May 7th 2020
Elle Macpherson: how I stay fit for life
March 12th 2017 / 0 comment
Now in her fifties, our Get The Gloss columnist no longer exercises the way she did in her modelling heyday. Now it's quality over quantity
I have always loved to move my body and rather than sweating it out every day on a treadmill, I gravitate towards outdoor sports as I love to be in nature. Being in a park or exploring a hiking trail adds another element of adventure to exercise. I believe variety is important - mixing it up - and I value quality over quantity. I feel my best when I am fit and exercising regularly, I am inclined to eat better and I sleep better.
My relationship with exercise has changed over the years. What worked for me in my twenties doesn’t necessarily work for me now. I used to think I had to reach a certain intensity at each workout, but I have come to realise the importance of listening to my body. When I wake up in the morning, I decide what body work I will do that day. My menu is long: Pilates, Bikram yoga, spin classes, Barry’s Bootcamp, boxing, swimming, walking, running, hiking, surfing, yoga, massage, acupuncture and reflexology (phew!). Choose any of the above!
I like to move my body every day for at least an hour. For me, exercise needs to be fun so I will be inspired to do it again. I love to paddle board, surf, swim or waterski. I did a hip-hop class the other day (I was so out of rhythm but I laughed a lot, it’s good for the soul). If I could choose one form of exercise it would be snow skiing; I love the speed, I love the mountains and it's like a meditation because I don't think of anything but skiing - and it’s something I do on holidays so there’s that fun association.
How I prep for a shoot or campaign
If I have a shoot, I’ll plan four weeks ahead. I make sure I am getting my seven hours of sleep, which is essential if you want to lose weight and detox. I switch my training focus to ab work and swimming because for me, it has the biggest impact to create a long lean body and you can do it every day without stressing the joints.
When I swim, it’s breaststroke laps (about 100 depending on the size of the pool) with my head out of water, plenty of sunscreen and a cowboy hat on my head! Funny sight! I’ll also do our four-week body plan where I swap breakfast for a protein smoothie, cut out sugar and no carbs after 5pm.
I try to be kind to myself
Wellness over extremes
I think we’re all obsessed with being too thin. But being thin isn’t necessarily healthy, it can add pressure to our adrenals, it results in lack of nourishment, it causes stress on your system. These days, I focus on how I feel. I’m not defined by a dress size or a number. Wellness is key to me.
Exercising away from home
I love to run, especially when I am in a new city, it helps me get my bearings. There’s something about being outside, seeing new things, discovering a hidden park or vibrant laneway that touches the soul. If I am short on time, or in space like in a hotel room I have a go-to 15-minute ab routine. I know mine by heart but there are so many great exercise apps out there. Choose a 15 to 20-minute ab workout, then do ten minutes of stretching and you will feel amazing. Checking out the hotel gym is a great way to meet other travellers. If I'm in a gym, I’ll do a combination of boxing, TRX, weights and mat work. For effectiveness, I prefer weight-bearing, core exercises, especially planking, pushups and sit ups.
Dealing with a motivation slump
There are definitely days when I feel unmotivated, days when I am busy and it’s hard to find the time. On those days, I try to be kind to myself, I think about what I feel like doing, what I might look forward to. I might go for a walk with a friend, or try something new - the power of discovery is not to be underestimated.
The importance of slow exercise
Yoga teaches me quality over quantity - going at my own pace and the importance of breath. These are the tools that help in all activities in my daily life. I fell more in love with yoga last year. I met yoga teacher Pip Roberts while I was on holiday in the Maldives and she introduced me to yoga in a new and exciting way. She teaches ‘Strala Yoga’ (founded by Tara Stiles yogasphere.eu) and I am such a fan. It focuses on natural movement and the body being in the right place for you at that time. I believe the food we eat, the amount and quality of sleep we get and the way we move are all linked. If one is out of balance for me, the other three become unbalanced too.
What I teach my kids
It’s so important to teach our kids about regular exercise. A great way to get them involved is through team sports, it teaches life skills like communication, commitment, being accountable and it’s fun. Having teenage boys, I’ve found when they have a sport to do they manage their time better, do better at school, circulates plenty of oxygen to the brain, and they let off steam.
My post-workout refuel
I love our Super Elixir Chocolate Nourishing Protein shaken with almond milk as a quick snack on the go. If I am at home and want something a little more substantial, I will blitz it with frozen banana and almond milk. It’s a premium, organic, clean plant protein with all nine essential amino acids, including acid leucine, which is necessary for muscle repair. It contains digestive enzymes to support a healthy metabolism, maintain an alkaline body and keep weight hormones in check. There’s no nasty whey, which can be laden with non-organic lactose and hormones, plus it contains fibre to keep you feeling full longer. It’s perfect as a nutrient rich snack, especially to beat the 3pm slump or as a healthy meal replacement.
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