I meet girls all the time who are naturally blessed with their physique and can eat as they please whilst burning it off in the same second (my sister being one of them!). You’ve got to smile with them as they were handed one helpful card in life! But it only really becomes ‘lucky’ when they also pay attention to what they are putting in their body. Even if someone is not visibly carrying excess fat, their body fat percentage can still be high and of course, unhealthy.
Something more rare to find is someone who may have been handed a genetically blessed card but still pushes and betters themselves every single day, despite having a pretty good starting point aesthetically! They pay attention to their health, and to they fitness in order to be the best they can be. Meet…Eliza.
Eliza was one of the first girls I met when I came to Dubai over a year ago and she is nothing short of an inspiration to me. I actually lived with her and her family for a few months which enabled me to really understand what she does, and what effort that requires. Just like most others, she has a sweet tooth, a great social life, drinks with her friends and works on top of studying. I’m sure many of you, including me, have passed the studying stage (at least by the typical term) but I clearly remember it and it’s not easy!
I wanted to interview Eliza to share her thoughts…her mentality…her day-to-day routines, to give you an insight into what I saw when living with her. For me, what’s really impressive and the inspiration I want to highlight (apart from the fact she obviously has a great body) is her strength and commitment to achieve her goals. I have certainly drawn from it and my hope in sharing is that others may find it helpful too; she has slightly different ‘tricks of the trade’ than me but it’s really important in my industry and in everyday life to have an all-round picture so that you can decide what works best for you!
Hello Eliza! Thanks for doing this…so let’s start by telling me what your ‘day job’ is?
Currently I don’t have a day job other than being a full- time student at the Fashion Institute in Los Angeles. However, I am always on call for photo shoots or promotional work as a freelancer. I try to always be in my best shape in case these opportunities come about. Over the summer I was working as a waitress in Arizona so it’s a little bit of everything at the moment!
I think your body is inspirational, it’s incredibly healthy and strong – does it come easily or do you have to work at it?
Why thank you! I wouldn’t say that anything comes easy, I think my genetics come into play because both my parents are very sporty but it doesn’t mean I don’t have to work my bum off!
It’s all about being consistent and maintaining what you have built. When I was younger, I was very competitive in gymnastics which gave me the mental ability to push myself whenever I could. My body adapts relatively quickly to my training, so I can see improvements in a short amount of time which is always motivating – at the same time however, if I take a break, I can start to look quite thin and undefined which I don’t like.
I play to my competitive side to keep things interesting, whether it be learning a new sport or just beating my own records on a treadmill, I’m always looking to take that next step! Working out is not only physical, but extremely mental, and I aim to do exercise every day and that way I have a target which keeps me on track.
Talk me through your normal training routine. How many times per week and is it normally cardio or weight training?
My workout routine is always changing and I think that’s important in order to work every muscle and most importantly, don’t get bored!
On average, I’ll workout 6 times a week. Sometimes more, sometimes less. Even if there’s days where I really don’t feel like going to the gym, I’ll go in to stretch or do some yoga which is just as important for recovery.
My workout typically consists of 20 minutes of cardio, and 30 minutes of muscular strength training. For example, yesterday I spent 10 minutes on the treadmill in order to fulfil one mile, and then ten minutes on the stair master. This was followed by a set of abs and obliques, and then reps of squats and push-ups. I don’t typically use machines in the gym because I like to work with dumbbells and my own bodyweight.
Some days I mix my cardio with muscular training by doing high-intensity workouts for a full hour. This involves cycling through different intensities with short rests in between so that I can keep my heartrate up. A good example of a high-intensity workout that I love is The Sparticus!
Eliza, you have one of the best bums I have seen! Tell us your booty workout?
Haha! Well I love to focus on my glutes because this area of my body is the quickest to diminish if I’m not exercising! First and foremost, SQUATS SQUATS SQUATS! For the longest time I thought that squats were a booty myth because I wasn’t seeing results. However, when you really focus on working each muscle and learning control, the results are apparent. I typically do 6 sets of 20 squat reps, using a 40 lb bar.
I also find the stair master is great for lifting your bum if you want to change it up. As an ex-ballerina, I still have some old techniques that I learned throughout the years that I use today! Pliés are similar to squats except I focus more on tucking my lower back and squeezing my butt. This also works the core!
What’s your typical breakfast and post-gym snack?
I LOVE a good breakfast to start my day. Coffee in the mornings is also a must! I always make sure to have a small serving of carbs so that I have energy for the gym. I don’t eat any white flour so I would recommend whole wheat toast or muffins. Another morning goodie that I love is steel-cut oatmeal which I’ll throw some berries on and add a spoonful of honey and a bit of cinnamon. I always try to get my fruit-fix in the mornings.
Lately I’ve been making protein shakes which include: frozen fruit, kale, protein powder, granola, unsweetened almond milk, and honey. After the gym I try to have something light like almonds or fruit to keep me going until lunch.
What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?
My biggest guilty pleasure is CHOCOLATE! Chocolate in all forms, shapes, and sizes! Lately I’ve been more disciplined with my chocolate intake however if I’m going to do it then I love to snack on apple slices with Nutella – it just feels somewhat less guilty! Also, a square of dark chocolate each day can help with sugar cravings so I’ll use this when I’m looking for something sweet.
What would be the number one piece of advice you would give to someone wanting to start their fitness journey?
Patience would be my advice; it is most definitely a virtue! It’s easy to get discouraged after a short period of time if you’re not getting immediate results. However, being fit is a lifestyle and it takes dedication, commitment, and TIME.
Another tip would be for people to strive to be healthy and put that first before striving for the ‘perfect body’. If you lead a healthy and active lifestyle, physical results will come. Take it slow and remember to be patient with your body as it is always trying to adjust to your new routines and workouts. Everyone is different so the key is aim to be the best you, not someone else.
Have you ever found that you’ve plateaued with your training? And what have you done to change it?
I have found myself bored with workouts on many occasions but I’m quick to change it up if this occurs. I love listening to music while working out and sometimes it just takes a new playlist to get me motivated! Attending different classes and courses helps me too, in knowledge and motivation. The other day I went to a Fitness Boot Camp in the park and learned some new techniques that I didn’t know before; keeping an open mind is important with fitness because there are so many ways to stay in shape other than sitting on a machine! California has great mountains so I’m always hiking and feeling the benefits of the fresh air and sunshine!
Give us your favourite 30-minute workout?
My favourite 30-minute workout would ideally cover multiple muscle groups. For example, I would do 10 burpees, 20 squats, and 30 sit-ups. I would then repeat this four times with short breaks. Or, I would do a slow and steady thirty-minute run, focusing on keeping my core tight and my legs slightly squatted in order to work the glutes. Remembering to have wide strides helps me to stay low to the ground.
Tell me your typical food diary for a day?
Typically, it would consist of a healthy breakfast that is high in carbs, protein, and fruit. Egg whites only. Other than breakfast I typically stay away from carbs. Lunch usually consists of a salad or a complete and nutritious shake so that I can get my “green” intake! When dinner comes around I am always really hungry and I love a large portion of protein which might include grilled chicken or steak with vegetables. I have a very low sodium diet and I also snack frequently to keep my metabolism up. When I snack I typically have fruit, nuts, yogurt, carrots, or kale crisps! I also love some red wine with dinner because it helps my sugar/chocolate cravings. While I try to stay healthy throughout the week, when the weekend comes around I always let myself indulge!
Any other advice or tips you would like to share?
Water and sleep are essential when it comes to keeping your body healthy. Drink lots of water and remember that your HEALTH comes before your appearance, results come in time!
If you want to get in touch with Eliza and have a little more of a peak into her life then you can find her here:
Instagram: @ Eliza_Boraiko
All photographs were shot professionally by individual photographers, please get in touch with Eliza to find out more.