How Layne Beachley lost weight during isolation

By | September 26, 2020

On the list of the very best places to be stuck at home in isolation this year, Sydney’s stunning northern beaches would have to be right up there.

With surf and sand at your doorstep, staying fit and healthy during lockdown simply comes with the territory.

Just ask Aussie surfing legend Layne Beachley. It might have seemed impossible for the woman who claimed six consecutive world titles between 1998 and 2003 to be able to spend even more time in the water this year, but she’s somehow found a way.

“It’s been surfing, surfing and more surfing,” she tells Health Hacker.

“Not only is it a full-body workout, but surfing stimulates my mind, elevates my heart rate and it’s socially interactive and physically rewarding. Being in the ocean is very calming. It’s where I experience freedom and a deep sense of connection and relaxation.

“I’m so incredibly grateful for the majority of NSW beaches remaining open during this period because the waves were pumping.”

Lockdown has been a tough period for most us, throwing our best-made diet and exercise plans out the window as we turned to home-delivered takeaway foods in record numbers.

And, if we’re being totally honest with each other, a little too much alcohol, too.

In fact, a recent UK study found almost 50 per cent of people have gained weight this year, and nearly 30 per cent say their alcohol consumption has increased, too.

It’s times like these that your habits kick in, helping you stay on your health and fitness path even when it seems almost impossible.

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Our habits are like our muscles — the more we use them, the stronger they get. And Beachley’s are about as strong as they come.

“Kirk (Pengilly) and I have been doing the 5:2 fasting diet for about six years now, which has been our secret weapon during iso,” she says.

“While most people we know have gained weight, we were one of the very few who actually lost weight, mainly because we weren’t eating out, we were drinking less, and we stayed committed to our regular ‘fast days’ on Monday and Thursday, where we limit our intake to 800 calories.”

I loved catching up with Beachley this week — her boundless energy and endless positivity is contagious — and so I thought I better ask her the secret so I can share it with all of you.



1. Look for the positives

“It’s been about 30 years since I spent six months at home without travelling overseas,” Beachley says.

“While it has been challenging for many people, it has blessed me with the opportunity to acknowledge the unsustainable pace of my life.”

2. Slow down

“Slowing down has rekindled my relationship with all the important and simple things,” Beachley says.

“We have been enjoying catching up at the dinner table every night to discuss the events of the day. We started embarking on long nature walks on the weekends with friends, and we have been making time to watch the occasional TV series, which is a real treat.”

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3. Stay connected

“Recognising that lockdown intensified feelings of isolation and disconnection, we made a concerted effort to host Facetime Happy Hour meetings with friends and host my dad for dinner once a week,” Beachley says.

“That and expressing gratitude for my happiness and healthiness several times a day.”


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