Q: How did you get into fitness?

A: For a long time, I struggled with body-image issues and was extremely depressed and insecure. I was a model for a while, too, but that was feeding my unhealthy obsession with perfection. So I turned to magazines like M&F Hers—I loved the look of strong women. By 25, I discovered fitness and started training, gaining 22 pounds, and started to feel healthier and happier. I even entered fitness competitions in Australia, winning three and placing second in two. Ultimately I decided that lifestyle was a little too strict for me, but I still wanted to keep fit and stay in top shape.

Q: When did your goals for being in fitness start to gain traction?

A: I started posting on a blog and on Facebook and was getting messages from girls with similar experiences or their own stories who said I’d helped change their lives. I started designing workout programs, and then a full online diet and fitness program. So that, plus my social forums on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter [with more than 4.4 million followers across those], provides a community of support and encouragement. My latest program is called F.I.T., or Fitness Inspiration Transformation, which is an online diet, fitness, and lifestyle program with an incredible support network of nutritionists, exercise scientists, and yogis. The idea is that those doing F.I.T. are never, ever alone in their fitness goals.

Q: What is your approach to fitness?

A: Fitness and health are a lifestyle, not a quick fix. I mix both longer sessions with faster high-intensity sessions and weights. I also never ever focus on weight loss. I focus on fat loss to build strength while also maintaining a healthy relationship with food. Everyone deserves to feel strong and healthy.

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Instagram

Q: How often do you train?

A: It changes because I have to be flexible because I travel a lot, so usually it’s about three times a week. When I train, I get in the gym, park, or even hotel room and just get it done really well. I get myself out of my comfort zone, train really hard, and then it’s done. It might even take just 15 or 20 minutes, ass long as I’m getting out of my comfort zone and challenging myself.

Q: Fave body part to train:

A: Glutes. I actually like having sore glutes, and it’s a challenge!

Q: What is your favorite leg day exercise?

A: One thing I’ll say first is that whether you chose to do low weight, high reps or high weight, low reps, you have to challenge yourself. If the last few reps aren’t nearly impossible, you’re not pushing yourself hard enough. It’s really about getting out of your comfort zone. But with leg day, I usually start with front squat. I usually do three seconds down, one second up, making sure my form is right, my core is tight, and I’m pushing through my glutes. Then, I’ll do a wide-leg sumo squat. I put two blocks or steps down and I stand on it with my legs wide. I use a bar or a kettle bell, something around 40 or 50 kilos, to do really low squats. I love doing glute bridges. They’re one of my favorite glute-strengthening exercises. Using heavy weight is really good for your glutes.

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Q: What is your biggest motivation?

A: Every time I give advice to people, it’s always advice I would give myself. If I’ve experiences that same thing, it’s what I’ve told myself to get out of that situation. With me, it’s always “Why are you doing this? Why did you start?” When I first started with health and fitness, it did change my life mentally. I was able to think more clearly, be more positive and feel happier. So, I just focus on that and remember how much it did make a change for me. Do I want to lose that and go back to the way I was before, or do I want to keep living this way and keep feeling amazing? You’ve always got to make a choice that’s a long-term choice and not just choosing temporary pleasure over long-term satisfaction.

Q: Who is your fitness hero?

A: My fitness hero is Jamie Eason. She was one of the first people I looked up to when I first got into fitness and health. I suffered from depression for many years when I was younger, and I used health and fitness to get myself out of it. Jamie was someone I looked up to. She was on magazine covers. When I first saw her, it was obviously about how she looked. She was so strong, fit and healthy, which were things I wanted to be. But when I met her, she was a really lovely person. She took time with me, talked with me, helped me with things, gave me advice. She really had a positive impact on me and it was that small with her that inspired me to not only go and get the dreams and goals that I had, but go out there and continue what she does by inspiring people, being real with people and helping people. Now I’m able to pass that along and help people.

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Q: Fave cheat treat:

A: Chia-seed pudding with coconut milk

Q: Fun fact that many don’t know about you?

A: I used to ride dirt bikes! And when I’m not in the gym or working, I like to travel and to swim in the ocean. It helps me “deload” to put my feet on the earth and just recharge.

Q: Goals for the future:

A: I’d like to develop organic hair and beauty products since people are always asking for tips on looking great.

Check out behind-the-scenes footage of our poolside photoshoot with Emily!

Try Emily Skye’s Booty-Targeted Workout!

Pick up a copy of the July/August issue of Muscle & Fitness Hers to get Emily Skye’s Strong & Beautiful Bootcamp workout.

Photo credit: Per Bernal

Hair & Makeup: Natalie Malchev