She’s responsible for getting celebs such as Nicole Scherzinger and Suki Waterhouse into shape but Svava’s refreshing approach to training isn’t just focused on physical appearance. Meet the incredible woman who teaches her clients to be badass inside and out:
How did you first get involved in the fitness industry?
I trained my whole life. I couldn’t imagine not training. I moved to London 11 years ago to study dance and after getting my degree, I became a yoga teacher, then a fitness manager, personal trainer and a nutritionist.
What made you decide to become a personal trainer?
I love sports and training and working with people. I wanted to take all the skill sets I had and help people to get to where they wanted to be.
Two of your best known clients are Nicole Scherzinger and Suki Waterhouse, who both not only have fabulous bodies, but are also strong confident women. What do you feel is the most important thing you teach your clients?
That you should never train for just looks. Because you are missing out if you do so. I teach my clients to train for their power, their strength, agility, speed, confidence, resilience and so on. Train for you. For all that it will give you.
You are the founder of The Viking Method. For anyone who has never heard of The Viking Method, what is it?
The Viking Method is a unique, highly functional training method that uses very specific exercises paired up in a certain way to force you to fire up more muscle fibres, utilize more oxygen and energy, burning fat like there is no tomorrow. It uses hormones; activating the good ones and de-activating the bad ones which is crucial.
I train with no machines, free weights and mainly using your own body; crawling, pushing, pulling, huge amount of plyometric exercises. In the Viking Method we utilize every single muscle fibre in each muscle. We focus on the fast twitch muscles that work without oxygen, are powerful but cannot last long. I do very specific exercises that I pair in a certain way; a cardio functional exercise followed by a resistance more static functional exercise, done within a certain timeframe. This is what forces you to utilize more energy and oxygen and activates the growth hormone; the king of fat burning.
What are the core values of The Viking Method and why did you create it?
I created it because throughout everything that I had done and studied, there wasn’t a method out there that had everything I believed is needed. Both physically and mentally. The core values are optimum health in every way. The Viking method is not all about looking a certain way. It is about feeling a certain way. Powerful. Confident. Strong. Content. Exploding with energy. It’s about not caring what others think of you. We impress ourselves. Not others.
Your Instagram account (@thevikingmethod) has plenty of great videos of exercises. What are your favourite exercises from The Viking Method?
Oh there are so many! I love all the crawling exercises. And kicks. Love how tight and powerful it makes you feel. Ninja!
You offer online training too! Could you please explain how the online training works?
After you sign up to my online training, you receive a login name and a password. You use that to access the Viking World. There you will have your Profile, articles and recipes and both your training program and nutritional program. All programs come with videos of me showing and going over the technique of each exercise. I think that is crucial, photos are not enough. Anything my online clients want to ask about, they can email.
Despite being a busy Mum and training numerous clients, as well as travelling for work, you stay in great shape. What are your tips for fitting exercise into a hectic lifestyle?
Just make time. Exercise at home if you do not have time to go to the gym. Know what you are doing, so you are not wasting time hanging around. Skip things that matter less. Be more efficient with time managing. We can all fit in exercising. I am a single mum, I work 7 days a week and they are long. If I can exercise, so can you.
What are your top tips for anyone looking to get started working out and eating healthy?
Remember that this is a long lasting change. Do not start by going to the gym every day and doing a 180 with your diet. You will not be able to keep it. Start by going 3 times a week. Change a few things about your diet. Then after 2-3 weeks change more. Step by step. Doing it this way means that you will keep it. And find things you love to do when it comes to training. That is crucial.
Also, what would you recommend to anyone who already works out regularly and eats healthy, but wants to take things up a notch?
That can be so individual. But on a general note, go deeper into your training, more advanced, add more plyometric exercises, change your core work where you are using it to hold all of the body together. Crawls, dynamic press ups, very high squat jumps. Stop doing the crunches. And have your carbs only in the form of vegetables and certain fruit, apart from the meal straight after you train. There you can add in other carbs.
How strict are you with your own diet? What do you eat in a typical day?
I have eggs and almonds for breakfast, chicken and a protein shake for lunch followed by couple of apples, a green smoothie in the afternoon (or with the dinner) and for dinner I have salmon with avocado, goats cheese feta and quinoa as I train in the afternoons. I do eat healthy as I need to be on my game but I also need my Friday night big fat pizza and my twice a week chocolate. That is a must!
What are your top five healthy snacks?
Oh snacks! Such a pain in the arse to find variety of good snacks! Hahaha! I do not always have snacks, I don’t believe in eating every 2-3 hours, I eat when I am hungry and yes also at certain times; like always after training as your body needs to be replenished. Good snacks are apples and berries, almonds and seeds, hummus and carrots, protein shake, green veggie smoothie.
What is your definition of ‘healthy’?
To be able to do everything you want to do. Physically and mentally. To go under a fence, to jump over a wall, to have long, good days and be full of energy. To feel capable of anything, all the time.
You’re always busy, so how do you unwind?
I read. I love history. I watch TV series with my daughter. I play cards. I play the piano. I play chess. I meet friends for a beer. I really have a huge need for knowing things and learning new things. It’s so important that we do not lose that as we grow up. I never want to look back and think I could have done more.
What makes you happy?
Life does! My daughter does; unbelievably decent human, full of great values and I couldn’t be prouder of who she is. My work makes me happy, to be a part of the joy and self-pride that people feel when they are able to do things that they thought they would never be able to. Accomplishing goals and not giving up makes me happy. My friends. The sun. Birds singing. Walking past a stranger and sharing a smile with them. Endless of things. I am a true believer that life is wonderful. So it is.
What exciting plans do you have for the rest of the year?
So much is happening! I am re-doing my website, making it bigger and with more support and features and I am bringing out the Viking Method clothing line!! Yay! Also events are coming up and hopefully group Viking Method sessions after September.