Would you say there is a link between what you eat and how you’re feeling?
There is a link, one hundred per cent. For me, food is not just a source of energy but also hugely responsible for how well our body functions. The effect that nutrients, vitamins, minerals and water have on our system (cells, hormones, metabolism, circulation, regeneration, detoxification etc) is fascinating (yet pretty obvious) and I hope everyone will eventually be able to enjoy and feel the benefits of a healthy diet and not see food just as calories and a means to stop feeling hungry.
“I hope everyone will eventually be able to enjoy and feel the benefits of a healthy diet and not see food just as calories and a means to stop feeling hungry.”
What do you believe are the cornerstones of a healthy, balanced diet?
Plenty of fresh unprocessed food bursting with the goodness of vitamins and minerals. A healthy mix of lean proteins like chicken, eggs and fish, loads of vegetables and good fats like nuts, and olive- and coconut oil.
What foods or groups of foods (if any) do you avoid?
I like to understand where my food is coming from and what the ingredients are. If I don’t recognise an item on the ingredients list, I don’t buy it.
“If I don’t recognise an item on the ingredients list, I don’t buy it.”
Do you believe in diets or detox programmes?
In general, I’m not a big supporter of diets or juice/soup fasting. It’s all a bit too radical in my eyes and with very little long-term benefits. That said, a well-balanced detox programme including proper meals and the right amount of calories is a great way to kick start a healthier lifestyle and resetting the system. A two-to-four week detox programme can help make better food choices in the long term and break habitual patterns that lead to an unhealthy lifestyle in the first place.
How do you stay on track when you travel?
One of my travel essentials is my running gear. It’s the first thing I pack. Travelling usually also means a lot of sitting and waiting around in airports and I always look forward to stretching my legs on a run, breathing fresh air and clearing my head.
When you go out to dinner, how do you navigate the menu?
I love sushi, Lebanese and Thai food – most of the dishes are naturally low on carbs and full of fresh, raw ingredients. That said, I love a well-prepared steak or burger. I may ask for the burger without the bun and no sauce and replace chips with fresh veggies.
What is your go-to meal on a busy day?
I either prep a quick rucola salad with fresh chicken, tomatoes and seeds or, even better, use this as a good excuse to get take-out from my favourite Lebanese place.
What are your pantry essentials?
Fresh celery, parsley, carrots, chicken, hummus and Greek yoghurt.
Which ingredient was your greatest discovery?
Spices – especially red-hot chillies. Spices add immediate flavour to any cooked meal or even to the water I drink.
What’s your exercise routine/schedule?
Exercising is as much about mental balance as it is about keeping fit. I love how it makes me feel during and after my training and sets me up for the day. I usually start my morning with a class at one of my studios and mix it up between Pilates, Barre and TRX/HiiT. I run a couple times per week either in Hyde Park or along the Thames. And I’ve started to play tennis. I won’t ever be the next Steffi Graf but I do enjoy the journey of learning a new sport.
“Exercising is as much about mental balance as it is about keeping fit.”
Describe your workout wardrobe?
My workout wardrobe is my all-day wardrobe… My days are a mix of teaching classes, taking classes and attending meetings, and you’ll usually find me in a pair of Lucas Hugh or Hey Jo leggings. I love the cute Lululemon sports bras with the strappy backs, which I top up with a simple white T-shirt.
Have you noticed changes to your body and health as a result of exercise?
Hugely – especially as I’m getting older. I’m now starting to see the benefits of a regular fitness regime helping to slow down the ageing process. It’s not just about looking fit and being toned, which is all I cared about when I got into fitness back in the day. These days I feel truly fit, strong, agile, happy, confident and healthy (physically and mentally), which wouldn’t be the case if I hadn’t worked out regularly for the past 20-plus years.