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Zanna Van Dijk  is a fitness blogger, personal trainer, author (her first book was released last year, called Strong), clothes designer (she released a collection with Sports Philosophy) and now first UK female global ambassador for Adidas, all at the age of 24.  She is pretty damn awesome and we are so excited to have her join us on thirteen:fourteen.  We love what she stands for, making your body strong, happy and healthy with a balanced lifestyle.  We know that Winter is the hardest time of the year for most people when it comes to fitness, it's cold, rainy and always grey outside.  So we thought we would talk to Zanna and ask her to share her best tips on how to stay fit and strong this winter.


1.  The cold days and dark nights of winter can make exercising seem like a chore and it’s often the time people fall behind in their fitness regimes.  Do you have any tips on how we can stay motivated throughout the winter season to keep fit?
I think that is actually so true, I work in a gym and the 6am classes get really quiet in the winter, whereas in the summer they are the busiest classes.  I think people find it harder to get out of bed in the morning because it’s freezing cold. There are ways around it, last night what I did was work out from home.   Another good thing to do is, the night before get out your gym kit, prepare your outfit, prepare your bag, put it out and the next day you have no excuses because it’s in your diary – your alarm has been set and your kits out.


2.  Time seems to fly over the Christmas period; do you have any tips on quick and effective exercises that we can do at home when we are pressed for time?
I would say high intensity interval training, basically that is where you work out for a short period of time, and then rest.  So for example last night I set a timer for 35 seconds of workout and then 10 seconds of rest and then I just threw myself into different exercises, so I would do  mountain climbers, burpees, lunges, and then some push ups. I just did that for about 20 minutes and I was covered in sweat, I was destroyed but I managed to do it in my own home without any inconvenience. Short bursts of hard work is a very effective way to train when you’re short of time.


I would say beyond exercising, I think it’s just the whole general philosophy of taking the pressure off yourself.

3. Getting fit and healthy is always top of most New Year resolution lists, what type of exercise would you suggest that beginners try, to ease themselves into a more active lifestyle?
I would say beyond exercising, I think it’s just the whole general philosophy of taking the pressure off yourself.  I think people think, new year, new me, I am going to get in shape.  They think they need to get a personal trainer, need to go to the gym 4 days a week but if you set yourself unrealistic goals like that, which are such a huge lifestyle change for you, it’s kind of a recipe for disaster. 
I think instead you should be a little bit gentler on yourself,  maybe get one session with a personal trainer, ask them to show you the basics, ask them to show you how to do something like a squat, a push up, maybe if you’re feeling ambitious a deadlift and then go off and do it on your own. 
Follow people on Instagram and social media – subscribe to YouTube channels who post free work outs and then you can work out at the gym or home. But try and set goals that are more realistic, like going to the gym twice a week, and maybe 2 walks.  Start off with something like that, rather than going in at the deep end, you can still get results if you just ease into it.


4.  Taking care of mind, body and soul is the main priority at thirteen:fourteen.  What are your favourite ways to bring balance into all those areas of your life?
For me, there is an element of scheduling in down time, I’m the sort of person that if I don’t schedule in down time then it won’t happen and I will just schedule in to work all day. My mind needs to have a rest or otherwise I don’t work as efficiently. In a whole week, I try and schedule in one day, which   is quite a hard thing to do when you work for yourself. Also in a day, I try and schedule in an hour just to do things that are sort of  menial, like just watching YouTube videos, listening to a podcast, or going for a walk.  So that’s what I do to kind of get my mind balanced. I also meditate, for me a 10 minute meditation is a very beneficial part of my routine.  


5. Can you talk us through the different ways you track your life outside of fitness?
I mean the typical ways people would imagine tracking would be things like tracking your steps, sleep and diet. Recently I actually got a smart meter installed into my house, that is a piece of technology that links up with your gas and electricity meter and shows you in almost real time how much electricity you are using in pounds and pence. (You can get a smart meter for free from your energy supplier, even if you rent your home) I took a 2 week challenge to basically see where I was using energy in my home. In the past, energy for me was something that was completely invisible.   I’m quite an eco-conscious person so I make efforts in other areas of my life to try and make changes which support the planet but I found energy quite a difficult one because you can’t really see what you are doing when you’re using energy.  It showed me things like, when I work from home I was using more energy, when I was cooking with multiple devices at once I was using more energy so it kind of enabled me to make some small sustainable swaps to my lifestyle.


 6.  And lastly, we love to gain inspiration from everyone around us at thirteen:fourteen, who has been your biggest inspiration in life so far?
I would say, my Mum and Dad. Just because they have created this life where now they are retired and are going on all these amazing adventures, and I’m like 'I want to go on big adventures when I'm older'.   So I am very determined to create a life where I can retire and just go explore the world. For me they definitely inspire me to chase after my career and chase after my dreams so that one day I can go do the things I want to do.  I mean right now they are exploring Antarctica, and I’m like 'I want to do that one day'.  
You can read more from Zanna on her blog or follow her on Instagram too.