Nikki and Jay Hamann are the duo behind DUO Balanced Living. They are twins, best friends, and business partners. They’re both qualified healthcare professionals with a mutual dream and passion for promoting evidence-based, healthy living, while maintaining balance.
Jay is a Registered Dietitian, “I completed my Honours degree at UCT in 2018. I worked at Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital during my Community Service year, where my passion for healthy eating and education grew. I am 2 minutes older than Nix and the blonder of the two of us”.
Nikki is a Registered Biokineticist, “ I completed my Honours degree at UCT in 2018. In 2019 I worked at The Sport Science Institute of South Africa (SSISA) and completed my internship. I discovered my love for neurological rehabilitation as well as developed a passion for regular, sustainable, and fun exercise. I am also an avid animal lover and environment enthusiast.”
DUO Balanced Living aims to provide a platform to educate, empower, and journey with you through your healthy living endeavors. The use the powerful combination of a healthy diet and appropriate exercise, based on available scientific evidence, which they believe will propel you to realize your health and fitness goals.
“We are here to journey with you to achieve and maintain a healthy, sustainable, and balanced way of living through our digital weekly check-ins and combined diet and exercise programs.”
Recently, I chatted with Nikki and Jay about balance in both fitness and diet, beginner tips, staple foods and their new programs.
What does balance mean to you?
Growing up in our family home, “everything in moderation” is a principle that was emphasized and has subsequently defined our outlook on many different aspects of our lives. Our parents encouraged us to pursue balance and moderation over extremes whether in our school lives, hobbies, or health. We were taught to balance hard work with play, family time with time spent with friends, competitive sport with having fun, and healthy home meals with no shortage of sweet treats. In more recent years, we have grown to truly appreciate this balanced and moderate outlook and it has shaped the way we view what a healthy, balanced lifestyle looks like.
What does a balanced exercise program look like?
In our opinion, a balanced exercise program or routine should contain a variety of different forms of exercise. It should include approximately 3 days of cardiovascular training, 2 days of resistance or strength training as well as some flexibility exercises and recovery. As mentioned previously, DUO promotes balanced, moderate living, and thus, we believe that each individual has the flexibility to listen to their body on a daily basis, and from there decide what they feel up to doing. Having the authority to decide which exercise you feel up to doing on a certain day is so important and promotes a love and passion for exercise rather than a feeling of being forced to do something you don’t want to do. These are just general guidelines to help you to form a solid foundation for exercise, to know how to optimally train your body and to improve your overall fitness levels and health.
What does a balanced diet look like?
In our opinion, a balanced diet is a way of eating that supplies our bodies with all the nutrients that it needs to function optimally. It should be diverse, containing as much variety within and between food groups- as this is how we ensure we receive the full complement of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients which are needed for good health. Balance to us means moderation- including a little bit of everything, without depriving the body of what it needs or wants, and without overdoing it on a particular food, whether it be the vegetables we feel we should be eating, or the treats that we enjoy from time to time. Find a way of eating what you enjoy, and one that is sustainable and suitable to your lifestyle. Food can be a source of so much pleasure when enjoyed appropriately.
What’s the best ways for beginners to becoming healthier and fitter?
Our advice would be to take one small step at a time. Starting your health and fitness journey may seem like a daunting task, but the first step is often the most difficult. Define a realistic goal for yourself and take one small step toward achieving this goal. This one step forward may be what motivates you to take the next step forward, and before you know it- you will be on your way.
We would encourage beginners to seek the assistance and guidance of trained healthcare professionals who will give guidance based on scientific research, rather than simply following the next fad diet or exercise trend. All our bodies, preferences and routines are different, and this means that our health and fitness journeys are unique. There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to health. A trained healthcare professional will work alongside you to ensure that the advice you receive is individualized for you, giving you the best chance of success.
Lastly, we would encourage you to view your health and fitness endeavor as a lifelong journey, rather than a temporary “quick fix.” Pursue lifestyle change that is sustainable and enjoyable and surround yourself with people who can support, motivate, and encourage you along the way.
With gyms being closed and many people don’t have access to weights and equipment, what are you best at-home workouts to start with?
We would recommend starting with body weight exercises. These are simple exercises that most people will be able to do, no matter where they are, and the best part is that they require no equipment. Body weight exercises usually target larger muscles groups, such as your quadricep muscles in your legs. Despite using no equipment in the training session, it is still possible to complete an effective full body strength training session using only one’s body weight.
A few common body weight exercises to try
- Sumo Squat
- Calf Raise
- Ab Bikes
- Shoulder taps
- Triceps dip
- Push ups
What are your favorite budget friendly pantry and fridge staples?
Legumes are healthy, versatile, affordable, and delicious, and can so quickly and easily be whipped up into something delicious. Beans, chickpeas, and lentils are our favorites, and we always keep our pantry stocked with these items. They are full of protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals, and low in sodium and saturated fat – making them a perfect animal protein substitute or meat extender. They are also a good source of prebiotics which keep our guts healthy by feeding the probiotics or “good bacteria” that live in our digestive tract. They can be used in salads, soups, mince, curries and stews, and they can even be used to bake healthy sweet treats! A bonus is that eating a more plant-based diet not only has beneficial effects on our health, but on our environment too!
Heathy YOU by DUO Balanced Living
“Healthy YOU” is the first program DUO Balanced living has launched. This program includes a 4-week healthy eating guide and an exercise plan, in the form of a comprehensive 67-page Ebook.
“Through this program we aim to introduce you to a simple, healthy, balanced lifestyle which you will be able to maintain into the future. This program is designed for individuals of a healthy weight, who are moderately active with a baseline fitness level. The program will empower you to take responsibility for your health and foster sustainable and enjoyable lifestyle changes. We believe that a healthy, balanced lifestyle includes a combination of healthy eating and regular exercise, and thus to maximize your results, we recommend using the healthy eating guide and exercise program in conjunction with one another”
They are also in the process of developing their second program designed specifically for those wanting to lose weight. It is called “Healthy WEIGHT” and will be released shortly.
Find DUO Balanced living on Instagram @duo_balancedliving, Facebook – Duo Balanced Living or email them at [email protected] with any questions or comments about their programs and how they can help you become healthier and fitter.
Zissy is the co-founder of Nutreats. She likes to make things, do things and wear things.