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Supermodel Tanit Phoenix on the mental and physical health benefits of dance

Tanit Phoenix, Image: Instagram
Tanit Phoenix, Image: Instagram

When in doubt, dance it out! Tanit Phoenix, South African supermodel, always turns to dance as her favourite form of fitness. Moving your body to the music has many health benefits, and might just be the perfect mix up you need in your workout routine.

“Being healthy and active has always been something that I strive for in my life,” the actress, born in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, exclusively tells GLAMOUR South Africa. “I was a ballet dancer for a long time since the age of 5, and dancing taught me discipline.”

Dancing can be a great method for finding harmony between mental and physical health, as it has many proven therapeutic benefits. It’s an incredible form of self-expression, and you can truly clear your mind while breaking a sweat in the process. For a busy woman like Tanit, who balances her career with motherhood and family obligations, it’s crucial to find a form of exercise that allows you to be present and at peace, and ballet dance in particular has been her perfect escape.

“My fitness friends around the world inspire me and I am extremely disciplined since being trained in ballet,” she explains. “The time I take for exercise is me time and with being a full time mommy and wife to my husband and focusing on my work ventures and studies, exercise helps to balance my mind and gives me time to take care of me.”

The Cape Town-based beauty opened up about her vegan lifestyle, go-to health and fitness hacks, and reveals how dancing has made her disciplined and determined in all areas of her life.

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?

Being healthy and active has always been something that I strive for in my life. I was a ballet dancer for a long time since the age of 5, and dancing taught me discipline. I became interested in Maui Thai boxing and yoga, and now I love going to gym and lifting weights and doing HITT training.

What is your current fitness regimen, and your nutrition plan you use to stay in shape?

I practice intermittent fasting for longevity and health. I am also vegan now for quite a few years. I try to eat mostly raw plant-based foods. I love outdoor mountain biking, and I was introduced to HITT training a year ago and I love that so much, especially the boxing classes. I do a lot of weight training for strength and building bone density, mostly so I can keep up with my active toddler. I also incorporate lots of stretching and heated yoga.

Knowing that the time is a factor and a major deterrent for many people, how is it that you are able to manage the demands of your acting and modeling career, as well as being a mother, and still make time to incorporate fitness into your lifestyle?

Since becoming a mother, I learned that schedules are the only way to fit everything I need to do into my day. I make time in the mornings for fitness while my daughter is at school, and for the past 3 years, I have scheduled my work around my daughter’s schedule.

What new projects have you been working on recently?

During the COVID lockdown, all film work came to a halt, so we will see what the new year brings in LA. I have been using social media to help elevate some brands I love. I also started training hair design this year as I already do my husband's makeup on films, and next year I will continue studying hypnotherapy.

How do you think that exercise and fitness can be therapeutic?

It’s very therapeutic for me. Especially getting on a mountain bike and cycling through nature. You are setting your day up by starting it off with surrounding yourself with beautiful scenery, and the enjoyment of the cycle outdoors is programming your mind with new neural connections, epigenetics, creating a happier, healthier you.

Who or what gives you the most inspiration and motivation to achieve your fitness goals?

My fitness friends around the world inspire me and I am extremely disciplined since being trained in ballet. The time I take for exercise is me time and with being a full time mommy and wife to my husband and focusing on my work ventures and studies, exercise helps to balance my mind and gives me time to take care of me.

How would you describe your philosophy or motto on health and wellness?

What fuels your spirit fuels your body.

How do you prioritize your mental health with your fitness regimen?

I make time during the day to meditate. I practice positive affirmations, and if I am out of time, I do these at the gym while cycling. Sets the mood for the day. Happy mind, happy body, happy vibrational output.

How would you define wellness?

Wellness to me is a peaceful mind, a happy heart, and a healthy body.

What inspires you the most to prioritize your wellness in your everyday regimen?

Exercise helps me feel good. Feeling good it’s what its all about and It’s a big part of keeping my mind healthy too.

What tips would you give to someone wanting to live a more healthy and mindful lifestyle?

Get into the habit of eating plant-based foods that are mostly raw. The 80/20 plan, 80% raw 20% cooked. Find the time daily to do positive affirmations for your body and your mind. Get outside into nature and do something that makes you happy.

What are three beauty products you swear by - and the best beauty advice you could give?

Bio oil, O'keefe's foot cream, Dermalogica ultra rich cream. Drink lots of water, get 8 hours of sleep or more, stay out of the sun, meditate and exercise daily.

What is something people may not know about you?

I love gardening. Home grown edible plants are my passion. I would be an organic farmer in a heartbeat. My dream is to own a large piece of land in Hawaii or somewhere similarly tropical and beautiful, with the intention to grow nut and fruit trees, medicinal plants and vegetables and herbs and feed my family organic produce from my garden.

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