finally sharing every aspect of my routine in collaboration with primark
Fitness. Eating right. The healthy life. It’s a passion of mine. You know this. The gym and what I eat, despite being a terrible cook, are the two more important things I do everyday. Everything else falls in place in life when I treat my body well. I believe both my mental health and my work rely on what happens at the gym and what’s in my fridge. Every week, I receive hundreds of messages in regards to my fitness routines, diet and so on – it is by far the most inquired topic. So now with 2018 in full flow and my regime back with a vigour, I thought, in collaboration with Primark, I’d outline everything I do to be and look the best I can while wearing my favourites from their latest activewear collection. For years, the brand has been my go-to for gym gear, so it was an honour to team up with them on this.
my work-out routine:
I work out minimum 5 days a week, my workouts never go over an hour long. When work permits, I try to take weekends off. I start every workout with a rigourous 25 min HIT run, it’s a short cardio session but when I step off that treadmill, I am drenched in sweated and gasping for air. During the 25 minutes, I will continually be increasing my speed, so it becomes harder and harder, usually powering through the last 4 minutes at the highest speed possible. This is not an easy workout. On the busier days, it’s terrible, I won’t lie to you. On days when I have a lot of energy, it’s so invigorating, I feel like I’m on drugs. I’m runnning so fast I feel like I’m flying and when I’m close to finishing at maximum speed, I get goosebumps. Saying that, I die a hundred deaths during those 25 minutes but it’s time efficient and incredibly effective. After that depending on the day of the week, I will concentrate on a specific muscle group for another 25-30 minutes, using a combination of machines and free weights. I try to use free weights wherever as possible as this feels more like a workout to me and generally speaking, I believe them to be more effective. I have my weight training muscle workouts divided as such: (1) ARMS: biceps, shoulders, triceps (2) ABS (3) LEGS (4) BACK (5) CHEST. I am going to outline every exercise I do below, now I do realize that some of these are exercises you might not be familiar with, they are easily searchable via google, which I’d say is more comprehensive than trying to explain how they are executed. As for the machines I use, those are fairly self-explanatory – but you can always ask a personal trainer at your gym which would work best for you. Speaking of, I should disclose here I am not a certified fitness instructor; I am simply sharing the details of my weekly routine because hundreds and hundreds of you have asked me to do so. I don’t suggest copying this exactly- we all have different bodies, abilities and strength – perhaps simply use this as a basis to build or amplify your own routine.
my weight training:
arms: I exclusively use free weights for biceps and shoulders. I use 12 and 15 kg weights and do around 15-25 reps per set with the following exercises: bicep curl, single bicep curl, dumbbell shoulder press, upright barbell row, dumbbell lateral raise. I use the tricep press machine at 30 kilos, 6 sets of 20 reps.
abs: I use an ab board for my abdonimals, 250 reps in sets of 30; alternating sets with a 5 kilo free weight in my hands (for my post on my ab board, take a look here). I then do 5 sets of 1 minute planks after I get off the board. To finish, I do 4 sets of weighted abdominal side bends: I use 12 kilos, 25 reps per set.
legs: I do weighted squats. I prefer to use a 20kg sandbag on my back: I do 10 sets of 25 reps. I’ll then finish my leg workout with the leg press, 100 reps in 4 sets with 80 kilos. I’ll end with a finisher of doing as many as I can with 100 kilo weight. Sometimes I’ll accompany this with 1 minute power walk intervals on the treadmill’s highest incline with the 20kg sandbag on my bag.
chest: I use the chest press machine. My chest is definitely the weakest part of my body, but I don’t want my boobs to shrink, so I take it easy. I do 4 sets of 15 reps of 30 kilos and then 8 sets of 15-20 push ups, the real ones not the female ones.
back: I use two different machines, doing 4 sets of 12-15 reps on each with 35 kilos. I then do the single dumbell arm row, 4 sets with each arm, 15 kilos, 20 reps.
my advice for your own routine:
I’ve said it once, I’ll say it a hundred times: CONSISTENCY. Fitness is a lifestyle, so when you embrace it, realize it is for life. The gym will become your second home, that doesn’t mean you have to spend hours and hours there, but it will be a place you visit often. You’re better off going twice a week all year than everyday for 3 months. Results take time, be patient. Always remember that the real benefits of the gym aren’t an enhanced physical appearance but improvements such as better mental health, quality of life, physical strength: everytime you finish a workout, you have improved those. The abs, a peachy behind or whatever other goals you’ve set will come in time but all the sweat in between is what really counts. Don’t rely solely on cardio, this is a crucial component of fitness but alone it’s not enough. I strongly urge minimizing cardio into a HIT workout to make room for muscle work. Start weight lifting, start targeting specific muscle groups and building them up. Don’t be afraid of working with heavier weight either, we as women lack the testosterone it takes to build male muscle mass, which means that 10 kilos and over really won’t bulk you. Don’t throw around weights lighter than your handbag hoping for more defined arms, get serious, push yourself – use bigger weights, do less reps and realize you’re not going to turn into the hulk. I also want to take a moment to emphasize one exercise: push-ups. They are an incredible compound exercise- they work so many muscles, require nothing but your body and a floor. Do them, thank me later!
what i eat & how i eat:
Diet is everything, and definitely more important that working out, it is EVERYTHING I tell you. Did you hear me? What you put in your body is directly correlated to how you feel, sleep, bheave, feel. I am very disciplined about what I eat, I do have a cheat day which is required for sanity, so make sure you take one too! I eat 3 times a day, 2 meals and a juice/snack for dinner; I’ve introduced intermittent fasting into my routine and it is definitely a pattern I will be sticking to. I was a little hesitant to include this here as I realize this won’t work for everyone and I don’t want how I eat to be misconstued as how you should eat. Saying that, it works really well for me, I have next to no cravings, I definitely feel much leaner and with far more energy throughout the day. I eat breakfast at 1 pm, lunch at 4/5 pm, and then, after the gym, I’ll make my nightly carrot/apple/ginger juice and eat 2 eggs. Intermittent fasting is not a diet, it’s a pattern of eating. It’s a way of scheduling your meals so that you get the most out of them. I eat the same foods I did before, sticking to my vegan, gluten-free diet with the exception of eggs – I simply changed when I eat to maximize the food’s efficiency. I am never hungry in the mornings and I go to the gym late, around 7-8pm at night, so prolonging when I eat means I’m never force feeding myself my breakfast bowl at 8 am but also, I am never hungry when I step into the gym and therefore, full of energy to workout. I won’t eat from 10 pm until 1 pm the next day, which means I’m fasting for 16 hours, but I’m not hungry during this period, half of which I am asleep, so really, it works seamlessly for me. Scientifically, it is much easier for your body to burn fat in the fasted state, however our bodies don’t enter the fasted state until 12 hours after our last meal, so it’s rare our bodies are in this fat burning state. This is why I introduced intermittent fasting to lose fat while continuing to gain muscle without decreasing my actual calorie intake. As for what I eat; breakfast is an enormous bowl of muesli, quinoa, all kinds of seeds, nuts, berries and almond milk. Lunch will be tofu burger or scrambled eggs, an avocado and a mountain of raw vegetables drizzled in a little bit of balsamic or apple cider vinegar. I also love lentil, gluten-free pasta with tofu meatballs or bean tacos on corn, gluten free tortillas. Dinner is 2 glasses of carrot and ginger juice which I make daily in the juicer, 2 eggs and sometimes a handful of cherry tomatoes or a sliced cucumber. I mostly eat protein and fresh raw vegetables. I drink 3 litres at least, usually more of water and usually 4-5 coffees with soy/ almond milk. The supplements I swear by and take daily are vitamin c (1000 mg), a multi vitamin, lysine, collagen, vitamin D and biotin for my hair. I also drink a shot of apple cider vinegar 3 times a week, it’s terrible, worse than tequila but it helps incredibly with my bloating.
my eating advice:
Vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, raw – we all have our preferences, different eating patterns work for different people so I won’t recommend one over another. Keep track of how you feel after eating foods and you’ll soon find what is best to eliminate and what to eat more of. Obviously fresh fruit and vegetables are crucial, eat as many of them as you possibly can. I also fiercely suggest investing in a juicer, my daily carrot and ginger has an incredible impact on my skin, plus I am a big believer in the power of vitamin C. Your diet truly begins at the supermarket, not buying junk means you’re far less likely to eat it. I don’t keep anything bad at home because if it’s around, I’ll eat it. Don’t go food shopping when you’re hungry and stick to a list. Read the ingredients labels before you buy! Sadly we live in a world where our food is controlled by huge corporations and to make sure you keep buying, they load their products with evils such as sugar and chemicals. Avoid sugar at all costs, use honey, agave or natural fruits for your sugar fix! Chemicals are the devil to your body, buy wholesome products. Anything containing E numbers is terrible! If you’re looking to build muscle, protein intake is key. Nuts, eggs, legumes, lentils, beans are my favourite sources and inexpensive too. I’m sure many of you have seen my daily water reminders on instagram but drinking enough water is so vital for your health! Keep a bottle by your desk, by your bed, in your handbag and be sure to always be drinking it throughout the day. Eat organic when you can, I realize it is far more expensive but budget what you can into your spending. Don’t diet or starve yourself, believe me I tried both for long periods of time and they do not work! Our bodies need fuel, rather than worry about quantity of calories, focus on their quality. Foods like nuts or avocados play heavily in my diet, they are both high in calories but I’ve never gained weight from consuming either. Be realistic about what you will eat and your cravings, for example if you adore pizza, find a way to include it in your eating plan – use a cauliflower crust, fresh veggies etc. Eating healthy doesn not mean eating unhappy, boring foods. I tried to elinminate all carbs from my diet, however I adore carbs and my body usually feels empty without at least one a day – so I eliminated gluten instead, but there’s still so many delicious carbs I eat such as corn tortillas, GF crackers, lentil pasta and rice.