Meet Jilla Active Ambassador Lashara

To celebrate the launch of our new Spring Summer collection we thought who better than our very own brand ambassador Lashara to star in our campaign shoot smashing out a sweaty workout for the Jilla Active team and their Mums.

We recently caught up with Lashara (within social distancing measures) to find out a little more about her and some useful health and fitness tips during this usual times along the way. Please see her answers below.

Hello Lashara, we hope you are very well and keeping safe. Please tell us a little more about yourself.

Hello, my name is Lashara.  I am a personal trainer and nutritional coach that is currently studying to be a yoga teacher through TriYoga as well.  I believe that blending movement, strength and good eating habits are the fundamentals of building a lifestyle that will support your adventures throughout life.

I have two cats and a very energetic puppy called Whisky, who is a Miniature American Shepherd. I’ve been living in London for almost 7 years. I lived in Norway before this, but I am originally from sunny Cape Town in South Africa.

I am usually based in Barnet in north London where I work from my home studio. With the current situation, I am in the process of launching my services virtually through my online studio called Fit Living Studios as I want to be able to reach more people to help them with their fitness goals, staying motivated, and keeping moving! 

My training styles are focused on strength and conditioning with a special interest in movement such as yoga to help compliment more high-intensity training. I have a background in martial arts and dancing during my younger years (I am actually 110 years old), and as an adult, I have enjoyed discovering bouldering, which is a favourite sport of mine. These different disciplines have influenced my teaching style and helped me understand the human body more.

Before the lockdown and thinking back to life before coronavirus (wow wasn’t that lovely!) what did your weekly fitness routine look like and how do you fit your own routine and YTT around your clients?

Ah, pre-lockdown – what a fantastic time! If I am honest, nothing much has changed in my schedule except I don’t get to escape my home for some yoga or CrossFit. As I work from my home studio and home office I spent most days at home anyway (hence the dog), so it’s really been about staying disciplined and sticking to my usual routine. I structure my days as Mondays: legs + run, Tuesdays: full body + yoga, Wednesdays: legs & bum + pilates, Thursdays: run/rest, Fridays: full body + climb, Saturdays: yoga and Sundays: yoga. I also sprinkle in a bit of climbing, handstand practice and pull-ups to work my weaknesses. It’s a mixed bag really!
I typically aim to study 2 days a week on Wednesdays and Fridays, I then work 3 days with clients face to face (all online at the moment), I squeeze in my admin on my client days and then I have a day reserved for content and creating, writing and so forth. This is an ideal week, in reality, it looks a little different!

In your own exercise, how do you balance weights, cardio/HIIT and yoga or stretching? Are you drawn to one area more than another?

I love a good booty burner workout and I’m a big fan of deadlifts, squats and anything that’s a hip hinge movement. My main focus with my training is finding what is enjoyable and listening to my body. Every week is different due to my schedule and I very rarely have a perfect training week, but I try to balance my training with intense workouts and flowy yoga sessions. I definitely lean towards more weights and yoga than cardio/HIIT. My natural strength is in my legs, but I try to work on my weaknesses as much as possible.

The current situation is really challenging, how are you managing in this tough time?

I am managing by taking things day by day. I have tried to focus on a handful of tasks each day as it is really easy to get overwhelmed. I schedule my downtime and try to stick to a regular routine. I find breaking my day up with activity helps to keep me sane and gets fresh blood to the old brain!

If someone is new to home exercise, do you have any advice for where they should begin when it comes to different exercises?

I think if someone is new to exercise in general then I would start with some basic form tips to get the technique for exercises like squats, plank, pushups, lunges, good-mornings (that’s an exercise) and mountain climbers. I would start with some basic bodyweight exercises like the ones mentioned and build a workout where you do 5 exercises with 10 reps and rest in between and do as many rounds or sets as you can. I like to alternate between legs and arm exercises for a full-body workout. Keeping it simple will help you stick with it over time and it is all about slow progressions and building strength. Building a new routine at home will be a struggle initially, but we all start somewhere and something is always better than nothing. Find someone you resonate with and follow their lead! You’ve totally got this!!

We’ve heard lots of people are buying weights and fitness equipment, if there is one piece of equipment which is easy to use for multiple different exercises what would you recommend?

If nothing is available, get creative! Water bottles filled with sand, pots with stones in, books, tins or even bags with heavy items in. My go-to equipment is resistance bands (booty bands) for that extra burn and a set of dumbbells as that is the most versatile.

What do you like to listen to when you workout? Do you like to make playlists or do you prefer a podcast?

I listen to my own playlists on Spotify, which is a weird mix bag of Hip Hop, Drum and Bass, Afrobeats, Indie Electronic music and classical music. It’s very much down to my mood, but I love a good beat to stay motivated and push that little bit harder. I only listen to podcasts while I clean or drive as I need to focus.  

We’re suddenly spending a lot more time at home and it’s easy to snack on sugary foods, what are your go-to healthy snack options?

Favourite snack: dark chocolate! Other than that I would say filling up on fruit, carrot sticks and hummus, a protein smoothie (typically blueberry or caramel flavour), a protein bar or rice crackers with almond butter are my go-to healthy options.

Some people may have more time to cook but limited ingredients, do you have any healthy recipes or nourishing meal suggestions for these lockdown times?

I would say get creative, my meals are very much whatever is in the fridge! I think simple meals can taste amazing with the right spices and seasoning, and by seasoning I mean lemon. I try to have vegetables and protein with all my meals, and switch my carbohydrates based on my mood! A typical meal will involve either salad, steamed veggies, roasted veggies – you’re getting the idea here, and then fish, chicken, vegetarian stew/curry and a carbohydrate like pasta, rice, quinoa or more starchy vegetables. Did I mention I like veggies?? My favourite meal is an everything-in-the-fridge-salad (this is my speciality, it is great with avocado), and tacos. I LOVE prawn tacos!

Where and when can we join you for an online workout? Also, are you taking on new clients in these virtual times?

At the moment I am running free IG live sessions on my Instagram to promote my new classes that are launching soon and I am still seeing my regular clients online as usual. My virtual studio will be available on MindBody from May and I will be offering classes online on a weekly basis with a mixture of weighted sessions, mobility flow classes and workshops on form. I do still have availability for new one-to-one clients, but my times are limited due to my study schedule being so demanding.

And finally, which are your favourite Jilla Active pieces?

OH NO! This is such a tricky question!!! I have been a Jilla fan for almost 5 years now, but I think I would have to say my original pair are still my favourites as it is a true testament to the quality as they still look brand new! And then I would say the Lotus, Modal, Sahara, and Crop and Go leggings (I have two pairs) are all firm favourites. The Weekender Roll Neck Jumper and Lunar Bamboo Yoga Bra are other hard-worn pieces in my artillery!

Keep up with Lashara over on her Instagram lasharawood for more health and fitness inspiration, live workouts and Jilla Active styling tips. Shop the new Spring Summer collection here now featuring soft lightweight bamboo fabrics, seamless shorts and pops of colour.

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