Photo: Jamar Stephens

Photo: Jamar Stephens

Afiya Francisco is a Style Expert, television and fashion personality, speaker, and brand ambassador. The Style House is a multimedia platform designed to help women approach their personal style with confidence, simplicity & joy. 

Sasha Exeter

I am human and not every day do I feel like working out...

Blogger, So Sasha...

She may claim to be human but between her flawless wardrobe, skin & charm, I'm beginning to wonder... The first Wellness/Chic Ultime hybrid post, I could think of no better subject than Ms. Exeter who exudes both style and healthy living. Today, she shares how she stays motivated, 5-minutes tips & natural metabolism boosters. 

Photographer: Nathalia Allen.

What was the catalyst for your wellness turnaround?

I've actually always been into health and wellness. I was an elite athlete my entire life playing tennis at the national and international level as a junior before going to university in the United States on a full athletic scholarship. However a few years ago I was diagnosed with a rare kidney disease and soon after fibromyalgia, a debilitating chronic pain syndrome, and was forced to take more drastic measures in regards to both my health and lifestyle.

This resulted in consulting with specialists for my condition in addition to a naturopath, osteopath, Reiki specialist, chiropractor, massage therapist and nutritionist to put together the right holistic program. Supplemented with the practice of tai chi, yoga, Pilates and running, I found a balance that my body responded well to and allowed me to get back on track.

What are your recommended first steps for a wellness transformation?

Before making any drastic changes both to exercise or diet, I always recommend consulting with a physician. If fitness is new to your life, hiring a trainer in a gym is a great idea to help devise the right training program and help motivate you to reach your goals. If one-on-one training isn't your thing, you can always try out group classes; yoga, Pilates, boxing - even activities like rock climbing burns a ton of calories and can be a great workout. Whatever you choose, try to make it fun. If you are enjoying the process of working out, you're more likely to continue doing it.

Small changes don't really require a physician or much assistance but merely some basic substitutions. Cut out carbonate beverages and juices that contain sugar to increase your water intake. Coffee drinkers can substitute their fave caffeinated beverages with tea. Diet is actually more critical than exercise. Eliminating processed foods and cutting down on gluten intake can work wonders, even if it's just for a short period of time to give your digestive system a break.

Do you have any 5-minute routines/strategies that can make a world of difference? 

It doesn't sound like a lot of time but it's actually amazing how much you can do in 5 minutes. 

1) I have the NTC+ Nike Training Club app downloaded on my phone and iPad. It's having your own personal trainer at your disposal. The app has several workouts that have been co-designed by professional female athletes. My fave workout to do when I am in a pinch is the Skylar Diggins Zoom in 5 workout. It is a killer 5 minute workout that engages all your muscles and gets your heart rate going.

2) I like to start my day off with hot water and lemon. It is an excellent natural detoxifier and helps boost metabolism at the beginning of the day.



3) Sounds crazy but just keep moving. Take the stairs when you can, park your car far away from the entrance to a building so you have to walk a bit farther, if you have desk job make a habit to go and walk to your colleague's desk to discuss something when you would normally send an email. I have a Nike Fuelband that I wear everyday and if the band detects inactivity for an extended period of time, it will alert me to get up and move. It's quite brilliant actually.

4) I am human and not every day do I feel like working out but I do play a little mind game with myself from time to time on the days that I find it extra difficult to head out to train. I tell myself to just get dressed and head out and If I get to the gym or class and still don't feel like participating, then I can go home. Funny enough, once you're there you never think to not workout. Sometimes getting there is the hard part.

Last thoughts...

1) Set some goals for yourself. Long, mid and short-term. If you feel that you need that extra push then set daily fitness and nutritional goals for yourself so you feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of each day. For instance, if you like to run, set a number of km's you would would like run each week or on a big scale, the number of km's you want to complete by the end of the year. Personally, I have found that committing myself to a race is the best kind of motivation. If it's yoga you're into for example, set your sights on learning or perfecting one pose a month. Once you have a goal to work towards, it is far easier to stay motivated.

2) I am a huge fan of juice cleansing. People either love it or hate it. I have benefitted from doing them quarterly over the last few years. Our bodies are no different to cars. Sure you put gas in your car to make it move, just like we put food in our bodies, but we still need maintenance like a car requires a tune-up or oil change. Juicing helps rid your body of unwanted toxins that you accumulate from both the environment and diet. Benefits of juicing include but are not limited to the following; weight loss, improved sleep and mood, reduces pain related issues and migraines, increases energy level, strengthens immunity and gives your skin a glowing complexion.



Treat Yourself! A Recipe from Joyous Health

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