My “Meet the PT” feature is all about finding out first hand from different personal trainers how they approach fitness, how they stay in shape and also discovering a few ‘insider’ tips and tricks along the way!
So I’m honoured that fitness social star and personal trainer Zanna Van Dijk agreed to answer a few questions! With nearly 70,000 instagram followers and features in Womens Health, The Daily Mail and Elle to name but a few, it’s fair to say that Zanna has been a pioneer in the UK’s fitness blogging scene. She’s also a founder of the popular #GirlGains movement which has been a health and fitness inspiration to a huge number of women.
I think one of the things that sets Zanna apart from many of the fitness lifestyle bloggers is her complete honesty about her approach to fitness, nutrition and general wellbeing. She’s been on her own personal journey and knows that what you see in the magazines isn’t always the same as in ‘real life’ – true happiness, health and wellbeing is all about balance – a strong message which I think she’s a powerful advocate of, and is an approach I definitely share. Either way, I think it’s clear from her blog, Instagram and Twitter that Zanna has a huge passion and love for fitness, nutrition and sharing her knowledge with her PT clients and the world. Read on for my Zanna Van Dijk interview!
1. Zanna, what inspired you to get into fitness?
My passion for it as well as the opportunities I was being offered in the field as a result of my blog and social media. It’s a constantly changing and evolving field and I love learning about it.
2. How would you describe your approach to Personal Training?
Fun, personalised and challenging! My clients become my friends and I love spending time with them. I push them to their limits but keep things lighthearted. I cater everything to each specific individual, their goals and abilities.
3. If you could give one piece of nutrition advice what would it be?
Balance. Find your own personal balance. Whether that’s one cheat meal a week or a little treat every day – find what works for you and ensure you maintain a healthy relationship with food.
4. What’s your favourite workout move and why?
Pull ups because they’re an incredible upper body and core workout…and super hard!
5. What’s the most common mistake you’ve come across when it comes to training clients?
A lot of clients fear picking up heavy weights and pushing themselves, especially females who don’t want to look “manly” or “bulky”. However, I soon educate them on the multitude of benefits of lifting!
Abs vs no abs 💪🏼 A different kind of transformation for you. So many people set the goal to “have abs”. I’ve been there, I’ve had them, and let me tell you … They’re not all that great. On the left I was doing cardio every day, weighing and measuring everything I ate, having bland repetitive meals and feeling tired. I found training hard as I had no energy. My periods stopped. My boobs slowly disappeared (I love boobs 😂). In all honesty, I wasn’t very healthy. I didn’t have an eating disorder, I just thought that this was what it took to get lean. On the right I definitely don’t have abs. However, I am eating a balanced and varied diet, I am able to eat out socially on a regular basis, my hormones are in check, I can train hard, I’m getting progressively stronger and most importantly I am happy. @alexjamesritson has shown me the value of flexibility. Now training and nutrition isn’t my life, it is part of my life 😊 Sure you may be able to have abs and be super balanced, but you also may not. I’m just saying, don’t let abs define your happiness. Health is so much more than how lean your stomach – it’s your wellbeing, your performance, your energy levels, your happiness 💕 #girlgains #balance #transformationtuesday A photo posted by Zanna van Dijk 🇬🇧 (@zannavandijk) on
6. What’s your food weakness?
Chocolate! Specifically Galaxy cookie crumble.
7. How do you balance a busy social life with achieving your fitness goals?
Planning. I schedule in seeing my friends ahead of time and make sure that I give myself time off every week, even if it is just for a few hours, to socialise and relax. In terms of making sure I reach my goals – I try to make social plans which aren’t all food focussed. I meet for coffee or drinks rather than dinner/lunch.
8. What advice would you give to someone who wants to transform their physique?
Be patient and be consistent. It takes time so don’t give-up after the first week. Keep at it. Train hard, eat nutritious food and find your balance.
Thanks Zanna! Great tips and advice!
Check out the previous “Meet the PT” post here!