Woman On Fire: Carole Caplin

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Carole Caplin is one of the most sought-after holistic health, rehabilitation and fitness experts in the world, and has been at the forefront of the industry for 35 years. She’s also been a professional dancer, a published author and a writer for some of the most prestigious newspapers and magazines in the UK. Carole has weathered many challenges, but nothing has swayed this inspirational lady off course.

 

Rosie On Fire visited her at her beautiful home in Islington, London, to discuss her incredible life and get advice on everything from fitness to fame.


What do you do?

I am a correctional exercise specialist and clinical massage and scar-tissue practitioner. Using a multi-faceted approach, I work with people to resolve their injury, musculoskeletal pain, sluggish systems and weight issues. Once the rehabilitation process is complete and the person is pain-free, I then begin the task of really getting them into shape.

It’s not just about becoming fit and losing weight – it’s meatier than that. It’s really about facilitating someone to optimal health and supporting them to reach their full potential.

It’s not just about becoming fit and losing weight – it’s meatier than that. It’s really about facilitating someone to optimal health and supporting them to reach their full potential.

 

Have you always worked in health and fitness?

I taught my first public exercise conditioning class aged seventeen at Pineapple Dance Studios (in London), and 38 years later I’m still loving the challenges. You can’t beat it for job satisfaction. However, before my first sojourn teaching, I was a dancer.

Whereas most people have a gap year or two in their late teens and go travelling, I joined Shock, the UK based six-member dance, mime and synth band signed to record label RCA and produced by Blitz co-founder and DJ Rusty Egan of Visage, and Richard James Burgess of Landscape, who produced Spandau Ballet at the same time as us. We performed on the indie, electronic, New Romantic scene from 1979-1982.

 

 

As regulars on the alternative fashion and music ‘Blitz Kids’ club scene, we performed in London at venues such as The Blitz, Hell, Club for Heroes, The Wag Club, the Venue, The Embassy club and Wembley. Our shows were very theatrical, using fire-eaters, pyrotechnics, strobes, a lot of dry ice and even a Rank films ‘gong’ on stage. We performed live around the country at colleges and universities and headlined at The Lyceum in 1981.

We supported bands as diverse as Gary Numan at Wembley, Adam and the Ants, Depeche Mode, Soft Cell, Ultravox, The Cult, Blancmange and Kid Creole and the Coconuts (in NYC). It was a phenomenal experience.

 

 

How did the transition from dance to health and fitness happen?

While dancing, I woke up one morning with extreme back pain and I literally couldn’t move. I was diagnosed with lower lumbar scoliosis from a huge growth spurt I had when I was a teenager. Plus, a leg length discrepancy amongst other knock-on effects. I had some treatment, ignored the problem and carried on dancing.  After dancing, I went into sales and marketing. It was a really odd experience but a useful one. The downside was that I put on three stones in weight during that period – and my back got worse. I’d lost most range of movement from the waist down.

After being given some home truths about the state of my back and weight from an osteopath who treated me monthly; she said she wasn’t going to treat me until I helped myself, I started the painful and eye-opening journey of rehabbing both problems.

 

 

After two years, I started teaching classes alongside my mother, Sylvia. She worked with Felicity Kendall and released a record with her called ‘Shape Up and Stretch’, way before the advent of videos and DVDs.  After getting into shape with Sylvia, Felicity won the first ever rear of the year award. My mother worked with Daley Thompson when he was competing in the Olympics, and successfully helped him out of injury; he included a chapter in his book featuring them both working together in her studio demonstrating some of the movements and exercises she used with him.

So, Mum was the one with the celebrity client base – choreographing Jane Fonda and Vanessa Redgrave in the film Julia. She went on to train Jane Fonda, and she choreographed John Hurt in the film The Naked Civil Servant.

Meanwhile I was still working in corporate business, and I started teaching early morning classes and addressing people’s lifestyle and food intake, and this led to me transitioning to working full time as a personal trainer/consultant in health, fitness and well-being for corporate personnel moving into the more specialised area of pre/post/rehab and sports performance training fifteen years ago.

 

 

What’s been your biggest success?

Apart from not letting the powers that be, bury me alive during my thirties and forties? Joking aside, I don’t register any one major incident of success. More behind the scenes, a deep sense of satisfaction at helping people to resolve problematic health and musculoskeletal issues.

 

Fame – is it worth it?

I think you have to have a cast iron stomach for it, but for me, no. I don’t think so. Too many people become very dislodged by it all, and it’s horribly intrusive. On the very odd occasion, I have been at an event full of well-known faces. Often, there seems to be either an air of desperation or anxiety.

My advice to young women searching for fame? I would say that there are other options out there and you can be a star in your own world.

My advice to young women searching for fame? I would say that there are other options out there and you can be a star in your own world.

 

Your home is beautiful! What’s been your inspiration?

Although I’ve only just done up my home, I’ve lived here for 20 years. When I first moved in, there wasn’t much I needed to do as it was a new conversion and so I did the bare minimum, knowing that further down the line I would want to make some major changes and do something very different.

Two years ago, I started planning with Maria, a very good friend of mine, and by January 2016 with a clear vision, I finally took the plunge.

 

 

Having obtained planning permission for an extension, I moved out for eight months, gutted the apartment, redid all the services, and erected new walls in different locations. It then took another year to dot the i’s and cross the t’s. It was truly a labour of love. I searched all the stores for what I wanted and Maria would hunt down the items or equivalent, sometimes up to more than fifty percent less. It’s really interesting to see what you can actually create if you have the patience.

I do a fair bit of my work from home so it’s extremely important for me to have an environment where people can come in and feel they can switch off and feel totally at home and be comfortable.

 

 

Why did you choose your kimonos?

I love clothes and have styled people throughout the last thirty years, but I’ve always been incredibly fussy as to what I actually end up buying for myself. I have nine Rosie On Fire Kimonos in my wardrobe! I love how clever and diverse these kimonos are, you can wear them over anything – from uber casual to super glam.

I chose a mix of plain and patterned kimonos, across a range of all the colours I love and to suit whatever mood I’m in. I absolutely love the Edyn kimono with its gentle flowers and vibrant colours, truly a work of art. Honestly, some of the designs and colour combinations are so beautiful, I’m tempted to put one on my wall. Trouble is it’s a bit like being in a candy store and wanting everything, hence why I chose so many!

The choice of different lengths is inspiring and allows for so much more scope.  Each Kimono I chose reflected the colours and patterns I was attracted to, and even more important they totally lifted the outfits I wore and gave me added body confidence.

 

Carole is a health and fitness consultant at Bowskill Clinic in London.

Make-up by Nicky Crancher

Photographs by Mark Whitfield

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