Anita Joubert, Emirates Airlines flight manager, during a workout in a gym and preparing a salad at her home. Image Credit: Asghar Khan/Gulf News

Dubai: Time, or the lack of it, is the most common excuse many of us give when we can’t hit the gym or do any rigorous physical activity to keep ourselves healthy.

We get stuck in making promises of starting to diet or exercise tomorrow. But too many tomorrows later, we’re heavier and unhealthier and have not moved an inch toward achieving that goal.

Anita Joubert, 32, is an exception to that rule. A full-time flight manager, full-time student, and a housewife, she makes it seem like there is more than 24 hours in a day in how she manages to live a healthy lifestyle while fulfilling her other roles.

Already a sports nutritionist, the South African is on a mission to becoming a registered holistic nutritionist through correspondence schooling at Canadian University of Dubai. She allots three hours every day for her studies in between her four-flight-a-week routine. And wherever they land, she’s surely not out to go shopping or take pictures—she’s out there getting fit.

“Whenever we land in any city in the world, it’s the gym that I go to. In every city, I know which gym to go to because it’s my passion, I love it,” Joubert, who was a track and field athlete in her younger years beginning age five, told Gulf News.

She started to going to the gym and eating healthy at 17 years old. And while most people mistake doing diets to lose weight, Joubert said it was not the answer.

“If you ‘diet’ and then you changed to your normal eating habits, you’re gonna gain weight. So, change your lifestyle—eat healthier, you can do it, it’s very easy. So just change your lifestyle, just cut back on certain things,” she said.

“If you eat four slices of bread a day, go back to two slices or three. If you eat a lot of butter, try and cut that back. If you eat a lot of fried food, don’t fry, grill. I always tell people, it’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle. And this is how I am.”

Cutting down on something is better, Joubert said, than taking out a certain food from your diet.

“[The key is] small meals, frequently, and breakfast in the morning. You have to be balanced. Everything should be there--your carbohydrates, I don’t cut carbohydrates at all. You can’t ‘cause that gives you the energy.”

“But you have portion sizes. Anything that fits in your hand, that’s a good portion size.”

In May, Joubert represented the UAE in the World Body Building Fitness Federation (WBFF) Denmark Championship and placed third though she was unwell during that time. She aims to place first in the same competition next month, which will be held in Iceland, and an ultimate target to represent the country in the world championships in Toronto in August.

“It’s not body-building; body-building is bigger, stronger. Mine is more lean, more defined toning. It’s like a beauty pageant but with muscles,” Joubert said.

No excuse

Joubert said with so many available information on healthy living nowadays, no one has an excuse not to keep fit.

“I like giving advice to people — what to do, how to eat, what to eat. At the end of the day, everybody knows what he can or cannot lose, right? They know what’s helping them and what’s not. But it’s that will [power that’s lacking].”

“It boils down to motivation, self motivation at the end of the day. And if you really put your mind to something and you really are passionate then you will make time, for sure. I have been doing this for 11 years—flying, and working out and eating healthy,” Joubert said.