Life Fitness and Health of a Croatian Trainer "LEA RADOJICIC"

Hello, who are you and what sports/fitness routine do you play?

Hello, my name is Lea Radojicic, I am a 32-year-old Croatian living and working in Dubai as a personal trainer. I am qualified for pre and post natal training and I find helping women better themselves physically and mentally to be one of the most rewarding perks of my job. My passion for sport started at a very early age. As a 5 year old, I was already training in gymnastics and tennis. But, both were not something I found myself in. Once I started training volleyball, that was it for me. I trained volleyball professionally for years back home, playing the middle hitter position. Being 180cm tall explains it all now. :) After volleyball I trained rowing as well, and got a couple of medals too. I found rowing to be one of the hardest sports I have ever tried, but it was a great intro for weightlifting. We used to weight lift a lot back then and this is what I do now. I love weightlifting. My days in the week are split into muscle groups, each day for a certain muscle. Plus, I do a lot of cardio every day, mostly walking or cycling. 

How do you get ready to train for your sport/how do you train?

I train 7 days a week. Sunday to Thursday I do weightlifting in the gym (Legs workout, Back, Chest & Shoulders, Arms & Abs, Glutes). I do cardio daily. I usually do about 30 minutes of incline (15%) treadmill walk (pace is 4kmph). I start each workout with warmup, usually 5 minutes of fast paced walking, after which I do dynamic stretching for the muscles I will be working on that day. If I have time, I foam roll as well, before and after workout. I usually prefer to train early in the afternoon, as my body has at least one meal in by that time, which gives me more energy. After warmup, my workout is about an hour long. I use available machines and free weights to train. Depending on the week, I sometimes do heavy lifting, trying to beat my own records in weights, some weeks I lower the weights, but do more repetitions. Sometimes I do supersets of exercises. My workouts are always challenging. I can easily discipline and push myself for more. I love to train and I love to see results. Since I have been training for so many years already, it is a part of my routine, my lifestyle and I cannot imagine going without workouts for a very long time. Most of the times, I squeeze my workouts in while on vacations too, as I do not see training as a burden. It is bettering myself, my body, my health and overall wellbeing. I do like to try new things, new classes, but most of the time I stick to weight lifting as I enjoy it, my body reacts well to it and it makes me happy.

After a workout/game, how do you recover your body? What do you do to get your body in shape? What type of diet do you eat?

After workout I always stretch. If I have more time, I can easily end up stretching for another 30 minutes. It relaxes my body, plus my flexibility improves. With weights, muscles tend to be quite stiff, so I really do find stretching important. When you keep challenging your body, you tend to get sore A LOT :) On the days that I feel my body really heavy and sore, I do Epsom salt baths. They really help me relax and recover better. I also take Magnesium every night before bedtime. Sleep is another component important to me. My schedule is very tight, I wake up early almost every day (between 4.45am to 5.30am), so I need to go to bed quite early, to get enough sleep. My performance while training hugely depends on a good quality of sleep. I always try to get 7h of sleep per night. In order to perform I have to eat. And to be honest, I love to eat. I eat 5 times a day. I am trying to eat good quality food. I avoid saturated fats and I keep junk food for my cheat meal for the weekend. Our bodies are our engines and I do not want to feed my body with things I know aren’t good for me. I am not saying I eat 100% clean, I do have a sweet tooth and I always satisfy my cravings with weekly cheat meals. I love taking care of my body and that means I eat a lot of vegetables, fruit, meat, good quality carbs as oats and rice. I am quite disciplined with food, as it is important to me to perform well on a daily basis. 

How do you prevent injuries when you’re training? What type of stretches do you normally do? What’s your routine looking like?

A good warmup is always a must for me. I never start my workouts without at least 5 minutes of fast paced cardio that will increase my heart rate and warm me up a little. Also, as I mentioned earlier, dynamic stretches before workout. I always start my workouts with higher repetitions, lower weights, in order to warm up the body more and prevent any injuries. I listen to my body a lot. On some days I have more energy than others. If I feel more energetic, I push myself harder and I try reaching personal bests. If I do not feel 100%, I will still train, but maybe increase repetitions and decrease weights. That itself makes sure my body does not get compromised and injured. It is easier now with weightlifting as I am not training to compete, but to stay healthy. Before, when I used to train volleyball and rowing, it was more challenging and my body got injured many times. I broke everything, from toes to sternum, you name it.


If there was someone wanting to get to your level, what type of advice would you give them?

In order to be where you want to be in fitness, you have to follow the cliché advice: make it a part of your lifestyle. You do not want to do it because you have to, but because you enjoy it and it is important to you. Find something that you like. Do not follow something just because you see it working for your fitness idol. There are so many different sports out there, so many different activities that will make your body move and be healthier. Explore the possibilities and stick to what you enjoy. Being persistent and determined is a must. There are many bad days in a year where you will not want to go out and train, where you will try to find an excuse not to stick to healthy eating. And it is okay for those days to happen, but do not let them go on forever and make you give up. Pushing through the bad days will make it count at the end. Create small healthy routines to begin with and grow them bigger. Start small. You do not have to do everything at once and expect for miracles to happen. You need to give yourself time to get results. But, do not compare yourself to anyone else, but yourself. Our bodies are so different, learn to accept yourself the way you are, but from there, try to better yourself day by day. We are all capable of so much. So, just start, try different things, explore new healthy flavors and stay consistent. I am sure the results will follow. 


How do you structure your day now? What projects are you busy with?

As a personal trainer, my schedule is crazy. I do not have a routine. I work Sundays to Thursdays with my clients and I am off on weekends, but I always end up working anyways, on personal projects (creating new workout programs, filming workouts and new content for social media…). My workouts are scheduled according to my day to day schedule, so if I am busy in the morning, late afternoon and evening, I will squeeze in my workout in the early afternoon. There are no excuses. People often think it is easy for me, as a trainer, to workout. But, not really, I drive a lot between my clients and my time per day is limited (especially with 2 dogs who also need walking and taking care of). But, working out is important to me and I always make time for it. I cook my food in advance, so I am always ready and I often eat on the go. But preparing my meals in advance helps me to stay on track and not to end up eating junk. We all have time, it is just important to prepare and put some effort in.


How has your journey on social media been like? Future plans?

No matter how big you are on social media, there are always people who will follow what you say, so it is important to me to put good quality content out there, tips and tricks, workouts, food ideas, anything fitness and wellbeing related. I love empowering women, therefore I have created a platform (that is still growing), to empower women, to make them feel strong and confident (@empower.me.dxb on Instagram). It is not always easy creating new content, especially being busy with clients daily. But, I always try my best to be true to myself, to motivate and inspire and maybe teach my followers something new. I think Instagram for example is a great tool to connect with people in your niche, learn a lot and get inspired. 


Anything else you would like to share?

Find what you like and are passionate about and go chase it.


How can our audience find you online? 

Here are my accounts:

Instagram: lea.fit.dxb

YouTube: Lea Fit Dxb

TikTok: lea_fit_dxb

Link to Lea Radojicic's Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lea.fit.dxb/

Lea Radojicic is a 32-year-old Croatian living and working in Dubai as a personal trainer. She trained volleyball professionally for years back home, playing the middle hitter position. After volleyball, she trained rowing as well, and got a couple of medals too. Her schedule is crazy. During her off days, she always ended up working too on personal projects (creating new workout programs, filming workouts and new content for social media)