Nicole Warburg Mackenzie – Living fit & strong

Nicole has done it all. Her competitive spirit and unbridled ambition has seen her compete at the top of various disciplines, from the competitive Fitness stage to national and international powerlifting and the global CrossFit arena. 

She’s an inspiration to many aspiring athletes and fit-minded individuals, and her passion for health and fitness has helped her to transform the lives of many people through her personal training and Living Fit with Nicole businesses.


Her hardcore training

What do you do on the tough days, when motivation levels are low?

On tough days I just start with something simple like a warm up or a light jog. I just get the body moving. As soon as your heart rate gets up and the blood starts to pump a little faster, you immediately feel better. Some of my best workouts happened on days I had to drag myself there.

Do you change your approach to training from time to time?

It’s important to be adaptable. What I find is that if you are too rigid with your training, the smallest setback can spoil your session. Be mentally prepared for weeks when you know work is stressful or you have sick kids at home. Plan accordingly. Sometimes I have the time to spend two hours smashing a leg session, other times I only have 20 minutes to make it happen. The important thing in these instances is your intensity.

What workout or types of training do you love most right now?

Since coming back from competing at the CrossFit Games this year I have returned to functional bodybuilding-type training and I’m absolutely loving it! This kind of training has always been very rewarding for me and I love it because each week you can actually see progress, which I find even more motivating.

How she eats

Do you get help from a nutrition coach?

No, I am in charge of my own nutrition and I listen to my body.

Do you eat the same food on the days you don’t train as in the day days you do?

My nutrition generally stays the same.

What have you found has been the easiest way to stick to a diet, other than sheer willpower?

I don’t believe in diets. I believe in following a good, sustainable healthy lifestyle. That means whatever I want, I make. It’s always the healthiest version possible, though. There are so many healthier alternatives these days, which has made it pretty easy to stick to a healthy lifestyle.

Yay or nay? Her fave picks

Long steady rate cardio? Nay. There are so many better ways to get in shape. Give me 20 minutes and I will show you what can be done. I find long duration cardio monotonous and counter productive as you generally switch off and just go through the motions.

Oats in the morning? Yay. Every. Single. Day. It’s my best! I have many versions of oats in the mornings, but yes, always some form of oats.

Training in a crop top? Only if I’m training with my husband.

Burpees? Yay. I hate them, but they’re an incredible conditioning tool.

Gym selfies? Yay. I try and use social media to educate and inspire.

Pre-workout nutrition? Yay. I take an amino supplement

Intra-workout nutrition? Nay. I run on water.

Post-workout nutrition? Yay. Food over supplements, though. It’s the most important time to replenish your body.

Grilled hake? Yay! I love it!

Fat burners? Nay. These products aren’t sustainable and always have side effects. I always choose and advise nutrition and exercise over tablets. I do enjoy a good strong coffee, though.

Deadlifts? Yay. They’re my favourite, ultimate test of strength. It’s such an amazing movement.

CrossFit? Yay. Have you ever seen a long time CrossFitter who wasn’t in shape? Enough said…

Sports massage? Yay. If you have the time and the money, it’s a wonderful tool for mental and physical recovery.

Cheat meals? Nay. To be honest, I don’t have cheat meals. My husband has mine for me.

Early morning training sessions? Yay. I love training in the mornings!

Training partner? Yay. A training partner will always make you better.

Running? Yay. Running should be a part of everyone’s training regimen.

Social media? Yay. When used correctly, social media can be an incredibly powerful tool.

Active rest? Yay. Your body will always recover better when you move – we were built to move.

EMS, tried it? Yay. I’m currently using a Compex machine and the results have been incredible.

Final thoughts?

I believe in a good healthy sustainable lifestyle. Life is a journey with many ups and downs. Your nutrition and training are two things in this life you have control over. Make the most of it and be the best version of you that you can be. You only have one life, so live it to the best of your ability. Put in the hard work and dedication and you will get the rewards you want!

Engage with Nicole

IG @livingfitwithnicole

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Images by Daniel Stevenson

Author: Pedro van Gaalen

When he’s not writing about sport or health and fitness, Pedro is probably out training for his next marathon or ultra-marathon. He’s worked as a fitness professional and as a marketing and comms expert. He now combines his passions in his role as managing editor at Fitness magazine.

When he's not writing about sport or health and fitness, Pedro is probably out training for his next marathon or ultra-marathon. He's worked as a fitness professional and as a marketing and comms expert. He now combines his passions in his role as managing editor at Fitness magazine.

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