Anastasia Tsobanopulos, clean living and holidays

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Remember Anastasia, like you could really forget her introduction here, well we caught up with her after the Arnold Classic to see how her training was going.

We asked about the Arnold Classic her plans for the rest of the year. And of course we’re bringing you some photos from her most recent photoshoot!

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RRD: You recently attended the Arnold Classic – unfortunately you didn’t compete, but we’re sure you will be soon! What was this experience like and why is having the Arnolds in South Africa so important to the body building community?

AT: It was a privilege to be able to attend the Arnold Classic last month and to be there to support some of my friends that were competing. I think it is awesome that we are now on the map to host such an exceptional show – I mean hello… it’s the Arnold Classic! This gives local competitors the opportunity to compete at an international level and could potentially open doors internationally. You never know!

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RRD: What do you learn watching the competition?

AT: I keep an eye out for stage presence and try note what to do and what not to do.  I also look at the overall package that the competitor presents on stage – and pull ideas for my next show. But most of all – watching the competition always gives me that extra kick to push harder.

RRD: You were on holiday recently in Vietnam and Thailand – what are the struggles keeping fit while on holiday?

AT: The biggest struggle for me is a mental one, accepting that I need to let go a little. The next biggest struggle is the food of course. I have no struggle going to the gym while on holiday, I only missed gym twice and those were the 2 days that I was travelling. I think when I’m eating off diet – wanting to burn the calories and train just comes naturally for me. The only difficult thing is watching my body change (and not for the better) haha. But I was on holiday and had to taste both countries – and that’s exactly what I did. Also remember your body will react to change, and in my case it was going from winter into 36 degree humid weather and of course new and different foods. I was pretty swollen for the first few days so that also makes it harder, but I trained through it and my body quickly adjusted.

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RRD: Does an eating plan go out the window when you’re on holiday?

AT: If I wanted to, I could have stuck to my eating plan, but as mentioned I chose to rather enjoy the food. I found all the healthy spots of course. I couldn’t eat junk all day long so some of my meals were clean. The gym sold lean meals, and I found a few fresh healthy cafes too. Every morning I bought hard boiled eggs and just had my usual egg whites for breakfast. BUT…. I did not stop myself from tasting all the weird and wonderful foods in the East.

RRD: How do you find the different cuisines? What do you need to be wary of with Vietnamese or Thai cuisine?

AT: The food in Vietnam was a lot healthier than the food in Thailand. In Vietnam a lot of their meals are steamed, where as in Thailand it is more deep fried and fried. Thailand also uses a lot of sugar in their foods, I could taste it instantly. Obviously I wasn’t used to their cuisines so it does take a toll on the system but I wouldn’t necessarily say in a bad way. I ate lots of hot spicy foods – and I like hot – but these were extra hot. At least it keeps the metabolism going haha. I also found myself eating lots of pork and shrimp, and I don’t usually eat pork at all. I made the mistake once of travelling and not tasting the traditional foods, can’t do it again. For me, food is the best way to experience a new country. Sometimes I had no idea what I was even eating – it was fantastic!

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RRD: What news do you have on your competitions?

AT: I have actually decided to change federations, and I will be competing next year at the WBFF. I feel the WBFF is a federation better suited for me. So I have a good year ahead to prep, I’m super excited! I’m not so sure how I will wait an entire year before I compete – I will definitely get itchty feet. So for now the next one is June 2017 WBFF – but lets not act too surprised if you see me on stage sooner!

RRD: You’ve been doing a few more photoshoots, does being as fit and toned as you are make you more comfortable and confident infront of a camera?

AT: The better shape I am in, obviously the more confident I am in front of the camera. In fact I never use to like being in front of camera, and now I love it. Getting into fitness really boosted my confidence. But if you’re happy within – who really cares right? Take a fat snap – I don’t mind haha.

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RRD: You travel a lot for work as well, do you find having to go to new gyms alone often a hindrance or an adventure for you and your training?

AT: I truly am blessed to be able to travel and I get such a thrill from being in new places. Going to new gyms is definitely an adventure for me, and because I’m in new territory I often find myself pushing even harder. I’ve grown up enjoying my own company (sometimes too much), so training alone doesn’t bother me in a new gym. And I love meeting new people that share the same passion, so the more I move around the more people I meet – it’s great!

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RRD: What advise could you give to those planning a holiday who want to stay in shape?

AT: The first thing I do once I’ve booked my holiday is source the nearest gym, and no matter what they charge, I make it part of my daily budget. Get up in the mornings and hit that gym first thing. Rather get it done because later doesn’t always happen, especially when you’re on holiday. It will give you extra energy to enjoy the rest of the day exploring and you will also feel less guilty for enjoying the food the country has to offer. I also choose to do lots of walking around, keeps the metabolism going. If there is no gym, go for morning runs, hire a bicycle, etc. There is always a way. If you choose to eat clean on your holiday then the best place to ask for all the health spots is of course the gym – it’s worked for me every time. But generally whereever you go should offer some healthy options, depends how clean you plan to keep it. But most importantly – be sure to enjoy that holiday!

You can follow Anastasia on Instagram here.

Photos: Naco Rautenbach

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