With 1.7 million Instagram followers, Niomi Smart has built a huge following for her fitness and healthy eating advice, but how does she workout herself and what gets her out of bed when she really can’t be arsed to exercise?! I asked her what we all really want to know…
How did you first get into fitness?
‘A few years ago I decided to change the way I eat to become fully plant-based. I had started reading about the benefits of eating this way and was excited by all the new foods I would get to try.
‘Within a couple of weeks it made me feel more alert and full of energy. So for me, exercise was a natural part of this new lifestyle and it became so much easier for me because I had so much more energy.’
What does your typical week in workouts look like?
‘I do some form of exercise at least every other day and I try to keep what I do as varied as possible. That way it’s more fun and interesting, and it doesn’t feel like a chore.
‘For example I might go to a boxing class on a Monday (as it’s a great way to start the week!), go for a 5k run on a Tuesday, a group HIIT workout mid-week, perhaps some yoga on a Thursday to stretch everything out and then I’ll usually go for a long run of 10k or more at the weekend.’
What are the most common gym mistakes you see people make?
‘Doing the same exercise and routine every time they go – the best thing to do is mix it up and do something different every time, it keeps it fun and interesting and you’ll stay motivated too.’
Lots of people want to tone up their abs at the moment – what’s your number one move for this?
‘I love a side plank – I try and hold it and then pulse up and down 10 times.’
What are your tips to get the most out of a gym workout?
‘For me it’s all about preparation and keeping hydrated. Drink plenty of water before, during and after your workout – this is so important. Breathe steadily and really focus your mind on your body, listen to what it’s feeling.
‘Make sure you stretch your whole body before and after your workout, the last thing you want is an injury.
‘Then have a post-workout smoothie and for an added boost of protein add in a protein powder – this keeps you really full, replenishes your muscles and keeps you hydrated after an intense workout.’
Who is your biggest inspiration, fitness-wise?
‘James Duigan who owns Bodyism in London – he makes working out fun and part of your lifestyle rather than a chore.’
How do you motivate yourself when you really don’t feel like exercising?
‘There are definitely days where I don’t feel like exercising and that’s ok, but I know that if I do exercise I’ll feel a million times better – so I try to remind myself of that.
‘For me, it’s best to plan to exercise first thing in the morning before work. I get everything ready the night before, so I lay out my workout gear with my water bottle and anything I might need for that specific exercise, and then I get up, put on my workout gear and head out straight away – I don’t give myself chance to talk myself out of it!
‘The more you do it, the more it becomes part of your routine and the more you feel motivated.’
Niomi and Carly Rowena put on a special Barry’s Bootcamp class to raise money for Stand Up To Cancer. Check out their YouTube channels to see how they got on.