How/when did you get started in training and living a fit lifestyle?
I’ve pretty much grown into this lifestyle since being introduced to dancing as a kid. Living a very demanding athletic life, choosing dance as a career has meant I’ve had to be the healthiest version I can be. I’ve always been thicker/muscly, even growing up I was learning how to eat right for fuel, whilst the other kids were eating chips and lollies, (I envied them of course). I’ve always been able to put on weight super easy, not a great trait to have, but because of this, I’ve lived a very healthy lifestyle which can only be a positive thing.
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You’re like a triple threat, you’re a model, a photographer, a dancer… what is the most challenging thing about being in the fitness lifestyle industry?
I’ve never thought of myself as a triple threat, but I like that, I’ll take it I feel it’s not enough to be one thing, I have so much to add to my skill set, I have a creative brain in an impatient body, my most challenging thing is prioritising what needs my attention each day, balancing and fitting in everything I can, whilst also putting my personal training and health as a priority. Learning to say “no” to something in order to fit in my own training, conditioning and meal prep. I can’t let myself go whilst taking care of business, I come first, I am the business and there is no business if I’m out of the game.
Tell us when did you first fall in love with dance?
Sounds cliché, but from the moment I started. I did my first class as a kid at 12yrs old, I was a late starter. From my first class, I knew I found my “thing”. And then it shaped my life from there.
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Do you listen to music while you train? If so, what’s your favorite type of music you like working out to?
I have to listen to music when I train, there have been times I’ve forgotten my headphones and I’ve had to call it a day. Music is my motivator whilst I train if I’m lifting I’ll be listening to gangsta hip-hop tunes. Every time.
We know you train fitness classes. What is your current “personal” training style, routine or split?
My training is a combination of compound strength training and functional fitness. I love weights, but also using just my own body weight can be an absolute killer workout. And of course, keeping flexible is essential for what I do, so I always stretch for a good 10-15mins at the end of a weights/body weight session.
What are your favorite clean foods and splurge foods?
My every day clean food obsessions are – avocado, eggs, peanut butter, kind of clean, but could also be my splurges at the same time given the calorie density. And my splurge hands down, hot chips. Because carbs are life.
What’s your most memorable photo shoot or the funniest thing that’s happened on a shoot?
Aaah, that’s a hard one, I’ve had many outfit malfunctions on shoots, but no one batters an eyelid when a boob pops out on shoots, it’s always so professional, everyone is about the job. So with that being said, I have to say my most memorable shoots have been about the locations, so dreamy you can’t even put into words. Shooting in Fiji and Maldives are at the top until I tick Mexico off the list.
If you were trapped on an island, what 3 things would you bring with you?
Music, a good sports bra and a good pair of kicks. I’ll find coffee, pants, and coconuts on the island. Coz I’m resourceful like that.
What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
Probably going on Big Brother the reality show, not sure if it’s crazy to me, but to the average person, bearing your soul without a filter to your whole country for judgment could be slightly crazy. I say its lit.
What is your greatest strength?
Being able to keep going, picking myself up and never giving up. No matter my circumstances, with all odds against me and little support, I’ve never given up. And I won’t. I won’t settle for a mediocre life and that means never giving up when you get told no.
How do you measure success?
Success is different for everyone, my success lies in the experiences I’ve had, personal achievements in my industry and my health. I’ve created a lifestyle for myself that I love, I wake up every day with things I look forward to and it’s simple things, not a measure of money and material possessions. Happiness and health is the success.
What are your hobbies and interests outside of the gym?
I love anything that involves a good late breakfast and coffee when I have the time I also love to get in the kitchen and make raw cakes and healthy snacks.
What tips do you have for a beginner at the gym?
Don’t be afraid of venturing into the weights section, there’s a huge misconception that women will bulk up from weight training, when in fact I believe it’s the best way to shape your body. And don’t be too hard on yourself, a shocking workout is still a workout, we’re still lapping those sitting on the couch. I also believe stretching isn’t talked about enough, so lift, and then stretch. It’s essential for injury prevention and keeps you agile. We want to build long lean muscle, not short bulky muscles, well that’s me anyway.
Penny Higgs’ Workout Routine:
10 x overhead shoulder press 20kg bar
10 x bent over row with 20kg bar
10 x bent over row with 30kgs
10 x leg raises on dip bar (second set leg raises with oblique variation)
10 x chest crossover on cable machine
10 x lat pulls on cable machine
Add holds in contracted positions and controlled slow release.
10 x lat pulldown narrow grip (second set wide grip)
10 x seated dip 40kgs
20 x weighted plie with 60kgs (plie also known as sumo squat)
Stretch, then repeat.
Core work on the decline bench for 5 mins.
20 x Decline Leg press with different weight variations.
Stretch then repeat.
10 min stretch on mats.
Follow Penny Higgs on social media: @dancinpenny