Woman of the Week...Paola Di Lanzo!
Paola Di Lanzo, founder of Paola’s Body Barre in Fulham, has a physique and energy that we would all kill for. But whilst managing her own business and teaching high powered classes around the clock – how on earth does she manage to be a wife and mum of three too? Over to you Paola…
1. Born and raised in Oz, what motivated you to travel overseas to the UK?
As my parents are both Italian I decided I wanted to spend more time in Italy. I had already been to Italy a few times but wanted to spend a few months living there.
So at 25 years of age I sold my car, left my job and went off to Italy for three months. I then passed through London to visit friends and went off on a surfing adventure through France, Spain and Portugal. Three months later I had enough of travelling and I was about to head back to Australia, when I got a call from a friend begging me to stay in London for a while. He set an interview up at The Peak Fitness Club in Knightsbridge, I turned up got the job and 17 years later I am still living in London! I had no intention to live in the UK. Three children later it doesn't look like I will be going back to Australia in a hurry……only for annual holidays.
2. Fitness is a huge part of your life – you teach classes around the clock! How do you make sure that your energy levels stay high and at a sustainable level?
I teach a lot of very physical classes in a day and it can be exhausting. I am a naturally energetic person however I need the right fuel to get me through the day.
A lot of healthy food throughout the day and if I have a lull I have a protein shake. My day starts with eggs, spinach and avocado. Or Eggs and salmon, or eggs and peppers…in fact eggs in every variety. They are my food addiction. If it's not eggs I will opt for a raw muesli.
My lunch consists of all different types of salads and meat/fish or chicken. Usually from the The Grill Market at Lomax. In the evening I have whatever the children are having with a healthy twist. If it's bolognese I will add loads of veg and have either brown rice or gluten free or wholemeal pasta.
3. Paola’s Body Barre is a very unique discipline. What inspired your creation?
I was inspired by the many different classes I had attended over the years and fused it together! I started teaching "aerobics" when I was 18 and have dabbled in every type of exercise over the years. I have always loved fast paced Dynamic classes and love having Pilates as the basis of all my classes. I have always loved ballet, even though I was never a ballerina. My classes are not so much ballet…..they have ballet inspired movements. The class is always fast paced and energetic….a little bit like me!
4. How do you manage work and family life? Do you have any tips for other working mums, especially when it comes to childcare?
Managing family life and work is not always easy! I am fortunate enough to have my studio literally next door to my house so I can pop in and out throughout the day. My two eldest children are in school all day and my 2 year old has an amazing nanny who lives in with us. I rarely teach past 6pm and I ensure all paper work and emails are done later in the evening after I have cooked a family meal. We sit together every night for a meal, where we chat about the day etc. I find this very important. I am learning to disengage from my mobile whilst the children are awake! When you run a business it can be tricky, as there is always something to do! Separating work and family life is super important.
5. Are your children sporty and active? Have they ever partaken in one of your classes?
My daughter Sofia who is 12 is extremely sporty and is in the netball team, hockey team and represents the school in cross country. She loves to be active. She reminds me of myself at her age! George my 7 year old is not as sporty but loves Judo. He is still young, he has time to grow a passion for sport! We make sure we book them in for tennis and swimming lessons every summer. My 2 year old Raffy is already showing signs of being sporty. My childhood was a whirlwind of activity and I'd like my children to have a similar experience.
6. What is the difference between your PBodyBarre Signature class, and your PBodyBarre Burn class? Do you have a preference?
The Signature and the Burn class have the same fundamental routine, however the burn is faster paced, more reps more exercises and higher intensity. As the name suggests you definitely feel "The Burn" I prefer the Burn as I love to break a sweat!
7. Do you like to cook? Do you have a favourite dinner dish?
I absolutely LOVE to cook. It is one of my passions. In fact before I opened PBB I was tossing up between a fitness studio or opening a local Health food cafe/restaurant. I was brought up with amazing fresh Italian cuisine. My mother and father have owned Italian restaurants since I was 10 years of age. I spent hours on end watching the chefs prepare and cook beautiful dishes. I worked in the restaurants on and off until I left Australia in 1998. I like to experiment in the kitchen and have always loved to entertain at home. My favourite dish is Zuppa Di Pesce made with fresh Australian seafood!
8. Taking supplements is a great insurance policy to fill in the gaps of your diet – especially when life gets a little stressful! Do you take any additional vitamins and minerals?
I take a multi vitamin, vitamin B and my Omegas. I also have discovered The Super Elixer by WellCo. It's a highly specialised alkalising greens supplement!
9. When you travel back ‘down under’ what can we expect to find in your carry-on bag on the aeroplane? Do you have any healthy travel tips?
I always have my lap-top. It's the only time I am forced to stay still for so long. I often like to jot down any ideas I have for PBB.
I always make sure I have a good cleanser (Nude) and an overnight mask (Nude) and moisturiser La Roche. I have lots of activities, books and Peppa Pig downloaded on the i-pad, and a change of clothes for my 2 year old!
10. Who is the most inspiring person you have ever met? Why?
My father……for his work ethic. I have the same work ethic and energy as he has and I hope this continues into older age. My father is 78 and still working like a machine! He is incredible for his age. It must be the fresh Mediterranean diet he has had his whole life.