As one of the hard-working professionals of the Strictly Come Dancing stage in the UK, South African born Oti Mabuse has energy in spades – and her morning routine is proof of it.
From choreographing her routines at three in the morning to smashing out HIIT workouts on the assault bike, Oti sat down with Women’s Health to talk us through a typical morning in her life.
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At a time when night owls may be finally getting to sleep, Oti wakes up at the eye-wateringly early hour of 3am. Yep, seriously.
‘I’m an extreme early bird, so I’ll wake up at three o’clock in the morning,’ she tells WH. ‘I usually just sit in bed and reply to emails or text messages, then I’ll either choreograph or I’ll look at the current routine for things we can improve on.’
But then, in a move most of us can only dream of, Oti heads back to bed. ‘I’ll go back to sleep and wake up again at about eight o’clock when I can hear my husband [fellow dancer Marius Iepure] getting up, but if I don’t have Strictly it won’t be until 12pm – I have no guilt for lying in.’
As for the reasoning behind those middle-of-the-night awakenings? It’s all natural, baby. ‘Three o’clock is just when my body tells me to wake up,’ Oti explains. ‘I usually wake up slow, not tired or energetic, but once I’m fully awake that’s when the going gets going!’
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When she’s not busy preparing for Strictly, Oti is hitting her workouts hard. ‘I usually exercise in the morning, but I switch it up – either in the morning before work or the evening. When I do it in the evening, it’s because I missed the morning workout.’ Been there.
As for her exercise of choice, it’s all about the intensity. ‘I do really high intensity interval workouts,’ says Oti. ‘It’s either the treadmill or the assault bike, and I do lots of squats, weights and functional training. It’s anything and everything, basically.’
‘I love to create my own routines and schedule,’ she adds. ‘I create my own schedule and give myself exercises that I feel like doing that day and will enjoy.’
And when it comes to workout buddies, Oti’s don’t disappoint. ‘I love to work out with my friends Gorka and Karen [Marquéz and Hauer, fellow Strictly professionals] – we’ll do it online now as we all have the same kind of workout machines. Gorka will set up a workout for us to all do together,’ she explains. ‘On Strictly, that is my HIIT workout.’
To refuel from a morning workout, Oti insists she isn’t fussy. ‘What would my post-workout meal be? Anything!’
She explains that breakfast is usually a familiar one. ‘I love to recycle and use old glass jars, so I’ll have porridge with some nuts, a teaspoon of peanut butter and just healthy stuff like fruit,’ she says. ‘I’ll have that or three eggs and a nice salad.’
And of course, it’s all about the morning brew. ‘I would have coffee – really plain, just coffee – when I need the energy,’ Oti adds. ‘But usually I like a plain and simple tea. Either green tea or peppermint.’
The working day
As you might imagine if you’re a regular SCD fan, the hours on Oti’s main hustle aren’t short by any means. ‘I’ll be at work for 10am and work until 10pm, so I don’t get to sleep a lot,’ she says.
Thankfully, there’s always time to refuel mid rumba. ‘When we’re training for Strictly, we actually eat there,’ Oti explains. ‘I’ll still have my breakfast and then work for a couple of hours, then lunch, work, dinner, work and then we go home.’
And despite the show’s late finish, you’re best catching Oti in the early hours, she says: ‘I’m definitely a morning person – I’ve got the most energy and positivity in the morning. Don’t catch me at 10 o’clock at night, because I’m flat.’ After all of that, we definitely get it.
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*This article was originally published on Women’s Health UK