We talked with Tertia Dippenaar in April, 2020.
👋 Hi! Tell us about yourself and your training
My name is Tertia Dippenaar. I am 30 years old, born and raised in Joburg. I am a professional dancer and personal trainer and wife. I’ve worked for the Lion King Musical and other shows.
I started weight training 11 years ago as cross training while doing my professional dance training but I’ve
been dancing since the age of three, started gymnastics at 11 and did athletics all through high school so I’ve always lived a very active lifestyle.
Weight training made me realise that you could transform your body into almost anything your want or need ,just with specifically designed exercise.
Weight training also introduced me to the importance of a healthy lifestyle and diet when my body started
maturing in my early twenties.
My training regimen changes according to what my performance schedule looks like. When I am not dancing a lot, I do heavier weights and strength training and if I am dancing a lot, I focus on cardiac fitness and recovery so that I avoid injury and burnout.
Baking is a big hobby of mine and usually how I convince my family to try healthier recipes. Yes, I’m the
health nut of my family.
⏱ Describe a typical day of training
I believe that training has to evolve with you as you grow and improve and adjust your goals. I started out with more traditional bodybuilding sets and splits in the hypertrophy range but now I’m really
into combining strength training with HIIT in my sessions. I find this the best way to maintain my physique
throughout the year.
I am not into supplements so my pre workout is sometimes strong coffee/green tea, and a piece of 70% dark chocolate, everything has to be sustainable for me.
I love group classes but I’m definitely a solo trainer because I feel I get more out of my workouts when I’m alone. I swear by my FITBIT Charge 2 to track heart rate, steps and calories burnt and also to track my sleep.
👊 How do you keep going and push harder?
Maintaining physical fitness is a pre-requisite for my job so that is always an ever present obligation. What
often keeps me motivated is that I am able to vary the types of workouts I do depending on my mood and
energy and remind myself that after the first 10 minutes I’m usually enjoying it.
Fortunately, I have a partner who also loves training so we often make time for the gym together. If I am limited on time I will do home workouts to save on travel time.
I always make sure to fit it at least two good resistance training sessions a week. I’ve learnt that knowing when to rest is crucial for reaching my overall goals.
I’ve been a touring dancer for the past two years so with all the travelling, my biggest challenge has been finding a routine with an ever changing environment and often no available gym or training time and maintaining a balanced-vegetarian diet when finding familiar clean food was so challenging in every different country.
It has taken me eight years but I’ve developed a system of training specifically for myself that really has become my lifestyle and that makes it easy to maintain it.
🏆 How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
At the moment, I have been focusing on building back strength and some muscle tone, which I lost while on
tour and also allowing my body to adjust to back to being in South Africa as well as refining my online training business, which I want to become my main focus.
Also, home workouts have become a norm because of the current epidemic.
My specific journey has taught me so much and I have a unique view on fitness and health because of it so I
honestly would not change any part of my journey and I’d love to share my methods with the world.
🤕 How do you recover, rest and handle injuries?
I am absolutely pedantic about injury prevention because of the nature of my job. When you study dance, you learn a lot of injury prevention techniques and training mechanisms and that is also why I am so passionate about stretching and flexibility training because it is such an important injury prevention tool.
My best hacks are to notice and address niggles before they progress into injuries and I immediately adjust my training to alleviate pressure on that area. When I perform eight shows a week, I also try to do weekly massages.
I’ve also been on an international tour for the past two years so I’ve become a pro at handling changing
schedules, timezones and jetlags.
My best trick is to sweat it out straight after landing and get into the routine of the new timezone.
Prevention is better than cure.
🍎 How is your diet and what supplements do you use?
I went vegetarian four years ago so I aim to be predominantly plant-based and I think intuitive eating so I don’t have to track calories. I’d say I’m about 70% whole foods and 30% junk.
That’s the best and most natural way to eat and live and stay lean all year round. I never like the restrictive
nature of diets, they never worked for me.
When necessary I will eat fish, mostly to accommodate my family who are all meat eaters and also to survive while travelling. Being flexible in this way has helped me to make my habits maintainable and not have to rely on “cheat day,” binges, and I’m be able to have a relatively normal social life and there’s always a side of vegetables wherever you okay so I always have options. If i don’t eat balanced while out, I just make up for it in my next meal.
The only supplements I use regularly are BCAAs if I have long days of rehearsals and NPL L-Carnitine
before workouts on days when my motivation is low and i swear by coffee..its my vice.
My daily vitamin intake includes Spirulina and B12 (when I need it).
👍 What has inspired and motivated you?
- My performance and physique idol is Hannah Eden (@hannaheden_fitness), a Reebok sponsored athlete and gym owner.
- I love the teaching methodology of Brett Contreras aka The Glute guy (@brettcontreras1).
- Bella Falconi had a huge influence on my nutrition learning.
- Abby Pollock (@abby) is a YouTuber who shares a lot of science backed exercise information.
- Vinh Pham (@vinnierehab) is a physical therapist who also shares some great educational content on his
“Cowspiracy” is a documentary that really changed my thinking on the way that we fuel our bodies.
✏️ Advice for other people who want to improve themselves?
For any newcomer, I would say start with a bodyweight programme, two to four times a week and don’t change your programme too often then get a basic gym-based programme that you can follow, preferably with a trainer if you can afford it so that they can guide you through the basics, because I’ve seen people bouncing on pilates balls doing hip thrusts into a mirror for 10 mins. and we don’t want that.
Find someone knowledgeable to guide you and choose one thing about your diet every week that you would like to change and stick to it.
And if you don’t have access to a gym, there are tons of home-based/bodyweight workouts, start slow and
work toward good form. Stay active, take the stairs, walk when you can.
🤝 Are you taking on clients right now?
I am currently taking 1-on-1 online clients and private home visits (under non-lockdown circumstances) and
will soon have a full online programme available.
I use my dance and PT knowledge when creating client programmes so I’m able to accommodate a large
spectrum of weight loss as well as performance goals for men and woman. I also offer couples online training and semi privates.
📝 Where can we learn more about you?
I’m most active on Instagram @tertia.d and my Facebook page Tertia Dippenaar.