“I don’t believe in diets,” the vivacious 28-year-old star tells WHO during a chat over the phone from the set of Summer Bay.
“Life’s too short not to enjoy it. If you want a cookie then just eat a cookie,” she adds with a laugh.
How did you stay in shape during NSW’s lockdown?
My routine has been very different the past few months, but I’ve really enjoyed it. When gyms shut, I started doing workouts with fitness trainer Kate Ivey through her DediKate app. There are some great high-intensity 20-minute workouts that fit great into a busy person’s lifestyle. I love them so much I’ve become an ambassador for the brand. I’ve also been doing online boxing classes, walking my dog and I’ve even started swimming in the ocean.
You sound very busy!
Exercise is something I do for my mental health. I love the feeling of endorphins pumping through my body. After a great session I feel accomplished, relaxed and more focused, so I try to get workouts done first thing in the morning so I can carry that energy and motivation throughout the day. If my schedule doesn’t allow me to exercise first thing, I’ll sit down and book appointments with myself where I know there is a gap that I can use to work out.
It sounds as though you really enjoy doing a variety of workouts?
After a while of doing something, I can feel that my body isn’t challenged by it anymore. The key for me is switching it up every few months. I love to see a personal trainer, do boxing classes and some stuff at home. The trick is I need to work hard, lift heavy weights and get a good sweat on. I’m not someone who can just do a Pilates or yoga class.
How does living with endometriosis affect your health goals?
The high-intensity training that I love to do is really great for pain relief, but there are some days where the pain is just too bad to get started. I’ve had to really learn to listen to my body. If I was to try and push it then I’d be in agony for the rest of the day and not able to do anything. I think the key to life is balance and it’s OK to not work out every day. Rest days are just as important as days you push yourself.
What other self-care rituals do you do each day?
When I’m busy, I don’t drink enough water and end up with headaches and don’t sleep as well. So I have goals for how much I need to drink by lunch and the end of the day. I also really prioritise sleep because when I don’t get enough I’m just a shell of a human. If I know I have a busy week coming up, I’ll also try to do some food prep. When I’m busy and get stressed I tend to eat anything that is in front of me. It can be very detrimental for my goals if that happens to be lots of sugary foods or fast food. My job means I need to be physically and mentally on all the time, so it’s really important to fuel correctly.
How strict are you when it comes to what you’re eating?
Because of my endo, I find that I can’t eat a lot of gluten or dairy as it brings on pain for me. But I’m not restrictive at all. I like to eat a rainbow of food and stuff that makes me feel good. When I don’t eat enough, I get hangry and [my boyfriend] Patrick [O’Connor] knows to stay away! So I try and have some healthy snacks on hand to get me through those slumps.
What are those must-have snacks you need to have to get through the day?
I love a mid-morning coffee and in the afternoon I always have some chocolate. I need that little pick-me-up!
Do you feel a lot of pressure to look your best all year round for Home and Away?
I look at it from the perspective of Ziggy. She doesn’t care what she eats or if she drinks beer. She is still super-confident and surfs because she loves being in the ocean. Ziggy is my role model and I think we could all strive to be a bit more like her.
Is it important to you to be a good role model on social media for other women on their own health and fitness journeys?
When I’m on social media I’m just trying to be as authentically myself as possible. I love feeling strong and pushing myself to be my best. Those are the types of women that I enjoy following online. But I think that comparison kills and it’s important for people to run their own race when it comes to their health and fitness journey. It can be very dangerous to try and compare yourself to someone you see on social media. What other people do might not work for you, so everyone should aim to do what makes them feel happy and good. But I also think the world is changing and women are tired of the beauty industry showing such a small cross-section of society. I am determined that my future children won’t grow up feeling the same pressures to be whatever the current trendy body type is. Growing up is hard enough, we need to give ourselves a break.
Home and Away airs Monday to Thursday, 7pm on Channel Seven.