Roxy Danae, once professional wrestler now personal trainer, is an impressive woman to exercise with. Taking part in her Stronger Together class at The Ned, as part of Grazia's fitness fortnight, her inspiring energy is infectious. You only need scroll through her Instagram to witness her strength, the woman literally warms up with 70kg deadlifts. Committed to getting her clients stronger, and with perfect form and mobility at that, there's a reason she leads classes at such a luxury gym. Now, she's answering our burning fitness questions, from what we should do when we're running on empty to how Instagram is changing the way we exercise...
Morning workout or evening exercising?
I much prefer a morning workout – it leaves me feeling energized for the day ahead; I feel more productive and focused knowing that I’ve got my workout in first thing.
How much exercise do you do each day?
When I’m working on building strength and muscle mass, I will do 1 hour to 1 hour 30 mins of weights, 5-6 days per week. During periods when I’m leaning out, I will do 1 hour of weights and 45 minutes of cardio 5-6 days a week; I adjust my training to suit my goals.
If someone only had 20 minutes a day to exercise what would you suggest they do?
For 20 minutes – I would suggest a full body HIIT programme. Pick 4-5 full body exercises, for example: press ups, sit-ups, lunges, burpees and squats. Perform each one for 30 seconds with a 10 second break in between, 5 rounds total. This will hurt.
What makes your class unique to other gym classes?
The thing that makes any class unique is the instructor and I’m no different, I bring my personality and my A game to every single class. I’m all about helping people to educate themselves and feel confident with weights so technique and mind muscle connection are integral to the experience; you will be hurting and I will push you passed your limits but I can guarantee, everyone will come out of that class with a smile…and delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) the next day.
How do you drag yourself out of bed and to the gym when you really can’t be bothered?
When I’m feeling like this, I will shoot a double espresso and listen to my favourite motivational tracks. Before you know it, you’ll be out that door ready to rise and grind.
Is there one exercise you just can’t do?
I don’t like can’t. An exercise I can’t currently do but I’m working on is a handstand push up, if you don’t get it right, you will literally fall on your head so it’s a toughie. Watch this space though, I’ll have it nailed by the end of Jan.
With Instagram and YouTube tutorials changing the way we train, do you worry that misinformation around exercise will spread on social media?
Oh constantly, I see some shockers in the gym! There’s a wealth of knowledge out there but I wholly recommend asking a PT to at least check your technique if you’re trying something new. One injury from something as small as incorrect weight distribution might put you out and it’s something that could easily have been avoided by engaging in person, with a fitness professional. Don’t feel scared or intimated, that’s what we’re here for!
Do you think more women are training in traditionally more ‘male’ ways, for example weight training rather than doing cardio?
Absolutely but I don’t want women to think they’re training in a ‘male’ way, weights are for everyone. Women are finding out more and more how beneficial weights can be, there are so many myths out there but the truth is, if you want a sculpted body that burns fat, where you can eat more then you need to start using free weights instead of spending copious amounts of time pounding the treadmill.
How would you convince someone who is scared of exercise classes to come to one of yours?
You want to know how to safely lift weights with maximum muscle burn for a sculpted bod? Come to my class, I don’t bite…hard.
What’s the one surprising piece of kit you really rely on?
I don’t know if it’s surprising but resistance bands are integral to my training. I always perform muscle activations before working a particular muscle group so that it fires correctly and I’m not using overly dominant muscles. The Theragun has also become a piece of kit I am rarely without – it’s a percussive massage-therapy device. I use it on myself and with my clients, pre, during and post exercise.
What’s the one thing you should have at home to work out with if you really don’t have the time or money to go to the gym?
Invest in a Kettlebell – you can get an excellent full body workout with just one. There are thousands of workouts online that you can do. One of word of caution though, make sure your technique is spot on – it’s easy to get injured if you don’t perform the exercises correctly.
How can we turn our January fitness fad into a genuine habit?
The most common mistake I see is that people make unrealistic goals and usually too many of them. I get it – you’re feeling motivated after a heavy Christmas and you want to smash it at the gym so you go in hard; promise yourself you’re going to lose 2 stone, be in the gym 5 days a week and you’re not going to drink for a month. I applaud that, but life isn’t that simple and sometimes a meeting will run over or you slip up and have a few drinks with mates and maybe you get a kebab on the way home; psychologically, because you’ve made these unrealistic goals you start to feel like a failure and before you know it, everything starts spiralling. Small, measurable goals that you can consistently achieve week on week is the way forward.
How do you maintain your motivation when it’s dark, cold and miserable out?
The one thing that pushes me out that door is that I know, hand on heart, I will feel so much better having worked out. In fact, take a moment after each session to remember how those endorphins make you feel, life seems more manageable, you’re in a better mood, you’re feeling motivated, you’re more likely to make healthier food choices, the list goes on, just get moving