Let’s start with fitness. What does your typical training week look like?
I go to an RBT [Result-Based Training] gym and work with a coach, Ryan Wilson – he’s incredibly knowledgeable about the science of the body and different body types. Generally we aim for three to five sessions a week. These are strength focused, so we do two leg sessions and two upper-body sessions with rep ranges between six and 12, and three to four sets per exercise. But the main goal is to monitor lifts. At the moment, we’re doing a lot of hip thrusts, snatch gripped dead lifts and seated rows. We see my progression and then I add more weights where I can. We do that for about six weeks and then we switch it up. I don’t do much cardio because I just don’t like it, but I try to get in at least 15,000 steps a day. I do little runs here and there and like to go for long walks with friends.
Has that focus on strength been a shift?
A huge one. Ryan changed the way I thought I should be exercising as a woman. We have this misconception that lifting heavy weights will make us more bulky, but unless you’re eating [large] portions of food and training to be a body builder in competition, it isn’t going to happen. I was definitely a bit worried [at first] because I have a curvy body as it is and I didn’t want to feel bigger. But [in reality] engaging our muscles and challenging them allows us to burn more fat and sculpt the body. Strength training has made me the leanest I’ve ever been, and then you [combine] that with getting your steps in and the results start manifesting very quickly.
Have you always had a positive relationship with exercise?
Not really. Dancing with the Stars was a real turning point. It’s hours and hours of training to dance, and that was definitely too much to continue [after the show] because my body was just so sore, but the consistency made me realise how great I could feel if I stuck to an [exercise] routine. It made me feel the best: you like the way you look, you’re more confident in your own skin, it changes the way you carry yourself, and that in itself makes you happy. In the past, fitness for me has been for specific events, and there was never much joy in it. Now I feel like I’ve found a way to really enjoy moving my body, feeling grateful for my strength and my fitness. That’s something I want to maintain for life.
How do you tend to approach nutrition?
Monday to Friday – basically when I’m working – I try to eat relatively clean. I stick to a higher-protein, moderate carb and low-fat composition with my meals. That’s what works for my body. Breakfast is normally eggs, tomato and avocado on a piece of olive-bread toast and an almond latte. Lunch will be vegetables or tuna and rice and salad, then dinner is normally a piece of steak or chicken with salad and roast vegies. A Mediterranean diet makes my body the happiest. Then on weekends I tend to eat whatever I want. I think balance is the only way to maintain a positive relationship with food – at least [it is] for me. Restricting yourself or trying to be perfect never works long term and ... it makes you miserable. Like I said, life is too short. I love food way too much; it brings me a lot of joy.
Read our full chat with Olympia in the February issue of Women's Health, on sale now.