5 things I learned working at an all women’s studio

things i’ve learned from training an all women’s studio
1- not every woman’s purpose is to lose weight. everyone assumes women workout is to lose weight right? wrong. there are so many other benefits to working out. Some ladies want to increase their strength so they can put up their own holiday decorations or carry all the groceries, some ladies want that rush of endorphins to help start/end their day, some ladies want that satisfaction of a hard sweat, some ladies want to increase their muscle mass to avoid osteoporosis and other health problems and some ladies just want to work out because they enjoy it! Any & all of these reasons are great reasons to workout, it doesn’t need to be for the purpose of changing your body. 


2- you have to appreciate how you are now, while working towards your goals. some of my favorite clients are the older ladies because they help me understand how to appreciate life. they tell me about what’s really important and how to enjoy life! so many women spend so much time wishing and wanting to change themselves- in reality it’s better to accept the way we are while working towards bettering ourselves. definitely easier said than done, but it’s something i’ve really tried to start implementing in my own life. it’s so much better to appreciate your body and all it does for you then to hate it and try to force it to change. 


3- there is a disconnect between correct, educational information and the general public. I can’t tell you how many times i’ve heard ladies say “well i don’t want to get bulky” or “i just need to do more cardio” NO NO NO! lifting heavier IS the most ideal because it recruits more muscle fiber, builds more muscles which leads to more calories burned AT REST! Example- If client A is 130lbs and 25% body fat and client B is 130lbs but 35% body fat. Client A burns more calories then client B just by possessing more muscle mass i.e. client A can eat MORE throughout the day and do LESS activity. Building more muscle is the best way to increase your daily caloric intake.


4- People really don’t understand nutrition. Although I am in no way a dietitian or nutritionist, I have had my fair share of experience with nutrition and have learned a lot from personal experience. I can largely say that most clients I come across do not understand basic nutrition especially how to utilize it when strength training. I cannot give nutritional coaching legally (personal trainers are NOT certified for nutrition) but I can say if you don’t understand how to properly fuel your body consulting a registered dietician is the best way to make sure you’re eating properly for your body and activity needs.


5- YOU CANNOT JUDGE SOMEONE’S FITNESS LEVEL BY THEIR BODY!!! the way someone looks is not correlated to their physical ability. we all hopefully learned very early on not to judge someone by how they appear but this principle is even more important with fitness. aesthetics is just one of the many categories of fitness. some ladies are super cardio conditioned, some ladies are badass at lifting heavier weights, some ladies have the endurance to bang out tons of reps, some ladies have awesome balance skills, some have amazing flexibility, but ALL the ladies are there to get healthier- to better themselves, to better their lives, to better their health as a whole. 


Just remember all bodies are made to move and enjoy life! 

xoxo mvkayy 

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I’m back ๐ŸŒž

so this blog has always been about fitness because fitness has always been a part of me. but I think I’m ready to take it in a new direction. 

After putting my body through one of the most extreme and dangerous situations I’ve realized that I need to take a step back and learn to appreciate my body for what it is. the pictures you see below are a sort of reverse transformation. 


The first is when I just moved back home from college. I had just started working out and counting my macros religiously. It was new, it was fun and I was seeing results I had never gotten before. I had fallen in love with lifting and naturally dieting came along with it. This is the last time I remember actually liking the way I looked AND felt.

The second is days before my last bikini competition. I was 100 pounds. I was starving myself, eating way too little and exhausting my body. and for what? to win some trophy for some organization who doesn’t even care about my well being? for months I slaved over EVERYTHING I ate. I exercised about 2 hours everyday. I became obsessed with food with exercise. I lost friends, I lost a social life, I lost my ability to have a normal relationship with food. 

Fast forward to the third picture. that was about 2 weeks after my competition. 2 weeks of binge eating and out of control dangerous habits. I had no sense of what to do around food. some days I ate nothing for hours & then binged on absurd amounts of food. I was so anxious ALL THE TIME. I was still living a nightmare. I didn’t know how to regulate myself normally anymore. I was so out of touch with my body and my signals. my body was literally STARVING and asking for food, it was trying to help me live yet I still fought it. I felt disgusting and anxious every second of the day. I was still working out 1.5-2 hours a day. I was terrified to leave for a 5 week vacation to Europe. How would I monitor myself? How would I not balloon up? I was extremely anxious and honestly didn’t even want to go. but guess what? that trip to Europe was the first stepping stone to my recovery. 

Now to the last picture. Here I am today. do I look the way I want? hell no! do I feel the way I want? still no. is my relationship with food back to normal? unfortunately no. do I still get anxiety if I don’t workout? yes. as I reflect I almost wish I had never signed up for those competitions. I can’t look at my body the same. I can’t look at food the same. my mind is constantly mentally counting and tracking my calories and macro nutrition even when I don’t want to. I’m constantly assessing my physical appearance. In a way a still feel as lost as I did in those second two pictures. But I know it’s time for a change. I want to gain my life back. I don’t want my life to revolve around my looks and diet. so I’m writing this to make my self accountable. it’s time for me to practice what I preach. While I still love working out and being healthy, I need to learn to love myself no matter my size. I hope I can learn to appreciate this body I have and start to have a normal relationship with food. If anyone reading this is dealing with body image issues, disordered eating, anxiety or anything else similar don’t be afraid to reach out to me. I’d love to find other beautiful people to go through this journey with. stay strong ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿ˜Š

losing weightย 

as a personal trainer, the majority of my clients come to me with goals to lose weight. they see it as an end all be all goal. “oh if I lose this 20pounds I’ll finally be happy and confident and my life will be great!” and while losing weight is sometimes necessary required for some people in order to become healthy and avoid medical issues, losing weight is not the end all be all of everything. 
losing weight will not make you happy

losing weight will not give you real friendships

losing weight will not give you fun memories

losing weight will not make the important things in your life any better then it already is 
in fact, sometimes losing weight can become mentally and emotionally unhealthy. Especially in women it can become obsessive…


I hear it all the time from girls “I have to go to the gym” “I have to do 1 hour of cardio everyday” “I have to stop eating carbs” 
what we HAVE to do, is start loving our bodies!!! we need to exercise for fun and to get our bodies moving, not for the sole purpose of burning calories and changing our physique. life is about more than being a lean bean muscular skeleton. life is about more than steps racked up on your Fitbit. life is about more than how many calories your elliptical session burned. life is about more than how you looked in that one bikini picture on Facebook taken at just the wrong angle. while I’m all for working out and conditioning your body, what I’m more concerned about is the lack of body positivity in the fitness community. instead everyone is so quick to compare to each other but NO BODY is the same! learn to embrace your body for everything it does for you. do activities because you like them, if you burn more calories doing Zumba but you’d rather go to yoga, GO to yoga! fuel your body and your mind. make fitness positive for you and it won’t feel like a chore. 

xoxo mvkayy ๐Ÿ’—

competition rant

so as many of you know I recently competed in some bodybuilding bikini competitions. I chose not to share this until after the competition was over & I can say I’m so glad I waited to share because wow.

I have been approached either in person or online by numerous people wanting advice/guidance on how to achieve my lean look. but here’s the thing, even I don’t look like the girl on the stage 24/7. yes I put in months of training & nutrition. yes I lost a ton of body fat and gained lean muscle but still, no one looks stage lean in person. unless you’re planning on competing you shouldn’t even strive for that look. the tan, the lighting, the make up, the heels, the suit, the dehydration, the sodium depletion and a few other components PLUS the training and diet are what gets girls that crazy hot body. but guess what? when it’s over everyone’s body adjusts different and you can & should put on weight. while it sucks seeing the post show bloat and loss of extreme leanness I have to remind myself it’s okay to not look like that all the time. in fact it’s HEALTHY to not look like that.


what sucks lately is that most people who are not involved in this kind of sport don’t really understand this. while I’ve had a lot of support I’ve also had some people give me some hate on not “matching the photos”. so please, be kind to anyone you see no matter what their fitness journey is. you never know how vulnerable of a state they are in. stay positive & lift heavy!


xoxo mvkay ๐Ÿ˜˜

Aside

social media

when I decided to start my journey to the stage I was extremely hesitant to put it on social media. I actually didn’t announce it publicly to any outlet until after the show and even then I didn’t say where I placed/ranked. why? because that’s not what mattered. I didn’t want people to focus on that. I wasn’t doing it for attention, and I’m still not. this fitness and health journey has always been about me and bettering myself not only physically but mentally 
 
with social media being so present in our lives nowadays, I have always been afraid to overshare on my platforms. I had originally created a separate Instagram for my fitness posts. when my competition finally came around I decided to give that up and focus on sharing my journey as my normal self and not be concerned what others are thinking of it. and I can honestly say the support I’ve been receiving is AMAZING! that’s part of the reason I started this blog. I feel so lucky to have all these people love and support me. 
There are still days when I feel self conscious about posting certain pictures or statuses, regardless if they are about health & wellness or anything else but what I’m beginning to realize is I need to embrace the social media age! there is so much love out there and people who truly appreciate what you have to share. as a millennial, we can be labeled as narcissist, the age of selfies & snapchats is among us but I’m choosing to embrace the self love. it’s making me more confident & a happier person. so thank all of you who are supporting me & I encourage you all to share more & not be afraid! like RuPaul says best “if you can’t love yourself, how the hell you gonna love anyone else?” 


xoxo mvkayy! 

Cardio vs. strength training

Being a personal trainer, of course I get this question a lot. unfortunately there is so much misinformation out there so many people become what I like to call “cardio bunnies” or they look “skinny fat”


now don’t get me wrong, cardio is an important and essential part of any workout plan to keep your heart healthy and your endurance up! buuuut cardio WILL not make you look the way you want (unless you enjoy being a stick with no definition). 

so why is strength training the boss of weight loss/muscle gain/overall better physique? I’m going to try & keep this simple but if you want a super in depth explanation just email me & we can get into all the mechanics/biology ๐Ÿ™ˆ

when you do any kind of strength training- this includes body weight, weight lifting, machines, plyometrics, even yoga/Pilates- you are working & breaking down your muscles. now here’s where people suffer, if you aren’t pushing your muscles hard enough you aren’t breaking them down to build them up but instead you are testing their endurance (i.e. not building any muscle). think of long distance runners- they are lean, little definition, because they work on muscle ENDURANCE. now think of sprinters, usually more defined and carry more lean muscle mass. this is because when they sprint they are tearing down their muscles and building them back up to be even stronger! 


note- LADIES. when I said building muscle I DONT mean like a body builder!!! you WILL NOT become bulky like males. we don’t not physically produce enough hormones (testosterone) to build muscles like that. (more on this topic in another post)

So my point here is- lifting heavier is going to give you faster and better results. you want to challenge your muscles! do sets of 8-12 reps and pick a weight that is going to make you struggle by rep 8 or 9 but you can finish 10-12 if you push.

pro tip- record the weight you use on each exercise & try to increase the weight every 2 weeks! 

But mvkay- doesn’t cardio burn more calories? ah yes, this question is one of my favs. the short answer is yes but no. cardio yes burns more calories at the time buuuut the wonderful thing about strength training is you continue to burn calories 2-4 hours afterwards. another awesome thing about lifting is that when you build more muscle, you burn more calories AT REST! that means we could both weight 150lbs but if I’m 20% body fat and you’re 25% body fat I get to eat more calories then you, and do less work, and most likely look better! if that’s not motivation enough to lift some heavy ass weights idk what is!!! the goal is to change your body’s competition, not the number on the scale! 


Another bonus of weight lifting is… it’s also cardio! if you are giving yourself 1-2 minutes rest between sets, half that & try to keep your heart rate up. still want a challenge? add a cardio component in between sets (like jumping jacks, jump rope, high knees, butt kicks, etc…) then by the time you’re done weight training, you’re also done with cardio! win-win ๐Ÿ˜

Anyways, to sum it up- if your goal is like everyone else, to lose weight, tone up, look better overall you NEED to add strength training into your life! if you’re new to it, try to do 2-3x a week for 30minutes either doing full body or splitting upper and lower body. make sure to add in some cardio also! the best thing to do is to just get started. so get in there gorgeous people, you got this ๐Ÿ’ช

So you wanna get fit?

So, you want to get in shape? You want to get that extra 5-10 pounds off? Don’t we all (yes even I too see my imperfections, don’t body shame).

Since this is my very first post (yay me attempting to blog) let me start with some basics about fitness/workouts.IMG_6335

1- GETTING THERE IS THE HARDEST PART! I’m not kidding when I say I literally live 5 minutes (walking) away from my gym, but guess what? if I don’t prepack my bag I. wont. lift. so that being said, do whatever you
have to do to make yourself go! have to workout after work? bring your clothes INSIDE work with you so you have to sit there & be haunted by that sports bra. still can’t be motivated? set an alarm on your phone when you get off work to bug you until you get THERE. literally once you get to the gym the hardest part is over…… well unless its leg day ๐Ÿ˜‰

2- Even a bad workout is better than no workout. If you’re feeling like your day sucks and your workout is suffering- PUSH THROUGH BABYYY! you’re going to be there anyways and there’s never a time you’re going to regret a workout. what will you regret? stopping midway through that workout and giving up. so tighten that ponytail, put on your fav ratchet jam & go get it girl. make that time (and $$$) count!

3- little changes = BIG resultsย anyone who thinks switching out an apple for some chips is not a big difference has never seen the difference between being 20% body fat and 21% body fat. every little thing helps people! that being said, don’t get down on yourself for eating that doughnut (or 3) at work, just tell yourself tomorrow you’ll do better. tomorrow I’ll pack a banana or some orange slices to fill me up before I even see those delicious cupcakes. trust me, PREPPING AHEAD HELPS SOOOO MUCH (more posts on this to come) but just really try to stay focused on making the positive choices and don’t dwell on the negatives. food is not suppose to be something that makes you feel guilty, enjoy life in balance! you have to love yourself and love the process, something I’m still struggling with but am working on every single day. it’s not easy but it’s a hell of alot better than just staying the same.

Anyways! I hope these little tidbits helped someone if not at least I got some friendly reminders to myself. stay motivated, stay beautiful peeps ๐Ÿ™‚