Zanna Van Dijk is a personal trainer and global Adidas ambassador, who blogs about topics including fitness, nutrition, lifestyle and travel. Zanna is passionate about women’s empowerment and is an advocate for positive body image. Zanna also regularly trains at Fitness First gyms and has partnered with us to promote fitness and nutrition as a combination for improving overall wellbeing.
If you’re finding it hard to feel motivated, or a looking for a little inspiration to keep you on track with your fitness targets, discover exactly what drives Zanna to achieve her own goals.
What first inspired you to get into fitness?
I was inspired to get into fitness when I was at university. I have to admit that I was a student, going out and partying all the time, and not eating particularly well. After a while I eventually realised that not treating my body well meant that my mind couldn't focus very well either. I wanted to achieve highly with my degree, so one day I just thought, "right, I'm going to start looking after myself – I'm tired of being tired!"
It was just like a switch, and from then onwards I decided to try and make a conscious effort to make better choices. It was a slow process, but over the course of a couple of years at uni I learned what fitness could mean to me and how I could make it work in my life.
What keeps you inspired to train?
Loads of things, to be honest! Firstly, training is just a habit to me now. If I don't train it feels like I am missing part of my day.
Secondly, training makes me feel amazing. If I train first thing in the morning it really sets me up for the day. I know that I'm already on the right track and started on the right foot. That then motivates me to nourish my body throughout the day too.
I think the key is finding a form of training that you actually enjoy. I really enjoy the way that I train, so I can’t wait to get in the gym. I also know what my goals are, which keeps me motivated to strive to achieve them.
What are your tips for sticking to training plans – it's so easy to slip sometimes...
I'm a spreadsheet girl! My life consists of to-do lists. I write down fitness goals for the year but then I break these down into mini goals. Small goals keep me on track by giving me positive reinforcement and help me build up to achieving my main goals. It is much less daunting that way. I think it is really important to set realistic goals, because then when you achieve them you’ll be motivated and will have the confidence to continue.
What's one piece of advice you'd give to anyone starting to train or beginning a fitness journey?
Number one: As I said, define your goals clearly. Keep them small at first and then build them up as your confidence grows.
Number two: Rope in a friend. Training with someone else is a great way to stay on track, whether that be someone from work or a partner. Having a partner in crime, someone who can keep you accountable, will really help. Find someone who's at a similar point in your fitness journey so you can share the same experiences and really spur each other on.
Finally, who inspires you?
I admire a lot of people. For example, I train a lot with weights but there's a girl called Adrienne, who admire a lot. She is a runner. Last August she ran 5k a day for the whole month, and I was like "damn, girl!". That's such dedication and I love that. Even though I don't run, I really respect that sort of hard work and consistency. People who inspire me don’t necessarily have to train the same way I do.