RACHAEL NEWSHAM: HOW I STAY IN SHAPE
by Rachael Newsham
When I’m Auckland I teach five classes a week. And I absolutely smack it every time to make sure I’m delivering a killer workout for my class. I rehearse for one hour before every class, and then I also have my design time, when I’m choreographing the next workout. And I’m not sitting down when I’m choreographing these moves – I’m doing them.
I don’t teach on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, so I use these days as opportunities for recovery and other types of exercise – e.g. a BODYPUMP™ class, kickboxing workout, LES MILLS BARRE™, LES MILLS GRIT™ – depending on how much design I’m doing and where I am on the calendar of 12 weeks (the weekly filming cycle for each release).
If I dedicate a whole day to dance I can be in the studio at the Les Mills office, or at my desk, dancing from the minute I get to work to the minute I go home - and I’ll continue when I get home. When I’m trying to fix a problem with a track I’ll keep going over the same thing, trying to make it work, or come up with something else that might work better.
When I’m on the road I belong to whoever I’m there for. So I’m doing the workouts that I’m paid to do, and I’m doing the rehearsals with the teams.
You’re not going to find me at the gym every day at a certain time doing a certain workout – that’s not how I operate. I’m not a gym addict in any sense of the word. If I miss a workout, life doesn’t stop! When I can, I’m out of the gym doing other stuff. I walk for an hour every day – minimum. I have my set walks, which are part of my daily activity. My walking allows me to dream, it’s like planning time and active meditation, where I can zone out and just be in touch with nature. Sometimes I have no podcasts, no music, no nothing – I’m there just walking. Sometimes I’m listening to podcasts to educate myself, and sometimes I’m just listening to my music – my playlist – trying to imagine or create the next move.
MY WEEKLY CLASS SCHEDULE
- Wednesday 5:10pm BODYCOMBAT™
- Thursday 5:30pm SH’BAM™
- Friday 10:10am BODYCOMBAT
- Friday 1:10pm SH’BAM
- Saturday 11:00am SH’BAM
MY DAILY FOOD PLAN
My alarm goes off at 6am and I have my breakfast around 6:30am – which is a protein shake with full fat milk. My current flavour is raspberry and white chocolate, and before that it was chocolate peanut butter.
I go into the Les Mills office and I head to our local coffee shop to grab a double shot flat white with full fat milk. This will see me through til about 10:30am, when I’ll head up to our kitchen and snack on some nuts – cashews, almonds, Brazil nuts – and I’ll get another coffee.
I have lunch between 12.30pm and 1:00pm and it might be anything from leftovers from the night before, or some kind of chicken salad with prosciutto and almonds, or tuna and salmon sashimi, or a coconut chicken curry with hot vegetables. If I’m on the go I’ll grab a wrap. I don’t follow a diet plan. I like to feel full from my meals so I include lots of protein.
Friday is my crazy day when I teach BODYCOMBAT at 10.10am and then SH’BAM at 1:10pm. On Fridays I have my protein shake, then come into the Les Mills office and prep with Dan (Cohen) for an hour before class. After BODYCOMBAT I’ll have something light like toast with eggs and avocado. I’ll then prep SH’BAM from 12pm until 1pm, teach my class, and then have lunch around 3:00pm.
In the afternoon I might have a piece of fruit. I don’t tend to snack much during the day. It’s in the evening that I’ll snack. I love chips – Doritos Cool Original are my favourite!
If I’m not teaching in the evening I’ll get home around 7pm and I like to make a home-cooked meal. I’m not much of a fast-food person. I enjoy cooking and my go-to meals are a chicken stir fry, or a chili con carne with beef and pork, or a Thai green curry with coconut cream, served with kale and spinach. After dinner I might have some squares of chocolate – the whole block, not just a few squares by the way! My current favourite is Whittaker’s milk chocolate. I also like the coconut block, the berry and biscuit, or the peanut butter… anything chocolate really!
To unwind I either read or catch up on my favourite TV shows. I’ve just finished reading The Code of the Extraordinary Mind. Over Christmas I got completely addicted to Game of Thrones and I watched the entire seven series over few weeks. I had to wean myself off it because it was becoming an addiction! I decided I didn’t want to spend the rest of the year sitting on the couch watching box sets. If I’m working on a new release I might dedicate my evening to listening to the music for my programs. I always have a cup of herbal tea – peppermint, raspberry, detox - before bed and I like to be in bed by 10pm.
During filming week, everything goes out the window! I need to be super prepared with my meals, and I need to eat a lot more. My working day will start around 7am or 8am and normally go through to 9pm. It’s very active as we will have two classes and two mirror sessions, and each mirror session can be three hours. I prepare and freeze all my meals before filming week and I have to be very strategic when I eat so that I’m not eating too close to the next workout.
I don’t have a lot of consistency in my life – my inconsistency is my consistency! I pretty much ping pong from one thing to the next. For me, it’s important to find my anchors when I have inconsistent travel, sleep, eating and training patterns. My anchors are: my home, my family, my close friends, and the Les Mills office. These things provide the consistency amongst the craziness. They enable me to stay grounded and get things done.
Rach’s Thai Green Chicken Curry
1 tbsp coconut oil
1-2 tbsp ready-made green curry paste
6 chicken thighs, skinless and boneless
400ml tin coconut milk
1 teaspoon ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 onion, chopped
100g green beans, trimmed and halved (aubergine or courgette work well too)
Kale, spinach or kumara
- Heat the oil in a wok. Add chopped onion, garlic and ginger and stir until onions are translucent
- Add the coconut milk, chicken, green beans (or aubergine or courgette) and green Thai curry paste. Bring the mixture to the boil, then reduce the heat until the mixture is simmering
- Continue to simmer for about 25 minutes until the chicken is cooked
- Serve with any combination of spinach, kale, kumara or rice! I also like to freeze this for my meals during filming week.