Leading personal trainer, 1/3rd of the infamous Girl Gains and self-made instagram star, Zanna Van Dijk is this month’s FITSPIRATION. Passionate about encouraging women to find empowerment through working out, positivity and a balanced lifestyle, this month we caught up with Zanna to chat all things health and fitness…
What does a typical day look like for you?
It varies every single day. Most mornings I will have personal training clients. Then I will train myself. What happens from then on is a mystery! I could be on a shoot, filming a video, writing a blog post, planning an event or having meetings… or many other things! I love the diversity of my job.
What inspired you to start lifting?
What inspired me was actually online fitspiration accounts on Instagram! I would see girls with amazing bodies lifting weights and I thought… oh that’s how they do it! I was clueless at first and I was completely self-taught. It took me a long time to get to grips with it but now it’s my favourite form of training.
What advice would you give to other girls who want to start lifting?
Just do it! I know it’s scary but it’s worth it. It’s an incredible way to transform your body and mind. My top tip is to go with a friend, it makes it much less intimidating and you can bounce exercise ideas off each other. I have a whole video on my YouTube channel which is a beginners guide to lifting weights packed full of loads more ideas, check it out!
What is your favourite exercise and why?
I have two:
Pull ups: because they make me feel like an absolute badass! They’re so satisfying and challenging at the same time.
Bulgarian split squats: there is nothing more effective to build the booty.
What do you enjoy most about being a fitness blogger?
The chance to meet so many new people and work with such exciting brands. I am a people person, and the social element of blogging is so fun for me! I also find it mind blowing that big brands know who I am and want to work with me. It makes me so excited and slightly overwhelmed!
Do you have a particular role model in the health/fitness world?
Yes, Claire who is the owner of a gym called Transition Zone in SW London. She is just an incredible woman. She owns her own gym, has a family and basically is smashing life. She works damn hard and it’s paying off. Plus she is so lovely and down to earth.
Do you ever have ‘bad’ days, and if so how do you get back on track?
Yes of course, I think everyone does. If I have a day of more “flexible” eating (aka eating anything and everything), then the next day I just focus on getting in foods that nourish my body i.e. fruit, veggies, sweet potato, fish, eggs, lean meats, etc. I never make myself feel guilty and I never restrict myself. I just realise that in order to feel at my best I need to fuel myself well and train hard!
What is your go-to meal and favourite ingredient?
I am not going to lie… I am a fan of a simple stirfry. I just shove loads of veggies in a pan with some meat, rice and spices… 5 minutes later I have a nutritionally balanced delicious meal with minimal mess or effort. My ultimate favourite ingredient is spice mixes or herbs as they make everything more flavourful.
Name 3 beauty products you can’t live without…
Vichy Aqualia Thermal Serum – amazing for dry skin
REN glycolactic radiance renewal mask – amazing for dull skin/exfoliation
Water!! – to hydrate the skin
How do you de-stress after a busy day?
Many ways. My favourite is by watching YouTube videos, drinking a cup of tea and zoning out while listening to others talk about fitness, fashion, beauty, news, etc on the internet. I also enjoy a good colouring book (no judgement!) as well as a bath when I have time to take one.
Do you have a favourite quote or piece of advice?
“If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely” – Roald Dahl
I think that the power of being positive and happy is incredible. You can brighten so many people’s days by just smiling. If you think good thoughts, good things will happen. This quote just speaks to me.
What do you aspire to do next career-wise?
So many things. My activewear collection has recently come out which is super exciting! I hope to continue to build my blogging career and my personal training business, and to keep on loving my job and loving life.
If you could workout in anything from Hip & Healthy, what would it be?
Can I say everything!? I love the Lucas Hugh Ice Breaker pieces so much!
Interview by Meryn Turner