The Bulalicious Guide to The life of a Pacific Athlete
Bulalicious is a ladies activewear company specialising in surf, swim and gym wear based in the Fijian Islands and we have the exclusive on what it’s really like to be one of the fittest females within the Pacific. Have you ever wondered how a professional athlete trains? What meals they eat? How often do they eat? What’s their secret to being so focused on their goals? Bulalicious has all that information and more from our very own Bulalicious Ambassador Stef Carruthers. Stef is a professional tennis player who has competed in the women’s pro circuit all over the world. When you meet Stef, you wouldn’t be blamed for thinking she was everything you read a female superhero would look like. With her chiselled torso, lean physique and the muscle definition to make anyone want to put down that donut, she is every inch the female amazon. However, Stef is more than just a toned physique, with her strong Samoan background and having being raised with four other siblings Stef is as down to earth and as humble as they come. We caught up with Stef to get the low down on how you too can live on even the remotest of islands and still keep fit, fuel your body right and get that killer body you’ve always dreamt of. A woman true to her island roots, Stef is a role many to so many women in the Pacific with her work ethic, discipline and sheer determination to knock down the stereotypes and break through those glass ceilings in sport. Sport can be a fickle place of work especially when we look into equal opportunities and equal pay, but Stef has demonstrated the willpower to succeed and she doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. Now for all of us that don’t have a mean backhand swing or that outstanding nifty drop shot, we feel we can take just some of Stef’s training qualities and help to inspire our workouts here in the Islands. Here’s what a typical day in the life of Stef Carruthers looks like:
06:00AM - “Rise and shine - I say my morning prayers and help with the cleaning - this helps to get me focused before I rush into my day” 07:00AM - “Breakfast usually consists of oats with bananas and honey to fuel me for the day ahead” 08:00 - 08:30AM - “Fitness training - I play an all over game in tennis, which requires me to have high endurance which is why I love to get in a morning workout to focus on other key areas such as my agility, power and speed” 08:30AM - “I always ensure I am fuelled before and after I work out and often grab a piece of fruit before my next session allowing enough time for it to digest to ensure it doesn’t hinder my session” 09:00 - 11:00AM - “Tennis training - during this time I work on my game, footwork and shots. This is physically and mentally draining as tennis is a quick game and you have to be one shot ahead of your opponent. I love pushing myself in this time and seeing what I am really made of under pressure” 12:00 PM - “Lunch time - this normally consists of chicken with brown rice and vegetables” 1:30 - 2:00 PM - “Nap time - all of that strategic thinking and training wears me out and I need to rest” 3:00 - 7:00 PM - “Coaching time - I love being able to train the future tennis stars. It keeps me focused as I know I always have someone looking up to me and I want to inspire them, as many people did for me whilst I was growing up” 8:00 PM - “Family time - I love nothing more than catching up with my family after a long day on the courts. I usually eat vegetables and lean meats such as chicken, avoiding heavy carbohydrates such as rice which would be difficult for me to digest”
10:30 PM - “Prayers and lights out - without a good night’s sleep, my body cannot recover and my mind cannot rest, therefore I like to ensure I have a good sleep before I rise to do it all over again in the morning. Stef has given us some of her top tips to promote a more healthier, active you and potentially give your fitness regimes a little vavavoom…. 1) BE AN EARLY RISER - Stef wastes no time in laying in bed once the sun is up she grabs that extra hour of training and knows that every spare minute she can get in training is another minute closer to her goal. So many of us waste so many hours in bed when we could be experiencing more of the day. Set your alarm one hour earlier for a week and see what you can achieve with another seven hours of your life. 2) TRAIN WITH A PARTNER - Stef’s other half is Manu Samoan player Kaino Kasimani, whom she says helps her to push herself with their competitive workouts. Training with a partner can help add variety to your workouts, as well as helping to keep you on track and having someone else to motivate you. 3) LET YOUR FAMILY KNOW YOUR GOALS - One of the many benefits of so many people here in the Pacific is that everywhere you look there’s a relative, the Pacific support network is huge. Therefore let your family know your goals, this will ensure there’s always an aunty checking up on you or
a distant cousin asking you about your next workout. 4) LIVE OFF THE ISLAND - As a professional athlete Stef monitors what goes into her body as she knows that this is her fuel for her next session and what she eats will effect her performance. One of the main rules she stands by is that if it didn’t come from the land she’ll think twice about putting it into her body. Natural food sources such as meat, fruit and vegetables are what the very first people on the islands grew up on and it shouldn’t be any different now. 5) VARY UP YOUR ROUTINE - Although Stef is a professional tennis player, a lot of her workouts consist of sprinting, plyometrics, circuit training and conditioning. If your fitness routine leaves little to be desired and you’re finding it hard to take yourself to the gym after a long day at work because you lack motivation, then you need to vary up your routine. Take yourself on a 30 minute power sprint on your lunch hour, this way you know you can’t sneak off home when you get tired and you know you have to get it done or your boss will be searching for you. 6) STEP OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE - Stef is a true believer that nothing worth having should ever come easy. Doing the same thing every day will just get you the same results. It’s time to shake up your fitness regime and wake up your body. Hikes up the nearest mountain, box-fit on the beach and weekend aerial-pilates classes are a great way to add variety to your regime. 7) GET INSPIRED - Stef’s ultimate role model is Steffi Graf whom she was named after and who has been a key inspiration to her life after winning 22 grand slam titles throughout her career. Stef is also inspired by Graf’s life after professional tennis, through her commitment to coaching and running an academy, something Stef now does on a daily basis back home in Samoa. It may be their body confidence or their ability to train every day even with their high power job that inspires you, but whatever the reason choose someone who inspires you to want to be a better you. 8) KNOW WHEN TO REST - Stef has overcome a series of injuries throughout her tennis career, however the key to her speedy recovery and limited loss of game time was knowing when to rest. Training seven days a week may sound good in principle, however your body has no time to recover and will become weaker, meaning you are more prone to injury. 9) TREAT YOURSELF - We all have a vice, for some it’s coffee and others it’s chocolate cake, but for Stef she loves nothing more than a homemade hamburger with fries. If you train hard then you shouldn’t deprive yourself of the things you love. Life is too short to not eat your favourite foods once in a while. 10) BE CLEAR WITH WHAT YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE - So many times people head to the gym only to realise they don’t actually know what they want to achieve when they are there. One of Stef’s main pieces of advice is “I knew from the get go that tennis was my calling and still to this day I let nothing stand in my way. Be sure that you go out and get what you desire from your life and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.” Now, the life of a professional athlete or the idea of training six hours a day isn’t for us all, but hopefully with our insight into Stef’s life as a professional athlete you can take some of her health and fitness tips and add them to your life in a way that suits you.
Happy training... Loloma Levu, The Bulalicious Activewear Team
Bulalicious is sold worldwide via our online store www.bulalicious.com, Essentials Port Denarau, Essence of Fiji Rejuvenation Centre Nadi, RFx Boutique Suva and Prouds in both Suva and Nadi.