When it comes to activewear, Nimble is a JSHealth fave. We are lucky enough to be sharing the Day on a Plate of its two cofounders today, Katia Santilli and Vera Yan. Read on to find out their incredible story and seriously delicious daily eats…
Katia: I’m the co-founder of Nimble Activewear. I have a fashion and sportswear background – my roles have included managing the women’s fitness business at Puma Australia and working in London as a Merchandise Manager looking after women’s outwear at Burberry for the global market.
Vera: I’m the other co-founder of Nimble Activewear. I have a corporate background working in investment banking at Macquarie and then as a lawyer at Greenwoods & Herbert Smith Freehills.
K: I’ve always been relatively health conscious and I think that has come from how I was raised. A balanced diet and finding activities that you loved and got you moving was always something I have gown up with. I did gymnastics from and young age when I was 5 until 13 and my mum was an aerobics instructor while I was growing up so I stated doing group fitness classes at the gym with my mum from around 14 years old.
However, when I moved to London and started working for Burberry my healthy and active lifestyle changed quite dramatically. I was working 80 hour weeks which meant I was hardly exercising, sitting at a desk all day and eating dinner late lead to weight gain and an un-healthy lifestyle.
I moved to Sydney after being in London for a few years – Vera and I moved in together and really encouraged and motivated each other to lead a healthier and more active life. We followed our passion and instinct and founded Nimble Activewear on the belief that leading an active and healthy life should be neither complicated nor expensive. Our pieces are just one part of the journey to a healthier being and have been designed to empower women to get moving and get active in technical, long-lasting activewear that looks great and doesn’t break the bank.
V: Growing up, my mum has always been very into health and wellbeing – she is fascinated by (and a devotee of) traditional Chinese medicines, remedies and the philosophies of yin & yang and the importance of the concept of Qi. Although I was always around this, in my teens and early 20s, I always thought of myself as invincible (as many of us do!) and never really paid much attention to it all.
After university, I moved to Sydney, out of home and started working in finance – at the time, I was working up to 80 hours a week, partying hard on the weekends and pushing my body to the brink with exercise which had become a daily source of escape from the pressures of work.
After about a year, this resulted in injury after injury – I would constantly have a sprained ankle, hamstring or knee – and was constantly coming down with nasty colds. This then culminated in a horrible bout of shingles which lasted almost a fortnight and left me couch-bound in my PJs. This forced me to slow down and gave me time to evaluate how I was choosing to live my life as well as the choices that I was making. From there, I decided that I had to take a much more balanced approach to health and wellness and it became a gradual process of swapping out destructive choices for healthy choices.
K: I wake up anywhere between 5.45am & 6.45am depending what form of exercise I am doing. I find working out in the mornings is much better with my daily schedule as I can get caught up in the office in the evenings. I either do a hot and sweaty vinyasa flow class or I love a HIT workout at Agoga in Bondi. I usually get into the office around 8 / 8.30am and make breakfast here. Avocado on buckwheat bread is my go to and if I have fresh tomato and goats cheese in the fridge I will also add this. I can’t go without a morning coffee which I get up the street from Cali press. I also make a big pot of herbal tea. Next I go through all my emails and set my tasks I need to complete for the day. Each day changes with what lies ahead for me; local factory visits, meetings, designing new collections, range planning, sales and stock forecasting, developments and orders with our factories, working with our graphic designers on new season prints.
If I’m not at the factory or at a meeting I will make another pot of herbal tea and have a snack such piece of fruit, yogurt or nuts. As our offices are behind our Bondi Beach store I usually go out onto the shop floor to chat to our store manager about community events, visual merchandising, up-coming new deliveries and stock levels. This is also a great time to go over customer feedback and what we need to action.
I usually have lunch at around 12 / 12.30, however on a Thursday I make it a priority to go to a 12.15 Yin yoga class at This Is Yoga in Clovelly. It is taught by Mel who I absolutely love! Her classes have a way or relaxing and calming you but also leaving you energised to take on the rest of your afternoon.
For lunch if I don’t have leftovers from dinner the night before I will usually make a salad with quinoa or brown rice, spinach, boiled egg or tuna, tomato and avocado.
If I’m hungry in the afternoon I usually get a smoothie from Cali Press. I can’t go past their Choc Minted.
As of late with our work demands both Vera and I are needing to stay in the office until after dinner some nights. We do make it a priority to have two cooked meals at home during the week which will consist of roast veg, fish or meat, a salad and a glass of red wine! If cooking at home, I will leave the office around 6 / 6.30pm. However, if we are staying back we will usually get local takeout at either Fish Mongers (grilled fish and salad), Japanese, Poke bowl or soup. When I get home I do like to wind down on the couch with a glass or red wine or a cup of herbal tea.
V: 6.00am / 6.30am: Wake up & have a glass of hot water to get the digestive system going.
6.30am / 7.00am: Morning exercise – I switch between a run along the Bondi to Clovelly coastal track, yoga (at BodyMindLife or This Is Yoga) or a HIIT class (at Agoga in Bondi or FIT1 in Rose Bay).
8.00am / 8.30am: Arrive at work, grab a coffee and eat breakfast. My breakfast rotates between avocado and a sliced boiled egg on buckwheat / sourdough toast and porridge in the cooler months.
I love the mornings and look forward to my morning routine every day – there’s something so calming about getting into the office and gathering my thoughts before the craziness of the day sets in.
10.00am: I go and make myself a big thermos of herbal tea to stay hydrated for the rest of the morning.
12.30pm: For lunch, I will either have leftovers from the night before (where I have been organized enough to cook dinner) or I will make myself a big leafy salad with lots of greens and always a protein to keep me full.
In the summer months, where I can, I try to treat myself with a lunch time swim (especially if I know that I am going to be in the office till fairly late!). Where we can, Katia and I will often wander down to the beach together – it is also a good way for us to catch up, regroup and have a little brainstorming session.
2.00pm: Time for a piece of fruit and post-lunch sugar hit 😊
3.30pm: We have started doing afternoon antipasto platters in the office with hams, cured meats, pickled veggies, dips and veggie sticks – it’s a great energy source for the rest of the afternoon and also forces everyone to step away from their desks for a mini break.
By 6.00pm I try to switch off from emails and tick a few more things off my to-do list.
I aim to get home for at least 1 home-cooked dinner during the week – I find that being able to do this makes me feel much more energized and in control of my life more generally! I will usually have something that is fairly quick to prepare but still healthy like a piece of tuna or lamb with sweet potato & cauliflower and a side salad. Other weeknight go-to’s include an Asian Thai beef salad or chicken coleslaw.
For the nights where we’re working late, we’re lucky to have so many great options on our doorstep – a few favorites are Fishbowl Poke, Fishmongers and Bills.
K: Both! I always have a coffee in the morning, but I am constantly having herbal teas throughout the day. As I drink so much herbal tea I try to make sure I use an organic tea, loose leaf if possible. I love Ovvio loose leaf teas. In particular Rise & Shine (a ginger and lemongrass tea) or their Marshmallow soothe tea (a mix of marshmallow and licorice root with thyme leaf) which is a lovely sweet herbal tea. For a tea bag variety, I can’t go past Pukka night time tea blend.
V: Coffee first thing in the morning. Then tea all the way – I’m currently obsessed with Ovvio Organic’s range of herbal teas!
K: My go-to indulgence has to be dark chocolate. The darker the better! I love the bitter taste.
V: Red wine and cheese. A square or two of dark chocolate also doesn’t hurt 😊
K: Sweet potato, avocado and Naturis organic buckwheat loaf. I also have to add herbal tea! I know it’s not necessarily a food but I can’t live without it!
V: Avocado, dates and dumplings.
K: A fresh medjool date with either nut butter or a raw almond in the middle. Otherwise a piece of fruit or handful of nuts.
V: Whenever I am organised enough, I love having a smoothie in the fridge at work – it’s such an easy grab and go and I find that they really help to keep me going for those days that are super busy. It’s also an added bonus that you can drink a smoothie in one hand whilst still being able to multi-task with the other!
V: I think it is all about balance and balancing your lifestyle with your health & wellbeing choices. There is no point in drastically changing up your routine / diet / exercise regime if it is not going to be sustainable for you in the long term. I would recommend starting with one or two changes, sticking with those changes until they become part of your daily routine (they say that it takes 30 days for something new to become habitual so try to stick with it for 30 days!) and then moving onto the next step in the journey.
To find out more, visit nimbleactivewear.com.
Hi Jessica, I believe in synchronicity so when I was guided to you .on FB I was intrigued and inspired. I turned 46 last week and my husband bought me your book. I wanted to thank you for sharing your wisdom in such a beautifully presented way. My copy is now filled with tabs and post it notes with actual notes throughout. I am dairy intolerant since having my gallbladder removed 15+ years ago, I don't eat meat, very minimal gluten and was told 12 months ago my gut was not digesting my food properly so I wasn't receiving sufficient nutrients and taking supplements would be a waste of time. My weight fluctuates tending to gain rather than lose but now I believe I have a tool to help me bring my body back into balance that I need for my health and longevity of life - so again thank you. The first few steps to creating a stronger path forward for my health has found its foundation in your beautiful book, The Healthy Life.
With kindest regards Samantha
I'm writing this email because I wanted to tell you how much I love your blog and how you really helped me in my health journey. Thank you for sharing all your advices and experiences.
When I started my studies, I was drinking lots of coffee and I was eaten the wrong foods, and feel bad about it, I wasn't at my best. So I had done some research on the net but at first I didn't found advices that are for me, and then I found your blog. It was exactly what I was looking for, good advices and healthy recipes. Now I'm following your advices on rest more, and snacks between meals and prep the meals and take time for myself to reconnect with my body and let go my anxiety, etc, and I have a more balanced life and have a new relationship with food thanks to you.
I bought your book and it's honestly the best book I have ever bought. I suffer from IBS and anxiety. I have paid so much money seeing naturopaths however after reading your book and all of your tips I'm noticing so much of a difference, so simple and easy to follow. And symptoms have dramatically decreased. Also you have helped me to relax. Currently drinking the protein health smoothie! Thankyou your amazing.
Hey Jessica! I haven’t yet brought ‘The Healthy Life’, but I do have the clean life and your slim down plan! I would like to thank you so much for the knowledge your share and the message you put across about health and wellness. I’m studying Nutritional Medicine in Melbourne and absolutely love the philosophy that you share with your JSHealth community. The work you’ve done to show people that leading a healthy lifestyle isn’t boring, tasteless, difficult or depriving is amazing and hope to share the message myself one day. You’ve inspired me to start my own blog , to share the message and have taught me so many things about my own health! You should be proud of your achievements! Thank you again
I searched for help and tips through the Internet and found Jessica Sepel. This is seriously not exaggerated, but she was the reason why I have dared myself to eat again, to have snacks in between, to nourish my body. I could slowly improve my negative thoughts about my body image and my stupid anxiety of gaining weight. Besides, The Cleanest Gut was awesome too! A huge thank you! Especially from my mum. Seriously, without you I wouldn’t be where I am now!
Congratulations on your new book! It looks absolutely gorgeous. I’ve been following you on Instagram for a few years and you’ve inspired me to slowly but surely eat healthier without giving myself a hard time when I don’t. It made me so happy (and weirdly proud) to see the Daily Mail article on The Healthy Life. I remember trying out your recipes before you even had your eBook out! I can’t wait to get my hands on the book. Keep up the great work.
Cooking in this way truly brought out the foodie in me and has instilled a huge passion for health and wellness! Life throws you hard and frustrating things sometimes but I truly believe that this is where we learn more about ourselves and what our passions in life are! Thank you for inspiring me on my journey to health and wellness!
I am a yoga teacher in Johannesburg and am thrilled to have bought your book today. I love making healthy, nutritious food for my family, friends and fellow yogis! Thank you for this book and your inspiration (had to share a pic of my book on my recipe stand in the kitchen).
I bought your beautiful book during the week and told my bestie to go out and buy it also! I love love love it. It is the book I would give to my younger self if I could (I am 41 years old). Everything is just so sensible and informative and is definitely a book all teenagers should have. This should be a text book for girls becoming teens. I will love going back and re-reading it many many times and can't wait to make more of the recipes. Thank you Jess - you are an incredibly inspiring woman and you should feel so proud
My fiancé bought your book and we have cooked some of your meals. Amazing! I love your outlook on a healthy lifestyle and your hints and tips with preparing tasty meals are fantastic. Thanks for reviving us to live a healthier lifestyle and get our bodies wedding ready.
I want to empower you to make good choices, every day. I want you to enhance your understanding of health and nutrition. I'm committed to making sure you live the best life. Because you deserve it. Are you ready to start feeling great?
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