“I would say the biggest achievement which I’m super proud of is overcoming the modelling industry and how it affected me in such a negative way. For the first three years I let it get to me.. thinking I was never enough, always needing to lose weight and constantly nitpicking at myself. Three years ago I started my fitness journey and that’s when I began to truly love the skin I am in and become more body positive.”

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That’s what Annabel DaSilva, a Brazilian in Mumbai, calls her biggest achievement. And naturally we were keen to bring her on board as mobiefit Fitness Icon…Here’s how she went from an unhealthy lifestyle to one where fitness is first.

Life in School
I finished high school when I was 16 and made the decision to travel the world with modelling rather than going to school.

Early Inspiration
I’m not quite sure how to answer this one. I’ll interpret it my way. The very first person I looked up to was Mia Hamm (USA footballer). She was the role model and who I wished to become at an early age. I played since I was three and I would have to say she influenced me a lot as I was growing up.

What’s your Family like?
My bond with family is everything. When I say family.. I mean mom, dad and sister. I was born and raised most of my life in the states when the rest of the family was back in Brazil. I appreciate them so much; from the way they raised me, to everything they went through and how hard working both of them have been in life just to give my sister and I more opportunities. They are the ones who motivate me to do better, to become better and live up to my fullest potential. I am so grateful for how supportive both of them have been each step of the way. I thank them till this day for allowing me to leave home at such a young age.

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Weightlifting, Strength Training

What made you take fitness seriously?
It became a commitment I love. Listen, when you are interested in something, you only do it when it’s convenient. When you are committed to something, you accept no excuses; only results. Pushing myself harder than I did yesterday, challenging myself every damn day, progressing mentally and physically are all of the things that started coming with me taking fitness seriously and I loved that mindset.

Annabel Da Silva showing her technique for landmine squats
Annabel Da Silva showing her technique for landmine squats

What were the challenges you faced and overcame to be where you are today?
Body Dysmorphic and Bulimia. Like I said I let the modelling industry get to me. My relationship with food was super bad and how I used to treat my body was extremely unhealthy. Today it’s flipped around completely, so there were many ups and downs through the years but I am finally at peace with myself and loving the life I am currently living.

Do you have any coaches or mentors?
I do not have any coaches or mentors but I do have extremely close friends which guide me. I’m lucky to have people like that in my life.

Stiff leg deadlift for the glutes & hamstrings. πŸ’ͺ How to perform it: β–Ά Keep your knees slightly bent (10-15 degrees) and grab the bar shoulder width apart. Push your hips back as far as possible while lowering the weight. & When you feel like you can’t extend them any further, exhale, and move back towards the starting position. The difference between a stiff leg deadlift and a normal deadlift is that you aren’t bending your knees as much and you are focusing on pushing you hips back as much as you can to really hit those hamstrings. ⏸Things to keep in mind: 1⃣ Keeping the knees slightly bent rather than straight puts less stress on the knee joint. It’s best to prevent future injuries. Although the bend in the knee should be as little as possible. 2⃣ There is no right depth. Everyone has different flexibility in their glutes. Some people can touch the weights on the ground, while others can only go past their knees. There is nothing wrong with that. #unitedstrength

A video posted by A N N A B E L . F I T (@annabel.fit) on

Are you a full time fitness professional? If not, how do you make time for workouts or runs in your daily life?
I am not a full time fitness professional, yet! (See I used the word yet). It is a dream and I hope that one day I can pursue it. For now modelling is where my main income comes from and I am constantly busy with meetings and shoots. I make time, not excuses. If its really important to you, you’ll find a way. Whether that means early mornings or staying up late in order to prep meals for the coming day. I make sure to make fitness a priority in my life and I will squeeze it in somehow.

How many hours do you work out or run in a week?
I work out about 5 times a week and an hour and a half each time, depending on what day it is.

Who are some of the people in the Indian fitness community who inspire you?
Since I recently moved to India and I am just getting into the fitness scene, I actually do not know many names in the fitness industry… other than Miss Bani J!

Describe how staying fit changed your life.
I really have no idea where I would be and what I would be doing without lifting. It turned my life around and made me a completely different person. Like I’ve mentioned above.. mindset has changed completely. Healthy mind = Healthy body.

Any advice to amateurs who want to adopt a fit and healthy lifestyle?
Just start! “Every professional was once a beginner” remember that. We all start somewhere and that shouldn’t be a reason to stop you. Don’t let the fear of being judged by others bring you down and keep you from achieving your goals. Walk in with a game plan, stay confident, ask for help when needed and focus on yourself. Way too many times we compare our chapter 1 to someone else’s chapter 10. Embrace your own journey!

Good ole’ leg extensions. πŸ™Œ I don’t think I’ve officially mentioned it on here other than my insta stories… but about a month ago I pulled my hip flexor. First it was the left one and I kept training and pushing myself to the max with that.. it somehow cured itself. The week after that I pulled my right hip flexor. This time it doesn’t seem to be going away so easy πŸ˜–πŸ˜– So it’s been a couple of weeks without squats or deadlifts… Anything involving my hip flexors for that matter. So now I’ve been isolating my Quads and Hamys on leg days. Today I did German volume training (10repsx9sets) the tenth set was a drop set πŸ”₯ German volume training is super effective. I wouldn’t recommend it for a beginner as a beginner can make gains with progressive overload. If you are an intermediate; you are familiar with building muscle and eating properly this is a fun way to switch it up/torture yourself πŸ˜… and gain some size n strength πŸ’ͺ #unitedstrength

A photo posted by A N N A B E L . F I T (@annabel.fit) on

Five things you avoid (habits, food, etc.)
I just want to state I am a firm believer of balance. Especially with the diet. There are things I avoid but on occasion I will indulge because that’s what keeps me sane. If you keep a balanced diet that will help you from binge eating. So that is the number one thing I avoid: binge eating. Number two would be alcohol; just because I feel like it limits my productivity and performance at the gym. Number three would be sleeping too little.. My body needs to get a decent six hours of sleep to function and for me to spend the day without feeling drowsy. Number four never skip breakfast or any meal in that case. And number five I do avoid foods which are highly processed for example I lo(oooo)ve peanut butter, I would much rather make it then get a store bought one.

How do you learn about new diets or workouts?
Research! Research. And more research! The internet gets confusing as there is way too many contradicting articles out there. It seems like every year a new theory comes out. Honestly the best way to learn is to try different things out on your own body and see how it reacts. Every body is different, and what works for one person might not work on you.

What do you eat before, during and after your workouts?
Pre workout: Proats! Maybe I’ll share a little video on my secret recipe πŸ˜› and after workout will be sweet potato, tuna and eggs.

Do your friends or family complain about your fitness-first lifestyle?
Family is supportive, the only thing is that I don’t eat any other meat besides fish. Brazilians are huge meat eaters so anytime I go back home everyone jokes around about how I don’t have it in my diet anymore but the people who are around me like my flat mate and friends are super supportive and understanding.

Three hacks you have discovered which help you in your workout sessions
Muscle and mind connection. Leave your ego at the door. Last but not least Mobility work before Workouts.

One inconvenience/challenge you faced in your first run or workout which no one warned you about?
The importance of mobility work… Stretching is extremely important and it definitely helps prevent injuries. Take it from me.. I pulled my hip flexor and it’s bothered me ever since. So take some time before and post workout and focus on stretching. Foam rolling and dynamic stretches before and static stretches after.

Which are your three favourite songs which help you during the workout?*
I love this question! Alright so for each heavy lifting movement I have a song! Heavy Squats: Makaveli -Tory Lanez; Heavy Deadlifts: Hungry – Rob Bailey and the Hustle and for some reason on Biceps I need some ghetto music like Shabba – A$AP ROCKY

How should one keep his mind busy while working out?
One shouldn’t have anything but the exercise on their mind. Get in your own zone. For me that means music and thinking of every single rep, every set. Once I finish a set I am already thinking about the next. Quit focusing on what other people are doing around you or getting distracted by other things.

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