From hard rock to rock hard - the band manager-turned-fitness trainer

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IT sounds like the perfect recipe for ruining your health.

As the wife of former Genesis and Stiltskin singer Ray Wilson, Tyla Wilson spent months at a time on the road with his band.

Nights were spent in luxury hotels, with the ever-present offer of room service, or sleeping in the back of a bus.

The routine involved driving for hours a day, stopping to grab a takeaway after the sound check, before the boys hit the stage. And afterwards, of course, being with a rock band on the road, there was never an early night for the former model, who was once the face of Club 18-30 holidays.

It's not surprising that lifelong fitness fanatic Tyla, 43, took charge of looking after the band. As the only woman on the road with them, she tried to be a "calming influence".

In between the round of gigs and the parties, her job was to keep them on the road, often having to drag them out of bed to be on the bus to the next show.

In between the nights of rock star excess, she tried as well to keep herself – and the boys – fit.

She devised exercise routines for the sometimes reluctant musicians to try in their hotel rooms, and kept a store of healthy snacks in the back of their bus, to compete with the hot dogs and pizzas. And after arranging tour dates, booking accommodation – and mending the odd punctured tyre – she also found time to study to become a personal trainer.

Now split from her rock star husband, the former model is loving her new life, putting down roots in Leith, after her nomadic existence.

"I don't miss touring, although I really enjoyed it at the time," says Tyla, who says she is still on good terms with her city-based ex-husband. "I loved being on the road, and seeing new places every day. There were amazing highs and lows – it's a wonderful feeling when the audience cheers.

"I think I was a calming influence on the boys. I was the one who was organised, and made sure they got up every day and knew where to go. We had a really close relationship and it was fun.

"But at some point you decide you want to put down roots. It was always about Ray's tour. Now I really wanted to do something in my own right."

It's easy to see that Tyla is good at motivating people. She has an infectious smile, bouncy blonde hair, and her eyes light up with enthusiasm when she talks about her new career. She looks younger than her 43 years, with a tiny, svelte figure.

Tyla's first love was dancing, and she says she always dreamed of being a dance teacher.

She grew up in Nottingham, and won a place at art college after school. But she says she was always shy, and her mother persuaded her to try modelling to boost her confidence. She was taken on by an agency who taught her to walk properly and pose for the cameras. Soon she was entering beauty contests – and winning.

"They told me I should go into some competitions, which were very popular at most nightclubs in the 80s. I won Miss HMS Nottingham, and I was the ship's mascot for a year. I was then Miss HMS Apollo and Miss Club 18-30," she says.

She moved to Edinburgh in the 1990s, where she continued to work in modelling and promotions. Her assignments varied from glamorous fashion shoots to the more homely work of posing for My Weekly knitting patterns.

Tyla met Ray Wilson through her brother, who was a keyboard player in his band Guaranteed Pure, in 2000. Ray had recently left Genesis, after replacing Phil Collins as the bands' singer in 1996. Back with his first band to hit the charts, Stiltskin, he was soon on the road again.

Ray and Tyla still managed to start dating and married in 2002. She began working as his assistant, and then tour manager. Stiltskin were hugely popular in Germany, Austria and Poland, where they regularly performed sell-out shows.

Tyla said: "We had a very close relationship, and we're still very good friends. We have quite similar personalities, as we're both very self-motivated. He really encouraged me to carry on studying when we were on the road.

"We never did drugs. The worst indulgence was a little alcohol and having bad food when we were travelling. It was hard to avoid things like pizzas and hot dogs when we were on the road. I was very much a positive influence on the band. I would make sure they were up and ready – sometimes I'd be calling them on my mobile in their hotel rooms.

"I also loved taking photos. I was really pleased when they were used on three of their albums."

She says her time with the band taught her that anyone can fit exercise into their lifestyle, a lesson she is now passing on to her clients.

She says: "In everyone's lifestyle there's always time. It's all about looking after yourself, and taking some me time.

"If we had a few hours when we arrived in a new place, we'd have a little walk around. Everyone gets a bit lethargic from travelling, so it's good to do some exercise, even if it's just walking round the block and discovering the place you're in.

"Other times we'd work out in the hotel room. I'd do stretches, press-ups and sit-ups. I'd take little bits of equipment, such as skipping ropes, I could use.

"They used to have really rubbish food on the road. But I'd have a cooler bag with fruit, nuts and yoghurt. Sometimes they wouldn't bother with breakfast in the hotel, so I'd rush down and grab some eggs and rolls just to keep them going."

In between tours, Tyla would work as a personal trainer at The Club, on West Bowling Green Street. But now she is enjoying pursuing her passion full-time, and "putting down roots" in Leith. She has set up Tyla Wilson Personal Training, and is based partly at the club, but also visits clients' homes.

She said: "It all goes back to my love of dance and music and arts. I like sculpting people and motivating them."

In her spare time Tyla loves meeting friends at restaurants around Leith, painting, photography and attending salsa classes. She is also trying her hand at being a "rock chick" of a slightly different kind – indoor climbing at Alien Rock.

She admits to enjoying some indulgences. She said: "You've got to enjoy life. I think a good rule is to try and be healthy 80 per cent of the time. I really love chocolate, especially Green & Blacks, and the odd glass of wine."

For more information, visit www.tylawilson.com

AN INSIDE TRACK

RAY WILSON, 39, was born in Dumfries, but now lives in Leith. He began singing as a teenager, and says he has never had a "proper job". His first professional band was Guaranteed Pure, but he sprang to fame when he joined Stiltskin. Their 1994 song Inside was a number one hit and was used in a Levi's ad.

Ray was asked to replace Phil Collins in Genesis in 1996. He spent two years as their singer recording an album and writing three songs. Their album Calling All Stations reached number two and sold around two million copies.

But he was unceremoniously "dumped" after the album failed to make an impact in America. He went ahead with a European tour, but then did not hear from the band for 14 months. In 1999, he was told Genesis would not continue, and he was not asked to perform on their Greatest Hits album in 2000.

He then re-formed Stiltskin with three new band members. They have completed several European tours, as well as performing regularly in Edinburgh and the UK.

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