Marina Pavlenko, a calisthenics athlete, mobility coach and handstand pro from the Ukraine, is passionate about fitness. Here’s how the bubbly athlete stays in shape while having her chocolate and eating it too.
Healthy morning routine
“I always wake up at 6am and start my day with a glass of warm water with Himalayan salt and my green elixir (a mix of Maca powder, chlorella and glutamine powders). Many people tell me it tastes bad, but I’m so happy with all the energy it gives me. And it tastes just fine for me!
“I’ll then get my skin ready for the day. I’m actually really bad with skin routines, but I definitely always put on sunscreen when I use vitamin C serums. It’s so important.
“If I have a few spare minutes while waiting for my Uber, I try to meditate and set my intentions for the day.”
Healthy work day
“I’m a freelance handstands and mobility coach and I try to keep training fun. If my clients enjoy it, I feel a lot of energy! For myself, I typically train in the morning, since training perks me up. I find it difficult to fall to sleep if I train too late.
“Due to a pretty hectic schedule, I don’t have a set time for my meals. In general I have a pretty heavy and late lunch, so dinner tends to be quite light. I might have fish with vegetables, or even just cottage cheese.
“My favorite healthy recipe is pumpkin soup with coconut and ginger, which is really so simple. Preheat oil, add two cloves of garlic and ginger, and in a minute add pumpkin cubes. Stir it all together, then in another minute add enough water to cover the pumpkin. Cook until the whole thing is soft, then blend well and add coconut milk to taste.
“I do have a favorite late afternoon snack: Protein Bakeshop chocolate truffles! Too much sugar or too many carbs make me feel sluggish or slow, so I keep some nuts or berries in my bag for a little boost.
“If my energy ever starts to flag, I do a bit of cardio.”
“If I’m going to indulge in a meal out, I’ll head for steak. I love The Meat Co in Madinat Jumeirah – this has always been my place to go! For dessert, I’m honestly not a big fan of cakes, but I love fruits of all shapes and sizes.
“As for evenings, they’re always different! I keep them free for friends and loved ones, and my capoeira (a type of Afro-Brazilian martial arts) practice. If I have nothing on, I go home and crash around 9pm! I have a little bag with lavender that I keep under my pillow. I’m not sure if this helps, I just love the smell!
“At night, since I barely use any makeup, I have a pretty simple routine. I wash my face, then use toner and hydrating gel. I love SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 Gel at night, and Serum 10 with Vitamin C in the morning.”
Featured photo: Marina Pavlenko
Danae Mercer is a freelance health and travel journalist. In addition to working as editor-in-chief of Women's Health Middle East and Men's Health Middle East, Danae has written for The Sunday Times, CNN Travel, Dubai Tourism, The Guardian, Afar, Bloomberg and many more. She's based in Dubai and is a trainer at Crank. instagram.com/danaemercer