’Fitness On Toast’ blogger Faya Nilsson never imaged that her Instagram would one day become a destination for fitness fiends to obsess over.
The Swedish personal trainer, who now lives in north London, originally set up the brand in 2013 as a way to keep her clients informed about fitness.
Four years later, and the blogger now has 120,000 Instagram followers (and counting) and has released her first book: ‘Fit in 3: The Scandi Plan’.
Now, Nilsson balances her time between blogging, being a PT and of course making time for her own weekly workout schedule.
For the latest interview in our ‘Fit Fix’ series, we chatted to Nilsson about her favourite way to exercise and what makes her tick.
Talk us through your week in fitness.
“I weight train four to five times a week. For me, that’s a lifestyle decision I took some time ago - a choice to stay healthy all year round. Given how frequently I work out, the preference is for a lot of ‘bread and butter exercises’ - classic, functional moves such as pull ups, push ups, squats, deadlifts and leg raises.
“Tweaking each exercise can have a significant effect on the success rate, and means these exercises don’t go out of fashion.
“I also aim for a 60-minute power walk before breakfast as often as my schedule permits. It’s far more gentle on the joints and encourages me to get out in nature and clear my mind. I’d encourage people to walk as much as possible, wherever possible.”
What’s your favourite type of workout and why?
“For me it’s HIIT training, because it’s designed to provide effective results in a short amount of time and is perfect for when you don’t have a lot of time on your hands.
“I’ve recently created a ‘High Intensity No Stress’ workout with Sure to help busy women fit in lunchtime fitness. It’s a simple, yet effective programme which can be done in the gym, outdoors or even by your desk.”
What’s your favourite way to spend your rest day?
“Without rest days, I think I’d go crazy! Allowing the body time to recover and uncoil is a critical component of the wellness formula. I am a big fan of a spa, and whilst it’s certainly not a weekly occurrence, it’s been culturally engrained in me since I was child growing up in Sweden.
“Aside from that, I’m qualified in sports massage and whenever possible my friend and I will swap sessions with each other.”
What do you eat throughout the week to complement your training schedule?
“I’m a pescatarian and have been since I was eight, so unsurprisingly I eat plenty of fish. My influence is quite mixed - I eat a lot of Scandinavian-inspired recipes whether it’s baby potatoes with dill in a salad with baked fish or pickled foods and crayfish.
“My book ‘Fit in 3’ contains 60 quick and easy recipes with a Scandi twist but what they all have in common is they use fresh ingredients which you can easily find in any food aisle.”
What are your pre and post-workout snacks?
“It depends when I train. If I’ve had breakfast before and not that long ago, I’ll probably have an espresso and glass of water to fire up my engines.
“Post-workout I ensure to eat a good source of lean protein, complex carbs and good fats within the hour after the session. This is the most important bit. I usually keep a batch of almonds with me in my bag for a little bit of a mid-afternoon plant protein hit.”
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about food?
“’Have everything in moderation’ - my grandparents used to say to me.
“Society overcomplicates food these days. I say to clients there are just three simple things to consider: 1) what you eat - sourcing good quality foods, 2) portion control - it doesn’t matter if what you eat is healthy if you eat too much of it, and 3) the regularity of your timing - not skipping meals and ensuring to have a post-workout replenish.”
Do you have a motivational mantra that keeps you going?
“Motivation is such an interesting topic, figuring out what really makes someone tick. I think for me, short term motivation that works is to remind myself how much better I’ll feel afterwards, and that an hour is no time at all when you think about it.”
Do you always have fitness goals you are aiming for?
“I personally feel it’s unrealistic to be your best body all year round, but in terms of fitness goals, I like getting stronger and see my body develop and I’m interested in structurally how it works, as well as aspects I can improve.
“My main weakness has always been that I’m not naturally that flexible - that something I need to work on more.”
What’s your ultimate workout track and why?
“I’m a huge Beyoncé fan, so that answers that! Beyond that, I crafted a love of house music in my teenage Ibiza days and still feel that anything with a good thudding kick and cracking snare will get me moving!
“I compiled a Spotify playlist of the best beats to accompany my workout which is available on the Spotify profile SureUK.”
Faya, known to fans as Fitness on Toast, has teamed up with Sure Antibacterial Odour Protection to create a high-intensity workout with an optimised cool down designed for busy women to perform during their lunch break.
‘Fit Fix’ is a weekly dose of fitspiration from leading athletes and fitness fanatics. Each Wednesday we chat to stars about their weekly workouts, the food they eat and what keeps them going.