“Don’t stress. What is meant to be, will be. Just focus on kicking ass at life and fun, the rest will work itself out.”
Aussie Avril Mathie has made an illustrious career for herself in fitness, modeling, and boxing. She stays in great shape all year, and took the time to chat with FitnessRx Women this past week and share her training and diet tips, beauty regimen and her favorite inspirational quotes.
FitRx: Hi Avril! Thank you so much for taking the time to do this! Can you start by telling us a little bit about yourself currently?
Avril: Hey! I am 28 and from Australia and recently just moved to Miami. I’m a bit of a gypsy. My goal in life is very simple: to see every corner of this earth, to learn something from everyone I meet and to add some kind of value back to their lives. I always find it hard to describe my “job title,” but basically I work in fitness. For the past seven to eight years I have been a personal trainer and gym owner (in Australia) and recently just launched my online fitness program Body By Avril Mathie. It took me 3.5 years to create, but the feedback has made it so worth it!
I also do a little bit of modeling, mainly swimwear and active wear, public speaking and pageants. I got into pageants mainly because I LOVE traveling and there are some great opportunities for that, though it turned out they are quite lucrative too and after winning Miss Swimsuit USA International 2014 and the $50,000 Las Vegas International Model Search six months ago, it has turned into a career that has led me to move to the opposite side of the world!
I also have a luxe women’s active wear label, Mathie Athletic that I launched earlier this year and a blog (avrilmathie.com) that covers all my favorite things and personal experiences—d fitness, fashion, food, travel— so between all that life is always pretty fun and interesting!
FitRx: Wow, so you definitely stay busy! In addition to being a model, you are also a boxer, which is super awesome! How did you get into boxing?
Avril: I am! I basically I started out doing Muay Thai after a guy grabbed me on the butt at a high school party and I nearly broke my thumb punching him incorrectly (don’t get the wrong idea; I am generally not a violent person, but being touched inappropriately is something I will not tolerate). I did Muay Thai on and off for years mainly just for fitness, though after a string of injuries and a broken toe, I started boxing just to stay fit.
The coach I had at the time started to teach me more the tactical side of the sport rather than just how to punch, and that was when I first became interested in fighting— I mean, how else to put my new knowledge to the test? I had my first fight six months later (May 2013) and I was addicted, so it was only natural to follow it up with 10 more. My current record is 11 fights, eight wins including one TKO. I haven’t fought in about 18 months now, though; I traveled a lot and worked, so hard last year it was impossible to focus on a proper fight training schedule. But since moving to Miami two-and-a-half months ago, I have been training at the 5th Street Gym every day with some top notch coaches and pro boxers there, and I can’t wait to jump back in the ring this June/July!
FitRx: That’s exciting… good luck! You have an insane physique and great abs, which you maintain all year. Do you have an ab workout you can share?
Avril: Oh, thank you! Boxing has a lot to do with that. I actually don’t have a specific ab workout that I do, in fact I don’t train abs too much at all. I prefer to work my inner core unit, pelvic floor, transverse abdominals and obliques, as it gives me more “shape” (that curvy tighter waist, bigger hips look) and a flatter stomach.
These are some of my favorite ab exercises:
Tabletop Kickouts: Lie on your back with your feet up— knees can be bent or straight— and slowly and with a lot of control kick out and then in one leg at a time while focusing in drawing in your lower abs
Oblique twists on the cable machine— don’t move anything below your hips
Single-arm wall ball slams (throwing a heavy ball really powerfully against a wall with one arm and then catching it as fast as you can)
Any jumping exercises (you’ve got to make sure you lift from the pelvic floor when you launch up)
I usually just add about 10 minutes of core work to the end of a boxing session twice a week, and then might throw one or two of these exercises into the resistance training circuits that I do.
I think boxing on its own is actually one of the best core workouts, as it works your muscles from all different directions as you powerfully twist and move. Plus, it’s so much fun that you don’t even realize how hard you’re working while burning a ton of calories, so you rip into shape very fast! For this reason, boxing workouts are a big part of my BodyBAM program!
FitRx: Thanks! I’ll have to try some of those tabletop kicks my next workout. Those are new to me! I’m sure your diet is also really important to maintaining your physique as well, what does your typical diet look like?
Avril: Diet is so important for more than just my physique, it’s about feeling good and having a ton of energy all the time too! Over the past 10 years I’ve tried a lot of the fad diets going around— sometimes just out of curiosity— so I can honestly tell you that nothing beats a balanced diet. I prefer to think of food in term of food groups rather than macros; it’s a lot easier and healthy. Effective nutrition is about more than just protein, carbs and fats anyway. I eat a lot of vegetables and carbs, and a little meat, dairy, fruit and fat. It’s not rocket science; if you stick as much as possible to chemical-free, unprocessed natural foods then you’re on the right path. The rest is just getting the quantities and balance right.
My typical day looks something like this:
Breakfast: 2 whole egg omelet with sweet potato, zucchini, asparagus, onion, sundried tomatoes and spinach, topped with avocado and goats cheese mash. And green tea, sometimes plain black coffee. I have friends that joke that this is not an omelet, it’s more of a veggie scramble with barely enough egg to hold it all together.
Post-Training: Fruit with Kefir (fermented yoghurt) and high fiber cereal
Lunch (maybe an hour later): Chicken and salad and some avocado and tomato on toast while I whip it up (I am so impatient when it comes to food), or a huge roast veggie and feta sandwich with some chicken or fish on the side. Since moving to USA I am addicted to the sesame Ezekiel bread!
Dinner: Salmon and noodles with spinach, zucchini and lemon juice. Often dinner is just some kind of half-cooked, half-raw thrown together of whatever protein, carbs and vegetables I have in the fridge and is cookable in 10 minutes or less. And then I just use one or five of garlic, herbs, onion, paprika, dukkah, acuka (a low-calorie European capsicum paste), olive oil, sea salt or feta cheese to add some flavor if necessary.
FitRx: You make healthy eating sound so fun and easy! I love it. In addition to your diet, what does your training currently look like?
Avril: At the moment, my training is mostly boxing orientated because I am going to be fighting again soon. On days I train twice I eat a lot more than above, though this is usually only twice a week. When I’m not fighting I usually only train once a day over six days: two days resistance/plyometric based, two days high intensity (usually boxing), two days low-intensity boxing or cardio, and then yoga on my off day.
Right now my schedule is:
Sunday: Resistance training and a long run (about an hour). These two sessions are separate at different times of the day.
Monday: Boxing and core work.
Tuesday: Sparring (boxing) and finish with footwork drills (gets the legs and glutes). Sometimes I might go running in the evening for 30 minutes, but faster pace than my long run.
Wednesday: Boxing and core work. This one is not a super hard session, focusing more on technique.
Thursday: Sparring (boxing) and finish with some plyometric and upper body resistance exercises.
Friday: Boxing. Sometimes a run in the evening, but I usually limit to two runs per week, one long and slow and one that’s shorter and faster.
Saturday: Rest day. I stretch every day, but today I’ll do some deep slow yoga and really relax and unwind my body.
My resistance training is very functional and usually almost all bodyweight and plyometric stuff, sometimes using bits and pieces of equipment. I travel a lot so I’ve been able to come up with some pretty killer hotel room workouts in my time, which was actually the inspiration for the BodyBAM workouts.
FitRx: Sounds tough, but effective! As a fitness model, you pretty much have to be in shape all year. How do you do that? Are there any major keys to staying motivated and in great shape all year?
Avril: I always tell my clients, the way you get fit (eat/train etc) has to be something that you can do forever. Staying in shape all year round is actually really easy with a balanced diet, and when you get enough sleep and don’t over-train. I feel like where most people go wrong is by wanting results tomorrow, and so they do these crazy diets cutting out food groups or taking supplements, or exercise regimes that they are never going to be able to maintain. Of course you will get great results in the short term, but as soon as you stop whatever you are doing (inevitable) then you’re going to lose your results.
When you over-train, deprive yourself of sleep or cut out food groups, over time your body becomes deficient and you get cravings often for worse things. I don’t get cravings because I eat to fuel my body and give it everything it needs—l though don’t get me wrong, I have in the past before I figured this all out. Of course, there are times where someone puts an amazing cheesecake in front of me and if I really want it, sometimes I’ll have it, because it’s not going to kill me once in a while. But I don’t go seeking out these things because I don’t feel I need them— and often when I do have them, how I feel the next day is a subtle reminder of how life will go if I keep at it.
I don’t train for more than 45-60 minutes at a time and if I need a rest day mid-week, I’ll take a rest day. Paying close attention to how your body feels and responds to things and staying on top of it is important. Constantly reminding yourself not just of the end goal, but WHY you want to achieve this goal and how it will make you feel when you do is key to maintaining motivation.
FitRx: Great advice. Your clients are lucky to be learning from you. What beauty regimen do you use daily to keep your face photo shoot ready?
Avril: Sweating, good nutrition and drinking a lot of water! Years ago, before I was as healthy as I am now, my skin was always very oily, even though I would wash my face with a good face wash three times a day, I’d still get the pimples here and there. Now that I drink around 4L of water each day, eat so much better and train regularly I find I only need to wash my face with a face wash once a day when I shower, and then at other times just with water. I always moisturize every time I wash my face, even if only with water. My favorite products are from Biotherm. I have to buy it online, but I just haven’t found anything better!
In summer (when I’m training in shorts and singlets and rubbing shoulders with other sweaty people) I sometimes get a bit of body acne, so I use an anti-bacterial face wipe on my face and body straight away after training, as well as acne-fighting body washes that keeps my skin clear!
FitRx: Thanks for sharing! Sounds simple, especially with all the photo shoots you do. What are your current fitness goals?
Avril: My friends laugh at this one— to become a boxing world champion without getting super muscular arms and abs…or legs… basically, without getting super muscular. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, and I think other girls look great like that, but it doesn’t work for my modeling career. I guess black eyes don’t either, though, but at least you can cover them up with makeup.
FitRx: The goals people laugh at are the best goals in my opinion! Even if it sounds crazy, that is a great motivator! What is the best advice you have ever been given?
Avril: I have been given so much great advice in my time. Some of the more life-changing tips at the time for me were:
Not every training session has to be a super hard one. Low-intensity training is a lot more beneficial than many people realize.
Never compare your chapter one to someone else’s chapter 20.
The flower doesn’t dream of the bee. It blossoms and the bee comes.
FitRx: I love those! Do you have a quote or motto that you live by?
Avril: Actually, I wrote myself a note when I first moved to Miami, and a picture of it is now my screen saver on my iPhone putting me at ease on the daily:
“Don’t stress. What is meant to be, will be. Just focus on kicking ass at life and fun, the rest will work itself out.”
FitRx: Love that too! My screen saver is Que Sera Sera – “what will be will be.” But I love the focal point that your motto adds. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your training and beauty secrets with me and FitnessRx for Women! Before you go, is there anything else you would like to share?
Avril: Over the next few months, I will be presenting free seminars, workshops and boot camps around the country, so make sure you follow me on Instagram to stay up to date with any events in your area!
FitRx: Sounds Great! Thanks again! Best of luck to you in everything, Avril!
For more on Avril: