Runner Lana Van Hout on body positivity, running, and growing as an influencer

1 March 2017
By Fashion Quarterly
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Lana wears adidas tee, shorts and ultraboost x running shoes. Skye wears adidas tank, tights, pure boost x running shoes.

How would you feel if you were about to go for a run with super-babe middle distance runner Lana Van Hout? Nervous? Yep, same.

However, the girl we’ve all been following for a while now is anything but intimidating. In fact, she’s super relatable and has some pretty important messages for young women.

Lana Van Hout represents everything we at Miss FQ stand for, so our Digital Editor, Skye Ross went for a run with the adidas ambassador to learn more about the gorgeous girl behind the ‘gram…

Lana Van Hout

Name: Lana Van Hout

Age: 25

Tell me about your journey to becoming a middle distance track runner. When did running transition from a passion to a career?

I was never a runner growing up, in fact I hated it with a passion. My beginning to running was unplanned; running is the positive that came from some negatives in my life. It’s not really something I speak about, but I would like to be as honest as possible as it may help someone out there, if they are feeling challenged by life.

I was bullied at school, which changed me as a young person and then as a young woman I was in an abusive relationship and kind of lost myself along the way.  I started going for the occasional jog, as it became my escape, my freedom, my way forward to rebuild and feel proud of myself again. I felt a sense of achievement with every run I did, and from that point I started to believe in myself and become passionate about running, which led me to eventually sign up for a few half marathons. That was when I realised I actually had an ability, and there was no stopping me from there.  I joined North Harbour Bays Athletics and started to be coached by Paul Hamblyn and have never looked back.

What has been your greatest achievement to date?

I would have to say winning a mixed terrain half marathon in Rotorua. I’d been running for only 3 months at that stage and this outcome cemented the realisation that ‘hey, I love this and I’m not too bad at it.’

Breathing in the sea breeze 🌊💙 #adidasnz #adidas

A post shared by LANA VAN HOUT (@lanavanhout) on

Is running your full time gig?

Running is kind of a full time gig in the sense that I put it before everything else.  I run and train 7 days a week, but because I’m passionate about it every day is a great day. I also study at Auckland Uni and model with Red11. My Instagram and new YouTube channel is always work in progress.

What do you do when you aren’t training or competing?

If I’m not at training, I’m probably hanging out with my family, my boyfriend Cam, or friends – usually still in an active environment. I love exploring our beautiful country so I jump at the chance to escape to the beaches of the East or West Coast. I love exploring our national parks, drinking coffee and I’m a sucker for a sunset picnic.

West Coast Sunset ☀️

A post shared by LANA VAN HOUT (@lanavanhout) on

It looks, from your Instagram, like you love to mix up your training with activities like boxing, basketball, weight training and yoga, as well as running. What does your weekly schedule look like?

I run every day, which usually equates to 100-120km per week. I do strength and conditioning at the gym 2-3 times per week. Aqua jogging happens once a week for an hour, which I love as I get to chat to all the grannies and being in the pool is great for my muscles and joints. Aqua jogging is the most similar exercise neurologically to running, so is great for injures when you can’t run.

As for all the other activities you see me doing on Instagram, I love to cross train and I wish I had more time for it. Yoga is a bit of a necessity for me – flexibility has never been my strong point so it’s always a work in progress and something I can do more of. I love kickboxing and boxing or going down to the local school and shooting hoops (well, trying) with friends for fun.

What are your tips for working out as a couple?

I met my boyfriend Cam through running. I feel very lucky to be with someone who shares similar goals and is also passionate about being fit and healthy.

Everyone has busy schedules and training takes up a lot of time, so to be able to train together is a bonus, as not only do you get to sweat but you get to hang out. Go to the gym, your local park or get out of your area and explore new places with your other half.

I’d definitely recommend couples take turns and create workouts for each other. I love the dynamic of training as a couple as we both want the best for ourselves and each other, but we are also competitive. Sometimes Cam creates workouts for me and vice versa, and I feel when I train with Cam I push myself harder.

Another upside to training together is the emotional side. Injuries are part of running and every sport unfortunately. Emotionally they take their toll and you tend to feel very alone battling through the injury; having the understanding and support of a partner helps beyond belief.

With the rise of the Insta-bod, there’s so much pressure on young women to look good – so more than ever, it’s important to feel good mentally, too. How do you rise above the pressure to stay positive and happy in your own skin?

I’m putting a slight twist on my answer as it breaks my heart that we as young women measure ourselves against others, but unfortunately a lot of us are guilty of it. We are all so unique and who we are comes down to a myriad of things: genetics, our upbringing, personal choices, life experiences, culture and education. What we see in a photo isn’t achievable; that individual is a different person to you and who knows, they may have the help of photoshop or just a really good angle.

I’ve realised through my own life people will always have views, but we are also guilty of having our own internal measuring stick and we can be so unkind to ourselves. If I could have my time over to change anything in my life and if I could get this message to every young woman or teen before the self doubting begins, it’s this: we leave our busy childhood of playing and running, not realising we were exercising this whole time and enter our teens. We become more sedentary, therefore not getting the endorphins and not understanding the changes puberty brings. Our hormones take over and our world does not prepare us for the emotional changes the future holds. We are all fighting to be accepted and ‘fit in’, whilst being bombarded with beautiful images in the media, with a body that is changing and no longer familiar to us.

Life and experience has educated me that exercising, or literally going for a walk can do wonders for your mental space and physical wellbeing. Every day is a different day – sometimes you feel amazing, others you just don’t and you have to push to get out the door. But you’re worth it and I promise you will feel a million times better doing something for yourself. You are just a thought away from better thoughts. Love yourself and accept yourself, no matter what size or shape, just be the unique version of you.

Which sportswear item is your current MVP? 

I pretty much live in sportswear and I love how popular activewear now is. My MVP would have to be the new adidas Ultraboost X shoes. They are designed for womens feet and literally feel like you’re running on a cloud.

When you’re having a rest day, how do you treat yo’self?

I don’t really take rest days, it’s more that I have a lighter day running. My favourite thing to do on a lighter day would be to grab a coffee, go for a walk along the Auckland Waterfront, followed by a swim at the beach.

All days should start this way. Harmony, tranquillity and a beautiful sunrise ❤️🌅🌊 #adidasnz

A post shared by LANA VAN HOUT (@lanavanhout) on

What are your beauty tips for people who like to work out a lot?

Wearing sunblock is a must as I’m always outside in our harsh NZ sun. I drink a lot of water which is crucial when you are sweating a lot, plus we would all die without it ha ha. And deodorant because no one likes to smell sweaty, people.

Talk me through your beauty routine…

My beauty routine is as much on the inside as on the outside. I take Vitamin C, fish oil and drink a little Apple Cider Vinegar everyday. I always cleanse my face with Cetaphil followed by Kiehl’s Pure Vitality cream before bed – it’s amazing and my face always smells so good. My tan is natural, thanks to my Dutch and Spanish genes.

Sunday. Runday. Funday. 🌲🏃🏼‍♀️🏃🏻☀️ @camgraves__

A post shared by LANA VAN HOUT (@lanavanhout) on

You’ve just started a YouTube channel with your boyfriend. Are there plans for more videos? What can we expect to see?

Cam and I love being outdoors and exploring new places. We feel very passionate about how beautiful NZ is, and want to capture what we do on our weekends, where we run, where we hang out and what we see. We love what we share together, running tracks through our parklands, never knowing what’s around the corner or over the hill.

Our plans are to create fortnightly YouTube taking our followers on our journey with us. We started our YouTube channel to share our life and hopefully inspire our audience no matter your fitness level to get out there and fall in love with weekend explorations and hopefully give running or hiking a go.

But, there’s a whole other side to our YouTube videos in the making – we are working on exercise videos. My past experiences of going to gyms is that you get shown an exercise once and then you are on your own, potentially doing it wrong and uncomfortable to ask for help. Cam and I want to help people feel they have the tools and knowledge to workout wherever they want, no matter their budget. Exercise should be free, fun and achievable for all, no matter age or gender. We want everyone to believe in themselves and love who they are. So make sure subscribe and follow our journey 😊

To join adidas Runners Auckland, visit their Facebook page.

Photos: Supplied


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