Maya Anderson is House Nerd, a blogger and freelance journalist in Perth. She’s obsessed with homes, renovations and interior design, and her Instagram account is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. Plus, she’s into dogs AND exercise. Instead of focusing on lots of organised classes, she uses walking and running as a way to catch up with friends, plays sport with her husband and uses her workouts as a way to relax after a particularly stressful day.
Take us through your week in exercise
Pre-pregnancy: I didn’t have a set weekly regime but would do something every day. My dog Nala needs a lot of exercise so we’d usually run for 45 minutes, walk for an hour or meet two of our best friends Carly (human) and Molly (dog) at the park, where Carly and I would do a HIIT workout. I also played in a Division 1 indoor beach volleyball team once a week, would cycle or swim once a week or do a Zumba class if I had time. Or an Aquarobics class if I wanted to unwind in the evening. You laugh, but Aquarobics is so calming! I treat exercise as a day-by-day thing; I fit in what I can every day around what I have on that day.
Pregnant: I’ve been a bit unlucky with pregnancy and have hyperemesis gravidarum, which affects around 3% of pregnant ladies and is basically constant morning sickness and throwing up that can last through the whole pregnancy. My pre-pregnancy plans of daily green smoothies made with veggies from the garden went out the window… you even throw up water. I’ve had to tone my physical activities down a LOT – in the beginning I would try to run or go for a big walk, but it would completely wipe me out. Now take it easy – I swim, do an Aquarobics class, go for a slow walk or a gentle cycle only about four times a week. Even on my worst days I try to do something, even if it’s just a very gentle 10 minute walk around the park with my dog. It makes me feel a little more like my usual self.
What’s your favourite place to work out?
I love looking at beautiful older houses while I exercise – or crappy houses and imagining how I would renovate them! I love running through East Fremantle and along the river in Bicton or taking Nala along the Swan River in Mt Pleasant, Applecross and Attadale.
What’s your favourite music to work out to?
I like R&B, Zumba songs and embarrassing poppy stuff – like Disney soundtracks.
Describe your workout fashion style
I wish I had one. You won’t find me in cute tight workout clothes. I am usually in Lorna Jane shorts and running bra topped with a really old, soft, daggy T-shirt with dried paint on it. The daggier the better. My friend Carly and I like to try to out-dag each other.
Your favourite post-workout meal?
In summer my husband and I love to do steak or salmon with salad and homemade chips baked in the oven. In winter I love pastas. And dessert! I’m definitely not one of those I Quit Sugar types. I think everything in moderation is fine.
Before I got pregnant, my husband and I had just started playing squash together – so much fun. I can’t wait to get back into it. I love playing sports, even though I’m currently not playing any. I loved volleyball and indoor soccer, even though I’m absolutely terrible. I also like running and walking, swimming and Zumba. I can’t wait to get back into Zumba!
Least favourite exercise?
One of my best friends is a yoga teacher, and I know some people think it’s strange but I really hate yoga. I’ve tried to like it, I really have. I’ve reviewed like ten different kinds and have written so many stories on it I could fill a book, but I just don’t enjoy it. What else don’t I like… Pump classes! And kettlebell workouts. I reviewed a kettlebell workout for the paper once and I couldn’t walk properly for three whole days afterward. I hobbled. It broke my spirit.
What positive impact has being fit and healthy had on your life?
I was not a very fit or healthy person when I finished my bachelor degree in Media & Information. Then I fell into writing freelance health and fitness features for The West Australian newspaper. Having to write about that stuff definitely made me more health-conscious. I started specialising in it and slowly I got much healthier and fitter. Now I focus full-time on writing about houses, renovating and interior design, but the focus on being fit and healthy has stayed with me. It gives me balance and takes my natural neurotic edge off. Even on holiday, I make the time; I’ll run or do stair climbs, anything to sweat it out or get my heart rate up. Exercise makes me a nicer person – if I go two days without it, I’m crabbier and meaner. Seriously! I just feel gross and unfocused and restless. It helps my writing and my work, too. Plus, I love to eat and cook. And food just tastes better when you’ve done a big workout!
What I miss the most about not being pregnant is that feeling of health and vitality I had before. I went from having an iron stomach (sadly, not on the outside, I mean on the inside) to throwing up almost every single day. And exercise went from being a reliable way to switch off and unwind to something that was often incredibly difficult. I would take the dog for a walk and would have ligament pains so bad I would have to sit down and call my husband to pick me up. It was frustrating when I was so used to feeling so strong and fit, but on the plus side, I guess pregnancy has taught me to listen to my body a bit more. I have really learned to tone it down when I’m not feeling well.
What are your top three tips for staying healthy?
1. Treat exercise like brushing your teeth – something you just have to do every day. If you really don’t feel like it, just put your sneakers on and tell yourself you’ll just go for a little five minute walk. Chances are that little five minute walk could turn into an awesome run where you come home feeling sweaty, puffed and a million bucks.
2. Remind yourself how you’ll feel when you’re done. If I really don’t feel like exercising – which is often – I think of how good I’ll feel when it’s over.
3. Think outside the box. You don’t need a gym membership to be fit and healthy. Look around where you live for beautiful places to run, walk or do park workouts. And get friends to exercise with you! Walking or running with friends kills three birds with one stone; I get my workout done, I catch up with a friend, and it makes my very energetic dog tired.