You might know her as a model, mum, Myer ambassador and TV host, but did you know Rachael Finch once held dreams of being an Olympian? A former athletics and touch football star, it wasn't until Miss Universe Australia came knocking that this Queenslander's career path shifted off the field and onto the red carpet. But, as evidenced by her killer physique and genuine love of exercise - you can still see the remnants of Rachael's inner athlete shining through. On board to host a series of wellness retreats for Westin Hotels & Resorts, Yeong Sassall chats to the Aussie model about health, nutrition and her fitness regime.
What's an average day on a plate for you?
For me, it is different every single day. When it comes to food, vitamins and nutrients; diversity is key. So I try and change up my breakfast, lunch and dinner every day, but I do always start the day the same. I have a warm glass of lemon juice and apple cider vinegar in the morning and then I will have a different breakfast: either eggs on toast, porridge with fruit and yoghurt, an omelette - just depends on what I feel like.
Lunch could be grilled chicken with salad, sweet potato and some sort of protein, it could be a sandwich or sushi (one of my favourites). For dinner - one of my favourites is oven-roasted salmon with steamed vegetables and sweet potato mash. Last night we had steak and salad, if I've had chicken the night before I might do red meat the next night, then fish. It's really about changing the ingredients and including as much colour.
Have you always eaten like that or has that developed over time?
Definitely something I've developed. It's become more of an intentional thing as I've gotten a bit more intelligent with health and nutrition and wellness. When I was younger is was just what tastes good, what mum has put there, or what I feel like ordering at home from school, like a pizza or whatever. It definitely became something a little bit more intentional now that I'm older and more educated.
Is there anything you cut out or try to avoid?
The only things I limit are refined sugar, junk food, processed food, fried food - all those things we know are bad for us and have a negative effect on our body and we shouldn't over consume. I limit those, but of course I have treats now and then - I love chocolate and ice cream so for me, maybe once a fortnight I'll have a chocolate or a big bowl of ice cream... or some hot chips dipped in gravy or something. I definitely have those things but I have them in moderation.
I think if you deny yourself those things you start to crave them.
Yeah the moment I say no and say I'm restricted - that's the moment I crave it more. So I say yes to everything and when I'm writing my goals I include food in my goal list. Instead of writing 'No junk for this week, or no chocolate for the next few days' its 'Include more wholesome, healthy clean food' so it turns into a positive.
And what about alcohol? Do you drink?
I do love a glass of red wine, not so much now that I'm pregnant, of course! But I do enjoy it in moderation. I might have a glass with my dad, it might be my birthday and I might have a glass with Micha [her husband], just occasionally. It's a rare thing. But I enjoy red wine because I like the taste and I really enjoy the experience of sipping it slowly. I'm not a huge fan of alcohol - I like waking up and feeling really fresh so I've never really had it that much.
What's your weekly exercise regime like?
It's kind of similar to my food approach - I change it based on how I feel. I used to be quite serious with competition and sport - I grew up competing in athletics and touch football. I had a dream to compete at the Olympics so I was set to do that. But when I entered a random modelling competition my career sort of changed in that direction. I started travelling as a model and everything just completely swapped. So my fitness had changed, but I still definitely have that sport background and I crave and love moving my body every day. I change it based on how I feel - I'm just not so strict and harsh and myself. So today after my meeting with my publisher I went for a swim. Yesterday I did a Pilates class, on Tuesday I did a dance class - it just depends on how I feel.
Does it help having a varied exercise routine - because your body doesn't get used to one type of exercise?
Yeah I think it's incredibly beneficial - for me, anyway. Variety and change has been key because my body isn't going, 'Ok I know what's coming, I know that I have to do these 20 squats'. I'm changing it up and making something new. It's also the excitement - the internal excitement and motivation that comes with doing something new every day. Why should it be a chore? Why shouldn't it be fun and exciting?
When it comes to the Westin retreats, that's one of the key things there - just breaking the whole retreat up into key things that people can choose to do and enjoy. And showcasing that there is variety. Plus, I'll be sharing my beliefs and the reasoning behind why I do certain things.
What kind of activities will you be doing?
So we've got heaps of stuff planned - yoga, meditation, runs every single morning, personal development classes, cooking, nutrition classes, places where they can go have dinner just on their own, spa treatments. So much variety - we've purposefully broken it up like that so you can choose to step in and step out when you want. Everything is not compulsory - you don't have do everything!
What are your bikini body secrets - they probably don't apply now that you're pregnant though!
[laughs] When I am preparing for a bikini shoot it just goes back to that super clean eating - it's definitely not having all the toxic and refined and processed food. So I make sure I'm getting in my exercise every day and drinking lots of fresh water throughout the day just to cleanse my body. And keeping that up for a significant period of time. If you're eating really well, drinking lemon water every morning, you should start to feel the benefits within one to two weeks.
Rachael Finch is hosting a series of Westin Wellness Escapes around Australia and the Pacific. Her next five-day escape is at The Westin Denarau Resort & Spa Fiji from October 5-9, 2016. To book, head to westindenarauisland.com