In the fitness industry, popularity in the form of “likes” and followers on social media often lends credibility to undeserving blockheads. Thankfully, there are also people like Emily Skye who use their fame for more than personal gain. The 32-year-old Australian model and fitness expert is honest and transparent with the 13 million people who follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube: Imperfection is human. Skye demonstrates this by unabashedly pulling back the curtain. Yes, she’ll post sexy bikini pics in which her waist is tiny and her midsection is ripped, but she’ll also post photos of her cellulite and weight gain during training lulls, too. It’s all done to spread a message: Perfection is impossible to achieve, but happiness and appreciating your body isn’t.
M&F: What got you into fitness?
ES: I was 25 years old, and I’d had enough of living a life of not being satisfied and not being the best that I can be. I was unhappy and suffered from depression, anxiety, and pretty bad body-image issues. I started implementing changes in all different areas of my life by eating healthier foods, exercising, and surrounding myself with supportive people. Over time I just became happier and happier. I loved the life that I was living, and I wanted to share that with the rest of the world with the hope it would have a positive impact on other people. I made it my mission and here I am today, several years later, still going at it.
Do you feel a certain level of responsibility with having 13 million social media followers across YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter?
It’s pretty surreal to have that amount of followers listen to me and support me. It’s amazing. I feel blessed to be in this position, and I like to use it to inspire, motivate, and educate.
How does one curate such a massive following?
You have to make a deliberate effort to post valuable content that people can learn from every single day. I think that’s something a lot of people don’t realize. They think, “Oh, they’re so lucky,” and that it happened overnight. It’s not an overnight thing.
You also post what some might consider unflattering photos of yourself. Why?
I like taking pretty photos, but I also like to show my cellulite and stretch marks and when I gain a little fat. That’s important. Posting perfect photos in the right lighting from the right angle in the right pose—young girls see that and believe that [type of] perfection exists. When they realize that it’s unattainable, they get upset and compare themselves with these Instagram models.
It’s cool that you’re demonstrating that you’re a human with human flaws—and you accept it.
I think there’s an obsession with being too lean. It can be intimidating to people who are starting out. It’s not realistic, either. I don’t walk around like that year-round. It can obviously be done, but I don’t know how other fitness models are doing it. I don’t think everyone is 100% honest with their followers.
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What is your fitness philosophy?
It’s all about living the lifestyle. I’m not too strict; I’m all about balance. I’m not afraid of eating chocolate and ice cream and things like that; it’s about enjoying my life and being happy as long as I feel my best mentally and physically.
Do you have any advice for a Day 1 beginner?
Find exercises and foods that you enjoy. If you don’t, you’ll get bored and fall off. You don’t want to get into something for short-term results. I don’t see the point in that. Second, surround yourself with like-minded people whom you can train and eat healthy with. It makes the process easy and enjoyable.
How do you fit workouts into your busy schedule?
When I first started, I was very structured. Every single day was planned out weeks ahead of time, but now because I travel so much—I’m overseas almost every month—I can’t stick to that strict regimen. I’ve got to have a very flexible training and diet program. I go to the gym and train whatever I haven’t worked recently. I usually like to start off with legs and glutes, and the next day I might do back and bi’s, and then the next day I’ll do shoulders and then triceps. I throw abs in here and there and do a bit of HIIT as well.
If you could perform only three exercises, what would they be and why?
Deadlifts are No. 1. Then lunges since they work your legs one at a time and overhead press since it works your upper body and activates your core, too. If I had to pick a fourth, I’d say sprinting since it uses so much of your body and it’s so explosive.
What’s your deadlift PR?
I had a goal of lifting 100kg (220 lbs). I gave it a shot, and I lifted it three times. I was pretty proud of myself.
What’s your plan moving forward?
I can’t do this forever, but for now every decision I make in my career is geared toward reaching more people and having a positive impact. That’s my goal now. That’s my goal tomorrow. It’ll be my goal 10 years from now, too.
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