Between stressful jobs and trying to spend quality time with loved ones, exercise is often the first thing that falls to the bottom of our priority list. In a series of features on how to balance a busy career with running, Modern Athlete speaks to busy professionals to find out how they manage to fit sport into their hectic schedules. This month we chat to Fiona Nay, personal trainer, model and actress in the local soapie Rhythm City. – BY CATHARINA ROBBERTZE
What is your background and how did you get involved in your industry?
After school I worked at a bank, where I realised sitting behind a desk is definitely not for me! I left the bank, worked overseas as a fitness instructor on some of the largest ships in the world, travelled the world and gave seminars on health issues. At the moment I am acting in an e.tv soapie called Rhythm City. I am also involved in some advertising work and am one of the faces for the Urban Goddess clothing range.
What is the most exciting thing about your job?
Travelling, learning about different cultures and meeting interesting people. I’m constantly surrounded by ambitious, energetic and happy people. I get to fulfil my dreams and get paid for it!
What is the biggest challenge in your job?
Uncertainty; as soon as one project finishes you have to look for another one, and usually there are almost 300 people who are auditioning for the same acting part. It means you have to be at the top of your game all the time.
How long have you been running?
Since primary school! I used to be a top runner at school.
What motivated you to start running?
It’s always been in my blood. My dad, Derrick, played professional football and my uncle was a brilliant runner who trained with top runners like Bruce Fordyce.
How many hours a week to you spend running?
I try to run four to five days a week for 30 to 40 minutes.
How do you fit running into your busy life?
I make time for it. I know how important it is physically and mentally, and I can’t go without the endorphin rush!
Who do you train with?
My fianc?e Andisa Kani.
Has running influenced your career and work ethic?
Definitely. If you look good, you feel good. As an actress and performer it gives you that much more confidence.
What are your proudest moments in running?
It might be a long time ago, but I am very proud of winning some races when I was at school and receiving medals!
And in your career?
Landing a role in Rhythm City. It’s all about getting your foot in the door.
Have you run any big races?
I mostly just run to stay fit. At school I was very competitive, but now I just enjoy running. It helps me get rid of stress. It’s my meditation.
What is the first thing you like to do after a run?
Sit on the lawn, catch my breath, drink lots of cold water, and stretch.
What could you not go running without?
My socks! I don’t know how some people run without socks.
What is the best advice you’ve been given with regards to running?
To pay attention to my posture, to run with the right shoes and to not overdo my training.
And the worst?
Sweat as much as you can because that will make you lose weight!
What is your favourite meal after a race?
Chicken, potatoes, veggies and salad.
What would you say to someone who says that they don’t have the time to start running?
They should re-evaluate their lifestyle. I had a client who trained with me three to four times a week for an hour. He was a father, husband, CEO and workaholic, and still made time for exercise. There really is no such thing as not having the time.
What are your future running goals?
I would like to join a running club and start participating in races again. There is no better feeling than completing a race.
What is your life motto?
Just do it, don’t live your life in fear.