Work in, work out: Anita has been a health buff since her high school years and says there’s no excuse for not exercising Image Credit:

DUBAI Anita Joubert, 32, is not your regular flight attendant. The Dubai-based South African packs a physical punch, having recently earned the top spot on the pro-league of the World Bodybuilding & Fitness Federation (WBFF) championships in Iceland.

Juggling her multiple roles is not easy, but not impossible. A sports nutritionist certified by the American Muscle & Fitness, Joubert is also a full-time student (doing her studies to become a registered holistic nutritionist) and a wife, to boot. And she is constantly flying in and out of Dubai — her base for over 10 years working for Emirates.

Still, that’s no excuse not to stay fit. “It’s all about one’s motivation. I go to the gym for an hour whenever I find myself in another city, even when there’s no competition coming up,” she said.

Joubert, who stands five-foot-nine, joined Emirates as a flight attendant at the age of 22. She has been a health buff since her high school years. Because of her strict health regimen, she prepares and brings her own meals on board her flights.

In May, Joubert landed third in the WBFF event in Copenhagen before besting dozens of more experienced candidates in the professional body fitness category of WBFF in Iceland on June 9.

That earned her a shot at her ultimate target — to represent the UAE and South Africa in world championships in Toronto on August 25.

She currently spends a number of hours each day at Duffit, a fitness consulting firm in Dubai, preparing for the competition.

Is winning a top priority?

“It would be great to win,” said Joubert, who is married to a Dubai-based fitness trainer. “But life is all about balance. For me, my relationships — with my husband, family and friends — come first over winning. My life is not all about fitness, fitness, fitness, though it’s a big part of who I am.”

There’s no alternative to a balanced diet on the path to fitness, she warns. “Many diet fads are just that… passing fads. And there’s no excuse for not exercising.”

Prior to the event, Joubert will be eating smaller meals, but more frequently (up to six times daily, mostly fish, veggies, sweet potatoes and a spoon of olive or macadamia nut oil).

Joubert said there’s no shortcut to keeping fit and hopes her fitness regimen will rub off on others. That may come in handy in a country where up to 70 per cent of adults are either overweight or obese.

“People say they don’t have time to stretch and exercise. I don’t buy that,” she said. No one else can do it for you but yourself. Dieting, when done properly, is good. But when done all by itself, it is not enough. One has to balance a good diet with fitness training.”

As a flight manager, her job is to manage the crew on board Boeing 777s. Joubert, however, says that that managing oneself poses a greater challenge. “Before I start in the morning, I set out on the things I need to do and give it time.

“It’s not a strict list of things to do… rather, it’s a mental list: two hours of workout, three hours for academics, a few hours to run the house.”

No clubbing at night. “It burns me out,” she said. “I do go out with friends for dinner, movies or coffee. They come over for dinner.”

In WBFF, winners are judged according to how lean, well-defined and toned their bodies are — a combination of physique and stage presence.

Joubert herself has been photographed in Shape, Fit and Fab Europe, Oxygen in the US and SA Fitness (South Africa).

As for her current job, Joubert said: “My job is great. I never regret it one bit. I’ve seen so much. But I don’t plan to retire flying. I’ll probably move on to something else that I like to do. So I’m going to be here (in the UAE) for a long time,” she said.

Her eyes brighten up when she talks about the prospect of motherhood. “Me and my husband, are planning on having a baby probably next year, and nothing excites me as much,” she said.