I found Andrea on Instagram (obvs!) and besides being a mega babe, I really loved her honest commentary and what seemed to be a very real and balanced take on fitness and wellness. It was so lovely to actually meet Drea and to confirm that she is everything that you see on Insta and so much more. She’s a smart cookie, has her head screwed on and was so generous with her advice and tips for a new coach. It’s really cool when women support women and encourage them to excel instead of feeling threatened or jealous. Yes to more women like Andrea!

 Introduce yourself

Ok hello!

My name is Andrea. I was born in Canada and now I live in Cape Town with my hubby. I am a holistic health coach, a life coach, and a former fitness competitor and former bikini model.

 Tell us about your eating philosophy.

It took me many years to find a balance that works for me. Competing is quite taxing and it can be difficult to find a balance when you are training for mainly aesthetics, which is why I have decided to move away from Fitness competing at the moment. I have studied both sports science and holistic nutrition. For myself and my clients I like to adopt principles from both ends of the spectrum, but I would describe myself as somewhere in the middle. I find that as long as you’re doing your best to eat wholesome foods that make you feel good and you are listening to your body, you are doing wonderfully. From a sports science point of view, people can do things like macro counting and fitting things like donuts into their diet, and if that’s what they want to do and they feel great doing that, then I think they should be able to do that, but personally I know how I feel after I eat deep-fried foods and things like pizza and alcohol… I do not feel good after consuming those things. Does that mean I will cut them out of my life forever? Probably not, but I am not living my healthiest and best life when I do those things. I truly believe that every single body is different, but not just that, every single person’s brain and the way they process things and the way they handle their emotions also affects their eating a lot and I see this as a life coach. I think that in order to really get to know someone you need to pick their brain and decipher their personality to figure out what would actually work best for them.

 How do you like to move your body?

I really love heavy weights, but I am willing to try anything. I am going to be trying Cross Fit and I also used to really love hot yoga, so I’m going to get back into that. I am also going to have a friend teach me some Pilates to strengthen my core. But really I just love walking and stretching and training hard when I am able to.

 Do you have a meditation practice? If so, what does it look like?

Meditation is difficult for me, I have a hard time quieting my mind. So it’s something that I’ve actually been working on for years and I am getting better! The Most effective way that I meditate is through guided meditations on YouTube or the Insight Timer app. It’s pretty cool! It shows you where in the world other people are meditating and it motivates me to meditate more. 

 What is your morning routine? What do you do when you wake up?

Getting into a morning routine takes me some time but I am in one now that I am thoroughly enjoying…

First: I don’t press snooze! I get up and start making coffee. I used to check my phone, but now I save that for after coffee.While the coffee is being made, I stretch and do a couple minutes of some form of exercise to wake up my body. Some days I will go for a run. Shower. Coffee. Gratitude (3 things I’m thankful for) . Healthy breakfast while I listen to a podcast. I made this list a few weeks ago and I’ve been doing my best to stick to it every morning and it has made a huge difference in my life! The best way is to print out a piece of paper or write down what you want to do in the mornings and just make sure you have time to do it all!

 What makes you feel most alive and vibrant?

Being outside in nature, a hard workout or when I’m on a client call and really making progress mentally with a client. I also love grocery shopping! Especially at farmer’s markets! Weird, I know.

 What do you do to relax and unwind?

I used to relax with a glass of wine or whiskey or champagne, but I’ve found that it wasn’t really serving me or my goals so I have opted to not do that as often. I love watching movies with my husband and browsing through Pinterest… Or online shopping!

 Have you ever had to deal with any health (mental or physical) ailments and what helped you overcome it/them?

I am fortunate enough that I personally haven’t had to deal with any major mental ailments. I believe that is due to constantly studying the mind and ways to deal with emotions. When I was 17, I started reading self-help books as I was going through a break up. A lot of people close to me have dealt with mental ailments and I know it is very difficult. The most recent issue I had to deal with was when I was very sick for the whole of January 2018 and I couldn’t really do anything. I obviously couldn’t train for six weeks and it was really taxing mentally. It was a big wake up call for me to really take care of my body more. I can’t even imagine how difficult it would be to not be able to exercise, or to be in a depressed state for long periods of time. I overcame this experience by going for short walks and constantly watching motivational videos on YouTube. Sometimes even just putting on some stand up comedy helps. Being injured is really difficult when you are used to physical activity, and it is usually a good idea if you have someone to talk to you and prepare yourself as soon as you are injured by doing something new and occupying your time with something new. So for example, I downloaded an app called Duolingo and started to learn a new language, which made me feel productive!

 What wellness trend would you like to see more of?

I would absolutely love to see more fitness practises that incorporate the body, mind and soul connection to health, and not just the ‘body’ part.

 What wellness trend are you sick of?

Wellness trends repeat themselves but with different masks, so for example when it was Atkins or Banting as you call it here, then it was Paleo, then intermittent fasting etc- it all boils down to a caloric deficit and no matter how you choose to lose weight as long as you’re in a deficit and you are reaching your fibre and protein requirements and drinking a lot of water it doesn’t really matter how you choose to do it, it will work. I am just tired of the marketing of these methods that make it look like it’s this “new thing” and this “new concept” and this “new secret weapon” and all it is, is the exact same thing with a different outfit on! I think we need to redefine health.

 What’s your go-to healing meal or drink?

I love a stir fry with shirataki noodles. It’s filling & delicious and I feel super healthy afterwards. A  ginger shot usually makes me feel all kinds of healthy! And I like to do a juice cleanse every once in a while.

 Any supplements that you swear by?

I actually am not a huge supplement person, when I competed I competed 100% naturally for seven years and only took a multivitamin. The only supplement I really take at the moment is vitamin C although I probably should take more.I just try to get as many vitamins and minerals I can from my food intake.

 Any healers, trainers, health care professionals that you’d highly recommend?

Well since I am new to Cape Town I haven’t met any here yet, but on a global level I really love the work Layne Norton does. Although he is very aggressive in his delivery, he is science-based and I appreciate that. And then on the other end of the spectrum I really love the work that Ashley James is doing from the Learn True Health podcast – it’s quite the opposite to Layne , but I love both sides. Although I am certified as a holistic health practitioner, I also study sports science , so I like to study and brush up on both and make my own decisions based on the reactions and results I see from my clients.

What does your skincare routine look like? What products are you using?

At the moment I am using Sorbet. I exfoliate once week and are use the Sorbet foam wash in the morning and at night and then the daily and nightly moisturizers. I also love to use coconut oil at night on my entire body and in my hair. Works like a bomb!

Your favourite quote or words of wisdom that you live by?

I have so many and when I am at different points in my life I find different quotes resonate with me, but at the moment I’ve been repeating to myself : “Do what you can, where you are with what you have.”

 What does your night time routine look like?

Usually I am doing work until I get tired and then I get ready for bed and either fall asleep listening to relaxing music or put my laptop and phone away and fall asleep immediately. I prefer to work at night so it usually tires me out and then I fall asleep quickly. I am used to being a night owl my entire life, but now because my husband goes to bed so early, I have learned to go to bed earlier and I am really loving getting up early! One thing I do religiously though: I never go to sleep without kissing hubby and saying “I love you.”

 If you could give one tip/piece of advice for a healthier, happier life …

I would get you to write out the top 12 priorities/goals in your life and group them into body, mind and soul categories and work on growing in all three of those areas. We often feel unhappy or unfulfilled if one of these three areas is lacking. It’s easier than you think!

You can find Andrea on Instagram @dreiawessels and on her YouTube channel Ambition Online . She is also going to be the manager and head trainer at the hot new F45 Training gym in Woodstock which will be opening in the beginning of May.