Hanlie Signorini is the absolute epitome of the perfectly balanced feminine athlete everyone wants to be. She also happens to look better in her 50s than most women do in their 30s. Hanlie is showing that age is really just a number! That’s probably why we love this instagram superstar (@fitterstronger) and her incredibly inspiring feed that conveys a message of positivity and empowerment to her social community. We caught up with the unstoppable Global Spartan Race Ambassador and asked her to share her secret to her age defying looks. From how she fuels her body to her skin care routine, exercise regimen and much more. Here’s what she told us:
Tell us a little about yourself, your background and what you do?
I was born in Johannesburg, South Africa and grew up there. I met my husband when I was 15 and have been married for 38 years. We have two children. During the past twenty years we have lived in South Africa, Botswana, England and the UAE. I worked in the corporate world during my twenties and thirties and during that time fitness wasn’t a part of my life.
What inspires you to stay fit and healthy?
Knowing the long-term benefits for my mind and body and that immediate post workout high always inspires me to live an active and healthy lifestyle. Sadly I’ve seen first hand the suffering of close family members due to unhealthy choices. I know that taking care of my body today will be beneficial and improve the quality of my later years. I am inspired by athletes in peak condition and love to follow their journeys.
You look better in your 50s than most women do in their 30s… What is the secret of your youthful looks?
Thank you! I can only attribute it to exercising regularly. It’s like magic! After a workout my skin glows and I am happy. HIIT sessions speed up my metabolism as well as cell rejuvenation. I don’t take it easy, I always get my sweat on! Strength training builds muscle and toned muscles simply look more youthful. High muscle mass also burns more calories. My metabolic age is 37 and my biological age 30. Even if these tests are not 100% accurate it indicates that my body is younger than 53 and healthy for my age.
What has been most important to you throughout your growth and crushing your fitness goals?
Not allowing life to get in the way of my training schedule. You can have an excuse not to exercise every day if you allow it. Staying fit is a priority, my goal is to be fitter and stronger and I refuse to compromise. I enter races throughout the year and it motivates me to commit and train for them. I studied nutritional therapy and learned that there are super foods that are not only nutritious but certain foods and macronutrients can heal your body. I regularly include ginger in my diet as it assists with inflammation. Knowledge is power and it is important to stay informed with regards to nutrition and the latest information regarding fitness. I didn’t wake up one morning and just balanced on my hands. It was really difficult for me and I had to practice regularly. It takes time to improve your fitness. Once, I could only do one push-up now I can do 50. It took me a long time to achieve that. Be patient and don’t give up, if I can do it you can do it too.
What types of exercises bring out the best in your body shape?
I do not concentrate on aesthetics but rather train to improve endurance, strength and skills to improve my performance in obstacle races. I also concentrate on mobility and flexibility to help me guard against injuries.
What advise would you give on how to be in the best shape of your life after 40?
I would like to recommend what works for me and that is a combination of strength training, cardio sessions plus yoga or pilates for flexibility. The sooner you start to make a healthy lifestyle a priority the sooner you will reap the rewards. Don’t wait for bad news to frighten you into changing your lifestyle. Start and stick with it – not just for a week or a month because you have a special event or holiday coming up but make it part of your life’s journey. I know busy and successful people that exercise regularly simply because they make it is a priority.
What’s your day on a plate?
Breakfast: I have a coffee and a green juice with my supplements. It’s important to plan ahead. If I’m having breakfast out I usually have an omelette with salmon or egg with avocado. I always go for protein.
Lunch: A Superfood Salad
Dinner: Protein plus a variety of vegetables. Tonight we’re having Spaghetti Bolognaise but my bolognaise will be on top of broccoli instead of pasta. I eat pasta, but having my bolognaise on top of a vegetable helps me to increase my veg count for the day. I try to have my “Five a Day”.
Snacks: Here’s my favourites: Almond Butter with Apple Slices; Peanut Butter and Banana; Hummus with Oat Crackers; Blue Corn Tortilla Chips with Avocado; popcorn, dark chocolate covered almonds. I also love berries, mango, pineapple in fact I’m currently snacking on a bowl of raspberries.
Favourite Dessert: Coffee flavoured Ice Cream & Carrot Cake, I also love fresh dates. I train hard and have no issue with the occasional ice cream and often share a slice of carrot cake with my husband.
Supplements: Vit C, Vit D, Fish Oil, Glucosamine, MSM, Chondroitin, Spirulina, BCAA’s, Creatine, Glutamine, Alpha Lipoic Acid, DHEA, Magnesium. I can’t categorically say that I absolutely know that these supplements make a difference and I have read many debates on the subject but I would like to believe that they are beneficial.
What is your philosophy when it comes to food?
My mantra is “Eat the Rainbow” and a variety of fresh food as close to their natural state as possible. I am not a vegan but often eat like a vegan. I love the freshest natural food and never starve myself or skip certain food groups. Variety gives you a vast range of nutrients.
What does health, beauty and fitness mean to you?
Being healthy physically and mentally. Able to get up and have energy for my day. Enjoying life and loving the people in my life. We are all beautiful and unique and being able to see that in yourself is special. Living in a strong toned body, being confident and at peace and being proud of my accomplishments.
Must have beauty products?
Dermalogica Cleanser, Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue (Tinted Hydrating Gel with 30SPF), Charlotte Tilbury Magic Eye Rescue, Vitamin C Serum, Hyalloric Acid, Retinol, Kiehls Dark Spot Remover. At my age a night time cleansing and moisturising ritual definitely makes a difference, not forgetting enough sleep of course.
Tell us what a day in your life looks like, and first thing you do in the morning, and last thing you do at night.
I usually start my day with a glass of hot water and lemon. Extensive travel messes with routines but in a perfect world I stretch in bed before scrolling through social media whilst sipping my morning coffees (usually two). I try to think back to when there was no Instagram. I have my supplements and my green juice and brush my teeth whilst doing leg raises. I no longer have to rush children to school – I definitely never thought I’d miss those days!
Today I trained for two hours, not all-high intensity but a balance of sprints and obstacle race training followed by handstands and stretches. Made lunch, showered and put the afternoon aside to finish this article. I regularly spend my afternoons creating new content for instagram. I often attend events for influencers and I love connecting with inspiring fitness friends.
As I have a race coming up, I have nothing to post today as I’ve stopped taking videos all the time. It distracts me from my training and it is important to keep training the main thing.
Video calling is my best friend and I love catching up with my son, daughter and two Yorkies in England.
When we are home in England or South Africa we try to spend as much time with family as possible. I’ve spent years living away from my family and when we’re together we literally spend every moment together.
What about your weekly workout schedule?
My life is never the same from week to week and nor is my workout schedule. Last week I was in Johannesburg, the week before that Dubai.
My schedule changes depending on where I am and if I have a race coming up. I usually train for 2 hours. I strength train twice a week, and usually run every second day. There’s functional training, which ensures that I keep on top of my game for obstacle races, HIIT sessions plus I work on learning new skills.
When in Dubai and London I regularly attend gym classes. I love Body Pump (a strength training class) and will try every crazy high intensity interval training class there is! I’m so pleased that my husband loves to stay fit too. When we’re in George, we take a drive and run on Wilderness Beach every week. In Cape Town we run along the Promenade and stop off to play on the bar parks along the way. I love the beautiful parks in Rome and Milan too – in fact we love to run and sight see – it’s a great way to see a city. When I’m in London I attend Hot Yoga at a nearby studio twice a week. Outdoor workouts are my favourite and I often plan a workout that I can instagram. Variety – always!
What does self-care mean to you? What do you do to keep sane? What products do you enlist to help?
Anything that makes me feel happy inside, like spending time outside in the sunshine. Getting a good night’s sleep. Having a lovely stretch session when I wake up. Being organised simplifies my life. Ensuring that we have fresh ingredients and planning healthy meals in advance is important. I love it when I get into bed at night and know that I’ve eaten nutritious meals the whole day. When I’ve had a particularly tough workout I make time for an Epsom Salt bath to help with recovery.
Self care includes regularly updating my hair colour and having my nails done on a regular basis because it’s nice to look and feel my best.
Fat Chips – especially fat chips with parmesan and truffle, put those in front of me and it’s impossible to say no.
Something you can’t live without?
My husband, children and my two Yorkies.
What is next for you?
I have qualified for the European Spartan Championships which will be held in Italy and also have races coming up in England and the Netherlands during the summer. I am very keen to advance my handstand practice and will be attending a workshop next month. It’s important to set small attainable goals too that make me feel like a winner on a regular basis i.e. increasing reps, running pace, distance or a yoga pose.
Things that people don’t know about you:
I have moved approximately 50 times and no I’m not exaggerating. I once lived on the 84th floor of a super block in Dubai and I used to run the stairs for fun. Two years ago I had a terrible spasm in my piriformis muscle and I ended up in a wheel chair for a month. It was a very dark time for me.
Is there anything we have not asked that you would like to talk about?
I wasn’t an athlete in my younger years and only discovered my love for obstacle races around five years ago. When I turned 50 I qualified for the Spartan World Championships in Lake Tahoe. I was completely out of my comfort zone. I was living in Dubai at the time where it is very warm and pretty flat and was not prepared for the extreme cold nor the 6200 ft altitude where there is 20% less oxygen per breath. I was extremely nauseous for most part of the race. Nevertheless, I finished the race in 6 hours 30 minutes and burst into tears when I saw my husband at the finish line.
Instagram definitely impacted my life in a positive way. I plan fun workouts and share it with my followers and I receive beautiful messages from woman all over the world that have been inspired to live a healthier and fitter lifestyle. These messages motivate me to keep sharing my journey.
Sweet or Savory? Savory
Hot or cold? Hot
Lips or Eyes? Eyes
Smoothie or Juice? Juice
Yoga or Pilates? Yoga
Coffee or Tea? Coffee