For some people training at home has been a challenge as one has limited access to equipment and may have become too accustomed to the convenience of the gym.
Lockdown, however, taught us to be creative in the daily approaches which we took for granted before we were hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The pandemic has however allowed us to focus on the important things in life such as family, mental and physical wellbeing.
Glamour South Africa caught up with Giorgia Wessels who is a social media influencer and a Virgin Active fitness instructor.
She holds a higher certificate in fitness (personal training) and Sports Massage therapy.
She is currently studying clinical nutrition and has shared with us some health and wellness routines.
What sparked your passion for fitness and living a healthy lifestyle? Was this always important to you, or did a certain instance in your life inspire it?
I was never into fitness as a young person, although I really wanted to, unwelcomely teachers, coaches and classmates drove me not to pursue it as a youngster and teenager. As I started getting older, I became increasingly shy.
I really wanted to become a strong and confident human-being, especially seeing other people enjoy sport so much. I began to do bodyweight home exercises in my room. I just loved learning more and more! It snowballed from there!
Knowing that the time factor of working out is a major deterrent for many people, how is it that you can manage the demands of your busy schedule and still make time to incorporate fitness into your lifestyle?
The amazing thing about heavy-weight training and bodybuilding, is you don’t need to spend 2 hours in the gym every single day. The key is to have a PLAN and train SMART! Now I only train 30 minutes - 60 minutes max, 3-5 times a week!
I think social media robs us of more time than the gym ever could! And so I try to delete Instagram (or your most used social media app) once a week - you’d be surprised how much you can get done!
What is your fitness mantra/philosophy, and how has it evolved?
I didn’t come this far to only go this far - this applies to anything, whether it be fitness, knowledge, work etc! It is never the right time to give up on yourself, you are the best investment you’ll ever make! Fitness is not there to punish you for what you ate. It is an amazing thing to be able to move your body. Find what you love doing, and never stop learning and achieving!
What sorts of strength training exercises are most beneficial in developing strong muscles and keeping a high level of physical fitness? Weight training vs cardio? What muscle groups? What is your current fitness regimen, and your nutrition plan you use to stay in shape?
For a long period of time, I was hyper-focused on only weightlifting. Since lockdown I really found so many new ways to move your body! I do weightlift (for strength and physique goals) about 4 times a week depending on my workload (and if I miss a session, I’ll just do a quick training sesh in Sudor!), I have started loving 8 mins of skipping in the morning for fitness and heart health (about 2-3 times a week), I try and do 20-40 minutes of yoga every day for mindfulness and flexibility. Since calorie counting and learning so much about food, macros, calories etc. I don’t have to be on a strict eating plan!
What is the best fitness advice you have ever received, and from whom?
Eat to nourish and build your body - Hanna Öberg. Your body is not the best thing about you, and your body is not the worst thing about you - We Heart It haha!!
What's something most people may not know about you?
I eat something/s sweet every. single. day.
What's the biggest mistake that fitness newbies make?
Overtraining, being scared of weights and food deprivation. Once again, train smart! I usually pick a fundamental/basic exercise as my main exercise and go really heavy on that, for example squats, hip-thrusts, deadlifts, bench press (you can also switch up the reps, tempo, weight, add resistance bands to make it fun) -about 6 sets of this! Focus on form (and I don’t mean listening to the steroid head for advice).
And then I pick 2-3 additional exercises for accessory work, and that’s that! Quick, smart, and very effective. 2 hours spent training is tooooo much! Rest days and eating sufficient calories and protein are just as important, if not more.
Why is it important for people to stay fit… and how can we overcome procrastination and fear of working out on a regular basis?
Fitness is there for you to be able to live your best life possible! It just makes life so much easier. And it’s so amazing for self-confidence and mindfulness.
Set up a plan, and do what you ENJOY, whether it be yoga, pilates, hiking, tennis! If you are fearful, there is nothing wrong with working out at home until you’ve built your confidence and strength! Knowledge is so important/helpfully, especially if you are fearful of the gum. I also love training at off-peak hours/days.
What sorts of strength training exercises are most beneficial in developing strong muscles and keeping a high level of physical fitness? Weight training vs cardio? What muscle groups?
I really believe in targeting all of the muscles in the body and never leaving one out, especially if you are wanting to progress with your fitness/strength journey, avoid risk of injury and muscle imbalance, as well as keep the physique in proportion.
I would definitely stick to the fundamental/basic exercises rather than these fancy “insta” workouts! If you want to build muscle - or as the girls like to call it: “tone”, then go for heavy resistance training (all muscle groups!). If you want to focus on fitness, go for cardio exercises like long distance running/HIIT.