Finding her passion for dance at just five years old, Flavia Cacace-Mistry began ballroom and Latin dancing at her local Hurley’s dance school in Guildford, where she later connected with her long term dancing partner, Vincent Simone. “It was a very good school which also ran classes for competition dancers from all over the world,” she tells me.
The Italian-born star’s unrivalled dancing prowess saw her win numerous junior medals (rosettes) before she started competitive dancing at 14, teaming up with Vincent to together enjoy international success on the competition circuit in Canada, Singapore, Japan and beyond, and showcasing their sensational salsa skills and other mesmerising moves in their sizzling routines aboard cruise ships.
Their big break came on BBC One’s TV show ‘Dance Fever’, hosted by Graham Norton, seeing Flavia and her suave ‘Strictly’ pro dancing partner projected into the limelight big-time overnight. “It was from there that we were asked if we would like to take part in ‘Strictly Come Dancing’, so the show found us, really, which was wonderful!”
Strictly life changing
The accomplished dancer and her Hollywood actor husband met when they were partnered on the 2010 series of ‘Strictly’. With Jimi stealing the show that year in Flavia’s eyes, whisking her off her feet as her celebrity dance partner and leading to them waltzing down the aisle in 2013.
A Hollywood actor turned dancer and chef
From Bafta-award-winning ‘East Is East’ and sequel ‘West Is West’, to ‘EastEnders’ and ‘Corrie’, Jimi’s also worked alongside A-list names including Guy Ritchie, John Cusack, Heather Graham, Danny Glover, Thandie Newton, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Dougray Scott, Danny Dyer and Leonardo Di Caprio in blockbusters ‘Blood Diamond’, ‘The Guru’, ‘Ella Enchanted’ and ‘The Truth About Love’.
With a passion for cooking, in 2015, Jimi decided to train to become a qualified chef. “I started getting into cooking around ten years ago, mainly to have a fun activity with my daughter (from a previous marriage), baking cakes and so on. I got more and more into it and it became an obsession. I was self-taught until I decided to study at college, where I gained my diploma in Culinary Arts, passing with distinction.”
Jimi studied at the prestigious Leith’s School of Food & Wine, co-founded by ‘The Great British Bake Off ’ judge, Prue Leith.
Flavia now has another string to her artistic bow. After her last tour with Vincent ended in April 2018, she decided to redirect her path and go for a career change, seeing her retrain as a Level 3 personal trainer and certified nutritional advisor.
“After 25 years of dancing, I felt that, both mentally and physically, I needed change and challenge to regenerate my body and mind post those many years of performing,” she explains. “I wanted to start looking after my aching muscles and joints and to recharge my mental and emotional wellbeing following all those years of hard work and success in my industry.”
FCMFIT! Fusing dance with fitness
Having achieved her diploma with the National Academy of Sports Medicine, Flavia is now qualified to not only train people, but to also help correct muscle imbalances. “Spending years performing, I have learnt that in order to strengthen your body, you first have to correct any imbalances that your muscles may have. This will build a strong foundation to then be able to achieve any goals you may set yourself.”
Coupled with Jimi’s diploma in Culinary Arts, the couple have created an exciting new dance, health and fitness concept together. “We launched FCMFIT in January 2020,” Flavia reveals. “Covering all aspects of wellbeing, from nutrition and recipes to fitness training, the comprehensive website offers a world of fitness, dance workouts, ballroom masterclasses and recipes on-the-go. Best of all, people can learn a new and gratifying skill – dance - and get fit at the same time! So, I still get to put my dancing shoes on, plus I continue to teach dancing privately, too.”
FCMFIT offers aerobic DanceHiiT workouts which you can stream live. “There will be weekly online classes with me from my home, along with workouts, plus nutritional advice and amazing recipes designed by Jimi, all to help you live a better, healthier, happier life!”
A fantastic fusion of fitness, dance and food, the new website works as a one-stop-shop for both beginners and those looking to take their fitness and health to another level. “I’ll also be offering bespoke online personal training, with PT programmes devised specifically for an individual and their goals, and helping them improve any muscular imbalances they may have.”
Subscribers to the FCMFIT website will have access to many different exercise programmes that are available to do anytime, any place, anywhere. “Most importantly, I will assess you through video messaging and put together a programme that corrects any muscle imbalances individual to you. And trust me, we all have them!”
Flavia says they hope to inspire people to lead a healthy lifestyle through nutrition and the dayto- day choices that they make. “It’s amazing what the mind and body can achieve, and sometimes the smallest changes can make a big difference. We also hope that, through our online content and YouTube channel FCMTV, we can achieve this in a fun and entertaining way. There will also be a FCMFIT Facebook members group, where I will be conducting regular live classes.”
Peak performance - retrain your body
Flavia says the idea behind FCMFIT is to retrain the body to move at its best. “Many people start an exercise routine but end up getting injured due to muscular imbalances due to various reasons. Some spend a lot of time sitting down, looking at their ‘phones, or in my case, it was progressive overload, repeatedly doing a specific sport or activity with the same movement, which causes muscle imbalances.”
Working your body from the inside out, she ensures her clients go back to basics, training the body to move correctly at the joints and use the inner core muscles. “I work on stabilising the joints and teaching the correct techniques so you can progress safely and effectively and take your fitness to new levels. I passionately feel that everyone can find their own way of becoming ‘FCMFIT’, and I’m excited to help them do that!”
Get with the programme
Flavia’s systematic programme consists of three phases, which will work on your stabilisation, strengthen your core and improve your agility.
She says the first phase is like a form of Pilates, which works on the inner core muscles protecting the spine. “This helps to improve your posture and overall range of movement. There are many balance exercises that are really controlled and slow, which help to stabilise the joints. Another section is agility, with squat jumps, for example, focusing on the landing technique.”
Phase two takes it up a notch, using a medium tempo and beginning to engage more of the outer core muscles. “The balance and agility work is more challenging, and we focus less on the landing and more on the movement.”
Finally, phase three, takes things further, mixing power and speed. “By that stage, your body should be functioning as well as it possibly can, and your inner core should be engaged so your spine is protected, meaning you can start to push it.”
Flavia and Jimi have created a free FCMFIT taster workout at www.fcmfit.com
“We hope to have something to suit everyone and to build a community of people who are willing to make even the smallest of changes in the right direction,” fitness coach Flavia explains. “We will both be there to support and motivate, and I hope subscribers will enjoy the workouts and see and feel the results.”