It's the weekend in Vancouver. A DJ named Adoriana stands behind the music console in one of the local clubs, creating the EDM soundtrack for partiers. No one in the room thinks about their next workout. After all, they're dancing their asses off. The only one who thinks about nutrition and diet is the DJ herself, who's also a fitness model and competitor in the World Beauty Fitness & Fashion organization, aka the WBFF. Look closely and you’ll see her biceps twitch as she turns up the volume.
Her only drink is bottled water. Adoriana doesn't drink alcohol during fitness-contest season, and even when she does partake on holidays and special occasions, she has her tricks. "For every shot I have, I'll drink 1/2 to 1 liter of water. That's why I never get drunk or hung over," she explains. On those occasions when she indulges, she takes a cleansing Bikram yoga class the next day. Early.
They may seem like opposites, but there are parallels between the club scene and fitness. Both feature throngs of sweaty people moving in unison, burning calories to loud, aggressive music. The drinks at the club definitely aren't protein powder or BCAAs, but the floor still buzzes with physical activity. And it's Adoriana's job to keep the calorie-burning at a fevered pitch.
"It feels really good when people go crazy to the music I play," says the 33-year-old, whose day job is heading up national sales and sponsored-athlete management for a supplement company, EON Therapeutics. "It's a good feeling."
Adoriana's dual careers sound improbable, but the same can be said of her life to date. Yet somehow, against all odds, it works.
The Unlikely DJ
Adoriana Rastou was born in Alexandria, Egypt, to a blend of Egyptian, Greek, and Russian ancestry. Her time in Egypt was short-lived, though. In search of a better future, her family left for Canada when she was in elementary school.
Growing up, Adoriana was a tomboy, and she remains one to this day. She played many sports—often with the boys—including basketball, swimming, volleyball, and martial arts. Despite coming from a family of engineers, she also cultivated an artistic side that includes painting and writing poetry. When she was young she wanted a motorcycle but couldn't get one until she was 19. "And when I finally got one, my mother almost had a heart attack," says Adoriana, laughing.
Fresh out of high school, Adoriana was sent by a modeling agency to Japan to pursue work opportunities. She instantly felt at home in Tokyo, as if she had lived there in a past life, and she picked up the language easily. This is where she began her DJ career.
"At the time, having female models DJ was the fad in Japan," she recalls. "The clubs booked us, even though many of the models didn't know what they were doing. Some of the my friends who were models would play a prerecorded set. But booking models was the 'in' thing to do."
When Adoriana was asked to DJ her first gig, she Googled "how to DJ." But a successful debut led to nonstop bookings, the fact that she was both a woman and non-Asian making her exotic in Japanese clubs. She returned to Vancouver in 2010, and has lived there ever since, though she returns to Tokyo every year to visit friends.
Today, most of Adoriana's gigs are in clubs in Vancouver, but she also does fashion shows, fitness events, and an annual Halloween rave that ranks among her favorite gigs. "It is harder here because in North America DJing is still very male-dominated," she says. When I play at clubs in North America, I notice that a lot of male DJs don't seem to like me. Their attitude is, 'You're that girl who gets gigs just because you're a girl.' So I have to try harder to prove myself. But I'm so competitive with the guys that I want to prove to them, 'No, I can do this because I'm good at it!'"
As evidence, Adoriana also travels far and wide for other gigs, from Tokyo to Shanghai to Vegas to Calgary.
Competing On Her Own Terms
The club isn't the only place where Adoriana performs for large crowds. Of her start in fitness competitions, she says, "One of my girlfriends had free tickets to a show her guy friend was competing in. When the women came out, I told my friend: 'I could get on stage right now and compete. Why don't I try this?' That’s all it took."
A background in pageantry drew her to the glamorous and theatrical WBFF. In her first contest, the WBFF BC Championship in 2012, she wore a Queen Nefertiti costume for the fitness portion of the competition. As the first runner-up in her her second contest, she walked away with a pro card.
Initially Adoriana prepared for physique competitions in the same way that everyone else did: She hired a personal trainer who also gave her meal plans. She followed these to the letter, only to find that it was unpleasantly hard on her body.
Now she prepares for fitness competition her own way. "I don't really diet," she says. "I don't take any funny pills. I do it all naturally, preferably relying on organic foods. I also don't cut water the way other people do. I want to make sure, 10 years down the road, that I don't regret what I did to my body."
"I'm lucky," she continues, "because I seem to have a fast metabolism, and I burn fat pretty easily. My body fat never goes above about 11 percent because I eat healthy year-round. I try to eat five meals a day, and I take them in about 2-3 hours apart. I eat complete meals with good fats, good carbs like vegetables, and protein." As a contest nears, Adoriana sharply curtails her sugar intake.
Recipe For Success
Of course it doesn't hurt that she's an amazing cook. Adoriana's meals and recipes have earned a following on Instagram, Facebook, and even at work, and Adoriana wants to compile her recipes into a book someday soon.
"People in the clubs, even guys, ask me for tips, and I try to help people as much as I can," she says. "I never withhold information from anyone when they ask for help. Some of my female competitors and younger women ask me to help them train. I tell them they can tag along and watch me train. I try my best. At the end of the day, if I can inspire one person to change his or her life, then I’m happy. My job is done."
Flow & Fusion
Like many other aspects of her life, Adoriana's physical fitness relies on balance. She only trains at the gym two or three days per week, mostly with free weights, and usually not according to any strict plan. Her regimen includes Bikram yoga, muay Thai, jiu jitsu, and seasonally, snowboarding and wakeboarding.
"In nice weather I like to jog the seawall or rollerblade for cardio," she says. One of her fitness turn-offs is grinding on the treadmill. "Too static and boring," she says succinctly.
For Adoriana, there needs to be yin to all that activity-based yang, starting with meditation as the day unwinds. "I believe that life needs balance," she says. "Every active moment of your life needs a peaceful counterbalance. I meditate at the end of the day to calm down from my busy day." She's also a stickler for sleeping no fewer than eight hours a night. That's how she can recover from both intense training and late nights at the club.
There's a lesson to be learned from Adoriana, which is that working out, eating healthfully and recovering aren't at odds with maintaining a hectic schedule—or a nightlife. But those habits are also a necessity if you expect to be super busy and still feel and look your best.
"My day is fully booked," she says. "I am probably the busiest person you know. But if you take care of yourself and stay fit, you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish."