Fitness star Paige Hathaway didn’t take a traditional route to fitness stardom, but she pretty much paved the road to the top when it comes to making a living as a fitness influencer. With an Instagram following of 4 million (and counting) and more than 5.5 million likes on Facebook, she’s in a spot where many aspire to be nowadays—on everyone’s social feeds. 

Hathaway, who grew up in Minnesota and Oklahoma, is a self-made success who comes from humble beginnings. Her sheer drive to succeed took her farther than she ever thought possible, especially considering bikini competitions and traditional fitness modeling weren’t her passions. Now, she inspires millions of fitness fanatics to dedicate themselves to living their best, healthiest lives. To help others fall in love with fitness the way she once did, Hathaway holds “Fit in 5” challenges in which participants can win thousands of dollars for transforming their lifestyles and physiques over the course of a five-week program.

She’s also the latest ambassador for F45 Training, a global fitness franchise where studio-goers take 45-minute functional fitness classes to burn fat and get fit. F45’s combination of HIIT, circuit-style training, and functional training makes for a taxing workout that’s bound to take anyone’s fitness level up a few notches. For Hathaway, it’s the perfect complement to the heavier lifting she does during the week, but it also makes fitness simpler for those just getting started with a workout regimen. 

We picked Hathaway’s brain for her favorite moves, gear, and advice. 

M&F: What’s your favorite piece of fitness gear right now?

Paige Hathaway: At the moment, my go-to shoes are APL, and the piece of equipment I can’t live without is mini bands. They’re a must for my weekly workouts—especially for leg day, traveling, or getting an effective workout at home.

If you could only do one exercise for the rest of your life, what would it be?

The sled push is my favorite. It’s fun and works every muscle in your body!

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Top piece of advice for gym newbies?

Find a class that speaks to you. The great thing about F45 if you’re a beginner is the workouts are laid out for you. You’re shown how to perform each exercise as you go. If you’re a beginner and go to the gym without guidance, you might not know what to do once you get there.

What’s the downside of Insta-fame?

The biggest downfall is having your life revolve around social media. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy it, but there’s a constant struggle to snap the “perfect photo.”

What’s the strangest fan interaction you’ve had?

A man in his late 50s sent me flowers to California on Valentine’s Day all the way from the east coast. He called an F45 training location about me having his babies, then drove over 1,000 miles to come to an appearance I had on the east coast a few weeks later!

What’s your training and diet like?

I lift heavy with more compound movements 4-5 days week and do HIIT 3-4 days a week on top of that. I keep my diet 80/20, mostly sticking to whole foods like seafood, beans, quinoa, couscous, sweet potatoes, veggies, and lots of nuts and nut butters. But I still enjoy foods that might not be as healthy 20% of the time.

What’s the one exercise you love to hate?

The “man eater” is probably the toughest exercise I’ve done, and it delivers the fastest results. You do a plank, pushup, renegade row on both sides, then burpee to shoulder press. At the top, you take it all the way back down. It’s absolutely exhausting.

Follow Paige on Instagram at @paigehathaway, and check out F45’s page at @f45_training.

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