Last week the Active in Style girls were lucky enough to attend the launch of Fit In 3, The Scandi Way, written by Swedish Personal Trainer & Fitness Blogger, Faya Nilsson (AKA mega babe Fitness on Toast).
In between cold-press juices, nori rolls and raw treats, we sat down with her and asked her a few q’s, so that we could share her journey with our fit friends.
Who is Faya?
That’s me! A half-Swedish, half-English Personal trainer who grew up in the rural south of Sweden, and now lives in North West London.
What do you do for a living?
I lead two quite different, but linked professional lives; I’ve worked as a Personal Trainer for 10 years, in London’s West End, but I also write a healthy lifestyle blog called FitnessOnToast.com which takes me on some super exciting adventures!
When did your interest start for fitness and fuelling your body correctly?
My childhood house was slap bang in the middle of a farm; back then there were no iPads, and not even the Super Nintendo had hit Swedish shores! I entertained myself by running around in the forests, and when combined with daily horse riding, it was an extremely outdoorsy youth! Sweden has always been very tuned into health; the girls played all the same sports as boys at school, they drank vegetable juices, much of the food is still freshly caught and organic when possible, and people generally understand about balance. So it’s always been a part of the way I’ve lived.
What’s your background?
When I moved to London, I studied nutrition at University and then went on to achieve my Personal Training qualifications. The early years were ‘hard slog’ at a commercial gym, but I made some awesome friends whose influences still help me find professional focus and drive today.
Tell us about your book
Well, it’s a fitness book which includes plentiful cake and enjoyment! It’s called Fit In 3: The Scandi Plan, and it’s a book unlike any other I’ve found on the ‘Health and Wellbeing’ shelves. This is not about a quick fix, a diet or a radical transformation; it’s not about becoming the most shredded version of you. Through 10 years of training clients, I’ve concluded that those only work for a short while; my book is a comprehensive take on sustainably living healthier for the rest of your life, coloured and flavoured by my Swedish heritage. There are 3 chapters – 1) Mindfulness, 2) Training and 3) Nutrition (with 60 quick, easy and affordable Scandi-inspired recipes!) and a 3-week daily plan you can follow too, to get you started on your new, sustainably healthy path! It is a completely new framework on how to think about the health-related choices that you face every day, and I’m very excited to share it with everyone!
You must see some amazing transformations, which one(s) are you most proud of?
When a client achieves the goal they set out to reach, whether that’s fitting into a size lower jeans, or grating cheddar on their razor abs, I’m proud of that. Transformations come in all shapes and sizes, and one person’s ‘transformation’ may be another person’s ‘unchanged’. I made one myself, from scribbling digitally to penning a physical book, and I’m quite proud of that one too!
What’s on your plate for breaky, lunch and dinner?
My preference is variation. For breakfast, it could be something like my home made muesli, egg white omelette, avo toast with salmon or sweet potato pancakes if I’m feeling luxuriant! Lunch-wise, I love a good chickpea salad or a tuna steak with quinoa. Dinner-wise, I like to cycle through my suite of home made soups, especially now that it’s so cold out. My Coconut, Lentil and Cardamom Soup’s a bit of a Scandi-inspired classic, and you can find that one in the book!
What supplements do you recommend that ladies take post and pre workout?
I’m actually an all-natural kind of girl. I eat organic food, locally sourced and fresh when possible. I cook my own meals in almost all instances. I prefer to refuel with natural protein rather than shakes or supplements. Why, you might be asking? My view is that I should probably be able to access the nutritional value my body needs via real, delicious healthy food. If I feel I need a pre-workout energy boost, a single espresso usually gets the engines firing…
Best nutritional advice you have ever been given and continue to live by?
‘Let them eat chocolate’. Not sure who said that or whether I perhaps just made it up, but the point stands. Food makes us happy. To cut out the components that keep us smiling and on track is madness. I incorporate regular treats to keep me sane, and keep me focussed! Without my Gail’s coffee (and cinnamon bun every now and again), I’d probably have combusted by now!
Most valuable thing you’ve learnt about setting up businesses in the health and fitness industry?
I’ve only set up two; myself, as a personal trainer, and myself as a blogger. The latter is a passion project, the former is a business, but a hugely competitive one. People fall for the romantic notion that if they become personal trainers, they’ll easily get 10 clients a day, 7 days a week and be able to charge vast sums for an hour of their time. The reality is either far less fruitful and/or physically exhausting. Whatever you do in the fitness industry, there’s a lot of other people doing it too, so do it as well as you can, have consistency, have tenacity, and just give it your best shot!
What do you like most about being in the industry?
It blends my favourite passions together in a way that wouldn’t have existed before this digital era – training, cooking, travel, photography and writing. Being at home but also being active, outside, with clients, whilst having a creative outlet to express yourself. Also, I am extremely fortunate to work with incredible people at some wonderful companies within this industry, so the engagement with really smart and inventive talents is definitely another facet to it!
What activewear brands are you wearing at the moment?
The activewear wardrobe keeps growing, but my uncontested favourites remain adidas, for whom I’m an ambassador, and Monreal London. I just think adidas have their finger so on the pulse that they’re actually setting the pulse, and Monreal are doing things to the category that formerly existed only in the realm of high fashion. These are the two brands I live my life in because I love what they stand for and how they do it.
What is one exercise you couldn’t live without?
Without a doubt the squat! It just does so much for my body and mood, both during the session and long after it! Love it!
Be the healthiest version of you, just don’t forget the chocolate along the way!
Now that we have a copy of Fit In 3, it’s time to put her empowering words in to practice – whose with us?
Fit in 3: The Scandi Plan by Faya Nilsson is out NOW, published by Sphere and available here, £16.99.