Q+A WITH FOUNDER + INFLUENCER, #GirlGains
From circuit training in the gym, hopping on a plane to an exotic location, cooking delicious plant-based food, to educating others on the importance of sustainability, Zanna does it all. This UK-based power-female started #GirlGains, a fitness events company, and her career took off from there. She now has a podcast, her own sustainable swimwear line, and is a global ambassador for Adidas.
We are so excited to call Zanna one of by CHLOE.’s Veganuary Ambassadors, encouraging and educating others on the benefits of adopting a plant-based lifestyle. Something delicious to expect from our partnership? We worked with Zanna to create “The Full Brekkie,” a plant-based take on the classic English Breakfast.
Make the pledge for Veganuary, and try “The Full Brekkie” at both of our London locations – One Tower Bridge and Covent Garden, available all January long! Veganuary will seem like a breeze, and you won’t miss the meat (or dairy).
Mark your calendars! Zanna is hosting an inspiring talk on plant-based nutrition at our Covent Garden location on January 10th. Get your tickets here.
by CHLOE.: Hi Zanna! Thanks so much for chatting with us. Please introduce yourself.
Zanna Van Dijk: This is always such a tough thing to do without tooting your own horn! I think I will just say I am a blogger with my fingers in a few fitness, food and sustainability pies.
bC: We are so excited to partner with you to create the latest by CHLOE. dish, “The Full Brekkie.” Tell us why you encourage a plant-based diet, and let our readers know what to expect from this amazing meal!
ZVD: I am a huge advocate for plant-based eating, not just for our own overall well-being but for the planet and the animals. There are so many reasons to eat less animals and more plants, the evidence is stacking up. Change is coming and I am so excited to be partnering with by CHLOE. on The Full Brekkie recipe to accelerate this. I wanted to make plant-based food easy, delicious and accessible. With this dish you get all the indulgent elements of a traditional Full English, but with a nourishing plant-based twist.
bC: What encouraging words or advice to you have for people starting the Veganuary challenge?
ZVD: Firstly – congratulations on signing up for Veganuary! That is a huge step towards being a part of positive change, and you should be proud for doing that alone! If you do end up struggling to stay on track, my main tip is to surround yourself with positive inspiration and motivation. Follow by CHLOE. and myself on Instagram, watch vegan food diaries on YouTube, read plant-based cookery books, flick through the environmental pages of the newspaper. These little daily prompts will drip feed you the motivation you need to stay on track for the month, and hopefully into the future.
bC: From your swimwear line, Stay Wild Swimwear, to your work in oceanic health education, sustainability is a common thread in everything that you do. Tell us about where this passion came from?
ZVD: Honestly, it is hard to pinpoint a moment when sustainability came to the forefront of my mind. I have always cared about the planet and my parents and I loved watching a good David Attenborough documentary as I was growing up. I have always adored traveling and seeing the beauty the world has to offer. However, as I grew up and learnt of what is happening to our beautiful planet I soon realized I cant just take take take from our home, I need to give back. It is a slow journey of learning, growing and changing my daily habits but I am starting to truly live in line with my values and I am excited about where I will end up.
bC: Talk to us about your personal coaching style. What can we expect from one of your training sessions?
ZVD: Training is all about enjoyment for me, so although my workouts a challenging combination of bodyweight and weighted exercises; I make sure you have fun in the process! I love not only lifting heavy but pushing myself with high intensity circuits, so my workouts tend to be a mix of the two.
bC: As an athlete, how important is diet and nutrition in your daily life?
ZVD: Extremely. Not just because what I eat fuels my body and mind so that I can function optimally, but because food just makes me so damn happy. It is something to be savoured, enjoyed and shared and I love the way food brings people together. You can show your love by creating a meal for someone, or use cooking as a form of self care and relaxation. Food is so much more than just nutrients and energy, it has the power to brighten your day and connect you with others or yourself.
bC: Travel is a huge part of your life! How do maintain a healthy lifestyle while you are on a trip?
ZVD: I think the main thing with travel is instilling healthy habits which don’t feel like a chore. I also let go of expectations of being able to be as on track as I am when I am at home, as thats just unrealistic. I find a happy medium between going wild and staying 100% on point with my choices. I try to exercises 3 times a week and get my steps in every day, then I chose wholesome meals 80% of the time and 20% of the time I go all out. Balance!
Favorite place you’ve ever visited? Raja Ampat for scuba diving, Slovenia for mountains, California for diverse landscapes.
Juice or Smoothie? Smoothie, with all the peanut butter.
Favorite app? Moment – it tracks your phone usage and sets you goals to reduce your screen time. Its changed my life.
Favorite piece of clothing you own? My vegan leather biker boots from Free People, you would never know they aren’t leather!
Spirit animal? A sloth bear. Loves snuggling but also a badass.
Best thing to happen to you today? Getting a free coffee, smiling at the server works wonders!
How do you de-stress? Cooking wholesome food… or watching conspiracy theory YouTube videos, my guilty pleasure!
Where were you born? Beverley, Yorkshire.
Watcha reading? Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult.