A Leading Pilates Instructor Shares Her Health & Fitness Rules
A Leading Pilates Instructor Shares Her Health & Fitness Rules

A Leading Pilates Instructor Shares Her Health & Fitness Rules

Epsom salt baths, daily spin classes and protein-rich smoothies all help keep Marsha Lindsay on track. Here, the head of Pilates at Nobu Portman Square tells us what her average week looks like and how she keeps her mental health in check…
By Tor West
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Images: @KOBOX; @PILATESBYMARSHA; NOBU

@PILATESBYMARSHA

My day starts with hot water, honey and ACV. The first thing I drink in the morning is a mug of hot water with Bragg organic apple cider vinegar and a little honey. Drinking ACV is a traditional home remedy that’s stood the test of time – benefits include lower blood sugar levels and an improved metabolism. It’s a natural source of probiotics, too. Having this on an empty stomach fires up the metabolism, so I then head off to a spin class at Soul Cycle

I love a protein smoothie. If nutritionally balanced, a smoothie is a great way to pack in the nutrients when you’re pushed for time – it’ll also sustain energy and elevate mood. After spinning, I make my morning shake with a scoop of Form Nutrition chocolate peanut protein powder, one banana, a tablespoon of flaxseed (great for fibre and healthy fats), Almaseed for added protein and nutrients, and oat milk. I go through cartons of oat milk every week – I can’t get enough. 

Fasting keeps me on track. Every Tuesday and Thursday I do a Plenish juice fast – it’s a juice version of the 5:2. For me, fasting isn’t about weight loss – it’s more about giving my digestive system a chance to rest whilst flooding the body with easy-to-absorb, quality nutrients. I notice the difference in the clarity of my skin when I fast and I sleep deeper, too. Plus, Tuesdays and Thursdays tend to be busy work days, and I find it reassuring knowing I am getting the nutrients I need for the day without having to think about food. 

I follow a strict supplement routine. The regime of taking supplements has been ingrained in me for as long as I can remember. As a child, my parents would lay out a chewable multivitamin alongside my breakfast, along with a spoonful of cod liver oil. Today, I take vitamin C and D in the morning along with cod liver oil, zinc and iron. In the afternoon, I take vitamin B12, collagen, biotin and probiotics – it’s a good idea to space out your supplements throughout the day to ensure optimal absorption. 

Exercise is my MENTAL BREAK – it’s a kick of endorphins and I LOVE FEELING STRONG.

@PLENISHDRINKS

Meal prep is a must. On the days I’m not fasting, having my lunch prepared to take to work keeps me on track. On a Sunday, I make a large traybake with chicken, baby potatoes and vegetables, which I can easily portion up and warm through at work. In the summer, I’ll swap the roasted vegetables for a leafy green salad. I also pack a portion of cashews and some fresh fruit, and you’ll always find a Fulfil protein bar in my gym bag – each bar contains 20g of protein and minimal sugar, meaning they’ll fill you up without spiking your blood sugar.

During the week, dinner is my smallest meal of the day. I like to ensure food is fully digested before going to sleep. On my non-cleanse days, I’ll have fresh fish and vegetables, and a glass of kefir for a dose of B vitamins and probiotics, as well as a couple of squares of dark chocolate. I try to stop eating before 8.30pm to give my body a chance to rest overnight. 

I’m more relaxed with food on the weekend. Hosting friends for dinner is my favourite way to unwind. I stick to my Jamaican roots – I love cooking jerk chicken, curry goat, rice, peas and plantain. Jamaican food is so flavoursome and full of variety and colour. Plus, it’s so easy to create delicious vegetarian or vegan recipes, and it’s a social way of eating. We ditch the formalities of courses and lay everything out on the table. My friends love it – there are never any leftovers. I also find that by Sunday evening, I’m almost craving my clean routine, so it’s a healthy cycle of consistency.

I buy organic 85% of the time. I get weekly food deliveries from Bayley & Sage. Every week, without fail, I’ll buy oat milk, Dunn River jerk seasoning (great for meal prep), sweet and salted popcorn (the perfect accompaniment for weekend movie nights) and coconut oil, which I cook with and use as a pre-shampoo hair treatment. I also go through buckets of Dr Teal’s pure Epsom salts – I have at least three baths a week, they’re an integral part of my fitness routine. 

Refined sugar makes me feel sluggish. I have a serious sweet tooth and could easily eat sweets and chocolate every day. But I try to keep to the mindset that sweets are treats for designated days, and that’s what keeps them special. I also remind myself how much sugar affects my energy levels – it’s easy to bounce back if you have the odd treat, but if you eat it regularly, it’ll throw your energy off balance. If I’m desperate for a sweet treat in the week, I’ll have some dark chocolate or a mini packet of jelly babies. 

It's all about balance. I’m not a huge drinker, but I wouldn’t say no to a glass of Ruinart blanc de blanc or an Eastern Standard (gin, cucumber, lime juice and mint) at Soho House on the weekend. If it’s a big night – rare these days – then it’s tequila, soda and fresh lime. 

NOBU

COMPRESSION BOOTS ARE A GAME-CHANGER – they’re a great way to enhance lymphatic drainage.

Takeaways can be disappointing. I used to love ordering in, but am trying to move away from it. Lately, I’m often left disappointed with the quality of fast food – it never travels well. Often, I find I could make it better myself. If I’m going to order in, it’ll be sushi for a treat or Nando’s for a hangover. 

Exercise keeps me sane. I do Pilates every day at the studio at Nobu Portman Square, spin three times a week and lift weights three times a week. You’ll often find me at Kobox, too – I love boxing – and I recently bought a Peloton so I can fit spinning more easily into my schedule. I also walk to and from work, which takes around 50 minutes. Exercise is my mental break – it’s my kick of endorphins and I love feeling strong. At the same time, I also recognise it’s important to take a break. When I’m on holiday, I don’t exercise, set an alarm, or follow a regime.

I take recovery seriously. Compression boots are a game-changer – they’re a great way to enhance lymphatic drainage, remove waste products and aid recovery. I wear mine for ten minutes after an intense workout, and swear by cryotherapy at Repose for muscle soreness. I also have a weekly sports massage and have a Theragun at home which I use to ease tight muscles in between sessions. 

My sleep needs work. During the week, I’ll get around five hours of sleep – six if I’m lucky. I tend to fall asleep easily but then wake up with a racing mind. I’m a creative, hyper-organised person and I’ve been known to wake up in the middle of the night and make to-do lists. I’m aware this is a cycle that needs to be broken and am currently experimenting with different breathing exercises and a couple of sleep apps. Sleep is vital to our wellness – a good night’s sleep acts as our body’s internal reset button. 

 

For more from Marsha, follow @PilatesByMarsha and sign up for a class at London-Portman.NobuHotels.com/Pilates.

@THERABODY

DISCLAIMER: Features published by SheerLuxe are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. Always seek the advice of your GP or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programme.

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