Welcome to the first of a series of posts featuring fabulous individuals (some of my favourite people!), their inspiration and insights into some of my favourite subjects: wellness, wanderlust, food and travel! I couldn’t think of a better person with whom to begin this dialogue than long-time connection, friend from afar and I Quit Sugar super-star expert panelist, Diana Tencic of Body Be Well.
FIT FOR TRAVEL
A renowned food and fitness coach with over 16 years experience in the health industry, Melbourne-based Diana understands better than most the importance of balancing proper nutrition with a sound, achievable exercise protocol. Setting her apart from some other qualified fitness professionals, Diana’s personal experiences of transformation, healing and bringing three children into the world, have imparted an unusually empathetic aspect to her methodology. With a strong focus on balance, development of practical skills and crowding out unhealthy habits by replacing them with better options, Diana’s coaching techniques not only help her clients achieve their fitness goals, but maintain them. Her kindness, genuine approach and generosity when it comes to supporting others were truly the first things that made an impression on me when we connected via Instagram in 2014. And if you haven’t met her yet, I am thrilled to be the one to introduce you!
Following Diana on Snapchat during her late summer holidays this year, I couldn’t help but notice that she managed to turn every space into a gym of sorts; from a stretch of lawn beside a house, to the beach, and even a children’s playground. And every workout she managed to do with a smile on her face!
Who better to ask for inside information on staying fit, balanced and happy while on the move?
Marisa: For some people, travel means “escaping reality” and that can lead to indulging in certain less healthy behaviours (such as bingeing on unhealthy food or consuming too much alcohol). Any advice for those wanting a more balanced vacation experience?
Diana: You need to have the right mindset before you leave. There is nothing more enjoyable than tasting the cuisine of the area you visit. Allow yourself a piece of a cake, however create food harmony and include a nutritionally dense meal during the day too. And consider walking the area to include movement in your day. I like to Google restaurants in the local area or supermarkets in the area before I go. That way I’m more inclined to make better food choices by knowing what is available. I also make sure I have a kitchen if I’m booking a family holiday.
Marisa: And what about those who strive to live well, but fall off the proverbial wagon? What do you suggest to your clients and/or practice yourself?
Diana: There is no need to punish yourself. When we have certain cravings – say, for sugar – they’re our body’s way of talking to us. I teach my clients to listen their bodies. We need to understand the difference between food for fuel and desire, recognising there are times when our bodies are truly in an insulin slump and need carbohydrates, and times when our mind is simply telling us we want to eat a piece of cake! Understand the difference between food for fuel or food for joy, and be ok with the decisions you make. Life is tough enough without torturing ourselves over food choices.
Marisa: As a fellow mother of three, I appreciate that finding a balance health-wise can be logistically challenging even when at home. Travelling takes the need to be an organised mama to a whole other level. What are your top tips for travelling well as a party of five?
Diana: Do a little research before you leave and find out if there are cafés or restaurants in line with your food philosophies. And find accommodation with a kitchen or kitchenette. That way you can prepare some of your meals and be in control of what you eat. I always pack my hand held blender (it’s quite light!) and an aluminium milkshake container. That way I know I can make a smoothie for a snack or breakfast.
I make sure we all bring our runners (training shoes) and a tennis ball. We then find a local park and play games with the tennis ball or on the playground equipment. I source out bike hire at holiday locations as we love to bike ride. See if you can hire sporting equipment or even give a new sport a go. I stood up paddle boarding for the first time last year… and loved it. Yes, at age 44 you can still give new sporting pursuits a go! This can be useful if you are travelling overseas.
Marisa: You’ve made quite a name for yourself as a food prep aficionado and ‘real food’-lover. Do you have a go-to on the go recipe you’d care to share?
Diana: Yes! My healthy capsicum bake. If your kids don’t like tuna, you could use roast chicken or butter beans instead. For a veggie option, I use tinned butter beans and drain the liquid.
Marisa: Are there 5 commonly found things you can think of that could double as exercise equipment in a pinch?
Diana: I love training outdoors. I usually design mini circuit programs for my clients. Monkey bars are fantastic for chin-ups, park benches for step-ups and dips. I always bring a tennis ball (I use them for games and stretching too). I use the perimeter of the playground as a balance beam to work on my proprioception. If you are having a beach holiday just running to the water’s edge and back to the top of the sand is a workout! Repeat that 10 times and your butt will love you for it!
Marisa: I am sure long-distance/long-haul travellers (and those of us who spend far too much time seated in front of computers 😛 ) would appreciate any simple stretch tips to improve circulation and reinvigorate weary limbs. Do you have any suggestions?
Diana: We always tell our clients to hop out of their seats if flying, and go for a walk up and down the aisle at least every hour. We also recommend doing small ankle rotations in your seat, and pointing your toes towards the ground for 30 seconds then upwards towards your shin for 30 seconds is a great stretch.
We have a 7-day stretch challenge coming soon. Its a free program where we share a stretch a day for 7 days. It takes just 60 seconds to do and the only equipment needed is a tennis ball.
AND JUST QUICKLY…
- Train or car? Car.
- Yoga retreat or boutique hotel? Boutique hotel.
- City ghost tour or woodland stroll? Woodland stroll.
- Favourite form of exercise when travelling: TRX suspension trainer.
- Favourite destination: Anywhere by the ocean.
- Best wholesome food spot in Melbourne: Oh, this is a tough one… there’s so many!
Currently I am enjoying Matcha Mylkbar in St Kilda. The nachos are to die for!
- Somewhere you haven’t been that you long to visit: Another tough one! New York, for sure. And the Greek islands.
I sincerely thank Diana for taking time out of her busy schedule to answer my questions. And I truly hope you enjoyed reading this little interview and the tips Diana shared!
If you have any suggestions for questions you’d like me to ask upcoming health/wellness/travel professionals for this blog feature series, please leave a comment below. Actually, feel free to leave one regardless! I love hearing from you. 🙂
To connect with Diana and get more of her food and fitness tips, visit:
Diana’s popular eBook ‘Sweet Treats’ featuring 11 toteable sugar-free/refined sugar-free treats was published in 2015 (I have a copy and the raw brownies are my personal fave!). Get it here
Need support to achieve your best food & fitness personal balance? Body Be Well run a Melbourne-based 4-week course featuring meal plans, meet-ups, exercise protocols, cooking classes and, of course, a ton of support. Interested?
Join here:4-week Clean & Lean Program
*Quote image: Miss Marzipan, using source image found (via thesundaychapter.com) here