Mar 31, 2012

Blogger interview - Meet Veronika!

Hey all! Remember long back when I was posting fitness stuff? See how the blog is lacking in actual fitness stuff since I did this post? Well, it was time to sort out the fitness issue. And I turned to a blogger who I have been following for some time now! Meet the incredibly fit and gorgeous Veronika. I asked her how she kept so fit and how she finds the discipline to stick with her routine and her answers were genuine and inspiring enough to make me want to share it with all of you! So here is the Q&A

P.S: A girl unafraid to wear a double pink is a winner in my book!! : D

Veronika, I write about style, beauty and home d├ęcor.

2. Vital statistics - I am 5’10. My lowest weight is 131lbs and my highest is usually between 135-137.

3.Dress Size : 4 is the standard size that seems to work for me, but depending on the brand I can go up or down a size.

4.What kind of fitness regime do you currently follow? Your thoughts about it. Details as to how many days a week, how many hours a day?
Currently, I am only working out a couple of days a week taking Bar Method classes, which are extremely effective for toning your entire body.  When I was at my highest level of fitness, I was working out 4-5 days a week doing intense boot camp classes.  My plans for this year are to continue with Bar Method classes and to also work out a few more days a week at a gym.  I work out for an hour whether it’s a class or a gym session.  Because I worked with a personal trainer for about 8 months and also did bootcamp classes for at least another 6 months, I feel much more confident now doing workouts on my own. Sometimes, you can feel really lost at a gym when you don’t know what to do or what workouts are effective. If you are new to working out, I highly recommend checking out “Tone it Up” and “Body Rock TV” on YouTube for incredible and effective workouts. They are free and they work!

5. Have you tried any other fitness method in the past? If yes, your thoughts on that!
As I mentioned before, I have tried bootcamp-style classes, Bar Method and Pilates and I really love them all. I also enjoyed spin class but didn’t do those as often.  I like to mix it up because otherwise you can become bored. That’s why it’s nice to go to a gym that has a lot of classes that are included as part of the membership, or check and see if there are Pilates studios in your area.  Bar Method classes have made a tremendous difference in my overall tone and posture.  It’s like no other workout I’ve ever tried---you work in the muscle the entire time to exhaust them and your muscles are literally shaking during the class. It is so intense---but that’s why the results are so amazing!

6. Your thoughts and recommendations as to the most efficient fitness method (for you)
I hate cardio. I know it’s necessary but I hate running so I tend to prefer workouts that are more toning-focused. I also prefer workouts where your own body weight is used as resistance versus weights and other aparatuses.  Having said that, I do believe in a multidisciplinary approach to workouts because doing just one thing over and over isn’t going to challenge your body enough.  Your body gets used to workouts and you need to change it up to get the results you desire.  I liked bootcamp because there was a very strong community atmosphere.  You really feel like part of a team and you’re working towards the same goal. My bootcamp was indoors, which I prefer since Houston summers are incredibly hot and I hate working out outdoors.

7. How many off days do you take? Do you load up on sweets/carbs on those days?
I eat sweet every single day. I don’t believe in deprivation or dieting. I listen to my body and eat what I crave.  However, it’s about portion control.  I don’t eat an entire box of cookies or a whole bag of chips.  I try to find sweets I love that are lower in calories (like Skinny Cow Heavenly Crisp Bars).  As far as carbs go, I eat them all of the time, I just make smarter choices about them. I eat whole grain bread, pasta and brown rice. I actually don’t even like white pasta anymore because it doesn’t taste flavorful to me like whole grain does. Right now because I'm only working out a couple of days a week, I really have a lot of downtime.  However, I kind of count cleaning my house as a workout.  I know that sounds silly, but our home is three stories and going up and down those stairs and cleaning floors and dusting and all of that---it can certainly break a sweat!  I guess my neat-freak ways are benefitting my fitness too!

8.What is your daily diet ? How many meals? How often?
I eat all day long.  People have a misconception that they should only have three meals a day and I don’t believe in that. When you eat more often (about every 3 hours) but you eat small portions, you stay satisfied and your metabolism is working all day long burning calories. Right now, my general diet looks something like this:
2 cups of green tea with mint and a Luna Bar (they have folic acid and lots of other vitamins)
snack (before lunch) :
a handful of almonds
a garden salad (lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, carrots) with chicken salad on top and a light vinaigrette dressing (just olive oil, balsamic and some herbs)
I’ll also have something sweet after lunch like a skinny cow heavenly crisp bar and I also have a cup of green tea right after eating
I will have a snack a couple of hours after lunch---sometimes it’s a granola bar, greek yogurt, crackers or fruit
for dinner I will usually have stir fry chicken with veggies and brown rice, broccoli cheese stuffed chicken (we like the kind from Omaha Steaks), turkey burgers, fajitas made with ground turkey, home made chilli, sometimes we order pizza…
After dinner I have a cup of peppermint tea (no caffeine) and I will have another sweet like a few cookies or ice cream or something---just try to keep my portions in check!

9. Do you count calories, if yes, how do you stay under it?
I recently started to keep a food diary again (I just make an Excel spreadsheet) but I do not count calories. For me, it’s more about accountability. I don’t need to count my calories to know if I’m eating well or not---a  simple look at my food diary can tell me if I’m on the right track or not.  I don’t count calories because I believe it can become obsessive and I personally benefit more from just listening to my body. If I am craving a sweet or something salty, I usually give in but I try to be reasonable about it.  I think that’s so much easier than beating yourself up about it or denying yourself something you’d really like.  I’ve been thin my entire life and I know it has to do with genetics and metabolism too---but I truly believe that it’s also because I’ve never denied myself anything.  I’ve tried to say “no more sweets” before and it just makes me want them even more and my mind just thinks about it all day.  So if I instead don’t make a big deal about it, I just have them when I want them and that’s what works for me.
As I said before, portion control is really key. I used to eat until my stomach hurt because that’s what I thought you were supposed to do so that you were “full.” I’ve actually come to realize that I ate so quickly that my stomach never had the time to send the signal to my brain that I was satisfied. Now, instead of loading up my plate, I make myself a plate of food and eat it and then give my body some time. If I still feel hungry, I can eat more, if not, that’s it.  My best tip is to always put less food on your plate than you think you can eat because it’s likely enough. Most of us are in such a rush to finish eating and move on to other things so eat a smaller portion and see how you feel---it might surprise you.

10, Do you take any special dietary supplements - for fitness/digestion/weight loss. Your thoughts and opinion on that.
I take a prenatal vitamin, a B Complex vitamin and I drink green tea with mint throughout the day. Numerous studies have pointed to the benefits of green tea including reducing levels of cortisol (which cause stomach fat) and helping prevent heart disease and a slew of other health-related issues. I am a huge believer in green tea and its antioxidant properties.  I do not think green tea necessarily makes you lose weight but I do believe it has many health benefits related to overall health.  In Asian countries, it is a common practice to drink hot green tea after meals. I have been doing this for years and I truly think it aids with digestion.  I drink green tea with mint because mint is said to soothe the stomach and I used to struggle with IBS so it has been a tremendous help to me.

11. Your fitness inspiration - how do you manage to drag yourself on a cloudy cold day to the gym instead of laying in bed all day?
Sometimes I don’t! We all get lazy or make excuses---but something I saw on Pinterest once that is so true is that “you’ll never regret going to work out.” It’s so true. When have you ever gone to the gym and felt horrible about it!? You don’t---because it gives you endorphins and makes you feel strong and healthy!  You have to constantly remind yourself of how good you’ll look and feel. I also follow fitness pinboards on Pinterest and some Tumble “fitspo” blogs that have motivational quotes and photos.

12. Do you have a target weight or size you want to reach? If no, did you have one in the past and did you reach it?
I don’t have a target size, I just try to maintain what I have and build a better version of what I have---so more muscle, less fat- stronger, leaner.  I am fortunate that I’ve never struggled with my weight so I never had to create a weight loss goal. However, I have been “skinny fat” and have hated how weak and low-energy I felt all the time. Getting stronger and leaner made me feel better physically and mentally. I was very active as a kid and it’s nice to get back to that.

13. Your accomplishments you are proud of (fitness or otherwise)
I’m proud of my marriage, my job, my friends. I feel incredibly blessed in life and I am so happy that every day I get to wake up and love what I do.  I am also proud to be a homeowner and momma to Lulu (our dog).

14. I love Lulu.. so this q is abt his fitness - How do you keep him fit?
LOL! He’s adorable isn’t he? My husband takes him on walks and I do as well J We also play with him in the house---he can catch a ball in the air! He’s fun.  We also play this game where we pretend to chase him and he runs in crazy circles all around the house like he’s on a racetrack!

15. How do you keep him active and entertained all day since both of you work?
We don’t keep him confined. He is free to do whatever he wants and go to whatever part of the house he wants to be in.  He sleeps a lot during the day (dogs sleep way more than humans do) and I’m pretty sure he works out his mouth a lot by barking at the construction workers building houses behind ours.  We try to focus a lot of our active time after work and on weekends especially. He’s only 13 lbs so he doesn’t need as much exercise as say, a German Shepherd.

16. Any other comments?
My only other tip would be to get a fitness buddy---whether it’s your partner, friend, co-worker, etc…it keeps you motivated and accountable. That’s how I made it through my first year of working out consistently and really intensely---I worked out nearly daily with a co-worker and then later on my husband started working out at the same bootcamp too---it’s so much easier to change into workout clothes when you get home if you know someone else is doing it too! Plus, it’s a good time to connect with friends, gossip, etc (as long as you are still working hard!)

I was really happy to hear that she doesn't work out everyday and that she indulges in sweets/carbs but in moderation. I bet a lot of you are inspired by this down-to -earth approach to fitness. Sound off in the comments section. I would love to know what makes you go the gym.. is it that image of a healthy glowing you? Is it a number in ur head? A dress size or a magic weight? Lets discuss!