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Having a weekly plan is important to me. I usually train five or six times a week. My main style of training is CrossFit, which I have been doing since 2017. I also like to add in some HIIT and cycling classes, and at least one Reformer Pilates class. Saturday is my rest day.
Group fitness classes are one of the best motivators. The energy of a group setting can be contagious. I see it every day: enthusiastic fellow participants can inspire beginners to push themselves and get out of their comfort zones.
Personal training is great if you want something more goal focused. I have seen first-hand with my clients how much progress can be made in a short space of time – whether they want to get stronger, leaner or just improve their overall health.
If women were to use one piece of gym equipment, hands down I’d make it dumbbells. There is so much that can be done with a simple set. This was my lockdown experience: living on my own in a little studio apartment, the main piece of equipment that kept me moving was a set of 12kg dumbbells.
I train to feel good and healthy – and to be able to play with my grandkids comfortably when I’m 70. Having good energy levels and feeling fit is always the goal. Aesthetics is just a by-product of this.
There is no magic number for recovery days. Things change from one person to another. If your goal is performance, you may aim to train six times a week, but if you’re just trying to keep healthy and you can only get yourself to the gym a couple of times a week because of other life commitments, that’s fine too – as long as you stay consistent with it.
Sleep really affects your fitness goals. Just think of a day when you got seven to nine hours of uninterrupted sleep. You wake up feeling fresh, you’re motivated, you’re focused, and you feel energised for the day. Now think of a day where you didn’t get much quality sleep in. Those are the days when you are low on energy and more inclined to skip a workout or make poor food choices. Our bodies need quality sleep more than anything. It is the most important but also the most underrated recovery tool. You can do an ice bath every single day, but if you’re not getting the right amount of quality sleep it won’t make a difference.
Exercise is great for your mind and body – that’s pure science. It has been proven to directly release endorphins (the happy hormone) which boost our mood and reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. If I’m having a bad day, I always know that a workout will make it at least 50% better. Confidence and self-esteem also come with working out consistently. When you get through a session, you can really feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of it. Group classes can also improve mental health because of the social and supportive environment they can create.
I always make sure I'm fuelling my body properly and getting the right amount of protein. I don’t really have a typical day of eating or a strict diet. I’m a real foodie – and l love my carbs – but I’m not much of a cook, so most of the time I will just get my food from Protein House. Its menu is varied and the food just makes my tastebuds really happy.
The most common mistake women make with nutrition is under-eating. Way too many times, clients believe that skipping meals or consuming fewer calories will help them lose weight fast. In the short term, it might work, but the repercussions in the long term are far more important. We see it more often than not, undereating can affect your energy levels, your hormones and your metabolism.
Don’t neglect strength training. It’s common for women to focus too much on cardio, and leave out the weights because of the fear of getting bulky. I think that is one of the biggest misconceptions in our industry and, unfortunately, a lot of it has to do with all the false information you can find on social media. Strength training is crucial no matter what your goals are – whether that’s training for overall health and longevity or to achieve your ideal physique.
I keep my list of supplements very simple. I will always prioritise getting all my nutrients and vitamins from eating whole foods. But if you were to look in my supplement cabinet, you will always find electrolytes. I like to use Humantra or, if I’m looking for a formula that has branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) in there, I like Podium Hydro & Salt. I also have some protein powders in there, which I love throwing in my overnight oats in the morning. My go-to is Podium’s Whey Protein. It has a mint chocolate flavour and I’m a sucker for anything mint chocolate. Last but not least, magnesium tabs are now non-negotiable for me. There are so many health benefits associated with magnesium, from muscle function and heart health to bone health, nervous system support and mood regulation. I order mine from Biogena.
Find joy in the process. I believe everyone’s journey to fitness is personal, so the mantra I live by is to just enjoy the ride. Everyone says consistency is key to achieving your goals, and I believe consistency will only transpire if you find something you really enjoy.
Progress might not always feel linear. But keep faith in it, even if you have to take a step back sometimes. Hard and tired days are part of the journey, and you should always make it a priority to be kind to yourself on those days – and remind yourself of where you started.