My Health Rules: Paola Di Lanzo
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My alarm goes off at 5am. I’ve always been an early riser and I love getting up before the rest of the house stirs. One of the first things I do is take a shot of Symprove – a liquid-based probiotic – as it needs to be taken on an empty stomach. I’ve been taking it for years – it’s one of the best products out there for gut health, which we know is increasingly important for our overall health. A typical breakfast is a protein-rich smoothie – I add two scoops of JS Health chocolate brownie pea protein powder to a blender with a probiotic powder, berries, coconut milk and ice. Smoothies are a great way to pack in nutrients ahead of a busy day. If I am teaching early classes, I’ll decant my smoothie into a takeaway cup and take with me to have on the go.
Eggs are a powerhouse of nutrients. They’re full of vitamins and minerals as well as high-quality protein and fats, which will help you maintain muscle mass as you age as well as optimise hormonal production. If I have time at home, I’ll always have eggs for breakfast – never cereal, toast or carb-laden options. On the weekend, I love heading to Nati’s Whole Foods in Fulham, which serves a delicious dish called the Alba – eggs baked with kidney beans, tomatoes, chilli, spinach and topped with truffle.
Fitness is an integral part of my life. Paola’s Body Barre (PBB) combines dynamic Pilates with yoga and barre. A results-driven method, it’s designed to maximise your time on the mat. When done regularly, it’ll elongate and stretch your muscles for a stronger, more toned body. I teach two to three PBB classes a day as well as two to three PT sessions. I deem this part of my workout routine as I’m constantly moving, even more so when I’m teaching a live class for the PBB app as I have to do the whole routine. Outside of PBB, I try to fit in one yoga class a week, as well as the occasional boutique fitness class. PBB runs 22 classes a week at KXU and I’ll always try to fit in something else if I’m there – The Games is great for an endorphin rush and Alex Rogers’s yin yoga is incredible for a full-body release.
My attitude to fitness has changed over the years. My journey into fitness began in the 80s – I taught the original versional of aerobics and was hooked on the high-energy nature of it. I was also addicted to lifting heavy weights and high-impact workouts. In my 20s, my body was strong, but not as functional and mobile as it is now. It was after the birth of my first child that I realised I needed a different approach. It was 2002 and Pilates was the new ‘word on the street’, but it wasn’t hugely popular in the UK. I dabbled with a few classes which I enjoyed (albeit reluctantly as I was so addicted to heavy lifting and heart-raising activity), and then eventually trained with Michael King at the Pilates Institute. Since then, I’ve never looked back. Pilates continues to amaze me in the way you can gain strength in a low-impact and gentle way – it lengthens, tones and improves your posture for a more functional and mobile body. My body shape has also changed for the better – I’m far stronger and more supple now.
Strength training is important as you age. I’m turning 52 in February and menopause is imminent – I can feel and see the changes in my body. I have to work harder to gain muscle so push myself whenever I can. During the perimenopause and beyond, it’s a good idea to incorporate some form of strength training into your sessions to build bone, increase muscle strength and to burn more body fat to increase your metabolism. I’ve had so many clients shy away from fitness in their mid to late 40s; by the time they’ve reached their 50s they’ve found it far trickier to get back into exercise due to a lack of confidence. If you have fallen out of love with exercise, find something you genuinely enjoy and seek out a multi-levelled class that offers plenty of modifications so you can make it work for you.
Community is everything. I grew up in Australia and had a calm, outdoorsy upbringing without the hustle and bustle of London. Living in a busy city can be both challenging and stressful, particularly with children. My escape is being with my community of women in my studio and among my friendship group. I have a real sense of happiness and calm in my Fulham studio as over the last ten years I have formed deep bonds with regular clients and the other trainers. When I feel the need to escape London, I take the family to stay with friends in Henley. As a family, we love water sports and living a more outdoorsy life. My dream is to eventually move there, commuting to the studio three times a week and concentrating on my online business.
Holistic treatments keep me on track. I see a Chinese doctor once a week – she does the most incredible deep tissue massages, cupping and acupuncture. I also love Tatiana (the Cellulite Slayer) for facials and lymphatic drainage. If I’m in pain from overtraining or teaching too many classes, I book in with Ben Carraway, an incredible chiropractor. One or two sessions with him never fails to sort out deep-rooted aches and pains.
The right supplements can help. As I head into my 50s, I’ve noticed significant hair loss and a lacklustre appearance to my skin. JSHealth’s Hair + Energy capsules have made a real difference – they contain iodine which helps restore hair strength and volume as well as zinc for healthy hair, skin and nails. Iodine also supports the thyroid, which plays a key role in our energy levels. I’m also a fan of the JSHealth Detox + Debloat tablets, especially on the weekend, when I can never resist a glass or two of red wine. I am also prone to low iron levels so keep them topped up with Floradix.
I’m a real foodie. My father owned Italian restaurants, so I’ve always had a passion for cooking. We cook most evenings as a family and always use fresh, quality ingredients. We tend to cook chicken or fish with a variety of vegetables and salads. We also love pasta. My eldest daughter, Sofia, has taken on our passion. She’s recently been developing recipes for the PBB app. I don’t have any intolerances nor do I completely avoid dairy as I love cheese, but I do use oat milk in my coffee instead of cow’s milk, but only because I prefer the taste.
I avoid alcohol during the week. I like to wake up feeling fresh and feel alcohol affects my sleep, but do enjoy tucking into a glass of red on the weekend. Twice a year, I cut out alcohol for a month. This never fails to reset my body when I feel I need more mental clarity and a physical boost.
An evening routine is essential. I’m a good sleeper generally but have the odd night of disturbed sleep. Over the years, I’ve learnt a few tricks to help calm my nerves. Firstly, I never go to bed with electronics; I tend to read for half an hour and have a mug of Pukka Night Time tea. If I’m feeling particularly stressed, I apply a Neal’s Yard essential oil to my pressure points. I recently started HRT and an added bonus is that the progesterone makes you drowsy, so taken in the evening it can help you fall asleep more quickly.
For more information or to sign up for a PBB class, visit PaolasBodyBarre.com
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