you're a flare player. What do you like most about football?
CHELCEE GRIMES [00:07:47] Again, like being able to just get out on the pitch for my mental state. You know, I'm constantly writing songs. It's competitive against so many songs coming out in the world. All balance for the biggest artist really to sing your record. You know, it is competitive and it's this art. And if you send the song Love and they come back now, not this time and then you're trying to stop it or it's honestly it's crazy, the business. So I'll go on a pitch for 90 minutes. I don't care about nothing apart from where's the ball. Let's get it in the net. Let's try and win this game. And it takes me completely out of real life for a minute. And also, yeah, I'm a I'm a number ten, so I express myself on the pitch there as well.
[00:08:26] I like running and step overs. Yeah. I'm definitely not a defender. I think I'm creative on and off the pitch. I say so. Yeah.
GRAHAM BELL [00:08:35] So we're talking a little bit about changing points in your life and, you know, ideas of, you know, when you've had to focus, you've obviously had to make a decision as you were growing up, you made a decision between sport and music. What helped you make that decision? What was the kind of formation part of it? And you obviously didn't want to give up either of them?
CHELCEE GRIMES [00:08:54] Yeah, honestly, it sounds bad, but it's the truth of them being completely honest. It was the money. There was there was no money in the women's game. And like I said, everyone else who I was looking up to Ten was playing in Liverpool first team when I was in the under sixteens, just stepping up to the first team football. All the other females had another job. And I was just like, well, I don't really get the same feeling anything else other than when I'm on the pitch, apart from when I used to write stories, write songs, play me guitar playing piano. So I just I don't know, for like eight months I played imagine that playing football from the age of nine to sixteen with nothing, not one pence apart from you get a free kit every season or whatever, and then added music for 18 months. I got a record deal with Sony and I got loads of money. I was like, this is easy, this is great. It's off the affair. I can go out, I can drink, I can travel on. I got paid for it. Brilliant. But then eighteen to twenty three, twenty four. I just missed the game so much and I thought you know I'll just get back into it. Maybe so I made a few calls and I got trials for like Tottenham West Fulham, a few teams anyway and offered contracts with all them.
So I ended up signing for Tottenham first and then I was there for a season. But then again then it's a balancing act. I'm not going to just do football time or do I still love the music? So now I'm playing like two divisions underneath the whistle, but I still got to play. I still got to put my boots on and I still got to make music and do all this other good stuff. So I'm literally living my little dream like ever because it's all the nine year old smaller version of myself. I would. I would. I think I'd be happy.
GRAHAM BELL [00:10:32] Yeah. Do you think it's harder for young women to to stay in sport? So you coming out of school, you know, you're talking about 14, 15 year olds who might have been really into sports. And I know my daughter, she's now 21. But when she was at that age of kind of fourteen, fifteen, she was reading athletics club. She was climbing. She's doing karate. She got a black belt in karate. And then there was the when she went through a phase of just basically giving up sport. And she's now in performing arts, she's at drama school. But sports now coming back into her life. And you know, she's having to make that decision to try and get sporty again. But do you think it's harder for young girls and young women just to keep in sport as opposed to, you know, guys who can just keep playing football? And it's not very kind of socially a problem.
CHELCEE GRIMES [00:11:19] For me. I'm not going to talk about all different. The sports, but for me, just in football back then, you know, I've got a little sister now, she's 11, she's playing. I sponsor their team. And it's amazing to see you go down to the games the weekend. And there's so many girls playing. I remember when I played, you know, we'd be the only child of like twenty pitches that was only the girls will be playing on. And it's amazing to see the growth. So I think now not so much. I think if you, if you're, you know, you're on that path, you want it, it can happen for you. You know, there's way more doors open. But back then, we weren't on a salary like the boys where we were. It was treated so differently. And, you know, we have seen the women's game grow. I was living in France last year for the World Cup. I was over there with the BBC and it was emotional. Like I stood there the first opening game of the tournament at 45000 people there to watch a women's game. And I got I got super emotional because I never thought I'd see the day. But hopefully people can carry on supporting the game and getting down to the club football as well as the big tournaments. I think that's where they'll really see a massive, you know, getting more young people to stay it because the money will be there.
GRAHAM BELL [00:12:28] Yeah. And I think it's brilliant. I think it's fantastic that there is that out there for the young women as well, because it's always been there for guys as much, particularly football. Yeah, but now football's kind of really got its act together in a way, because, you know, there are other sports where there's not been that kind of that division between the men are up here and the and the women are lower down. If you look at tennis, it's never been that way. But it's great that football's has kind of sorted that out. Let's move on to your kind of fitness regime right now. Well into where would you rather be? Would you rather be outside training or you rather be in the gym on days like this?
CHELCEE GRIMES [00:13:01] I'd rather be in the gym because the weather is not great. And I've just moved house. Like I said, I've got a lovely a lovely house on and present, which is all Liverpool embroidered like weights, like red plates and all that. So I haven't a chance to get them on the box yet, but I'm excited for that. But yeah, it's honestly like I usually stick at a certain time. I like a plan. I'm a I'm a planner, so I like to do the same time if possible, like a nine a.m. to 10 a.m. workouts. And yeah, it's just high intensity, a lot of weight lifting and crunches, all kind of stuff. And then obviously twice a week I'll go and play football and that'll get my cardio in and keep my heart rate pumping and I shred quite quickly if I eat well. But it's also dependent on the diet.
GRAHAM BELL [00:13:48] What other sports are you tempted to do? Have you was it just pretty much football and training for football?
CHELCEE GRIMES [00:13:54] No. You know what? So I've started obviously presenting on NFL End Zone, and last week was the first time I threw an American football. The first two it was I'm one of them people as well. I hate golf. I was terrible at golf the first time I played golf, so I don't like it if I'm not good son. Instantly a frustrated game. So I like the NFL. And they were talking about, you know, there's this other sports around that like obviously I play tag rugby as a kid and stuff like that. But I mean, I was thinking about maybe given that I go I play tennis most summers with friends.
GRAHAM BELL [00:14:26] How is your how is your throwing arm?
CHELCEE GRIMES [00:14:28] It's not bad. It's not bad at first to get the ball to become. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I don't it I think it was like me four or five go. I was trying to much so just backed off and just let it fly. It's fun right out there. So I like, I like NFL at the minute because I was all right.
GRAHAM BELL [00:14:47] What about diet and nutrition, that kind of thing. What are your thoughts on that or do you just kind of go for the philosophy of the harder you try and the more you can eat?
CHELCEE GRIMES [00:14:56] No, no. I think, like I said, in lockdown, I really pushed by body, actually, to see because I've always been relatively small, you know, never really had of trouble with that ball. You know, being in the music industry, sometimes if I'm locked away in a studio for three months and it's a lot of take out and it's a lot of some drinks, after writing a great song that we all love and you can see the weight if you're not eating well, it can quickly get, you know, so you're in lockdown. I was literally just eating super healthy, just porridge or like fruit for breakfast kind of thing, and protein shake after that. And then just a lot of chicken, fish, rice, pastas, just everything really that is good for you and can fill you up or keep you lean at the same time. So yeah. But it was amazing to see my body actually change. And I was strong, I felt strong on the pitch. I was the strongest I've ever been. And it was literally just down to being quite picky with the food I was eating.
GRAHAM BELL [00:15:53] And cooking for yourself as well, because you actually know what you're putting into that food as well. And, you know, for me, I think the biggest thing is, is the alcohol. Yeah, I think the alcohol for me, it's more it's not just the calories that go in. It's the fact that it slows down your metabolic rate as well. So you don't process the food as efficiently. Your liver's too busy trying to get rid of the poisons out of your body. It isn't getting rid of the food. Finally, what do you do relaxation do? Do any meditation, do yoga or anything like that to kind of free your mind?
CHELCEE GRIMES [00:16:27] No, I think I don't do yoga classes in the past six months maybe. And it was amazing. I think it's just I like to be like if I'm going to work out like bang, bang, I want to feel like I'm struggling and muscles are working and yoga. I should completely do that. But I think sometimes I get into my workouts and yoga like makes you feel like I'm floating so I don't do yoga as much as I should. My football coach and the physio says I should because I've really tight hamstrings.
GRAHAM BELL [00:16:58] But to relax but to relax you pick up the guitar?
CHELCEE GRIMES [00:17:02] Yeah, it is. It's just in finding some new chord progressions, just sitting there just in the evening and just, just playing my guitar. I think it just really tells me. Oh yeah.
GRAHAM BELL [00:17:12] Yeah. I mean, I agree with you on there because when I, when I was ski racing and I blew my ACL out, I had six months of skis. That's when I learned to play the guitar. I mean, it's just great for mental health and for relaxation as well.
CHELCEE GRIMES [00:17:24] Did you pick it up quickly?
GRAHAM BELL: No, no, no. I could feel the pain of the fingers when you first start playing. Yeah, yeah, yeah. No, it's I play enough now to basically keep those pads. I love that I haven't played in a while. You're like, oh that's. Yeah. Like if you haven't ridden your bike in a while it's painful. If you haven't seen in a while your shins are painful. I guess we haven't played football in a while. So what would you do to try and inspire other people who maybe haven't worked so hard during lockdown. What would you say to them?
CHELCEE GRIMES [00:17:58] I think it's just that feeling of, okay, you might have had a good day, but to top it off, even better, you want to feel good about yourself and there's not one way out. I'll say it again. There's not one work out I’ve done and thought ‘I shouldn't have done that’. Even walking into a gym, if you spend, you don't have to spend an hour there. Even if you spend fifteen, twenty minutes doing something, you walk back out, you've achieved something. And I think for me personally, like if I've achieved stuff, makes me feel good. So I think just mark it up on it to do less or anything for two days in the week. Okay. Tuesday and Thursday I'm going to go and do the gym. Just make it a part of your routine and you will feel better, I promise. Yeah.
GRAHAM BELL [00:18:39] Yeah. I mean, a lot of people working from home, so they've got that opportunity of using the time that they would have sat on a train to actually go and exercise instead. So, yeah, that is the time in the day and it's fitting it and making it as a priority. Exactly.
GRAHAM BELL [00:18:55] So it's time to shift gears now and move on to the decathlon section of the podcast. As the decathlon in the Olympics has 10 events, we have 10 quickfire questions for you. It's one of the toughest contests out there and made famous by Daley Thomson. But hopefully these questions won't be quite as tough. So this is the decathlon brought to you by decathlon. So let's go for it.
GRAHAM BELL [00:19:20] What’s your exercise of choice.
CHELCEE GRIMES [00:19:24] Football,.
GRAHAM BELL [00:19:26] Do you work out alone or with friends?
CHELCEE GRIMES [00:19:29] I prefer to work out with friends, but they say I'm really annoying because I'm like, oh, well, I'm a lot like that. I'd say friends, but be friends at, say, alone. Right.
GRAHAM BELL [00:19:40] So what time of day. Morning, evening, late night?
CHELCEE GRIMES [00:19:43] Morning for me. I can't. Not after 12 o'clock. One o'clock. Yes. Call it a day for me.
GRAHAM BELL [00:19:49] What's the best thing about exercise.
CHELCEE GRIMES [00:19:52] Honestly, I think all of that before as well as your body and see and not improve. It's more my mental state like I'm happier. A windfall. I'm feeling myself like, oh look, I've just worked out this. Even though you hate it in the moment. I've never once finished the way I felt and thought I shouldn't have done that. So, yeah, it makes me feel good.
GRAHAM BELL [00:20:10] How did you refuel after a workout?
CHELCEE GRIMES [00:20:12] Just eating well. Eating clean. Yeah, like I said, sometimes I'll have a protein shake and makes you feel good.
GRAHAM BELL [00:20:19] Obviously a factor is getting the right kind of rest and allowing your body to recover. How do you relax?
CHELCEE GRIMES [00:20:24] I fly a lot of FIFA. I play a lot of FIFA. I want to play the guitar for most.
GRAHAM BELL [00:20:34] What’s the hardest thing about keeping fit.
CHELCEE GRIMES [00:20:36] Yeah, it's staying on top of it because my diary is forever changed and I don't know if I'm in the studio on TV of him doing a radio show or I'm playing football. So it's having a plan and I keep on sticking to it. Yeah.
GRAHAM BELL [00:20:49] How do you maintain motivation?
CHELCEE GRIMES By looking at my body and thinking, oh, I’ve put on weight. No, but also I do like in lockdown. I took body pictures and just to see the improvement and then just being like that's what I want to stay. So yeah, take a few pictures when you look in the best and that almost video.
GRAHAM BELL [00:21:09] But those pictures are for you. They're not for sharing.
CHELCEE GRIMES [00:21:12] No. They're just I mean sometimes if it's if it's a really good one and you can see good definition in the album, might throw it on Instagram to get a few likes. But that's the main thing for me.
GRAHAM BELL [00:21:23] What's your top fitness secret in secret?
CHELCEE GRIMES Honestly, I don't. Is there a secret to fitness? It's just hard work. I think it's literally there's no secret. I wish I did. Obviously, trust me, thirty five minutes in. I want it to be over now and then. I've got another 20 minutes left, so I just stick to it. Actually a secret. I don't know if it's a secret, but what helps me sometimes if I'm focusing on a point somewhere and I'm just getting them extra crunches and even then he pauses. I'm not focusing on the pain, focusing on something else. All the music that I'm listening to, I just try and move to the beat.
GRAHAM BELL [00:22:00] And just keep going, use music.
CHELCEE GRIMES [00:22:02] Well, there we go. That's use that used to be in the music. Is it beat? Use the music.
GRAHAM BELL [00:22:07] It's a final question. It's a Saturday night. You're not focused on keeping fit. What's your go to hidden pleasure. How do you kind of kick back and enjoy yourself?
CHELCEE GRIMES [00:22:19] Honestly, I love Italian food or pizza, or Mexican, I had at the best Mexican last week on my treat day. And it was unreal. So yeah. Mexican and like a nice bottle of rosé.
GRAHAM BELL [00:22:33] Well, a huge. Thank you, Chelcee Grimes. But before we go, of all the things we've talked about, what would be the key message that you would like to impart to the listeners?
CHELCEE GRIMES [00:22:45] Yeah, we touched on it a few times, but not just also feeling good in yourself and looking your best version of yourself for fitness. Got me through lockdown of, you know, not where you're not doing is not being as busy as I usually was. And, you know, we all have doubts. And I had well, getting up in the morning from the gym stuff on and just getting out for an hour, I really did help my mental state. So if you feeling a bit down today and you've got the rest of your day, you're listening to this in the morning, just going for you still for now and got out there because you'll feel better after that, I promise.
GRAHAM BELL [00:23:15] Excellent advice. Excellent advice. Thank you very much, Chelcee . Thank you. And thank you for listening to the Power of Ten brought to you by Decathlon. And be sure to subscribe so you don't miss any of our top exercise tips.