This article was first seen on the Huffington Post. For this installment, we are joined by Kira Neuman.
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?
Hi! My name is Kira Neuman. I am a 35 year old personal trainer and gym owner, competition prep coach, and IFBB Physique Pro from Indianapolis, Indiana. I grew up as a gymnast for quite a few years then transitioned into other sports such as softball, volleyball, tennis, and basketball. So I guess you could say I was a “jock”!
I got into fitness and competing while studying to be a teacher, at Ball State University. After attending a bodybuilding show at Ball State, I was mesmerized by how amazing the girls looked. So I decided that I would find out what it took to compete and did the show the following year! I realized then that I could motivate and influence others to get healthy and work hard. So, I then turned my attention to becoming a physical education/health education teacher and graduated a few years later with a B.S. in PE/Health Ed and got my personal trainer certification.
I have always been into sports but it wasn’t until I really got into fitness and competing that I fully changed my lifestyle and committed to being health and fit. I am a very motivated, outgoing, confident person and to be honest, I would say it’s due to getting into competing. Fitness has also given me the passion and desire to help others reach their goals and feel good about themselves. Being a positive role model to my clients and fans/followers, is so rewarding and fulfilling.
Where does your motivation come from?
My motivation comes from my clients and followers. Knowing that there are others who depend on me for motivation, drives me to continue doing what I do. Also, knowing that my clients are working so hard to improve themselves pushes me to work harder as well.
As you decided to make a career out of your passion – what were your biggest stumbling blocks along the way?
Confidence in myself that I am providing the best coaching and best advice to help people reach their goals. When or if someone doesn’t get the results they want, I would question my methods like “do I really know what I’m doing?” or “did I not do enough to help him/her?”.
But to overcome it I remind myself of the many successes I have had with clients and the number of clients who still love working with me and consider me not only a coach, but a dear friend.
What’s your perspective on the importance of self-care?
Self-care, for me, is taking time for myself each and every day. I devote a majority of my days to my clients and competitors, making sure they are feeling good and staying on track. I do much of this communication via text messages and emails, so constantly being “glued” to my phone can be a bit overwhelming. I make certain that each day I not only tend to my clients, but I also make time to turn my phone off and do something unrelated to fitness to allow myself that time away. I love to read so I give myself a chunk of time each day to read.
What are some of the biggest misconceptions about women lifting weight?
That we look manly! LOL I always have to laugh at the comments that myself and other women get. When I first started competing it did kind of bother me if someone said I looked “nasty” or “too masculine”. But with the growing confidence that weight training and competing has given me, those comments only make me giggle now.
Another one is that if you lift weights you may lose your booty! Totally not true and quite the opposite! Lifting weights only lifts your butt and gives it a nicer, firmer shape! Lifting weights will also make women “bulky”. Overeating unhealthy food will make you “bulky”, lifting weights will make you stronger and give you a more “fit” appearance.
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?
There are a lot of misconceptions on how to lose weight. I think that the idea of not eating or eating less is so ancient but it has carried on through the years and many have stuck to that belief. Trying to change someone’s mindset is very difficult when that’s what they’ve known and believed for so long. And I also think many people want a “quick fix” instead of eating properly and putting in the work.
It’s like there is a fear that eating is the cause of weight gain, when yes it absolutely can be, but it can also help if eating is done in a healthier manner. I firmly believe in eating every couple of hours. In turn, this is what I preach to my clients. I have found that many people are misinformed or again, they have always believed in one philosophy of weight loss. I think to change this, showing good habits, being a good role model and practicing what I preach is so important to creating a positive change/attitude of eating.
What are the most unexpected lessons you’ve learned on your health and fitness journey this far?
Expect the unexpected, patience, and how to push myself even harder! For me, my fitness journey has been focused around competing and then trying to find a healthy balance after the show is over. Competing is tough and each competition prep is different, so I’ve learned patience in myself and how to work even harder. I always tell my clients there are no absolute certain outcomes except the effort and work you put into your fitness, so the only thing you can really expect to happen is how hard you’re going to work for the success.
How important have the people around you been when it comes to your success?
It is extremely important to me that I have positive, encouraging people around me. I have been so fortunate to have some amazing supporters in my friends, family, and clients. Each one of them has given me the support I have needed throughout my competitive career as well as in my business. Having supportive, optimistic people in my life has impacted who I am and has helped mold the success I have had. I would not be where I am without them. And I consider myself successful not only in my competitive life but also in my business. I am very very grateful for everyone who supports me because without them I wouldn’t feel as successful as I do!
Name 3 things people don’t know about you.
1. I am super sensitive! I may look tough but it’s all a façade!
2. I don’t wear deodorant….haven’t for at least 10 years. I am not ashamed to admit it! It gets all over my shirts lol. And I have had no complaints lol!
3. I was a gymnast for 10 years.
What do you do to maintain balance in your life?
I plan my days out! I write everything down in order to manage my time more effectively. Because I have my business, my clients, my dogs, and my girlfriend and family to divide my time between, I find that time management is crucial.
I want to give those things that are so important to me my very best, so I divide my time accordingly. I don’t always get a chance to go visit my parents, but I make sure I call them daily. Making things part of a routine helps keep that balance so that I don’t neglect the important people.
How do you stay productive?
I make daily goals, and write down things I need to accomplish every day. On the days I work from home, it is easier for me to get off task. So, I use posts it’s to write my goals and tasks and post them around my house. This keeps me focused and making sure I am getting things done.
If you could only choose one thing, what would you tell your younger self?
Love and appreciate your parents every day. My parents are my biggest fans and supporters. I wouldn’t be who I am and I wouldn’t be where I am without them. As I’ve grown older, I appreciate them so much more than ever and I just wish I had seen that when I was younger. I have some pretty amazing parents and I am so grateful for them.
Can you give a breakdown of your current diet, training and supplementation regimen and the thinking behind it?
Regardless if I am prepping for a show or in my time off, my goal with nutrition, training, and supplementation is the same: consistency! My nutrition is pretty much the same year-round with the only difference being during my off time I get to have a little more freedom and more variety. Oh and I get larger portion sizes! But I still stick to the same premise of lots of protein, moderate carbohydrates and fats, and lots of hydration!
My training during my down time changes in that I get to lift a little heavier because my nutrition supports it more. I usually give myself a few more rest days during this time off because I know my body needs a little break. During my prep for a show, I typically lift lighter, train more often, and do a lot more cardiovascular work. No matter what, my training is always intense, I push myself hard, and I continually change what I’m doing.
My supplementation stays the same year-round, taking in the basic necessities for a healthy heart and repairing muscle breakdown. I am pretty simple with supplements because I really don’t like taking a lot of pills!
What are your biggest life goals for the year?
This coming year my goals are to continue to build my training business online and in my gym because I love helping others and changing lives. I also want to combine my love for fitness with my passion for animals and do some sort of fundraiser for a local animal shelter.
And this year will be my third year competing in the biggest competition in our sport, the Olympia, so my goal is to bring an even better package to the stage than in the previous years.
More than anything, I want to continue motivating and inspiring others through fitness. Every day is an opportunity to be an even better version of myself than the day before, so I will continue to keep that in mind going in to 2017!