Zanna Van Dijk - Interview
Zanna Van Dijk is a 23 year-old blogger, vlogger and social media fanatic based in London. She covers topics including health, fitness, lifestyle and travel, while also working as a personal trainer and a fitness model. She recently became the face of Tommy Hilfiger sports capsule collection.
Zanna is also a writer, having written two eBooks full of delicious recipes, and a regular journalist for publications such as Women's Fitness, Men's Fitness, Women's Health and more.
Everything about you is inspirational! Tell us how you started your fitness journey.
- Oh you guys, you’re far too kind! I actually got into fitness a few years ago when I was studying Speech Science at university, and I pursued it as a passionate hobby on the side of my studies. I was obsessed with reading about fitness and nutrition and constantly developing my knowledge in the area. By the time I graduated I was hooked and started to take it more seriously; 6 months later I made the daunting career change into the industry and I have never looked back.
Body image and Instagram has become such a hot topic, what's your take on the whole thing?
- My take is that everything should be taken with a pinch of salt, and I remind my followers of this on a regular basis. The pictures we see on Instagram are an individuals highlights and best bits, we don’t always look like that and that is absolutely fine. Be sure to avoid comparing yourself to those you follow and instead focus on your own journey!
How can we focus on creating a strong body (and mind) and not focus on how we'll look in a bikini?
- It is easier said than done. The problem arrises when we become completely obsessed with how we look. In reality, I think it is ok to have goals based on strength and performance, as well as aesthetics. It is just about keeping a balance, and maintaining a healthy mindset about fitness and nutrition. I like to set myself goals based on health rather than how I look such as running a 10km race or hitting a new squat PB. Ultimately, if you look after yourself and do it from a place of self-love rather than self-loathing, then it is a challenge to feel bad about your body.
If we only have 20 minutes to work out, what should we do?
- Well that totally depends on your goals! But if you’re really short on time, then of course HIIT training is a great way to go as it allows you to get super sweaty in seconds. Try tabata intervals of 20 seconds work 10 seconds rest for a seriously killer workout.
What's the best way for someone to start exercising if they haven't been into in a while (or ever)?
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Either get a couple of sessions with a personal trainer and ask them to show you the ropes (a worthy investment I assure you), or sign up for some gym classes. I find that classes can teach you basic moves and routines which you can build upon in your own workouts. Just be sure to check with the instructor that you’re doing the exercises with good form.
We've been known to spin 7 days a week, week after week, can you tell us a bit about rest days?
- You’re crazy! Rest days are absolutely essential. Training is only half the battle. You need to support your recovery with proper nutrition, good sleep and adequate rest days. Rest days allow your muscles to repair, grow and develop… meaning you perform better and get more optimal results!
What are some of your favorite fitness classes?
- I absolutely love fitness classes. I find them so enjoyable and a great way to boost my motivation! My ultimately favourite is f45, closely followed by Kobox and Barrys Bootcamp.
We know you have a book coming out - exciting! Can you tell us a bit about what it's about? How were you able to manage all that you do and still have time to write a book?
- I am super excited (and nervous) for my book Strong to come out! It has been a real challenge juggling writing it for the past 8 months with keeping up my other businesses, but I hope it is worth it. It is a huge passion project and I have literally poured everything into it! It includes a full guide to lifting weights, nutrition guidance, self-confidence tips, tonnes of recipes and loads more!
Any other projects you can share with us?
- Honestly, not really. My whole life has been the book this year so it is my main focus! Alongside developing it, I have been updating my blog, youtube channel and social media; as well as launching my own activewear and up-keeping my female empowerment events company #girlgains! It is certainly a juggling act but I love every minute :)