This article was first seen on the Huffington Post. For this installment, we are joined by Katya Nosova.
Let’s start off with a general introduction. How would you describe yourself, what are you all about and how did you get involved in health and fitness?
I was born in Russia, at the age of 16 my parents decided to move to NZ so here I am now living my life in the beautiful city of sails Auckland. Sport has always been a massive part of my life ever since I started rhythmic gymnastics at the age of seven. I used to be a competitive rhythmic gymnast until the age of 22. The highlight of my career was winning Gold while representing New Zealand in the Pacific Alliance Gymnastics Championship 2010 in Melbourne. Unfortunately, my repeat injuries forced me to leave the gymnastics scene.
When I quit I felt empty because what once was a huge part of my life was now just a gap in my day. I was desperately trying to find a hobby to fill that gap, but nothing matched the high that competing brought me. A couple of years later I met my now fiancé and he was already into bodybuilding. In 2013 I joined the gym for the first time ever to help my fiancé achieve his dream of becoming a competitive bodybuilder. Before I knew it I was going to gym twice a day every day and absolutely loving it. I found my passion. I found what I was missing since quitting gymnastics. I am now a competitive bodybuilder, 2017 will be my fourth year competing. I am honoured to hold the status of the only New Zealand athlete ever to win at the Arnold Classic USA.
Helping others is my passion! I love seeing my clients grow and achieve their personal goals. I love seeing progress in others and I find it even more satisfying than seeing my own progress! It is an amazing feeling to see that my unique approach to fitness is helping others to get great results.
Where does your motivation come from?
I believe motivation should firstly come from within. I know for myself if I am not in the mood to do something, no one will force me to until I would want to do it. You should want to do it, you should want to achieve your goals. And only you responsible for the outcome.
It all comes down to one question; how bad do YOU want it? While others might help or assist you in achieving something, you decide how much work you put in. So self-motivation I believe is the most important, until you want to become better no one will get you motivated as much as you motivate yourself.
As you decided to make a career out of your passion – what were your biggest stumbling blocks along the way?
Well actually to be very honest I am still making my career in the health and fitness industry, I still have a full time job that has nothing to do with fitness (I am an account manager for a hygiene company). While I love everything about the health and fitness industry and I know it is truly my passion, I am still building my brand so until I feel comfortable not working 9-5 job I will continue on building it. Right now my main concern is the possibility of buying a house with my partner, so I guess that little bit of extra security is what is holding me back. Once I settle and make the biggest purchase of my life I know it won’t be long until my passion will become my career.
What’s your perspective on the importance of self-care?
If we don’t take care of ourselves then who will? It all starts with you. Healthy mind healthy body, so it is important to not just nourish your body but your mind and soul too. Do something you enjoy, something you love, something to help you relax. It doesn’t have to be anything big or time consuming, it can be simple as reading a good book, walking in the park or by the sea.
I like to have some me time. Sometimes I would go for a walk on the beach, in Auckland the sea is always nearby, I also like to do lots of stretching at home/beach or in the park I find that helps me a lot to relax and take stress away, I love a good yoga class (must admit I don’t do yoga nowhere near as often as I would like to). Occasionally when I feel burnt out and exhausted I go float in Epsom salt floatation tank – I find that works like magic, very calming and is perfect for my mind and great for my body.
What are some of the biggest misconceptions about women lifting weight?
A lot of women still think that lifting weights makes you big, very muscled and very manly. When in reality it is really the opposite. Unless of course your goal is to really change your body composition, and you enjoy lifting heavy weights, or you want to become a powerlifter. But even then there is absolutely nothing wrong with that either, each to their own and while it might not be one’s cup of tea for girls to be lifting very heavy, others might be absolutely loving it.
However to get to that point requires a lot of hard work, consistent training and nutrition for number of years, so if you are just a regular gym goer – lifting weights will not be of any harm to you; in fact lifting weights gives women beautiful toned bodies, improves overall health and increases self-esteem – so please don’t ever stop lifting those dumbbells.
Many young women who want to lose weight believe that not eating is the way to do it, without realising the consequences of that kind of behavior.
Why do you think this is and what’s your perspective on educating society on healthy nutrition habits?
Firstly we need to educate the youth more about the body image. I never buy any fashion magazines – because what we see in those magazines isn’t real, the bodies are perfect, flawless, and in the best shape. But it is all fake, and a lot of girls don’t realise how much photoshop and other enhancements are done to those photos before publishing. They also don’t realise it is okay to be different, it is okay to not look like those models, it is okay to not have a six pack and it is totally okay to be yourself and truly love that girl you see in the mirror.
Once we educate young women about self love and self respect we can then educate them on the importance of nutrition. A lot of women still believe in eating once/ twice a day if they want to lose weight, what they don’t realise is that way will only slow down their metabolism even more, while the body will be trying to hold on to every little bit of food.
When you don’t eat often enough or don’t eat at all, your metabolism slows and works to preserve energy instead of burning it. You could almost compare regular eating to continuously throwing wood in the fire. When we eat, our bodies have to burn that food to convert it into usable energy, which in fact increases the metabolism and calorie burn.
What are the most unexpected lessons you’ve learned on your health and fitness journey this far?
I think it would be the fact that I don’t weight myself or measure my body fat. I grew up thinking and knowing the only way to check progress is by jumping on the scale. We are taught from a young age about those standards, that with a certain height you should have a certain weight. I stopped weighing myself or checking my body fat/bmi 4 years ago. It is irrelevant. I always tell that to my clients too.
You simply can not rely on those numbers, it only makes you more stressed or anxious, or depressed. Those numbers mean nothing – your mirror reflection, progress photos are a much better way to see results. The weight can fluctuate so much due to so many reasons, so it is absolutely not worth worrying about it. Besides if you like what you see in the mirror who cares what your weight is?
What do you do to maintain balance in your life?
I am a very ambitious person, I love smashing my goals whether it is personal or career orientated goals, and I love challenges just as much because that’s what really makes me stronger, better and makes me want to work even harder. While you could call me a fitness fanatic I am all about balance in life. I believe in dedicating just as much time to your loved ones and family and friends as I would spend on going to gym. Even if that means I have to train late at night or very early in the morning to fit in friend’s birthday party in my day.
How do you stay productive?
I have a diary, I guess you could say I am a little old school because it is still a paper diary. I write everything I need to do there and tick it all off as I go. I write my “to do” list in order of priority, I believe prioritising is the key to productivity. And I guess that constant desire to do better and to be better is what keeps me going and helps me to stay on top of the things.
Can you give a breakdown of your current diet, training and supplementation regimen and the thinking behind it?
Being in sports all my life my body craves exercise. I love training and love to exhaust myself, have sore muscles the next day. I normally train twice a day, fasted cardio in the morning before work and weight session after work at night. I train 4-6 days a week, and I always have one or two full rest days as recovery and rest is absolutely crucial. My training regimen doesn’t usually change too much in my off season or contest preparation, I might add a little extra cardio here and there if I am in contest prep but that would be it. I actually quite enjoy doing cardio too, and I know not many people do, I also know it works great for me if I need to lose some weight and tone up.
My nutrition though can change quite a bit again depending if I am off season or preparing for a competition. I find my body doesn’t respond well to carbohydrates – so I really do have to watch what I eat, normally in off season I could have anything between 1600-1800 calories a day, however during a contest prep I would go down to 1400-1500 calories a day with rather limited carbohydrates intake. That is what works for me, and that is what allows me to get in shape with no major stress to my body or any other health issues. But we need to remember we are all different and for some such nutrition would never work, so always seek for professional advice to find what really works best for you and your body.
I always make sure to nourish my body and to treat it nice especially if I am preparing for a competition and train harder and more than I normally would. In my supplement stack you could always find glutamine, BCAA or amino acids to help me with muscle recovery, women’s multivitamins, fish oil, magnesium, and collagen to nurture my body.
If you could only choose one thing, what would you tell your younger self?
Don’t worry about what others think, don’t listen to anyone except for your family because only they truly have your best interests.
What are your biggest life goals?
Buy a house. Get married. Grow my brand and my business. Qualify for Ms Olympia 2017 (biggest bodybuilding show).
Where can people go to learn more about you online?
Stay tuned for the next interview of Real Talk Real Women!