Picture this: You’re kitted out in boxing gloves, boots and a Rocky-esque robe, and now you have 10 seconds to slip into a pair of sky-high heels and a slinky dress. Yeah, you read that right – 10 seconds. Sounds exhausting (and almost impossible), but for musical star Callum Francis, it’s all in a day’s work.

Playing the lead role of Lola (the beloved drag queen of broadway musical, Kinky Boots), Callum has 11 of these hurried costume changes, but it’s not the slipping in and out of wigs and cardigans that presents the real challenge – it’s everything else. During the show (in which Lola saves a local shoe company from bankruptcy), Callum sings, laughs and dances his way around the stage, often decked out in ruby red six-inch stilettoes. If you’ve ever lost the ability to feel your tootsies after a night spent in heels, you’ll know it isn’t easy, but for Callum, it’s oh-so worth it.

With a cardio-heavy schedule and as much confidence as Beyoncé, Callum’s a certified overachiever – which is why we were keen to grab his three top tips for winning at fitness (and life).

Everything is trainable

Got less rhythm than a mountain goat? Don’t be too hard on yourself. “If you want to dance, then dance,” says Callum. “As soon as you stop overthinking it, you can do it. If you’re scared of your fitness level, then train. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, because if you ask, you’ll learn more.” For Callum, one of his biggest struggles was learning how to dance in heels – but practise makes perfect.

“The hardest part about singing, dancing and walking in heels is that it changes everything (like your balance or the way you arch your back), so when I’m training in the gym, I’ll do weights and squats on a slight incline.” (We’re totally stealing that tip for our next night out!)

Callum (when he’s not wearing his flashy costume)

Live to eat

Strutting around in stilettos for more than two hours burns serious energy, and when you do it six days a week, you need to fuel your bod. “My meals are based on my energy,” explains Callum. “I can’t eat huge amounts before a show, but if I’m hungry or I feel tired, I go for nuts, granola bars or pieces of fruit – anything that will get me through to the end of the performance.”

Life begins at the edge of your comfort zone

“Although his performance in Kinky Boots has turned heads in the musical world, Callum originally turned down the role to avoid being pigeonholed – but he quickly changed his mind. “The opportunity came up for me to live on the other side of the world, which was scary, but I thought, ‘How am I supposed to know what it’s like if I don’t try?’ The whole meaning of this show is to just be who you are, do what you want and accept people for who they are, and I think you shouldn’t get to the end of your life and think, ‘I should have done that.’ Don’t be afraid to jump.”

Visit kinkybootsthemusical.com.au to grab your tickets to Kinky Boots, stat!