Leading a busy uptown, up-tempo life with a full-on job and busy social commitments, Account Manager at Fuel PR, Severina Grozeva, understands better than anyone the difficulties of juggling a healthy, well-balanced schedule. However, after years of practice and an inherent love of outdoor activities, we think she might have just about cracked it.
This week we sat down with Severina, who let us in on her top nutrition and fitness secrets that allow her to keep brilliantly burning the candle at both ends - we’re taking notes...
What’s your overall approach to health, fitness and nutrition?
Quite simple really – I believe in the old proverb ‘mens sana in corpore sano,’ which means a healthy mind in a healthy body. To me, this sums it up. I’ve also learned from my parents, both of whom played tennis a lot - my mother still runs almost every day and looks amazingly elegant. If you have this kind of mentality, then you pass it on to the next generations.
How much is fitness a priority in your life?
It’s very important - to me being fit is about the mind as well as the body, it’s not just a vanity thing. I think it’s like learning new languages. If you start young, it’s much easier and it becomes a part of you. I’ve been playing tennis since I was five or six years old and I am still very enthusiastic about it. I try to play two to three times a week when the weather allows (indoor/covered tennis courts are hard to find in London, so the winter season is usually out...).
I’ve also snowboarded since I was about twelve years old - it’s one of my favourite outdoor activities. Living in the UK, I don’t get to go out to the mountains as often as when I was growing up, but when you are up there, being fit really matters. Snowboarding teaches you to make decisions quickly and that taking risks sometimes get rewarded, but also sometimes hurts. It also gives you legs of steel!
How do you squeeze fitness in around your busy schedule?
I just get up and do it. Don’t hesitate or over-think it. If you know you will be working late or have plans for the evening, get up early and exercise first thing. Sleeping leaves no memories behind, says an old Bulgarian saying – just make sure you go to bed early! I also like to think of it as time to myself - I think everyone needs that.
In a typical week what is your workout schedule and why?
I’ve gone through periods where I’ve genuinely overdone it – running every single day for years or doing five hard core spinning sessions a week. I came to realise that over exercising didn’t produce any great results, mostly exhaustion and some minor injuries. I’ve learnt my lesson and now favour moderation and variety.
Besides tennis, I love anything that involves technique and engages the mind and body – which is why boxing has become my second favourite workout. In a usual week, I’ll do two or three boxing sessions, either as part of a Fitboxing / Fight Club class or a personal training session in a proper boxing gym like the Fitzroy Lodge .
I also try to do at least one or two circuit and weights based-classes a week, to add variety and build strength, which I used to lack. I work out with one of the best personal trainers in town – Tyrone Brennand, founder of Be The Fittest . He creates personalised workouts that are tailored to my needs and goals, which means I see results really quickly.
In the summer, I always play tennis on the weekend and will swap a morning training session at the gym for a game in Regents Park– it’s the best possible start to the day. When I was young and went on holiday with my parents, we’d wake up early and play a game of tennis before breakfast – I loved that! I’ve kept this tradition and still try to squeeze a few games when I am on holiday – I love playing on the clay courts in my native Sofia as well as at the tennis club of San Remo in Italy. If I can find half an hour in the evening, I’d do a yoga session at home or would go to a Pilates class. It’s a great way to stretch your tired muscles, learn some key breathing techniques, relax and find your Zen. All tennis players do yoga, so if it’s good enough for them...
What tips would you give anyone looking to get fitter/start exercising regularly?
Just do it. Don’t over-think it. Find something about it that excites you – it might be improving your performance, seeing your body change, releasing the tension after a tough day at work, or wearing some super comfortable clothes for once – whatever it is, make it work for you, not the other way around!
To keep up with Severina’s fitness journey follow her on @severinamiss