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Zoë Daly interview – One of Australia’s most inspirational fitness models and personal trainers

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[Photo credit: Pat Lee]

Today, Zoe Daly shares with us her training and diet tips, tells us why she’s never fallen victim to fitness gimmicks and let’s us know what truly motivates her as a model and personal trainer.
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First up Zoë, how did you get started in your career as a fitness model and personal trainer?

Zoë Daly: I began competing on my Birthday in 2010, I didn’t really plan it, I didn’t prep at all!

People always used to ask me if I competed and I didn’t even know what they meant. I had never even watched a comp. I became curious so I did some research and found a comp that was coming up and decided to give it a go… to overcome stage fright & symbolise to me the great place I was in in my life, emotionally & physically. I placed 3rd that day in a line up of close to 30 girls — I didn’t even know how to pose & didn’t have a proper tan. I was ecstatic & was hooked from that moment. I never dreamed of the success that was to follow over the next 2 years. Every time I competed I learnt something new. Nobody ever showed me, I didn’t have a coach or a trainer IT WAS ALL ME.

Knowing how happy I feel when I look after myself keeps me on track every day.

I became a Personal Trainer in 2008, prior to that I was selling prestige cars, racing cars & also studying Interior Design.

My desire to be part of the fitness industry became more prominent after I started doing the odd weights or yoga class and noticing my physique respond, becoming stronger and more defined. Mind you, I only started “proper” weight training in April 2011 (I have gained around 6 kg of lean muscle in that time).

I have always been fit and healthy — very athletic growing up. My passion intensified when I started going to the gym regularly in 2007. I did lots of classes: Body Balance, Yoga, Pilates, Body Attack & Body Pump.

I started to look super fit & everyone started asking me for advice — my friends wanted me to train them, so I decided It was time to get certified!

Zoe Daly

What ‘s the most important thing that has kept you motivated over the years?

Zoë Daly: Feeling & looking my best is my biggest motivator! Knowing how happy I feel when I look after myself keeps me on track every day.

I hear you were a bit of a ‘tom boy’ growing up – what are some of the sports that have made you who you are today?

Zoë Daly: Yes I was, and I guess I still am!

I was close to my older brother growing up so I was always trying to keep up with him. I really did everything — I was a sponsored rollerblader at age 10, I use to drop in on 10 foot half pipes. I was also a figure (ice) skater, then I took up skateboarding and surfing. I skateboarded on bowls & surfed at Newport Peak — Tom Carroll was often out there with me. He used to always say that it was great to have the girls out there giving it a go. I also learned to ski age 10 on double black diamond runs in the USA.

All of these sports gave me amazing core strength and I know this is why my abs are so strong (I have used them my entire life). I don’t even really train abs these days and they are my best feature.

I also played baseball, I loved athletics and cross-country. However, 800 meters & long jump were my favourites (I used to make it to regionals every year). I also did Little Athletics and was a Nipper for 5 years. Oh, I nearly forgot bike riding! I live on ‘The Plateau’, meaning lots of hills. I have grown up riding to Palm Beach or to Bayview, I am very lucky to live on the beautiful Northern Beaches — we are surrounded by a natural playground.

What are some of the ‘titles’ you’ve won in recent times?

Zoë Daly: I’ve won 5 titles — The 2 greatest were the (first ever) prestigious, Asia Pacific Fitness Model title in June 2011 & the IFBB Nationals in October 2011. Both earned me invites to International competitions. I could only choose one of these, so I chose the Arnold Festival in Columbus Ohio (USA) as at the time, I believed it was the right option for me.Zoe Daly

What are some of the other writers, artists, models and fitness leaders that have inspired you?

Zoë Daly: Jamie Eason is my absolute favourite female fitness ambassador (I just adore her!) She is beautiful (inside and out), innovative, kind hearted, intelligent, ahead of the game, one of a kind. I noticed her in a fitness magazine about 4 years ago as I have a similar physique to her, and thought “that’s what I need to do!”. I was so happy I got to meet her at the expo the day after I competed at the Arnold. She gave me some great advice.

I also love Amanda Latona. Jennifer Nicole Lee inspires me as she is just so business savvy (she knows how to make an impact and that’s impressive). She’s a fitness model, author, entrepreneur and mogul — very motivational.

I debunk a lot of gimmicks and scams on this site. Is there anything fitness related that you’ve fallen victim to yourself and wasted your money on in the past?

Zoë Daly: Yes, there is a lot of absolute garbage out there! Luckily I haven’t fallen victim to any of it. I have been lucky to grow up in a very switched on home and educated on matters like this from a young age. My mother is a doctor and my father a Bio Medical Electrical Engineer (both fitness enthusiasts too).

We have always had a home gym and I can spot the real-deal from fraud miles away…

So what’s your own physical feature that you’re most proud of?

Zoë Daly: Definitely my abs, or perhaps my smile :)

What is your diet like? Do you stick to a method (such as intermittent fasting etc)? What’s your approach?

Zoë Daly: I tend to apply a 90/10 rule where I eat SUPER clean 90% of the time, and 10% of the time I relax.

I have a major sweet tooth, but I don’t let it control me. I have an indulgent cheat meal once a week, but if I’m getting ready for a comp or shoot, I reduce this to once every fortnight.

My weakness is chocolate so I often go to Max Brenners (chocolate cafe) or make my own gluten free brownie covered in all different types of melted chocolate.

I don’t personally believe in intermittent fasting. I feel terrible if I don’t eat my breakfast within half an hour of waking up. I also believe that exercising prior to breakfast has adverse effects on the metabolism. It may work in the short term for initial fat loss as it shocks the body, but it doesn’t have longevity and will result in a slowed metabolism and loss of lean muscle if continued for long periods of time.

Eat protein with EVERY meal. This helps with satiety, keeps you fuller for longer and helps lean muscle gain (feed the muscle, burn the fat).

Are there any KEY diet or training tips that you adhere to and would recommend to my readers?

Zoë Daly: Yes certainly!

Eat 5/6 small meals (2-3 hrs apart) each day. Eating large meals can stretch the stomach, leading to over-eating and can leave you feeling bloated. By spreading your daily caloric intake over 5 smaller meals you will feel lighter and more energised.

Eat protein with EVERY meal. This helps with satiety, keeps you fuller for longer and helps lean muscle gain (feed the muscle, burn the fat).

Don’t eat processed food – keep it natural. All your meals should be a balance of protein (for satiety) good fats (for hormonal balance) and low GI carbs (for muscle glycogen & brain function).

Drink plenty of water! If you’re dehydrated your body will actually store fluid (amongst many health issues). Eat breakfast within half an hour of waking to kickstart your metabolism (a great fat loss breakfast is red meat and nuts).

Weight training! Building and maintaining lean muscle mass is SO important – it increases your resting metabolic rate so your body becomes more efficient at burning calories (even whilst you are sitting down reading this). Not to mention creating a tight, toned physique along with so many other benefits.

What supplements do you use if any? If not, why not?

Zoë Daly: I use some supplements, but that’s just what they are — supplements. Nothing works quite like a great diet and training does.

I use WPI & glutamine post training, tyrosine, omega DHA, multi vitamins, vitamin C in the morning and magnesium before bed.Zoe Daly

What’s a day-in-the-life for Zoë Daly like? Give us a run-down of how you eat, train and move on a regular day.

Zoë Daly: Breakfast, answering emails, training, then I generally go sit somewhere beautiful and do some work. Other than my PT clients, I have an online business so my office is wherever i want it to be.

What’s next on the horizon for Zoe Daly?

Zoë Daly: Lot’s of exciting things in the pipeline!

Life is a continuous flow of energy — bringing new options and opening a new door the moment one closes. I am doing my Poliquin Bio Signature course in a few weeks, then next year I plan on studying psychology at university. Possible shoots in LA early 2013, and a possible comeback in the competition world — lots of possibilities!

I have also just signed with Body Science (BSc) and I am looking forward to doing some amazing work with them.

Positivity is like a Boomerang, send it out and it will surely come back to you.

Are you on Fitocracy or any other health related social sites?

Zoë Daly: No not at this stage, but please join me on my Facebook athlete page where I love to inspire everyday.

Thanks for your time Zoe, is there anything you’d like to add?

Zoë Daly: You’re welcome Clint!

Yes I would like to quickly add to always believe in yourself, to keep chasing your dreams, even if people say they are impossible to achieve — if you want it, go get it!

What I always say and wholeheartedly believe: “Positivity is like a Boomerang, send it out and it will surely come back to you”.

Zoë Daly’s social circle

If you’d like to get in touch with Zoë, checkout her site and social pages:

Website: abzolutefitness.com
Facebook: facebook.com/ZoeDalyFitnessModel

AUTHOR - Clint Nielsen

Clint is a dad and husband trying to stay in shape. He's also a highly opinionated fitness enthusiast and author of Reveal The Steel. Follow him on: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Google+