Balancing her time between blogging and her work as a personal trainer, Faya began her site as a way to keep clients informed about fitness. Over time it has grown into Fitness On Toast , a space devoted to exercise, healthy recipes and fashionable fitness, and GTG can’t get enough. We sat down with the blogger to discuss her journey, so grab a cuppa and settle down to get a slice (sorry) of Fitness On Toast - we guarantee you’ll be bookmarking it as soon as you finish reading.
Firstly, what made you decide to start your blog?
FitnessOnToast.com was my way of keeping clients in touch with my thoughts about exercises, healthy recipes and fitness looks. I felt that the hour we had together just wasn’t enough time to get everything across - the fitness part takes precedence, but often it’s hard to communicate everything you’d like, so I set up Fitness On Toast to do the rest! Also I grew up in Sweden, where blogging has been a totally legitimate career path for years, so it was already a concept that I was comfortable with.
When did you first start getting into fitness?
I’ve always been a bit of a tomboy, very sporty and active. Growing up in Sweden, I enjoyed a very active time in the countryside; it was automatically part of my life to eat healthy organic produce and to exercise regularly. I’ve never lost the feeling that a good workout generates!
What’s your favourite aspect of blogging and are there any downsides?
The best part is the feedback; I’ve had some emails from subscribers in some pretty remote parts of the world, telling me that something I posted about made a difference to them, and got them inspired to get active. It sounds really clichéd, but that’s something you just don’t expect and it really makes a surprising impact on you. There are also the fun people I get to work with, the trips and the significant industry figures that you get to meet too. There are basically no downsides!
How do you balance blogging with other interests or jobs? Do you ever go offline?
Blogging takes care of itself, mainly. I work around fitness all the time since I'm a Personal Trainer in London's West End; the two are so interchangeable that it doesn’t seem like too much trouble to balance. I do manage to switch off from the internet quite regularly, because I find that it's necessary in order to enjoy a completely restorative night’s sleep!
How do you decide what to feature on your blog?
Foremost, it has to be appropriate to the audience, so I’ll only write about topics that I think are relevant, not too esoteric and where I think my view can add something to the debate. If it’s a fitness brand that features, I’ll only represent it on the blog if I really like it for some reason; you don’t find a lot of ‘I really don’t like blah’ on Fitness On Toast because I want it to be a platform for me to share the positives around my little finds from the world of fitness! Also, I like to create a balance between the topics, so you could bring up the site on any given day, and you might read a new fashion post, you might see a delicious recipe, or you might find some workout inspiration - that eclectic mix should make it more fun to read!
What is your favourite kind of workout?
One that utterly challenges me and very nearly defeats me. Typically, an intense leg session will get me near to breaking point, and leaves me feeling fabulously fatigued afterwards.
Your recipes look both healthy and delicious. What is your favourite pre-workout and post-workout meal?
Thank you. I tend not to eat anything before I work out, preferring instead an espresso to get me focussed and energised. Post workout, I like something with a bit of a kick; a spicy fish dish on a bed of quinoa and spinach tends to do the trick nicely for me!
What words of encouragement would you give to somebody who is considering getting fit?
The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll thank yourself. You’re physically investing in your body for 5, 10, 20, 50 years time, almost like a ‘health pension’! It’s a challenge, but it needn’t be a boring one, so make it fun, throw yourself into it wholeheartedly and see what you can achieve!
What advice would you give to our readers to get the best out of their workouts?
My advice would be threefold. 1) a realistic, clean and informed diet, 2) a regular, high-intensity and diverse exercise routine and 3) the pursuit of external motivation which keeps you on track with 1) and 2). There are other elements to consider, such as the right amount of high-quality sleep, proper hydration, regular stretching etc, but as long as the first three are maintained, that's the most important in my mind.
You also write on fitness fashion. What’s your favourite gear for exercise?
I love fitted clothes which accentuate the form, are made from luxurious fabrics and which have interesting splashes of colour and personality. There are some fantastic sports brands out there; some are more functional, others are more aesthetic. I prefer those brands that fuse the two, which tend to start life as sport-specific companies, and branch out. Naturally the designer capsule collections for big sporting brands tick that box, but there are some smaller, independent names which produce some fabulous 'fitness couture' as I like to call it! A look at the fashion section of my blog will give away which they are!
What’s your life philosophy?
A sustainably healthy existence. It always comes down to that. Short term diets can't last. Bouts of gymming followed by long inactivity won't work. If I want the joy of a healthy existence later in life, when I want to be enjoying a fully functional body, I need to lay those foundations now by eating right, staying hydrated, training often, enjoying the occasional treat (that keeps the mind healthy too!) and resting properly.
What’s your day-to-day routine like?
I get up around 05:30 every day, blend up a shot of carrot/apple/ginger to drink alongside my uber-muesli (check it on the blog - YUM), train with some clients, hit the gym myself, dispatch some FitnessOnToast emails and pen some content over lunch, head off to blog-related meetings, train some more clients in the evening, polish off a light healthy dinner, then get to sleep, often by 10pm.
How do you feel about the reception that your blog has received?
It's genuinely flattering. I'm just sharing my little old opinions; there's no right or wrong. It isn't meant to take itself too seriously - it's just a frank and honest, unbiased way to share my passion for a healthy life.
What do you hope people will take away from your blog?
The ultimate hope is to inspire just one more person to get active. Whether they look at the photography and get inspired through that, or they read the ethos and it clicks with them, or perhaps they just want to cook my healthy apple crumble recipe... the very fact that it might help to motivate someone is what I hope for!
Do you follow any other blogs?
Yes! I follow all sorts of blogs; I have around 200 other blogs on my Wordpress follow-list, and on top of that, there's all the Facebook pages, Instagram accounts, Twitter handles and Pinterest boards which all make up my consumption of blogosphere! My favourites are often a real pick n’ mix of personal opinions written by real people, often with some wonderful photography from some fabulous locations. It’s all really quite inspiring. Visually speaking, I love Fashion blogs, like Kayture and TheBlondeSalad for example. I also love Deliciously Ella for a good bit of healthy recipe inspiration, and TheLondoner / ChicOverdose.com for some aspirational lifestyle fodder.
What would be your advice to aspiring bloggers? Is there anything you’d do differently if you were to turn back time?
Invest in a good camera, write about topics you have a strong and differentiated view on, post with regularity, and embrace as much social media as possible! Beyond that, just have an open mind! Blogging is a little process of discovery in itself, and I'm happy with my journey so far!
If you could invite anyone dead or alive to guest blog on your site who would it be?
Bjorn Borg, but perhaps that's a bit of nationalistic pride coming through.
What does the future hold for your blog? Are there any exciting developments in the pipeline?
There are so many exciting projects on the horizon, some of which I've already invested time in, others of which are just at the planning stage, and others of which won't pan out. I can't share them yet, but it's so exciting to be involved in! Everything I post feels like a mini-triumph, due to the care and planning that needs to go into well-formed content. Photoshoots take time to plan. Outfits need to be coordinated. Ethos needs to be translated from mind to paper... Fitness On Toast has already been featured in Grazia and The Evening Standard this year, I road tested a juice detox, found more affordable fitness fashion options, swam alongside Olympic Gold medallists, conquered the front crawl from scratch and collaborated with some awesome companies. There are a host of upcoming blog trips to some wonderfully motivational locations on the horizon, so there's so much more to come from Fitness On Toast in 2014 than I can write about, but I'm very excited to share my thoughts around how to live a healthier life!
Is there anything you don’t like about working through the internet?
I'm struggling... Not enough chocolate?!