We talked with Amanda Louise Warlo in November, 2019.
👋 Hi! Tell us about yourself and your training
My name is Amanda Louise Warlo, I am 29 years old and from Copenhagen, Denmark. I have been living in Dubai, UAE for just over three years. In Dubai, I work as a personal trainer specializing in corrective exercise, due to my background in physiotherapy.
I also teach yoga and I like to combine corrective exercises with stretching, cardiovascular endurance, and strength-based workouts for a holistic approach to working out in the gym.
I have been more or less active my whole life. I played sports as a kid. As a teenager, I would go to the gym and do lots of cardio on the treadmill or cross trainer, or go for runs outside. I also did yoga in an attempt to make my muscles “long and lean”.
I began working out consistently with weights in 2011 after suffering from debilitating stress and anxiety. I fell in love with the results and competed in Bikini Fitness in the IFBB in 2012, 2013 & 2015. My best result was a 6th place at the Danish Nationals.
After retiring from competing, I turned my attention to training for health and happiness. Training has been my therapy since I had my first major anxiety attack in 2011, and I love helping others through my passion for the gym.
When I was younger, I was a very active kid and I did horse riding and played handball throughout most of my childhood and teenage years. After retiring from bikini fitness, I tried long-distance running (half marathons), CrossFit, Olympic Weightlifting and Powerlifting.
For the past three years, my training has been more focused on maintaining my fitness and finding balance with work, diet and my personal life. But who knows, I might step back on stage one day!
⏱ Describe a typical day of training
I’m currently doing a six-day split hitting legs 3*week, back 2*week, shoulders 2*week, abs 2*week, chest 1*week, arms 1*week & calves 1*week.
In addition to that, I do a 10-minute warm-up before each session and 30 minutes of cardio 3*per week. Sometimes I split cardio and weights into different sessions, but most of the time I do it together in one massive session.
One of my favorite types of cardio is steady-state on the treadmill. I do 30 minutes of walking at 15% incline and 4,5-5,5km/h. Sometimes, if I feel tired, I’ll do 30 minutes at 5,5% incline and 5,5-6 km/h instead, or I’ll go for 30 minutes on the bike at lvl. 8-10. When the weather in Dubai is good, I also like going walking or running outside.
If I do cardio and weights together, I usually do a light/moderate 10 min. warm-up to begin with, then lift weights and finish with my 30 minutes of cardio. Though I also like doing cardio before the lifting, well, it all depends on my mood! In any case, I use my cardio to watch motivational YouTube videos or listen to podcasts and “get in the mood” to go lift.
As long as I’m not too busy with work, I enjoy this style of training a lot and I see really good results from it. Right now, I’m trying to improve my weak points (should I ever choose to step on stage again it’s good to be prepared) while toning down and getting rid of unnecessary fat.
I keep track of my activity level on my apple watch and aim for at least 10K steps per day and 30 minutes of exercise. I have an active job as a personal trainer where I stand/walk around a lot, so that’s usually very easy for me to reach!
I also teach yoga and a typical week consists of anywhere between one to six hours of light yoga. When I’m teaching, I don’t push myself in the sessions, the focus is on my clients. But I still get to enjoy a good stretch. Exactly how many hours depends on how many of my clients are training that week.
When I’m very busy with work, I tend to change my training to my signature workouts, which are treadmill/bike intervals combined with strength three exercises for three to five rounds.
Those workouts are very high intensity and in the high rep rages with little to minimal rest. They usually take around 30 minutes all in all and I’ll do that three to four times per week with upper/lower body split.
👊 How do you keep going and push harder?
I don’t rely on motivation. I just go and do my thing. If I don’t feel like it, it’s usually a sign that I need to rest.
Sometimes, when I feel like I should still push through and work out when I don’t feel like it, I take a scoop of Cellucor C4 pre-workout and go do my warm-up while watching those motivational YouTube videos. 9/10 times that gets me in the zone and I’ll smash out a great lifting session!
Sometimes after warming up, I still don’t feel like it and then I might choose to just do cardio that day, or go do two to four exercises before I call it quits.
I make sure to listen to my body. If I don’t feel like lifting for a longer period of time I might take a period of time where I join some group classes or go running instead.
My best advice is to find something you truly love to do and make it a habit. Then you’re very likely to be able to be consistent in the long term.
🏆 How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
Currently, my training is going great and I’m enjoying my program a lot. In 2017, I chose to go “all-in” to change my relationship with food and heal from an eating disorder I had developed.
The first year after going ”all in” I gained a lot of weight and it was hard to see myself in this new way, as I was used to being a “fitness model” and having a physique that lived up to a certain ideal.
After a little while, I dropped a lot of the weight I had gained without restricting or being “on a diet” and I’m very happy with where I am right now mentally and in regards to my relationship with food. I love how my body looks right now, but I am planning to lean out just a bit more over the next year or so.
In the next five years, I might step on stage again, or I might not, but I will definitely still be working out and staying fit while enjoying life! That’s my number one priority now. It’s become important to me to always check in with myself and make sure I’m training for the right reasons.
For me, training is first of all my therapy. It should always be enjoyable (as a minimum it should make you feel good after it’s done) otherwise try and change the way you exercise. There’s something out there for everyone, don’t be afraid to try different things and see what you enjoy the most!
My main reason is to be able to help other people find a good balance with balancing fitness/work/family/social life/time to reflect.
I spent so many years thinking life is all about making money and losing weight, that I didn’t even pay attention to all the other important things!
I wish I’d had someone tell me to lower my expectations to myself back then, and that I would still see results if I let myself live a little at the same time.
I’m passionate about being that person for someone else. Helping them find balance & happiness in their fitness & health journey.
🤕 How do you recover, rest and handle injuries?
I have a lot of experience when it comes to coping with injuries! My body is structurally a bit of a mess, and injuries are something I get quite easily.
I have pretty severe scoliosis (S-curve of the spine). I also used to have severe winging of my shoulder blades (basically the muscles controlling my shoulder blades were very weak) and because of that, in combination with my rib cage being slightly rotated due to scoliosis, I very easily get overuse injuries in my shoulder.
At the beginning of my training career, I had no idea about this and I would push myself past my limits, which led to shoulder impingement and lower back pain. On top of that, I have problems with my left knee and hip flexors. Not to mention I’m prone to stress and anxiety as well as depression. Haha, yes, I’m a mess.
It sounds really bad when I type it out like that, and sometimes I wonder how I even made it this far in my chosen career since I had almost all odds against me.
But to be completely honest, I see all these structural issues and injuries as blessings, because they forced me to develop a deep understanding of correct technique, exercise alternatives and how to implement corrective exercises in a training routine.
It is this experience (and my B.Sc. in Physiotherapy) that I draw on when I plan how to best help my clients to be able to move freely without pain at the same time as they reach their fitness goals. Without having been through so many challenges myself, I’m not sure if I would have developed such a deep understanding of what it takes to work through it.
If you ask me how I handle things personally, I would say that I focus on proper warm-up and stretching. I program to strengthen my weak areas and avoid certain exercises I know causes pain. I also make sure I listen to my body on focus on keeping very good form. I prioritize mind/muscle connection over heavy weights.
To recover physically and handle mental stress, I make sure to get enough rest, and if I feel like I need some alone time. I am not afraid to excuse myself and cancel my plans to stay home and recharge.
🍎 How is your diet and what supplements do you use?
I am pescatarian meaning don’t eat meat or poultry, but I do consume fish, eggs, and dairy. I have been eating this way for about 1,5 years.
I do a soft 12-hour version of intermittent fasting. Usually start my days with one to two cups of coffee, breaking my fast around 10 a.m. if I’m not training in the morning (I wake up at 5 AM on most days) and eating my last meal when I get back from work some time between 8-9:30 p.m.
I will usually eat around five meals per day, and if I get hungry between meals I like to drink coffee, tea or Diet Pepsi. I drink at least three liters of pure water every day, most days more.
For my meals, I follow a meal plan structure with five to seven different options to choose from for each meal, but I allow myself to have something else if I want to. The structure just helps me be less stressed during the busy work week.
The plan is adjusted for macros and total calories, and if I steer off the plan and have something else, I at least make sure to still hit my protein requirements. I currently eat about 1900 calories per day on a slow and steady fat loss protocol, but I adjust week to week depending on how I progress.
I am very flexible with going out to eat, usually, I’ll just try and order something that looks healthier I’ll count it as a cheat meal and eat a little less the next day. After I went “all-in” in 2017 I have become very good at listening to my body’s signals and I usually just stop eating if I’m starting to feel full. That allows me to be able to eat almost anything. Moderation is the key.
Of course, this would have to be different if I ever did a competition prep again, and that’s why I’m hesitant to prep for stepping on stage. I love the flexibility of my current diet. Nothing is off-limits and it makes social occasions and last-minute plans so much more enjoyable!
👍 What has inspired and motivated you?
I started my fitness journey when I was in bed with anxiety that was so bad, I couldn’t even leave my apartment. From my bed, I read interviews on pages such as this one, and it motivated me to go to the gym and learn how to lift. That was all it took, and I’ve never looked back since!
I was lucky to have friends who were also really into fitness at the time, so they took me under their wings and that first year will always be very special to me.
I think I kept going after the first year because of the traction my blog amandalouise.dk got. Bikini Fitness in Denmark got extremely popular after the first year I was on stage, and that meant that a lot of people looked up to me and followed my journey.
The accountability of having the blog and having people following my journey was extremely motivating, and I recommend everyone starting on a fitness journey to make sure they make themselves accountable to someone, somehow.
That made me push through those times where I didn’t feel like it!
Along with that accountability, I love working out to music. It gives me that extra push I need to lift heavy!
Some of my favorite workout tunes are:
- Kryptonite – 3 Doors Down
- That’s What You Get – Paramore
- This Is War – Thirty Seconds To Mars
- Guilt – Nero
- The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows – Brand New
- Ain’t It Fun – Paramore
- Special K – Placebo
- Body – Loud Luxury
- Bad Guy – Billie Eilish
You can follow my Spotify workout playlist here.
✏️ Advice for other people who want to improve themselves?
If you’re completely new to the gym, I would honestly recommend that you start with five to 10 sessions with a personal trainer or at least get an online coach to guide you. If that’s not in your budget, working out with a friend who’s knowledgeable about exercise and good technique is the second best thing!
Going to classes can also be a good way of getting introduced to the different exercises and working out – just make sure you do some research and learn good form! When going for a class, the instructor can’t correct you, so there’s more responsibility on you to try and correct yourself.
Watching tutorials on YouTube is a great place to start to get an idea of the right way to do basic movements such as squats, deadlifts, planks, etc.
Learning the correct form is so important! Learn how each exercise should feel and take your time with it, rather than just going as hard and heavy as you can. Because the chances of getting injured when your technique isn’t on point are very high – just look at what happened to me!
My biggest mistake as a beginner was that I didn’t get a coach or asked for help. That meant I had to go through A LOT of trial and error to find what works. Like I mentioned earlier I also managed to injure myself multiple times, and all that could’ve been avoided if I had gotten myself a trainer for the first couple of months.
However, I do recommend doing your research thoroughly before picking a coach. If you get a coach who answers your questions in one word a week after you messaged them, change coach!
Don’t be afraid to travel or to pick a coach who you work with online, as long as the coach is committed to teaching you the name of the game and be there for you when you need them.
Make sure you pick someone right for YOU, not just the most popular coach that everyone else chooses. It’s important to find someone who will take the time to get to know you, who is open to answering questions and who will adjust the approach to fit your lifestyle.
If they tell you to do as they say just because they say so, find someone else.
On top of that, I encourage you to study training and nutrition on your own. Get an idea of how everything works so you can be a part of the process and make decisions that are right for you.
Remember that your diet should be flexible and enjoyable and that your workouts should be something that you can fit into your day-to-day schedule. Being healthy and fit should feel good! You do not have to restrict 100% of the time to see results!
🤝 Are you taking on clients right now?
Yes, I am!
I am only taking in a limited number of clients at a time to ensure I can provide the right quality of coaching to each individual person. I currently have a few spots open but there’s always a chance I am fully booked when this interview goes live.
However, I am always accepting applications through my website amandalouisefit.com and if we are a good coach/client fit, I will put you on the waiting list in case I don’t have availability.
I’d love hearing from you and I would encourage you to reach out to me if you need help on your fitness journey.
📝 Where can we learn more about you?
I’m pretty active across social media.
My main channel is currently my Instagram @amandalouisefit
You can also find me on my other channels: