MARIA'S NON-NEGOTIABLES, HOW TO STAY ENERGISED & HEALING ULCERATIVE COLITIS WITH NUTRITION

An Interview with Psycle's Head of Barre
What are your non-negotiables when it comes to health?

1. I always make time for my own training. When you teach it’s easy to forget about your own training, so I always book out space in my diary as an appointment to myself.

2. I prioritise self development. This is key for me, it helps me stay inspired so it’s always a priority. Reading about something new, going somewhere I haven't been or trying something different each month to expand my knowledge or take me out of my comfort zone.

3. I always meal plan. I don’t eat meat and I love to eat fresh, healthy food, so for me planning & prepping my food is a must to ensure I have enough variety and balanced meals when work and life gets super hectic. It keeps my energy up and allows me to teach, train and still have extra energy.

What are your go to breakfasts?
  • Oatmeal pancakes with maple syrup, blueberries and coconut yoghurt. Pancakes made with 1 banana, 1 egg, rolled oats and a pinch of salt and baking powder. I also add vanilla protein from Sun Warrior if I need an extra boost!
  • Poached eggs and asparagus on rye bread. LOVE.
  • If I’m rushed - a quick shake with 1 banana, Sun Warrior protein, almond milk, nut butter, glutamine and whizz it in the blender!
What’s your workout regime on holiday?

I love training on holiday! I usually start of the day start with a 20 min run followed by resistance training for 20 min. The beauty of doing barre is you can do it all without any props even if you don’t have a gym. Push ups, planks, lunges , bridges and I normally take a resistance band to do my lateral leg lifts glutes and waist work. Short and sweet is the key! If I’m in a city with good fitness I’ll always try some new classes as well.

What's your best strategy to stay motivated?

For me it’s all about being organized. I like to have a list of everything I need to have completed by the end of the week. Even if things don’t quite go as planned, I don’t get stressed if I’ve approached the week with a calm and level head. I find for me if I’m organised I’m far more motivated.

The best thing we can do for ourselves is...

Don’t compare yourself to others and follow your own journey. When I was a dancer I spent a lot of time comparing myself to others. What I looked like, my body, where I was in my career or personal life and it created so much pressure and stress that I felt I could never fail. When I actually let that all go was when I realized that what I’m going through and what I need is my own journey and comparing myself to others only held me back. Everything will happen when it's supposed to and when I focused on myself, it did - 10 times better than I ever thought it could! Accepting we are going to make mistakes is the only way we get stronger and learn. Nobody is perfect and we've got to be our own best friend not our own worst enemy.

What are your favorite snacks?
  • Homemade guacamole with carrot sticks or crackers to dip in. I find it's great before teaching as it fills you up without being too heavy.
  • Chia pudding – I’m more savory than sweet but those times I need a sweet fix this is my fav!
What are your top 3 self-care tips post work out?
  1. Rehydrate: If I’ve done a lot of cardio I’ll try have something with natural electrolytes, like coconut water. Hydration is one of the most important things for energy and we don’t focus on it enough.
  2. Make sure you add protein and fat in your post workout shake. My favorite is Berry Bliss from the Energy Kitchen.
  3. Stretch! We don't do this enough and is vital post workout for muscle recovery and to prevent stiffness.
Is there a certain dietary regime you follow? What changes have you seen or felt since you have started this?

I've been a Pescatarian since the age of 10 so I've never missed meat in my diet. At 22 I got diagnosed with severe ulcerative colitis so food became a huge battle for me. Since that point, I had to spend so much time trying to work out what I could eat without flare ups. I have cut out most dairy and gluten in my diet and found it made the world of difference – I went into remission and finally had energy again. For me, a plant based diet is the best for my digestive system. I’m healthier and stronger now that I’ve been in years - I feel leaner, more energized and most importantly, have hardly any food reactions.

What are your top tips for how to keep your energy up?

Sleep! So many people spend a ton of time focused on their training, their diets, but if you don’t have the rest & repair to go with it, your energy will be awful. I struggle with getting enough sleep but I crash and burn if I don't make it a priority. I eat little and often which suits me best and try to exercise 6 times a week on top of teaching.

What's the one thing you wish everyone would do?

Be kind to your mind and body. Self care is usually low down on the list of priorities but it’s one of the most important things you can do. Nourish it with wholesome food, drink before you get thirsty, have time out, walk outside without your phone for 10 minutes. Put your exercise in your diary and don’t change it. Sleep. We are all too hard on ourselves so take take the pressure off... if you eat a bad meal or miss a workout it's not the end of the world.

Quickfire questions...
  • Best Healthy Restaurant? ETHOS
  • Favorite Dessert? PANCAKES
  • Favorite Exercise? LUNGES
  • Least favorite exercise? BURPEE!!
  • Weirdest habit? I set about 5 alarms as I'm always worried I'm going to not get up!
  • One thing you can't live without? My diary!
  • Favorite smoothie? Almond milk, banana and nut butter with cinnamon
  • Favorite yoga pose? Dancers pose! Love the length in the quads and the strength behind it.
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